McLaughlin Scholars - MD/PhD and CREMS

McLaughlin Centre LogoMcLaughlin Centre

Physician Scientist Training  at the University of Toronto recognizes the continued support of the McLaughlin Centre in the training of future Physician Scientists. The following MD/PhD students and CREMS Scholars have benefited from this generous support.

2019 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

2018 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

2017 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

2016 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

2015 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

2019 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars

2018 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars

2017 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars

2016 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars

2015 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars

 

 

2019 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars


Abraham, Josh

Supervisor: Dr. Karim Mekhail
Graduate unit: Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Personal background

My decision to pursue a career in medicine was really a culmination of some diverse and rewarding experiences, some of which trace back to my childhood in India, where I was born and brought up in a circle of family and friends composed of several ethnicities. I was also incredibly fortunate to be educated in a school that emphasized the value of learning, ethics and civic responsibility, and character building, while encouraging me to seek out excellence for its own merits rather than focusing on accomplishment as measured only by grades. It wasn’t until after high school that I made the move to Canada, where I embarked on an undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto majoring in human, cellular and molecular biology. Here, I was very fortunate to be mentored by some truly remarkable physician-scientists, under whose guidance I became involved in basic research on cellular signaling in tissue regeneration, cancer stem cells in brain tumours, and retinal neurogenesis. Pursuing a combined doctorate and ultimately a career in academic medicine is therefore the logical route to merge my interests in patient care, fundamental research, and medical education. Outside science/medicine, I enjoy cooking, spending time with my family and friends, I love animals, and I am quite literally mad about soccer! I maintain an avid interest in physical conditioning and organized training in sport – hobbies that I would probably pursue more seriously given time off.

Research interests

Some of the most exciting work in Dr. Mekhail’s lab relates to the discovery of genes that eliminate aberrant nucleic acid structures in order to preserve overall genome stability. Mutations affecting such genes are linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Lou-Gehrig’s disease (ALS) as well as spinocerebellar ataxia. Using powerful yeast genetic tools in combination with several mammalian cell systems including neural stem cells, I will directly test how the dysfunction in these fundamental cellular processes promotes disease. We also seek to identify genetic, environmental, and chemical interventions that can rescue the dysfunctional cellular pathways and restore normal neurogenesis. In addition, we anticipate that the fundamental molecular pathways identified will also further our understanding of certain types of cancers that are specifically linked to defects in the same pathways we are studying.

Jeong, Danielle

Supervisor: Dr. Freda Miller at Sick Kids Hospital (Department of Neurosciences & Mental Health)
Graduate unit: Institute of Medical Science

Personal background

I grew up in a small suburban town of Langley, B.C., which a unique exposure to concepts of global health through my trips to Haiti and Swaziland. With medicine in mind, I attended Simon Fraser University for undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Biomedical Physiology. My passion for medical research sprouted while studying the functional and structural aspects of voltage-gated ion channels underlying cardiac arrythmias, under the supervision of Dr. Tom Claydon. The realization and appreciation of how research augments my goal to serve those who are ill as a physician has since led me to the MD/PhD program at University of Toronto.

Research interests

My research interest involves understanding neural stem cells in the context of neurogenesis during embryonic development as well as in the adult brain. I would like to examine the interplay of cell-intrinsic mechanisms and extrinsic factors that determine the biology of these cells, which can offer insights on normal and pathological development.

Light, Nicholas

Supervisors: Dr. David Malkin and Dr. Adam Shlien
Graduate Unit: Institute of Medical Science

Personal background

Originally born in London, England, I moved frequently as a child, growing up primarily in the Western suburbs of Chicago. During high school, I developed an interest in science and in particular the rapidly evolving field of genomics, which led me to complete a BSc in Biology, and later an MSc in Human Genetics at McGill in Montreal. While genetics research is a major passion of mine, I have also long felt a calling towards  the care of today’s patients. It was the pursuit of these dual passions which propelled me towards the MD/PhD program at U of T. Outside of academics, I enjoy distance running, volleyball, supporting the Raptors and exploring Toronto, a city which has quickly become home.

Research interests

During my masters at McGill, I worked with Dr. Tomi Pastinen, investigating the role of cis-regulatory mechanisms in complex genetic disease through allele-specific genomic assays of gene regulation and chromatin state. For my PhD thesis research, I am focused on using state-of-the-art sequencing technologies to further our understanding of cancer biology. Working at SickKids I am interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying inherited cancer predisposition syndromes (e.g. constitutional mismatch repair deficiency and Li-Fraumeni syndrome). Specifically, I am interested in determining how inherited mutations affecting DNA repair fidelity shape mutational patterns and evolutionary trajectories in the resultant cancers, and what clinical opportunities this presents regarding genetic testing, tumour surveillance and treatment strategies for these patients.

Macklin, Jillian

Supervisors: Dr. Jennifer Gibson (bioethics); Dr. Heather Ross (cardiology)
Graduate Unit: IHPME

Personal background

I completed my undergraduate degree in clinical biochemistry at Western University and my Masters training in laboratory medicine and pathobiology at University of Toronto, focusing on cardiovascular immunology with Dr. Slava Epelman. Through both experiences, my focus became more and more translational. Working alongside clinician scientists in Toronto's stimulating environment, it was their inspiration and encouragement that ultimately led me to pursue this combined path. Outside of the program, I am a soccer player and a people-person – meeting new people, learning from them, and laughing with them is a favourite pass-time!

Research interests

I plan to make a switch from basic science to clinical research for my doctoral studies. My interests are two-fold. I have an interest in the quality of life of heart failure and heart transplant patients throughout their illness and finding ways to use patient-reported outcomes to inform care. I also have interests in inner city health - understanding social determinants of health and barriers to care for marginalized populations. The exciting part about a PhD is you can develop a passion and find ways for your two worlds to collide. I really want the patient population that I work with to inform my research questions and learn to be the most compassionate physician that I can be.

McFaul, Chris

Supervisors: Prof. Rodrigo Fernandez-Gonzalez & Prof. Chris Yip

Project: An automated injection and high-content screening platform for Drosophila 

Personal background

I did my Bachelor of Sciences at McGill University in the Physiology and Physics program. Stemming from my joint program, some of my hobbies include building electronics projects with Arduinos, programming and 3D printing. I chose the MD/PhD program at U of T because of the breadth of research that is being done in the engineering/medical physics fields and so that I could apply my skills to the field of medicine.

Research interests

My research interests include developing and applying novel imaging/surgical assist technologies to improve patient outcomes. My PhD project will be focused on improving existing neurosurgery microscopy technology. The goals of the project will be to increase low light sensitivity during procedures like photodynamic therapy and to improve surgeon-microscope interactions.

PHOTO CREDIT: NATHAN CHAN

 

Mylabathula, Swapna

Supervisor: Dr. Charles Tator
Graduate unit: Institute of Medical Science

Personal background

I completed my undergraduate degree at U of T in Human Biology and Nutritional Science, followed by a non-degree year in Kinesiology. Outside of academics, I enjoy sports [any and all, but hockey and lacrosse, primarily!], music [violin and sitar], and engaging in the U of T community through student groups!

Research interests

Currently, I am working on evaluation of concussion policies in schools, with the aim of understanding barriers and enablers in implementation and assisting knowledge users by providing information on elements for inclusion in development and implementation. I am also studying female concussion in hockey, and characterizing this injury using a mixed-methods approach in women’s hockey in Ontario.

Publications

Oh, Robin

Supervisor: Prof. Daniel Schramek
Graduate unit: Molecular Genetics

Personal background

Research interests

Publications

Rajora, Maneesha

Supervisor: Dr. Gang Zheng
Graduate unit: Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering

Personal background

Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, I moved to Toronto to complete my M.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering, with a focus on developing biomaterials and drug-delivery systems. Prior to conducting graduate studies at the University of Toronto, I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Dalhousie University. I chose to pursue the MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto on the basis of its renowned excellence in biomedical research and medical education. During my training, I hope to build a foundation of skillsets pertinent in identifying clinical needs in biomaterials development, conducting materials-centred research to address these needs, and effectively delivering patient care as a clinician-scientist.

Research interests

My research interests lie in the engineering of clinically-relevant biomaterial platforms to enhance therapy delivery to the brain. Specifically, I am interested in developing non-invasive micro and nanotechnologies to address limitations in bypassing tumor vasculature to ultimately enhance the targeted delivery of therapeutics to brain tumors, and thereby improve cancer therapy. 

 

Vachhani, Kathak

 

Personal background

 

Research interests

 

Wu, Richard

Supervisor: Dr. Philip Sherman
Graduate unit: Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology

Personal background

Prior to entering the MD/PhD program, I obtained my Bachelor of Health Sciences degree from McMaster University. It was during my various undergraduate projects that I became intrigued with the scientific process. For one, I like to take a simple, creative idea and then build on it, tweak it and use it to continuously ask new questions; and two, the unknowns in science simply excite me. Before I knew it, I was fixed to the idea of becoming a physician who can ask the “right” questions and push frontiers in medicine. The MD/PhD program at Toronto offered a way for me to explore these interests. Besides my love for science and medicine, I love eating sushi, playing badminton, computer gaming, and working out.

Research interests

My research in undergrad investigated the therapeutic effects of gut probiotics on intestinal motility via computer imaging techniques. I’m interested in building novel technologies to better understand disease pathology and physiology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

Kyle Eastwood (Dr. James Drake & Dr. Hani E. Naguib)
Jillian Macklin  (Dr. Jennifer Gibson & Dr. Heather Ross)
Swapna Mylabathula (Dr. Charles Tator)
Robin Oh (Prof. Daniel Schramek)
Prajay Shah (Dr. Taufik Valiante)
Ho Yee Wan (Dr. Loch Macdonald)
Richard Wu (Dr. Philip Sherman)
Andy Zeng (Prof. John Dick)

2017 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

Robert Civitarese (Prof. Milica Radisic)
Ashish Deshwar (Prof. Ian Scott)
Jieun Kim (Prof. Peter Zandstra)
Chris McFaul (Dr. Chris Yip)
Enoch Ng (Dr. John Roder and Dr. Albert Wong)
Linda Vi (Dr. Ben Alman)
Teja Voruganti (Dr. Eva Grunfeld)
Nicholas Light (Dr. David Malkin)
Siraj Zahr (Dr. Freda Miller)
Kirill Zaslavsky (Prof. James Ellis)

2016 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

Susan Armstrong (Dr. Warren Lee)
Robert Civitarese (Dr. Milica Radisic)
Chris McFaul (Dr. Victor Yang)
Enoch Ng (Dr. John Roder and Dr. Albert Wong)
Ben Ouyang (Dr. Warren Chan)
Linda Vi (Dr. Ben Alman)
Teja Vorugantu (Prof. Eva Grunfeld)
Jared Wilcox (Dr. Michael Fehlings)
Siraj Zahr (Dr. Freda Miller)

2015 MD/PhD McLaughlin Scholars

 Michael Atkins (Dr. Gordon Keller)
 Susan Armstrong (Dr. Warren Lee)
 Chris McFaul (Dr. Victor Yang)
 Swapna Mylabathula (Dr. Charles Tator)
 Ben Ouyang (Dr. Warren Chan)
 Tim Rappon (TBD)
 Ayesh Seneviratne (Dr. Aaron Schimmer)
 Hoyee Wan (Dr. Kullervo Hynynen)
 Jared Wilcox (Dr. Michael Fehlings)
 Siraj Zahr (Dr. Freda Miller)

2017 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars

Min Joon Lee (Geoffrey Liu)

Cancer Personalized Medicine and the Patient: Patient-reported Knowledge, Preferences and Behaviours

Julia Woo (James Kennedy)

Pharmacogenetics of Medication Treatment in Neuropsychiatry

Shihab Sarwar (Phedias Diamandis)

Global Proteomic Interrogation of Neurodevelopment and Neuropathalogical Conditions

Calvin Diep (Nancy Baxter)

Initiative to Maximize Progress in Adolescent Cancer Therapy (IMPACT)

Olena Helen Genis (Thomas Forbes)

Development of a Fenestrated Stent Graft Planning Method to Reduce Device Misalignment Following Deployment

2016 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars 

Xiaohe (Diana) Sun (Dr. Marianne Koritzinsky)

The role of PRDX4 as a novel therapeutic target in breast cancer

Sarah Kanji (Dr. Daniel Mueller)

The role of the gut microbiome in schizophrenia and antipsychotic-induced metabolic side effects

Mendel Loewenthal (Dr. Andrea McCart)

Generation of novel tumor-specific vaccinia viruses

Mathew Hall (Dr. Brent Derry)

Regulation of oncogenic Ras signaling by alternative polyadenylation

Christopher Hue (Dr. Andrew Baker)

Effect of glutamate on blood brain barrier function following traumatic brain injury

2015 CREMS McLaughlin Scholars 

Anath Lionel (Dr. Stephen Scherer)

Molecular Diagnostic Yield of Chromosomal Microarry Analysis and Whole-Exome Sequencing in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. – JAMA 2015 Sep 1;314(9):895-903 doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.10078

Rageen Rajendram (Dr. Paul Arnold)

Uncovering obsessive-compulsive disorder risk genes in a pediatric cohort by high-resolution analysis of copy number variation – J Neurodev Disord. 2016 Oct 18;8:36 – PMIS: 27777633

Roman Zyla (Dr. Warren Lee)

Influenza Virus Infection Platelet-Endothelial Adhesion Which Contributes to Lung Injury  - J Viorl. 2015 Dec 4;90(4): 1812-23. Doi: 10.1128/JVI.02599-15

Weining Yang (Dr. Michael Fehlings)

Mechanistic insights and neuroprotective approaches to enhance recovery in age related degenerative spinal cord injury