Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Michael Kelly (September 2021 - Present)

Team: Traumatic Brain Injury and Antiepileptics

Mike is leading a project investigating how traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects sleep in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and whether an anti-seizure medication can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease if given immediately following TBI. This is part of a larger project which includes collaborations with UBC, among others, and incorporates a new system (CHIMERA) for delivering a controlled concussion to mice.

 Mike’s research interests include animal behaviour, comparative sleep physiology, sleep evolution, chronobiology, and wild sleep. His previous research has focused on describing sleep and its behavioural and physiological correlates in aquatic apex predators such as sharks and saltwater crocodiles.

 Mike jointed the Translational Neuroscience Lab at SFU in the fall of 2021 in order to develop his knowledge and skillset within the mammalian sleep field and to gain experience in a lab with a focus on real-world applications. He is also currently leading a project in the Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Lab that focuses on the effects of predation pressure on the evolution of sleep in wild rat models via a collaboration with France’s CRNS.


Graduate Students

Aina Roenningen (September 2021 - Present)

Aina joined the lab in September 2021 and is currently working together with Honours student Devan Gill on a correlational research study measuring Sleep, Mental Health and Cognition in younger adults. 

Aina completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops and conducted research on the relationship between anxiety and executive functioning in older adults. She is passionate about neuroscience as well as older adults' health and wellbeing and seeks to increase her understanding of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, and how sleep fragmentation may lead to detrimental health outcomes. 

Alice Ayres (September 2021 - Present)

Team: Touchscreen Chambers and Sleep

Alice Ayres is a Masters Student in the Cognitive and Neural Science programme, a research assistant in both the Translational Neuroscience Lab and Mistlberger Rhythms Lab. 

Alice completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK, producing a behavioural protocol to investigate everyday memory and distinguish between spatial learning systems in rats while performing gap-junction knock-out studies in c.elegans. Preferring rodents to worms, she worked on Parkinsons' rat gait-analysis in Dunedin, NZ, before becoming interested in sleep neuroscience.

In the TNL, Alice works primarily on the basic science team, using touchscreen technology to assess the relationship between sleep, circadian rhythms and cognition, specifically interested in learning and memory.  Twitter: @Alice_I_Ayres


Honours Students

Devan Gill (September 2021 - Present; Previously Directed Study Student May 2021 - August 2021)

Devan Gill is completing her B.A. (Hons) degree in Psychology at Simon Fraser University. She first joined the Translational Neuroscience Lab as a directed studies student in May 2021 and is currently an Honours student under Dr. Brianne Kent’s supervision. Her Honours thesis is examining the associations between sleep, mental health, and cognitive performance of young adults. Devan is also a research assistant in the Helping and Happiness Lab directed by Dr. Lara Aknin at Simon Fraser University and involved in research investigating prosociality and mental wellbeing. Devan is interested in the early detection, prevention, and treatment of mental health disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. In the future, Devan plans to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology to contribute to the improvement of evidence-based practices while working with clients to support their mental health. 


LinkedIn: Devan Gill


Directed Study Students

Gelareh Modara (September 2021 - Present)

Gelareh will be graduating from SFU’s Behavioral Neuroscience program in December 2021. She joined the lab in September 2021 as a directed studies student performing data analysis using the R language. She is passionate about neural prosthesis, circadian rhythms, spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative disorders especially Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.


LinkedIn: Gelareh Modara


Alex Nash (September 2021 - Present)

Alex is a Psychology Major with a special interest in Human Neuropsychology. She finished up her undergrad degree and hopes to go to graduate school in a biological psychology field, with the end goal of being a neuropsychology researcher. She is currently doing a Directed Studies course, focusing on the effect that sleep disturbances have on Alzheimer's Disease. 

Alex is interested in both human and animal research so translational neuroscience allows her to take data from animal research and compare to human research to find similarities and differences. She is also very intrigued by Alzheimer's Disease research and is looking to help out and just absorb as much info as she can from this amazing and very experienced lab team.


Research Assistants

Taha Yildirim (February 2021 - Present)

Team: Traumatic Brain Injury and Antiepileptics & Touchscreen Chambers and Sleep

Taha Yildirim is a Behavioral Neuroscience Undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University. He joined the Translational Neuroscience Lab in February 2021 where he holds an appointment as a Research Assistant supporting both the TBI and the Touchscreen projects.

Taha studied Medicine in Gazi University, Turkey where he was the Vice President of ‘Gazi University Neuroscience, Genetics and Medical Technology Community’. He completed a summer internship in the Lindberg Lab at The University of Maryland in 2019.

Taha is fascinated by the brain and its capabilities. His research interests include brain function and how neurological diseases occur and their potential cures. His interest in neuroscience and novel approaches within the field facilitated his transition into the TNL.

Samantha Saw (February 2021 - Present)

Team: Touchscreen Chambers and Sleep

Samantha is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and a research assistant at the Translational Neuroscience Lab. Her research interests are investigating the effects of neurological disorders or brain injuries on cognition and behaviour. This lab perfectly suits her as she loves conducting experiments in a laboratory and having first-hand experience on how research is conducted.


LinkedIn: Samantha Saw

Julia Mugliston (September 2021 - Present)

Julia Mugliston joined the Translational Neuroscience Lab in September 2021 to assist the Human Research Team as a Research Assistant. Julia is an Occupational Therapy graduate from Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. While studying her undergraduate degree, Julia was a Student Ambassador for Occupational Therapy, a Student Representative for the Vice-Chancellor’s Student Advisory Forum, and a Student Representative on the Occupational Therapy Consultative Committee. She was also the recipient of four scholarships. Julia graduated with Honours at the end of 2019 and then practiced as an Occupational Therapist working in the community disability field until she moved to Canada in July of 2021. She is now pursuing career opportunities within the research field. After being in a clinical role, Julia is excited to be a part of the research process and to assist scientists within the team to add to the body of evidence which assists health professionals within a clinical setting.

Stephanie U (September 2021 - Present)

Team: Touchscreen Chambers and Sleep

Stephanie completed her Psychology Honours degree in October 2021 and is currently applying for nursing programs. She joined and has been involved in the lab since April 2021 and will be involved full-time as an Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) recipient in Spring 2022.

Stephanie completed her honours thesis last year under the support of primary supervisor Dr. Mistlberger and second reader Dr. Kent. She investigated the role of exercise as a means to combat the negative effects of alcohol on neurogenesis and learning and memory performance. She also was part of the team led by Dr. Juda, investigating the impact of circadian lighting on mood, sleep, and cognitive performance in seniors. She hopes to continue with sleep research as it relates to cognitive performance.

Stephanie has always been interested in the brain and neuroscience. After learning about how we only use twenty percent of our brain (which she later found out was false) in an AP Psychology class, she wanted to learn more about brain processes, how we function and traits that cause dysfunction. After taking PSYC 388 (Sleep and Circadian Rhythms), Stephanie became fascinated by the topic of how sleep and circadian rhythms have downstream effects, such as impacting mood, immunology, and cognitive performance. After being involved in the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience with Dr. Mistlberger, she was excited to bring her knowledge and skills to the Translational Neuroscience Lab with Dr. Kent.