Lisa is a medical writer at Havas Health where she develops educational materials for doctors and scientists. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University where she studied how cancer cells use different fuels to grow, multiply, and survive harsh conditions. As a PhD student and Vanier Scholar at the University of Guelph, she investigated the metabolism of ovarian cancer cells to understand how they “eat” with the goal of designing new therapies to starve tumours. Through RIOT, Lisa is excited to share the progress and promise of cancer research and demonstrate how thinking like a scientist can be a very creative process.



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.

PhD Candidate


Surashri is currently a second year PhD student at the RI-MUHC . Her work focuses on examining immune changes in the tumor microenvironment post radiation therapy. Specifically, she is interested in examining mechanisms associated with radiation resistance in bladder cancer. In addition to her graduate studies, Surashri 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.

PhD Candidate


Sophie obtained her B.Sc. in Biopharmaceutical Sciences from Université de Montréal. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Experimental Surgery at McGill University. Her work is centered on using a technology called CRISPR at the genome-scale level to uncover molecular targets with therapeutic potential in aggressive breast cancer. Sophie is very excited to be a part of RIOT Montreal and hopes to be able to share her passion and convey the importance of research to as broad an audience as possible.

PhD Candidate


Wejdan Alenezi completed her B.Sc. in Microbiology with first honor at Taibah University, Saudi Arabia. She pursued her postgraduate studies at McGill University, where she received her M.Sc. degree in Human Genetics, focussing on studying different chromosomal errors in human oocytes and preimplantation embryos in associated to maternal age. Wejdan now is a Ph.D. candidate at the department of Human Genetics at McGill University studying the missing heritability in ovarian cancer using next generation sequencing. She is passionate about translational research into prevention and clinical management. She is also passionate about teaching science, especially genetics to students and lay people, and that why she is a member of RIOT Montreal – Youth outreach!

PhD Candidate


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.

MD-PhD Candidate


Jenna received a Bachelor of Science from McGill University in microbiology and immunology. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in molecular biology at the University of Montreal. Her project is to identify unique components presented on the surface of colon cancer cells, which could potentially be targeted by the immune system and incorporated into emerging cancer therapy. Jenna is very excited to be a part of RIOT's outreach team, to share her passion for cancer research and to bring awareness to the public in an accessible way.

MSc Candidate

Gabriella is a Master’s student at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University. She is currently studying a mutation commonly found in metastatic estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer to understand its role in therapy resistance and disease recurrence. She first became involved in the field of cancer research through a teacher who was very enthusiastic about teaching students about the biology of cancer. This passion is what inspired Gabriella to study in this field and is also what drives her desire to pass on her interest to kids just as her teacher did for her.

MSc Candidate


Celine is a second year undergraduate studying Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. As a member of Let’s Talk Science, she joined the team after collaborating on the Let’s Talk Cancer symposium. Her interest in cancer research began in middle school after reading My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. As a Girl Guide leader and member of Let’s Talk Science she enjoys encouraging youth to explore different topics, indulge in curiosity and be creative. She is very excited to continue inspiring youth to pursue scientific discovery through RIOT.

BSc Candidate


Zeinab has a Master’s in Biotechnology from McGill and is currently in her 4th year of PhD in the Experimental Medicine Department. Her PhD project focuses on a novel drug for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). GBM is the most aggressive type of brain tumour in adults. Patients diagnosed with GBM approximately live for 12-15 months, despite combined treatments including surgery followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Zeinab is passionate about her research because it gives her hope to think that one day her work might help improve a cancer patient’s life expectancy.
Zeinab also believes that if you can’t explain what you’re doing in simple terms, you don’t understand it well enough yourself! That is why she decided to join youth outreach team of RIOT. It can be challenging to work with younger kids, but she finds it very rewarding. Through RIOT, Zeinab is also able to share her work as a cancer researcher, speak to scientists and other members of the community through workshops and presentations.



Owen has a background in biochemistry and molecular biology. He is a current MD-PhD student at McGill University. His research focuses on mutations found in patients with rare familial ovarian cancers. He is trying to figure out the mechanism by which these mutations lead to the development of cancer. Owen initially joined RIOT Montreal’s online Blog Team to communicate medical research with the general public. His passion for mentoring kids and youth had led him to his current position in the Youth Outreach Team, where he gives presentations about cancer research to students in the Montreal area.

MD-PhD Candidate


Christina is currently completing a Master’s Degree at McGill University in the department of Experimental Medicine. Her research mainly focuses on the earliest stages of breast cancer, before it can even be detected! Breast cancer remains the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. Christina is looking closely into how normal cells become cancerous, which is crucial to be able to predict the onset of cancer. Before getting involved with research, Christina wondered why finding “the cure” is taking so long. As a more experienced scientist, she now understands that there is no specific “cure”, but rather, “cures” and “cures in development”. Cancer is so big and complex, which is why millions of scientists are working hard towards understanding it and developing therapies against it. Christina's goal in joining RIOT is to help the community understand cancer, talk about the exciting research that is going on, and inspire young aspiring scientists about their potential role in the future! 



Georgia completed a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, before deciding to pursue her studies in the field of cancer research. She is now a PhD candidate studying cancer biochemistry, more specifically the mechanism of drug-resistance in cancer treatment. One of the important aspects of completing a PhD is to be able to explain your research in terms everyone can understand - this is why Georgia decided to join RIOT! She has a passion for community outreach and helping students pursue futures in STEM. Through RIOT, Georgia hopes to help people understand what cancer research is, and to involve them in the pursuit of treatments and cures. 



Seta is a PhD student in Experimental Surgery at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center. Her work focuses on studying various molecules in the blood of prostate cancer patients throughout the progression of their disease. Her goal is to identify molecules in the blood that would predict each patient’s response to current therapies and new drugs, thus allowing a personalized approach to medicine. Having joined RIOT as a scientist and a writer, she hopes to share the interesting new findings in cancer research by making them accessible to all those who wish to learn more. With her blog posts, she also aims to address topics which are flooded with misinformation in the field of cancer research and clinical care.

PhD Candidate

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Trent obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Brandon University of Brandon Manitoba and a Master of Science degree from the University of Montreal. Currently, Trent is working towards obtaining a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Montreal under the supervision of Dr. Pierre Thibault. His research focuses on understanding the regulatory post-translational modification called SUMOylation in the context of breast cancer. To advance what is known about the SUMO system in cancer, Trent plans to utilize his knowledge in both molecular biology and mass spectrometry-based techniques. Trent has a strong passion for teaching and helping people understand scientific concepts, especially when it comes to cancer. He aims to one day become a professor where he can inspire people with both his teaching and research abilities. Trent is extremely excited to be part of the RIOT Montreal team and help educate the youth and general public!

PhD Candidate

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Felix secured his master’s degree in Medical Radiation Physics from McGill university, after his bachelor’s in honors Physics, with the motivation to contribute to the community. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Biological and Biomedical Engineering at McGill. His research interests are in the fields of radiation protection & radiation safety and he is investigating different aspects of neutron induced carcinogenic effects in high-energy radiation therapy. He hopes to better understand the biophysical interaction mechanisms of neutrons and other radiation that are more biologically damaging than X-rays through his research. Felix decided to be a part of RIOT to be able to share his knowledge and research in the field of medical physics especially in radiation protection with the community. He believes that good communication is essential to eliminate the myths, misconceptions and misgivings about radiation therapy.  

PhD Candidate

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!

PhD Candidate

Past Members

  • 2017-2019: Rekha Raveendrakumar (Founder, RIOT Montreal)

  • 2017-2018: Vanessa Sung (Blogs)

  • 2017-2018:  Afsheen Qayyum (Blogs)

  • 2017-2018: Chloé Laflamme (Social Media) 

  • 2017-2018: Irina Perlitch (Social Media)

  • 2017-2018: Claire Nash (Community Talks) 

  • 2017-2018: Nadêge Fils-Aimé (Community Talks) 

  • 2017: Joseph Szymborski (Videography)

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