Image by Matthias Mullie

MEET THE TEAM

The Faces of Our Organization

 
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JOAN MIGUEL ROMERO

Joan Miguel Romero completed his HBSc in the Pathobiology Specialist and Immunology Major program at the University of Toronto. He subsequently completed his MSc in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Gallinger, focusing on the role of T cell-inflammation in pancreatic cancer. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the division of Experimental Medicine at McGill, under the direction of Dr. George Zogopoulos, expanding on pancreatic cancer immunobiology. Joan Miguel first got involved with RIOT, Toronto Chapter, during his MSc. He is excited to continue working with his fellow graduate students and researchers here in Montreal, to advocate for cancer awareness and cancer research to the larger community and patients alike.

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SANDRINE BUSQUE

Sandrine is currently pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry at McGill University. Her research focuses on chemoresistance in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer with the goal of understanding the molecular mechanisms involved. Sandrine is passionate about communicating scientific concepts in an accessible way to reach many different audiences. She has a particular interest in demystifying cancer for youth audiences. She is thrilled to be a part of the RIOT Montreal team and hopes to share her passion for STEM while highlighting the importance of cancer research.

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LISA KELLENBERGER

Lisa is a scientist turned science writer and medical educator. She is currently a senior medical advisor at liv Medical Education Agency where she develops continuing medical education programs for physicians. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research investigated how cancer cells use different fuels to grow, multiply, and survive harsh conditions. Lisa is passionate about improving science communication and helping early career scientists to engage with diverse audiences in new and exciting ways.

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OWEN CHEN

Owen has a background in biochemistry and molecular biology. He is an MD-PhD student at McGill University. He is currently studying cell cycle mechanisms that could potentially better predict response to chemotherapy for breast and lung cancer patients. Owen initially joined RIOT Montreal’s online Blog Team to communicate medical research with the general public. Since then, he had taken part in youth outreach, where he gave presentations about cancer research to students in the Montreal area. Owen is excited to continue his outreach work with various populations, including those who are directly touched by cancer.

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SURASHRI SHINDE

Surashri completed her PhD from McGill University where her work focused on examining immune changes in the tumor microenvironment post radiation therapy. Specifically, her research interests included understanding mechanisms associated with radiation resistance in bladder cancer. She is passionate about scientific outreach and enjoys connecting with the audience to increase awareness and share current advances in the research community. As such, she decided to join RIOT to be able to connect with the public to share the work she does with a wide audience and inspire youth interested in research.

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JASON HU

Jason has completed a Bachelor of Science in Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Montreal, and a Master of Science degree at McGill University. He is currently pursuing PhD studies in the Experimental Surgery program at McGill University, specializing in health economics and outcomes research in prostate cancer. Jason is focusing on the use of administrative databases to study treatment utilization patterns, cost and outcomes from a population-based approach, and he has a particular interest in the utilization of advanced prostate cancer therapies and other health services in the end-of-life period in men who die of prostate cancer.

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CAITLIN FIERHELLER

Caitlin obtained her BSc degree in Genetics and Biochemistry from Western University where she participated in Let’s Talk Science youth outreach. She is currently a PhD candidate in Human Genetics at McGill University studying hereditary ovarian and breast cancer genetics using next generation sequencing and bioinformatic analyses. She is interested in science communication to get young people excited about/involved in STEM. Caitlin is very enthusiastic about joining the RIOT Montreal team and hopes to inspire and educate students about the value of cancer research!

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GABRIELLA JOHNSON

Gabriella recently graduated with a Master of Science degree from McGill University where she studied breast cancer at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre. She is currently working as a medical scribe for an oncologist. Gabriella enjoys teaching and passing on her knowledge of cancer to various audiences in her work on RIOT’s “What is cancer?” animated video series.

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SOPHIE POULET

Sophie obtained her B.Sc. in Biopharmaceutical Sciences from Université de Montréal. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Experimental Surgery at McGill University. She is currently using a gene-editing technology called CRISPR to analyze the entire human genome in breast cancer models. She hopes to uncover molecular targets with therapeutic potential in aggressive breast cancer. Sophie is very excited to be a part of R.I.O.T. Montreal and hopes to be able to share her passion and convey the importance of research to adults and youth alike!

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RACHEL SZWIMMER

Rachel graduated from her B.Sc. in Physiology and M.Sc. (thesis) studying personal and social barriers experienced by adolescents living with chronic pain. She is currently studying medicine at McGill University. Rachel joined the Montreal branch of RIOT with the hope to bridge the gap between individuals and their healthcare team.

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DARYL RONATO

Daryl is currently pursuing his PhD in Molecular Biology at Université Laval. His project aims to better understand the molecular mechanisms by which our cells repair damaged DNA. He obtained his B.Sc. in Biochemistry and M.Sc. in Genetic Manipulation from the University of Sussex, UK. He is passionate about discovery and the scientific process. He enjoys creating scientific illustrations and, as part of RIOT, hopes that these will help the general public have a better understanding of how scientific research is conducted.

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DIANA BERRY

Diana is pursuing a PhD in biochemistry at McGill University where her research focuses on melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer. She studies how treatments which harness the body's own immune system, called immunotherapies, work to fight melanoma. Her research aims to determine the mechanisms behind these drugs so that doctors can know how to best use them in the clinic. She enjoys sharing the new results of her research and working with RIOT to showcase the exciting findings cancer researchers are making.

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MARINA FUKANO

Marina completed her HBSc. in Biomedical Science at the University of Ottawa. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry Program at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Morag Park (McGill) and Dr. Genevieve Deblois (UdeM). Her project studies how breast cancer cells within a tumour use different nutrients to support their survival and adaptation. Marina decided to join the Montreal branch of RIOT because she realized the importance of communicating what we do in cancer research with the general public. She is excited to contribute to a variety of outreach activities and raise awareness of cancer and cancer research!

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LYSANNE DESHARNAIS

Lysanne completed her HBSc. in Translational and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa, where she had her first experience working in a cancer research lab. She is currently a PhD student in Human Genetics at McGill, where she is studying how dietary patterns influence cancer progression and response to immunotherapy. She is passionate about improving communication between cancer researchers and the wider community.

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ANNA SHEN

Anna obtained a Bachelor of Science with Distinction, major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, minor in Commerce, from University of British Columbia. She is a second year Ph.D. student at McGill University, studying the interplay between immune cells and tumor cells, in hopes to advance treatment for metastatic breast cancer patients. She is passionate about science communication and wants to advocate scientific research to the general public.

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ALEX NOWAKOWSKI

Alex completed is HBSc. in Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill university, researching breast cancer metastasis throughout his underdraduate degree. He currently is pursuing is M.Sc. in Experimental Medicine and McGill, studying how cancer cells interact with the brain as they form metastases. He is very excited to be a part of RIOT, working on the patient outreach team to help spread knowledge of ongoing cancer research.

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SARAH MARITIAN

Sarah completed her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, and is a current student in McGill University’s combined MD-PhD program. Her Master’s research focused on the molecular mechanisms regulating colon cancer progression. Sarah is passionate about translational research – the act of applying laboratory findings to medical practice – and is excited to continue this type of work in her PhD. During her time at Queen’s, Sarah became involved with the Kingston branch of the Canadian Cancer Society. Having been involved with the RIOT team in Kingston, Sarah is delighted to continue working with RIOT after moving to Montreal.

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HANNAH HOSEIN

Hannah completed her Bachelor of Science at McMaster University in Integrated Science. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry at McGill University. Hannah’s work is focused on identifying novel treatment strategies for pediatric sarcomas and ovarian cancers. After becoming involved in science communication projects during her undergrad, Hannah developed a passion for education. She decided to join RIOT to help inform the public about how cancer research is progressing and is excited to make science accessible for all.

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ANNA LAZARATOS

Anna completed her HBSc in the Interdepartmental Honors in Immunology (IHI) program at McGill University. Her mom’s five-year battle against metastatic breast cancer motivated her to raise awareness about the disease and the importance of prevention and early detection. She is currently an MD-PhD student at the University of Montreal. She is pursuing her PhD under the joint supervision of Dr. Peter Siegel (Goodman Cancer Institute) and Dr. Jean-François Côté (Montreal Clinical Research Institute), investigating the immune landscape in breast cancer. Her research focuses on studying the impact of immunosuppression in promoting breast cancer metastasis. She is excited to be a part of the RIOT team, as a way to raise cancer awareness and highlight the importance of cancer research.