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Research Trainees

Nicole Anderson (she/her)

Nicole Anderson (she/her)

BA, MA, PhD Candidate

Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, McGill University

About

Nicole is a PhD Student in Counselling Psychology at McGill University under the co-supervision of Dr. Deborah DaCosta and Dr. Annett Körner. Her Master of Arts (Counselling Psychology) and Bachelor of Arts (psychology) were also done at McGill University. Nicole’s research is focused on optimizing health-related quality of life in patients with inflammatory arthritis (IA), and patients with cancer. In her newest project, Nicole is examining sleep disturbance in people with IA.

Joey Cheng

Joey Cheng

BKin

University of British Columbia

About

Joey graduated with a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is currently preparing to apply to Medicine at UBC in 2023.As a research volunteer working with Dr. Jasmin Ma in the Movement for All (M4A) lab, Joey is focused on the knowledge translation of strategies for meaningful patient engagement in research. Specifically, in collaboration with the Arthritis Patient Advisory Board (APAB) members, he is co-developing a resource/tool to help researchers work with patients in ways that are flexible, supportive, and respectful of the skills and expertise patients bring to research.

Kelsey Chomistek (she/her)

Kelsey Chomistek (she/her)

BA, MSc, MD Student

Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

About

Kelsey is currently completing her Doctor of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She received a Master of Science in Medical Science from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Heinrike Schmeling and Dr. Cheryl Barnabe. In her thesis, she developed and evaluated the acceptability of an adolescent self-management program for juvenile idiopathic arthritis education.

Kelsey has been actively involved in pediatric rheumatology research at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for several years. She continues to work on arthritis related research under the supervision of Dr. Cheryl Barnabe.

Dani Contreras (she/her)

Dani Contreras (she/her)

BSc (Hons), MSc Student

Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

About

Dani Contreras is currently a Masters of Science student at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Cheryl Barnabe. She completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary. Her honours thesis focused on characterizing a “normal” metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). She also collaborated with biomedical engineers to compare joint space parameters between healthy and arthritic metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints. Dani’s current research will investigate acute care visits for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions (ACSCs) for persons with inflammatory arthritis (IA).

Faye Cooles  (she/her)

Faye Cooles (she/her)

BMedSci Hons, MBChB Hons, MRes, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

University of British Columbia

About

Dr. Faye Cooles attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh, UK, and graduated with Honours in 2009, having previously been awarded a Bachelors (Hons) in Pharmacology (also from the University of Edinburgh in 2006). She has continued to pursue an academic career alongside her clinical and rheumatology specialty post-graduate training and was awarded a Masters in Clinical Research with Distinction in 2013 from Newcastle University, UK. She was appointed a Medical Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellow that allowed her to work towards a PhD, which was awarded in 2016 from Newcastle University for research on type 1 interferons in early rheumatoid arthritis. As a NIHR Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University, Dr. Cooles has continued post-doctoral research in this area with a focus on innate immunity, biomarkers and precision medicine while also continuing her specialist clinical post-graduate training in Rheumatology in the North-East of England. She will be undertaking an Arthritis Research Canada Fellowship based at University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. John Esdaile.  Her research project is on the effect of immunosuppression following solid organ transplant in autoimmune rheumatic disease.

Narsis Daftarian (she/her)

Narsis Daftarian (she/her)

MD, PhD Candidate

Experimental Medicine Program, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Narsis is pursuing a PhD in the Experimental Medicine program in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta. She is studying potential retinal side effects of the Plaquenil / Hydroxychloroquine medication which is used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematous prospectively. Her thesis project title is “RetINal Toxicity And hydroxyChloroquine Therapy: A Prospective Population-based Cohort Study (INTACT)”.

She earned her MD and then completed her ophthalmology residency and retina specialty fellowship at the SBMU University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. She is a clinician-scientist with about 10 years of experience in research in the fields of ocular basic science as well as epidemiologic and clinical research. She has over 50 publications and over 600 citations for her publications on Google Scholar and Scopus databases.

Lulu Guo (she/her)

Lulu Guo (she/her)

BSc, MSc, PhD Student

Simon Fraser University

About

Lulu Guo is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Science at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Hui Xie. Her co-supervisor is Dr. Joan Hu. She received a Master’s degree from Shandong University. Her research topic for her master’s was focused on stochastic processes and statistical inference. Her current project focuses on developing statistical approaches to study data from rheumatoid arthritis patients. She is committed to applying diverse statistical methods to the field of arthritis in order to evaluate the efficacy of treatment, which could in turn help rheumatoid arthritis patients get better treatment and improve health outcomes.

Sarah Hansen (she/her)

Sarah Hansen (she/her)

MD, FRCPC

University of British Columbia

About

Dr. Sarah Hansen is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Rheumatology residency program and Clinical Instructor with the UBC Division of Rheumatology. Prior to this, she received her Medical Doctorate and Internal Medicine residency at UBC.

She is currently pursuing a one year post-doctoral clinical and research fellowship in the emerging field of Autoinflammatory Diseases under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Kastner at the American National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and Dr. Diane Lacaille at Arthritis Research Canada.

Upon returning to British Columbia, she plans to establish a quaternary Autoinflammatory Disease clinic and prospective cohort while completing a Master of Health Science at UBC. Using these tools, she aims to improve our understanding of the epidemiology of autoinflammatory diseases in adults in British Columbia and collaborate with international clinical and translational research efforts while providing consultative expertise in the management of autoinflammatory diseases.

Nejat Hassen (she/her)

Nejat Hassen (she/her)

B.Kin, MSc Student

School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Nejat is pursuing a Master of Science at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille. She completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. Her MSc research focuses on how different comorbidities, disease-related factors, sociodemographic factors, and lifestyle factors contribute to the quality of life of rheumatoid arthritis patients. The result of this study will assist to improve collaborative decision-making between clinicians and patients on methods to best mitigate and manage the disease in a manner most valuable for the patient.
Rashedul Hoque (he/him)

Rashedul Hoque (he/him)

BS, MS, MSc , PhD Student

Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

About

Rashedul Hoque started his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Xie in 2018 at Simon Fraser University. He is working as a biostatistician on the PRECISION project with Dr. Xie. He obtained his M.Sc in Statistics (biostatistics specialization) from the University of British Columbia in 2017. Before that, he obtained a BS and MS in Applied Statistics from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He worked in a Microsoft funded “Data Science for Social Goods” summer fellowship program during his M.Sc at the University of British Columbia. He worked as a faculty at the University of Dhaka and statistical officer at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b). His research focuses on development and application of the diverse statistical methodologies in the broader spectrum of medical research.
Alyssa Howren (she/her)

Alyssa Howren (she/her)

BS, MSc, PhD Student

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia

About

Alyssa is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC) under the supervision of Dr. Mary De Vera and Dr. Antonio Avina-Zubieta. She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Cell Biology and Genetics as well as her Master of Science Degree at UBC. Alyssa’s PhD training is supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research – Doctoral Award, the Wayne Riggs Interdisciplinary Doctoral Scholarship in Pharmaceutical Sciences, and she is a UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship Designate. For her PhD thesis, Alyssa will be studying the epidemiology and treatment of depression and anxiety in individuals with inflammatory arthritis.
Bocheng Jing (he/him)

Bocheng Jing (he/him)

BA, BSc (Biostatistics), MSc Student

Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

About

Bocheng is a Master of Science student in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Hui Xie. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics and Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Davis in 2012, and Master of Science degree in Biostatistics from Duke University in 2014. Prior to Simon Fraser University, he has been working as a statistician in the Division of Geriatrics in San Francisco VA Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco. Bocheng has been involved with various research projects related to aging, deprescribing, multicomorbidites, and nursing home studies. His Master’s thesis will be focusing on developing new statistical methods for missing data. This research will provide easy-to-use tools for missing data assessment and promote the good practice for missing data encounters.
Christina Le (she/her)

Christina Le (she/her)

BSc, MSc, PhD Student

Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta

About

Christina Le is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Jackie Whittaker. She is also a physical therapist at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Alberta where she is part of the multidisciplinary knee team treating people with knee injuries, particularly anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Motivated by clinical and personal (anterior cruciate ligament tear in 2017) experiences, Christina’s research seeks to better understand health-related quality of life (HRQOL) following a youth sport-related knee injury and factors that modify HRQOL. Her research goals are to inform rehabilitation strategies that optimize HRQOL and ensure lifelong well-being of youth who suffer sport-related injuries.

Jenny Leese (she/her)

Jenny Leese (she/her)

MA, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Jenny is a post-doctoral fellow supervised by Dr. Ian Graham in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, and Centre for Implementation Research at The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. She is also a visiting post-doctoral fellow at Arthritis Research Canada. Jenny’s research interests lie in relational ethics, integrated knowledge translation and qualitative methodologies. Her post-doctoral work is centred around ethical issues experienced in partnerships between patients and academics in research.

Lingyi Li (she/her)

Lingyi Li (she/her)

MSc, PhD Student

University of British Columbia

About

Lingyi Li is a PhD student in the Experimental Medicine program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a trainee at Arthritis Research Canada. In 2017 she completed a Master’s degree in the same program at the UBC and was employed as a full-time data analyst at Arthritis Research Canada following her thesis defense.

During the past four years, she has been involved in different projects on treatment side effects for arthritis diseases. This work inspired her to pursue her PhD to help patients make more informed decisions regarding treatments. She will be studying the risk of multiple sclerosis among users of anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha medications, using the administrative datasets from four Canadian provinces. Her PhD training is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Award. She is also the UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship Designate.

Xiaoxiao Liu (she/her)

Xiaoxiao Liu (she/her)

MEng, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Calgary

About

As a health geographer and health services researcher, Xiaoxiao Liu has a strong passion for examining health disparities and equity in access to care and determinants of health using spatial analysis, statistics, epidemiological analysis, and geographical information systems.

Currently, Xiaoxiao Liu is a Health System Impact Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary with health system partner Primary Health Care Integration Network within Alberta Health Services (AHS). Under the co-supervision of Dr. Deborah Marshall (University of Calgary), Dr. Alka Patel (AHS) and Dr. Judy Seidel (AHS). Xiaoxiao’s project aims to improve access to care by identifying service gaps between primary and specialty care (rheumatologist), which will provide evidence for understanding local needs and planning customized integrated care that is responsive to local issues.

Xiaoxiao Liu completed her PhD in Geography from the University of Calgary, with an emphasis on environmental health. Her PhD work focused on the effect of air pollution on hospitalizations for myocardial infarction. She holds a Master of Engineering in Geography Information Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Environment Sciences.

Justin Losciale (he/him)

Justin Losciale (he/him)

DPT, SCS, PhD Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Justin Losciale earned his Bachelor in Science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Northridge (USA) in 2013 and earned his clinical Doctorate in Physiotherapy from Duke University (USA) in 2017. He went on to complete a post-professional residency in sports physiotherapy at The Ohio State University (USA) in 2019. Today, Justin is a PhD student in Rehabilitation Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Jackie Whittaker at UBC. Justin’s research will focus on understanding the interactions between modifiable risk factors for knee osteoarthritis after knee injuries. This research will guide clinicians to the key items to target rehabilitation efforts in individuals following a knee injury.

Darren Mazzei (he/him)

Darren Mazzei (he/him)

BSc Kin, MPT, PhD Student

University of Calgary

About

Darren is a physiotherapist with five years of clinical experience. Currently, Darren is undertaking his PhD in Health Economics under the supervision of Dr. Deborah Marshall at the University of Calgary.

 

Darren wants to investigate the socioeconomic impacts of osteoarthritis management with the goal of improving patients’ access to evidence-based services. Darren’s thesis is centered around the cost-effectiveness analysis and budget impact assessment of the Good Life with Osteoarthritis Denmark (GLA:D) program that is being offered at community rehabilitation clinics in Alberta. GLA:D is an eight-week standardized education and exercise program internationally recognized as an evidence-based clinical pathway and early intervention to manage osteoarthritis.

Natalie McCormick (she/her)

Natalie McCormick (she/her)

BSc, MSc, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

About

Natalie is a Research Fellow in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital under the supervision of Arthritis Research Canada Research Scientist Dr. Hyon Choi. For her Ph.D., which she completed at The University of British Columbia and Arthritis Research Canada (supervisors Antonio Aviña-Zubieta and Carlo Marra), she examined the little-known economic burden of systemic lupus erythematosus and related systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDs) on Canadian patients and society. She used administrative data from the British Columbia Ministry of Health to assess the direct medical costs of SARDs and survey data she collected from a sample of BC residents with and without SARDs to assess the costs of time missed from paid and unpaid work activities.

 

In her post-doctoral fellowship, Natalie is building upon her skills in analyzing large data sets to assess the natural history, long-term effects of medications, and contributors to negative outcomes in patients with lupus and other forms of inflammatory arthritis. Natalie held a CIHR Doctoral Research Award during her Ph.D. and has been granted a three-year CIHR Fellowship Award for her post-doctoral research.

Juliana Mollins (she/her)

Juliana Mollins (she/her)

BSc, MScRS, MScPT, PhD Student

University of British Columbia

About

Juliana is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li at the University of British Columbia. Her previous training was completed at the University of Alberta where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science, and Master of Science in Physiotherapy. Juliana’s previous research focused on osteoarthritis and bone and joint health in the ageing population. Her clinical work comprised of both community and acute care. Today she continues her clinical work with older adults in long-term care settings. Her current research interests combine her experience in both academic and clinical practice to address the needs of the ageing population, particularly as it relates to their mobility, activity, and musculoskeletal health. Outside her studies Juliana enjoys hiking and travelling with her husband and three children.

Kasra Moolooghy (he/him)

Kasra Moolooghy (he/him)

MD, MSc Candidate

Department of Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Kasra is an international medical graduate from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He has started his research under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille. Using administrative data analysis, Kasra will be investigating the risk of adverse events, such as infections, malignancies, and mortality, associated with different classes of biologic agents used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Julia Mucha (she/her)

Julia Mucha (she/her)

BSc, MSc Candidate

University of British Columbia

About

Julia is a Master of Science student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of British Columbia. She is under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li. Julia completed her Bachelor of Science with a double major in Health and Disease and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. Her diverse academic programs built an interest in research that focuses on digital health innovation and patient-practitioner interactions. Stemming from her experience working with physical therapists as an assistant, Julia is motivated to explore counselling techniques that promote patient physical activity and self-management. Her thesis will examine the influence of digital therapeutic counselling components of Brief Action Planning on patient self-management in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.

Kamso Mohammed Mujaab (he/him)

Kamso Mohammed Mujaab (he/him)

BA, MSc, PhD Candidate

University of Calgary

About

Kamso is a doctoral student in the faculty of Community Health Science at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Glen Hazlewood and Dr. Rob Deardon. His research focuses on comparative effectiveness research which is a broad field of research that aims to provide ‘real-world’ estimates of treatment benefits and harms to help inform treatment decisions. Patients’ preferences for these benefits and harms should then be used to guide decision-making. Bayesian methods offer advantages as they facilitate the incorporation of multiple sources of evidence, while readily accounting for the uncertainty in their estimation. In this project, he will explore the use of network meta-analysis using Bayesian methods to synthesize comparative effectiveness research and evaluate the certainty of evidence from the results using the GRADE framework. His research will focus on rheumatoid arthritis treatment, which is of high interest to multiple stakeholders, given the increased availability of highly effective, but expensive treatment options.

Maureen O'Brien  (she/her)

Maureen O'Brien (she/her)

BSc, MSc Student

Medical Science, The Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

About

Maureen is pursuing a Masters of Science in the Medical Science program at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Ranita Manocha and Dr. Cheryl Barnabe. Maureen recently completed a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Health at St. Francis Xavier University (2022). She is interested in improving the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries. Her research will examine the effectiveness of a novel app that teaches people how to use walking aids called Improving Canadians’ Walking Aid Skills, Learning, and Knowledge (ICanWalk©). The results of this research will help those who use canes, crutches, and walkers, such as people living with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, sports injuries, and joint sprains.

Thalia Otamendi (she/her)

Thalia Otamendi (she/her)

BA, MA, PhD Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Thalia Otamendi is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of British Columbia. She is co-supervised by Dr. Linda Li and Dr. Noah Silverberg. She received her BA in Psychology from McGill University and her MA in Sport Psychology from UBC.

 

Thalia’s research focuses on the psychological aspects of concussion recovery and finding ways to improve psychological care for concussion patients. Her research motivations stem from her own recovery from the injury. Her PhD focuses on exploring patient-related barriers to the adoption of evidence-based concussion care. Specifically, she wants to understand the relationships between patients’ perceptions of their injury, their help-seeking experience and coping strategies. The results of this research will be informative across disease groups, including arthritis.

André Luiz Luquini Pereira (he/him)

André Luiz Luquini Pereira (he/him)

MD, PhD Student

Department of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

 André is a Rheumatologist who completed his medical degree and residencies in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology in State University of Campinas in Brazil. He is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Medicine degree at the University of British Columbia and working as a Research Assistant under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille. André has been involved with qualitative research and expert judicial examinations in occupational medicine. He is dedicated to writing in a plain language about rheumatic diseases on his professional website, blog and social media profiles.

For his PhD thesis, André will be looking at the relationships between rheumatic diseases and occupational outcomes, such as work disability, presenteeism and absenteeism. He will evaluate data obtained from “Making it Work”, a study designed to understand the effectiveness and cost-utility of a multidisciplinary e-learning program at preventing work cessation and improving at-work productivity. The research project resources were granted by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).

Anh Pham (she/her)

Anh Pham (she/her)

MD, PhD

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta

About

Anh Pham is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Allyson Jones. She completed her PhD at the University of Alberta and her medical degree in Eastern Medicine at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Anh is interested in supporting community-dwelling older adults by improving quality of primary care. Her postdoctoral fellowship research focuses on using data from electronic medical records to study rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and management in primary care.

Sharan Rai (she/her)

Sharan Rai (she/her)

MSc, PhD Student

Harvard University

About

Sharan Rai is a third-year PhD student in Population Health Sciences focusing on nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University (supervisors: Dr. Qi Sun and Dr. Hyon Choi). Sharan is a recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Foreign Study Award, of which only ten are awarded to Canadians pursuing doctoral studies outside of Canada, as well as a full tuition scholarship for her studies at Harvard University. Her research aims to understand the risk of complications from gout (e.g., diabetes and heart disease) and investigate the role of diet in reducing these risks.  Sharan earned her Master of Science in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia in 2016, for which her thesis provided contemporary evidence of the rising and substantial burden of gout among Canadians.  ​ 

Smruthi Ramachandran (she/her)

Smruthi Ramachandran (she/her)

BSc, MSc Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Smruthi is a Master of Science student in the Rehabilitation Science program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li. She previously completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Psychology at UBC.

 

She is a big proponent of the Exercise is Medicine movement and using a comprehensive approach in clinical care. As such, her thesis will explore theory-based strategies for promoting exercise adherence among patients with knee osteoarthritis. This research aims to improve our understanding of how and why patients choose to engage in exercise in order to better inform future physical activity promotion interventions. With her overarching passion for supporting healthy behaviour changes in vulnerable populations, Smruthi plans to pursue a career as a clinician scientist.

Nevena Rebić (she/her)

Nevena Rebić (she/her)

BSc (Pharm), MSc (Pharm) Candidate

The University of British Columbia

About

Nevena is pursuing a Master of Science at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia (UBC), under the supervision of Dr. Mary De Vera. She completed her Bachelor of Pharmacy at UBC in 2018, during which she gained an interest in reproductive health and policy implementation research as a research student with the Canadian Contraception and Abortion Research Team (CART). Her masters research involves a patient-centered approach to evaluating how women with rheumatoid arthritis take medications and make medication decisions for family planning and pregnancy.

Fatima Shah  (she/her)

Fatima Shah (she/her)

BSc (Hons), MSc Student

Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary

About

Fatima completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Calgary. Her honours thesis focused on the sexual health outcomes of women with pelvic organ prolapse. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters of Science in Community Health Sciences from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Cheryl Barnabe. Her research aims to investigate the biomedical and socioeconomic contributors of inflammatory arthritis hospitalizations, including disease factors, attempts to access health care prior to hospitalization, and social determinants of health.

Alix St-Aubin (she/her)

Alix St-Aubin (she/her)

BSc, MSc Candidate

Faculty of Medicine, University Laval

About

Alix is pursuing a Master of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences degree in the Faculty of Medicine at University Laval (UL) under the supervision of Dr. Paul R. Fortin. Alix received a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and after specialized in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Her main research interests involve the role of exercise in the standard care of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Alix also works on the predictive value of the fitness level of patients suffering from systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE).  
Tita Szlachetka (she/her)

Tita Szlachetka (she/her)

BSc, MD, MSc Candidate

Department of Experimental Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Tita Szlachetka is pursuing a Master of Science in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Diane Lacaille.  Tita completed her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Life Sciences at the University of British Columbia followed by medical school at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.  Her research is focused on rheumatoid arthritis. For her MSc thesis, Tita is looking at the determinants of cognitive function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Tita is interested in the musculoskeletal system and her research here will be a great asset going into clinical practice in the future.

  

Megan Thomas (she/her)

Megan Thomas (she/her)

BSc, MSc, PhD Candidate

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia

About

Megan Thomas is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, specializing in epidemiology and health outcomes. Her supervisors are Dr. Mary De Vera and Dr. Mark Harrison. She completed both her MSc in Community Health Sciences and her Bachelor of Health Sciences honours degree at the University of Calgary. Megan has an interest in patient preferences, health equity, and patient-oriented research. Her thesis work will address equity considerations that impact access to research and care for patients with inflammatory arthritis.

  

Viviane Ta (she/her)

Viviane Ta (she/her)

MA Student

Counselling Psychology, McGill University

About

Viviane is a MA student in the Counselling Psychology program at McGill University. Under the supervision of Dr. Susan Bartlett and Dr. Annett Körner, her current project uses data from the Canadian Early Arthritis Cohort (CATCH) to examine sociodemographic and psychological factors related to medication beliefs in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis.

  

Linda Truong (she/her)

Linda Truong (she/her)

BScKin, MScPT, PhD Candidate

About

Linda is originally from Edmonton, Alberta and moved to Vancouver to complete her PhD in Rehabilitation Science under the supervision of Dr. Jackie Whittaker at the University of British Columbia. Her passion for her work comes from being a physical therapist with more than 10 years of clinical experience working with patients with traumatic knee injuries.

Linda’s research focuses on understanding the role of social support after a traumatic knee injury. The goals of her research will be centered on identifying and integrating social support to interventions aimed at delaying osteoarthritis risk after a knee injury. This research will provide both researchers and clinicians strategies to leverage social support in clinical interventions and practice.

Ellen Wang (she/her)

Ellen Wang (she/her)

PhD Student

University of British Columbia

About

Ellen is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li at the University of British Columbia. She received her Master and Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. During her time in Ontario, Ellen was involved in multiple implementation projects for older adults living with chronic conditions and mobility impairments. Her thesis work examined the feasibility of telephone and virtually delivered functional strength and balance training combined with nutrition education for older adults living with frailty. From this experience, she developed a keen interest in behaviour change science. Her current research is at the intersection of knowledge translation, self-management, and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. In specific, she wishes to understand how to tailor interventions to participant characteristics to improve perceived relevance and the uptake of healthy behaviours. Outside of her studies, Ellen enjoys hiking, biking, and yoga.

Heather Worthington (she/her)

Heather Worthington (she/her)

BSc, MSc, PhD Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

Heather is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Linda Li. She received her Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from Queen’s University, and her Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo. Heather has been involved in health services and policy research projects for many years – primarily in the area of pharmaceutical policy. After experiencing a life changing injury, she became acutely aware of the gaps in care experienced by rehabilitation patients. She plans to use her knowledge and experience to conduct research to improve access to physiotherapy services.

John Xian He Yan  (he/him)

John Xian He Yan (he/him)

BSc, MSc Student

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

About

John is a master’s student in Rehabilitation Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Jackie Whittaker at the University of British Columbia. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree at UBC in 2019. John’s research will seek to understand the cause of muscle function decline resulting from knee joint injuries. This research will guide the development of preventative and therapeutic interventions to enhance muscle function and reduce burdensome musculoskeletal conditions.

Saania Zafar (she/her)

Saania Zafar (she/her)

BCR, MSc Candidate

Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

About

Saania is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Claire Barber and Dr. Glen Hazlewood. Saania previously completed a Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Saania is involved in quality of care research for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Her thesis focuses on piloting a feasibility and accessibility trial of text-based messaging in rheumatoid arthritis care.

Vivienne Yuetong Zhou (she/her)

Vivienne Yuetong Zhou (she/her)

BSc, PhD Student

Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

About

Vivienne is a PhD student at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Hui Xie. She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in quantitative and population health sciences at Simon Fraser University in 2019. Upon graduation, she started working at Arthritis Research Canada as a research trainee. Her PhD research focuses on using novel statistical models to evaluate the impact of biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) on the risk of different outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis patients including risk of total joint arthroplasty, severe infection and cardiovascular events. The study’s findings will help policymakers make decisions about how to regulate and manage bDMARDs as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Kai Zhao (he/him)

Kai Zhao (he/him)

PhD Student

Simon Fraser University

About

Following the completion of his MSc at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Kai continues to do his PhD in statistics under the supervision of Dr. Hui Xie. Kai worked for Fraser Health Authority and Kestrel Forestry Inc as a Data Analyst. During his PhD, Kai will be developing statistical methods on population-based administrative data to improve health outcomes for arthritis patients.”

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