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BPK Co-op

BPK Co-op student, Lamees, shares her experience working at Bureau Veritas.

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"My co-op semester at Bureau Veritas so far has been an amazing experience! I’m currently working in the water lab where we test drinking water and wastewater for contamination. I’m very happy with my decision to spend the summer working as it has given me an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned in my classes and to determine if this is the right career path for me!"

Amparo V. Márquez-García

PhD Student.
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Sam Doesburg

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I grew up in a small town in Jalisco, Mexico. However, 12 years ago, my brother decided to come and spend one year in Canada. This allowed me to visit Vancouver for the very first time with all my family. Here, I fell in love with the city. I wanted to come back, so during my master's, I did a research visit (summer of 2015). In that visit, I met one professor who will become my co-supervisor, Sylvain Moreno and would introduce me to my primary supervisor Sam Doesburg. I knew since the first semesters in my bachelor's that I wanted to do research. One professor at my university gave me the opportunity to be her research assistant, and she functioned as well as a very positive role model. Since my bachelor's, I was deeply interested in neurodevelopmental disorders. I firmly believe that a timely intervention can change the lifes of children and their entire family. So, I decided to focus on this topic, working on anything that could help develop better diagnostic and treatment methods. SFU gave me the opportunity to pursue this dream in a city that I love.

What you do:
My research is focused on the study of social communication in autism.  Communication problems have always been considered a core feature of autism. Part of this struggle came from integrating contextual clues that usually help us interpret messages and intentions. So, I created two experiments to explore the integration of contextual information to interpret a message. For the first experiment, I used EEG to assess the differences between autistic and non-autistic children in their electrophysiological responses when assessing a message that demanded contextual information integration. For the second experiment, I used fMRI to investigate differences in brain activation and connectivity between non-autistic adults and children and autistic children. This experiment consists of the presentation of videos with two types of social interactions that required the integration of contextual information to be assessed correctly.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates:
Seasonal depression is widespread in people that come from tropical countries like me, especially the first winter, so we should not forget to take our vitamin D and work out.

What’s your favourite quarantine snack?
Not the healthiest but it is Chips or popcorn with a lot of Mexican hot sauce and lemon! Also, I'm drinking a lot of smoothies, especially now in summer.

Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical

At-home determination of 24-h urine sodium excretion: Validation of chloride test strips and multiple spot samples

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Title of the article:
At-home determination of 24-h urine sodium excretion: Validation of chloride test strips and multiple spot samples

List of authors:
N.D. Heeney, R.H Lee, B.C.D. Hockin, D.C. Clarke, S. Sanatani, K. Armstrong, T. Sedlak, V.E. Claydon

The journal in which the article is published:
Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical
DOI: 10.1016/j.autneu.2021.102797 PMID: 33773398

A brief summary:
Salt intake is linked to blood pressure control, and as such dietary sodium monitoring is important for those with low blood pressure and fainting, or with high blood pressure problems, to help them adjust their dietary sodium intake to meet prescribed targets. Dietary sodium intake is currently assessed with a 24-hour urine collection analysed in a laboratory, which is inconvenient. We evaluated an alternative approach of testing multiple spot urine samples using at-home test strips. We found this alternate method to be a reasonable substitute that will allow for more comfortable and convenient at-home monitoring of dietary sodium intake.

Camille Velasco

KIN Undergraduate

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Hi, I'm Camille! I'm a 5th year at SFU and I'm from Coquitlam, BC. I chose SFU after hearing great things about the Kinesiology program and honestly the vibes just felt right LOL

Your chosen major and future career plans:
I'm a Kinesiology Major with an Active Health and Rehabilitation Concentration and I'm also in the Occupational Ergonomics Certificate and Co-operative Education streams. I'm looking forward to pursuing a career in physio/rehab field, but am always keeping my mind open to other career opportunities.

Why did you choose to study BPK?
My involvement in martial arts as both an athlete and coach really inspired my interest in health, exercise, human movement, and helping empower others. And since I have always wanted a career in the sciences, when I learned that Kinesiology was a thing, it was a no-brainer!

Where do you want to travel in the future?
I want to travel to a lot of places, but my first stop would definitely be the Philippines to meet the family I have there and build a stronger connection to my cultural roots.

Daniel Salazar

KIN Undergraduate

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Hello my name is Daniel Salazar, I was original born in Medellín, Colombia. I have lived in Florida, USA which is known for its famous beaches , theme parks, alligators, orange orchards and flamingos.

Lived in the lower mainland just over 10 years. I am in my 4th year as a Kinesiology student in Active Health and Rehabilitation. I currently work as a Therapist Assistant at a medical clinic providing soft tissue, IFC and exercise therapy. In my spare time I compete in Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting. I am also an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys scenic hikes around the lower mainland.

Your chosen major and future career plans:
Kinesiology in Active Health & Rehabilitation. Inspiring to become a Physiotherapist

Why did you choose to study BPK?
Due to previous injuries and rehabilitation I was able to continue to complete in weightlifting and powerlifting. Wanted to help others get back to their activities of daily living.

Where do you want to travel in the future?
Wish to travel to Australia known for its natural wonders and its vast tourist destinations.

Jenna Sanghera

BNEU Undergraduate

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Hi! I'm Jenna and I'm a third year BPK student. I live in Burnaby so when deciding between SFU and UBC I ultimately chose SFU because it was closer to home. I love the views from the Burnaby campus too, since they make for a nice backdrop when studying for tough classes.

Your chosen major and future career plans:
I'm a behavioural neuroscience major. Recently I've been looking into becoming a speech pathologist, so I'd likely have to pursue a master's degree somewhere on the East coast after I graduate.

Why did you choose to study BPK?
Initially when I came to SFU I was a psych major, but I found that I missed all the science courses I had taken in high school. Behavioural neuroscience provided a nice blend of physiology and psychology so I decided to apply in my second year.

Favourite show to binge watch?
Lately I've been obsessed with Parks & Recreation, and I've almost watched all seven seasons throughout this term.

Samia Ishimwe

BP Undergraduate

Hey everyone! I’m Samia Ishimwe. I transferred from Langara this past fall and I've been loving SFU so far. I'm excited to be on campus soon.

Your chosen major and future career plans:
I'm majoring in biomedical physiology. As for my future career plans, I plan on going to med school after undergrad.

Why did you choose to study BPK
I love the anatomy and physiology side of the degree. As a former athlete and current gym rat, I also love the kinesiology portion of the major.

Where do you want to travel in the future?
Tulum, Mexico

Ravichandra Venkateshappa

PhD student
Supervisor: Dr. Thomas Claydon

I am Ravichandra, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Tom Claydon's lab, BPK department. I am originally from India and I started my Ph.D. at SFU in fall 2018. I developed an interest in science from my childhood and pursued a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in life science. After completing my master's, I worked as a research associate in a drug discovery and development company, in India. To continue my journey in science I decided to do a Ph.D. and moved to Dr. Tom Claydon’s lab. Here I am working on one of the cardiac ion channels and trying to understand its role in cardiac rhythm disorders to develop better treatment for patients with cardiac rhythm problems.

My Ph.D. work is to understand and explore the use of small molecule activators for the treatment of long QT syndrome patients. Patients with prolonged QT interval on the cardiac electrocardiogram are at risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias, and linked to these disorders are dysfunction of ion channels proteins in cardiac muscle cells. My project is focused on one of these ion channel proteins, which is important for the movement of potassium ions in cardiac cells. I am using various electrophysiological, human induced pluripotent stem cells derived cardiomyocytes ((hiPSC-CM) and zebrafish heart models to test small molecule activators' effect on these ion channels. This project will help in developing more targeted and effective treatments for LQTS patients.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates:
‘’Follow your passion’’

What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Avatar

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats?
None

If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be?
Egypt/Ladakh

Cell Calcium

A differentiated Ca2+ signalling phenotype has minimal impact on myocardin expression in an automated differentiation assay using A7r5 cells.

Title of the article:
A differentiated Ca2+ signalling phenotype has minimal impact on myocardin expression in an automated differentiation assay using A7r5 cells.

List of authors:
BaRun Kim, Renato Molina, Gaby Jensen, Damon Poburko

The journal in which the article is published:
Cell Calcium
doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2021.102369. Online ahead of print.PMID: 33677175

A brief summary:
Vascular smooth muscle takes on at least two forms, a mature contractile form and a proliferating, migratory form that is linked to development and disease. Shifting from proliferative to contractile form is associated with increased expression of the transcription factor myocardin and changes in Ca2+ signalling. To test if the Ca2+ signalling impacts the myocardin expression, we imaged Ca2+signals in live cells then imaged myocardin and contractile proteins in those cells. This let is show that changes in Ca2+ signalling as the cells mature have little impact on myocardin expression, which will help us better understand vascular disease progression.

Vinicius da Eira Silva

PhD Candidate
TSSU Steward
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Dan Marigold

My name is Vinicius, but most people call me Vini. I'm a Ph.D. student in the Sensorimotor Neuroscience Lab under Dr. Dan Marigold. I grew up in the Sao Paulo metro area, Brazil. I did my BSc in Physical Education in the School of Physical Education and Sports of the University of Sao Paulo and my MSc in the School of Medicine at the same university. During my BSc and MSc, I studied exercise physiology and sports nutrition. I came to SFU in Fall 2018 and currently, I investigate how people use vision to plan movements when walking becomes challenging.

What you do:
My research focuses on how people use vision when walking with increased energetic cost. For instance, when crossing a street, people must avoid bumping into other pedestrians or cars while also ensuring the signal indicates it is safe to walk. In these situations, people use vision to gather information about the environment (e.g., read a street name to orient themselves) and decide about possible paths. One of the main factors that our brain considers when deciding which path to take is the amount of energy required. However, it is unclear how increases in the energetic cost of walking, such as those resulting from injury or when carrying a weight, affects which feature of the environment we focus on or how this relationship shapes our decisions about which path (or step) to take.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates:
Aristotle once said; “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. On daily basis, much of the work in academia are just small tasks that can be quite boring and seem unimportant, however, those are the things that pave the way for the big moments we all look for. Being able to dedicate yourself and do those more trivial tasks well is not only fundamental but truly sublime.

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats?
I have had dogs in my house since I was a kid. My mom and I would grab them from the streets and give them a home. Now there is just one that is living with my mom back in Brazil; her name is Tutu, she loves naps and biting people. 

Anne-Kristina Arnold

Senior Lecturer

Anne-Kristina’s interest in ergonomics was kindled during her undergrad degree in Kinesiology here at SFU. After lots of exploration of different opportunities in ergonomics, her passion for the field has found her come full circle and she is now the Chair of the Occupational Ergonomics Certificate in BPK. Anne-Kristina admits to having made many mistakes trying to balance school, sport and social life while on the SFU swim, basketball and ski teams, as well as the Canadian National Canoe and Kayak team, however all these experiences taught her resilience, perseverance, and the importance of letting go when things aren’t working out as expected.

Outside work she enjoys:
Hiking, cross-country, backcountry and alpine skiing, kayaking, reading, knitting, travel, and relaxing with friends, her 3 sons, husband and new puppy Chilco!

De-stress strategy:
Exercise, ditching technology and enjoying wine (not necessarily in that order!)

Her tips for students:
Life is never a straight path, there are many ups and downs. Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses.  Be kind to yourself and recognize that some days things aren’t going to go your way.  Let it go, a good night sleep and a fresh start the next morning allows you to see things in a different light.

Nitika Jain

BP Undergraduate

Hi, I’m Nitika Jain. I am an international student pursuing B.S. in Biomedical Physiology at SFU. I moved from Saskatoon to Vancouver and applied to SFU as a transfer student. I have completed two years of coursework at University of Saskatchewan.

Your chosen major and future career plan:
I want to pursue a career in health care field. I am open to new opportunities in this field.

Why did you choose to study BPK?
I want to pursue medicine and specialize in surgery. I am passionate to learn more about human anatomy and physiology

Where do you want to travel in the future?
I want to travel to Europe, USA, Japan, China, Latin America and South Korea.

Ekaterina Stogova

MSc Student
Senior supervisor: Dr. Glen Tibbits

My name is Katia, and I am an MSc student in the Molecular Cardiac Physiology Group (MCPG) under the supervision of Dr. Glen Tibbits. I grew up in Moscow, Russia and life has ultimately led me to moving to Vancouver and starting my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Physiology at SFU. My current research as an MSc student is focused on identifying contribution of a variant found in Ca2+-activated K+ channels to lone atrial fibrillation in human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (I know, it’s a mouthful).

What you do:
My research is dependent on producing atrial and ventricular cardiomyocytes that I can further use to model the disease and determine whether the variant is associated with a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation

Any advice you would give to starting graduates:
I think one of the most useful things is to realise that, as a new graduate student, you will have a lot of questions and it’s okay to ask for help. And something that works for others, may not necessarily work for you.

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats?
Definitely dogs. In fact, I have been on the waitlist for an Australian shepherd puppy and is expecting them later this summer!

Journal of General Physiology

Cannabidiol inhibits the skeletal muscle Nav1.4 by blocking its pore and by altering membrane elasticity.

Title of the article:
Cannabidiol inhibits the skeletal muscle Nav1.4 by blocking its pore and by altering membrane elasticity.

List of authors:
Ghovanloo MR, Choudhury K, Bandaru TS, Fouda MA, Rayani K, Rusinova R, Phaterpekar T, Nelkenbrecher K, Watkins AR, Poburko D, Thewalt J, Andersen OS, Delemotte L, Goodchild SJ, Ruben PC

The journal in which the article is published:
Journal of General Physiology
doi: 10.1085/jgp.202012701.PMID: 33836525

A brief summary:
Even before cannabis was legalized in Canada and many other jurisdictions, one of its main constituents, cannabidiol (or CBD) was widely used for pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, and other disorders. CBD is approved to treat two inheritable seizure disorders; Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. How CBD eases the severity and frequency of seizures is not entirely understood. Because Dravet Syndrome is caused by mutations in the genes that encode voltage-gated sodium channels – the proteins partially responsible for electrical activity in nerve, muscle, and heart – we set out to discover how CBD interacts with these important proteins. Using a combination of techniques, we found that CBD directly affects sodium channels and changes the properties of cell membranes in ways that likely affect other signaling proteins.

Jaden Sekhon

BP Undergraduate

Hi I'm Jaden. I was born in Victoria and moved to Vancouver when I was 5. In high school, I enjoyed learning Biology and more specifically, anatomy and physiology the most. I found the BPK program at SFU especially interesting and almost instantly felt this was the next chapter of my education.

Your chosen major and future career plans
I'm currently a 2nd-year Biomedical Physiology major potentially interested in pursuing a career in optometry after graduating.

Why did you choose to study BPK?

I chose Biomedical Physiology due to my strong passion for learning about the human body.

Any hidden talents?
A hobby and cool skill I have learned and practiced over the past 3 years is pen spinning tricks. I also have a customized pen specifically designed for spinning.

Farhaan M. Khan

MSc Student
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Victoria Claydon.

My name is Farhaan M. Khan. I was born and raised in Vancouver, and spent a lot of my childhood either on the slopes, in the water, or camping in the back country with my outdoorsy dad. I did my BSc in biology at UBC, and minored in Kinesiology in my final year. I immediately fell in love with the field and wanted to learn more, particularly through research where I could investigate the unknown. I also always wanted to go to SFU as I’ve only heard great things, so here I am!

What you do
My research examines the autonomic regulation of blood flow to the brain in order to understand the physiology behind fainting. Fainting is experienced by approximately 1/3 of the population and can be debilitating to those who experience recurrent episodes. My research focuses on the effects of postural sway and emotional stress on fainting, as well as the relationship between unexplained cardiac arrests and fainting in young adults. This can increase our understanding of the mechanisms behind fainting in order to improve the quality of life for those who experience fainting regularly, and to provide a possible explanation for young adults who experience cardiac arrests after a faint.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates
Your passion for research can suck you right in, so make sure to set up safety nets for yourself so you can give time to your other passions as well, whether that is playing sports, enjoying the outdoors, or spending time with loved ones. But above all, make sure to set aside some time for yourself, every single day :-)

What hobby have you picked up during quarantine?
I started my own clothing brand!

Raffaele Massarotto

PhD student
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Victoria Claydon & Dr. Anita Cote

My name is Raffaele Massarotto, but most people call me Raffy (yes, a ninja turtle or a famous children’s entertainer – depends on the day).  I am a PhD student, currently working under the co-supervision of Dr. Anita Cote and Dr. Victoria Claydon. I grew up in Mississauga, Ontario and made the transition to the “West Coast life” in September 2020. With my brother as my co-pilot, we drove across the country in the middle of the pandemic - never thought I’d ever say something like that.

Prior to coming to SFU, I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto and my masters at Brock University, both in kinesiology. During my undergrad, I was a student researcher at the Hospital for Sick Children, working under the supervision of Dr. Jane Schneiderman, an exercise physiologist in the Respiratory Medicine and Cardiopulmonary Exercise Lab. This experience completely ignited my passion, steering me towards studies and research in paediatric exercise physiology.

What you do
My masters research focused on paediatric exercise physiology, more specifically studying potential sex-related differences in the skin blood flow responses to various vascular perturbations in pre-pubertal children.  Presently, I am striving to expand on the previous research conducted during my masters and planning to examine the cardiovascular adaptations that may occur as a result of acute and chronic physical activity in both health and disease. Exploring the possible changes in both the heart and the vasculature can highlight structural and functional differences that may occur, between individuals of different sexes, ages and fitness levels.

Any advice you would give to grad students
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who will decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats?
Dogs-100%. I had the opportunity to grow up with two St. Bernard dogs. You know how some owners tend to look and act like their pets - I can definitely relate. 

BPK Co-op

Here's what BPK Co-op student, Angelica, has learned during her Co-op term at the BC Cancer Research Centre!

"Working at the Molecular Oncology lab has been very exciting and eye-opening! I've learned so much about laboratory practices and techniques especially handling and processing human blood. I've also gained experience designing and conducting my own experiments which is my favourite part since I get to utilize what I learned at SFU in a practical setting. This co-op placement really sparked my interest in cancer research and has continually inspired me to work in the same field in the future."

BPK Co-op

BPK Co-op student, Shreya, shares her experience working with Dr. Tom Claydon!

"Working at the Claydon Lab has been such an amazing experience and I have been able to meet such wonderful people! I've learned so much about Long QT syndrome, cardiac genes and channels, and iPSC/iPSC-CMs. I've been given the opportunity to apply what I have learned throughout my degree, gain various lab skills, and overcome hurdles that have made me a more dedicated scientist and researcher."

Jaylene Pratt

PhD candidate
Senior supervisor: Dr. James Wakeling

My name is Jaylene, I started my undergrad in Kinesiology at SFU in 2009. Although I loved learning science, two and a half years in, with graduation looming, I decided I did not want to become a physiotherapist or kinesiologist. At the time I thought these were the only future paths for a student in our department. I had heard of research, but thought it simply involved lots of spreadsheets and watching people step on targets… Instead I wanted a fun job. So I changed majors, to Theatre. Although I am quiet, I felt as if I fit in almost instantly. It was a real change to know nearly everybody in the department. I originally enrolled in the Performance stream, and concurrently attended Production (backstage) and Design classes. In my second year I realized I did not really like pretending to be somebody else, and switched completely into the Production and Design stream. I absolutely loved it. I learned so many new things, and worked alongside some of the best people I know. I was a Lighting Designer and Technical Director for theatre and dance companies around Vancouver while I was still at school, and for one year after I graduated. At the time, I was being treated for an injury by a physiotherapist who I really respect. One day he told me he was surprised I was not still in Kinesiology, as I asked him many questions about movement each time we spoke. I told this to my mum and she had the same comment. I then sat and thought on this for a few months. After I graduated, there were not as many opportunities for me to learn new things about Lighting Design. I did not have the same drive as I had while I was in school. My mum, she is an artist, and when she speaks to me about painting, her eyes light up and she can talk for hours. If I were going to be full-time lighting designer, I would need to have that same light in my eyes when I talked about my work. For me, this light appears when I am learning new and challenging things, but it was not there anymore for lighting design. I went back to SFU, thinking I was going to prepare for physiotherapy school, and taking an anatomy course to qualify for the application. I thought that was the only way I would be able to learn about Kinesiology again. After the course, I was extremely excited to learn more, and couldn’t help but enroll in exercise physiology while I waited to hear back on physiotherapy school. This was lucky for me. I chatted to Dave Clarke about my questions every week, wanting to understand as much as I could. One day we got to talking about research: how it was much different than I had originally thought, and that it allows you to continue to learn and challenge yourself your entire life. He told me I would really like it. And I just thought, wow that’s come out of nowhere! I sprinted back and forth between Nester’s Market a few times, so excited about the prospect of learning throughout my entire life. I am now pursuing my PhD, studying muscle with James Wakeling. I feel lucky to have ended up in a place where I really belong. I’m studying variability in muscle excitation patterns. In my first year with James I learned more about the process of research (and myself) than I thought possible. I’m excited to see what I get up to in the next few years. And to see what the rest of the grads here do as well.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates?
In addition to academics, take time to learn about social and mental wellbeing. There are helpful and unhelpful patterns of thinking, and you can learn to shift into more helpful ones with practice and the right resources.

What hobby have you picked up in quarantine?
Whitewater canoeing, I paddle a tandem canoe and a small slicey C1!

Frontiers in Physiology

Utility of Zebrafish Models of Acquired and Inherited Long QT Syndrome

Title of the article:
Utility of Zebrafish Models of Acquired and Inherited Long QT Syndrome

List of authors:
Kyle E. Simpson, Ravichandra Venkateshappa, Zhao Kai Pang, Shoaib Faizi, Glen F. Tibbits, and Tom W. Claydon

The journal in which the article is published:
Frontiers in Physiology
https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.624129

A brief summary:
Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) is a cardiac electrical disorder, typified by irregular heart rates and sudden death. One particular form, Long QT Syndrome Type 2 (LQTS2), is caused by dysfunction of a cardiac potassium channel called the human ether-a-go-go related gene, or hERG. hERG function is typically studied reductionist model cells, although increasingly human stem cell-derived cardiac cells can be used. However no whole animal context has been available for research until recently, when zebrafish made their entrance. With similar cardiac electrical properties to humans, and a well understood genome, they are proving a potent model for studying genetic and drug-induced LQTS2.

Gaby Jensen

MSc Student
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Damon Poburko

Hello! My name is Gaby. I’m an MSc student from the Poburko lab within the Molecular Cardiac Physiology Group (you can find us over in TASC2). My family and I immigrated from South Africa when I was 3 years old. I grew up in North Delta, where I fell in love with nature. The nature surrounding SFU was part of my motivation for transferring when I finished my ASc. at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. At SFU, I continued pursuing my passion for biological sciences. I participated in Co-op and gained invaluable research lab experience working for the Canadian Government and STEMCELL Technologies. In addition to learning lab skills, I met passionate scientists who encouraged and inspired me to push my research skills further. I finished my BSc. in 2018 and in 2019 began my MSc. here in BPK.

What you do
In general terms, I study purinergic signaling. My research focuses on a protein that is responsible for loading vesicles with ATP for subsequent exocytosis. This protein is called the vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT) and is encoded by the SLC17A9 gene. What we know about VNUT include expression in numerous tissues, transport of ATP into subcellular compartments, and requirement of an inside-positive membrane potential to function. My fascination with VNUT lies in its mysteries. Where VNUT is within a cell (ie. what subcellular compartment) is debated, the structure has not been solved, and evolutionary conservation (or lack thereof) has not been characterized. These are some of the questions I am trying to answer using cell culture, molecular techniques, fluorescent imaging, and bioinformatic analyses.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates
1. Set yourself a timeline and check in with that timeline frequently. This will help you stay on top of most of your commitments.
2. Advocate for yourself. If you need help, ask.
3. Burnout is not a badge of honour. Science will always be here, but you won’t.

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats?
Dogs, hands down. Specifically, my dog Buffy. She is my sidekick on all my runs, hikes, and treks. Other dogs are cool and will receive scritches and snuggles but Buffy is the best :)

Gary Mann

BPK Undergraduate Student

Hi, I’m Gary. I’m from Delta, BC. Growing up in schools close to the Surrey SFU campus helped me decide that SFU was the school for me. Nonetheless, I do prefer the Burnaby campus as most of my classes are up there and the community there is great!

Your chosen major and future career plans BPK:
Currently I’ve found a lot of passion in health research, which is why I’m planning on doing a directed studies in Fall 2021. This would, overall, contribute to my interest in science/health and hopefully help me in my journey of becoming a physician!

Why did you choose to study BPK?
Combination of passion and process of elimination honestly. I love fitness/general health so kinesiology was an option, but I also love science so mbb was an option. Hence, with process of elimination, BPK had the best of both worlds and I do not regret my choice at all.

Where do you want to travel in the future?
Everywhere, haha. I mean literally there’s so many places that I have yet to travel to. Some that come to mind: Iceland, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Australia.

Milad Hafezi

PhD Student
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Dylan Cooke
BPK-TSSU Steward

My name is Milad, a PhD student in the Sensorimotor Neuroplasticity lab. I grew up in Iran, the other side of the planet. I started at SFU in the fall of 2019 and ever since I feel I have a new home with a nice family. After completing my MS in mechanical engineering in 2016, I founded a Biomedical engineering startup that developed devices to help older adults with presbyopia to see better. I learned that it is time to integrate my knowledge of engineering with human health-related research and that motivated me to continue my studies in BPK. Here at SFU, I have the chance to study the brain, and maybe help people survive strokes. Since childhood I have wanted to hook up a computer to my head and record my dreams, I am one step closer now!

What you do
My work focuses on studying the motor cortex through high resolution electrophysiological procedures. We aim to determine the role of individual differences in brains in their resilience to brain injury or stroke. This can shed light on new rehabilitation and prevention methods that could be employed to improve recovery from stroke. My research involves recording and amplifying muscle activation signals (electromyography), electrical stimulation, real-time and post-analysis using coding software, and some wet-lab procedures.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates
My advice to graduate students who are just starting in BPK is to take advantage of and learn from the multidisciplinary atmosphere in this department. Try to apply your gained knowledge to innovate and make a better and healthier life for people.

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Any movie with planes in it is my favorite but the best of the best is 1986 “Top Gun”.

Elizabeth Rohrs

PhD Candidate
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Steven Reynolds

I was born and graduated high school in South Africa. After coming to Vancouver, I have did a BSc. in Biology and UBC and a Business Diploma in Hotel/Restaurant management and then opened up a travel agency with my Mom. After 7 years in travel, i decided to change careers completely and completed my Respiratory Therapy training at Thompson Rivers University. I have worked as a Respiratory Therapist at Royal Columbian Hospital since 2009 and got involved in clinical research early on. My love of research brought me to work closely with my supervisor at Royal Columbian Hospital where I got involved in a number of clinical research studies focused on ventilation management. I started helping Dr. Reynolds in his pre-clinical large animal lab work and that made me fall in love with physiology studies. This lead to my pursuing a PhD under Dr. Reynolds at SFU in BPK.

What you do
We manage critically ill patients by putting them on a ventilator (life support) in order to be able to support them while we treat their illness. However, there are side effects to being treated on a mechanical ventilator that can be long lasting and have a significant negative impact on outcomes and quality of life. I am investigating the use of new technology developed at SFU as a method to help us reduce ventilator induced lung injury and allow us to develop new ventilation methods to help improve outcomes and lesson the burden on our health care system. I work in human-sized pigs who are mechanically ventilated in a mock ICU for up to 50 hours. I have learned more about being a pig ICU doctor than I ever expected to know in my lifetime.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates
Don't feel bad that you don't know everything or that you feel like sometimes you don't know anything. You are not expected to!! You will learn everything you need to go and have faith in yourself because you really can do it! Divide everyone up into pieces and when you are overwhelmed, look at the next piece that you need to deal with, rather than all the bits sitting in front of you that can be overwhelming.

What’s your favourite quarantine snack? Sushi

What’s your favourite movie of all time? Love actually (cheesy I know :))

What’s your favourite show to binge watch? Below Deck

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Dogs

If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be? Tahiti

Frontiers in Physiology

The Effect of Multidirectional Loading on Contractions of the M. Medial Gastrocnemius

Title of the article:
The Effect of Multidirectional Loading on Contractions of the M. Medial Gastrocnemius

List of authors:
David S Ryan, Norman Stutzig, Andreas Helmer, Tobias Siebert, James M Wakeling

The journal in which the article is published:
Frontiers in Physiology
https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.601799

A brief summary:
Muscles have a maximum force that they can produce. Previous research showed that compressing a muscle will cause a reduction in that maximum force. Our goal was to determine how muscle length and the direction of compression influence the reduction of force. We found that muscle at a shorter resting length while compressing from multiple directions does not result in any force reductions. This conflicts with previous results from studies where the resting length of the muscle was longer and shows that resting muscle length is important to how the muscle reacts to being compressed.

Clinical Autonomic Research

Women in clinical autonomic research and the autonomic societies: how far have we come in thirty years?

Title of the article:
Women in clinical autonomic research and the autonomic societies: how far have we come in thirty years?

List of authors:
Chloe E. Taylor · Amy C. Arnold · Alessandra Fanciulli · Federica Provini · Qi Fu · Vaughan G. Macefeld · Debra E. Weese-Mayer · Cyndya Shibao · Nisha Charkoudian · Victoria E. Claydon

The journal in which the article is published:
Clinical Autonomic Research
PMID: 33454833
doi: 10.1007/s10286-021-00768-8.

A brief summary:
This article was an editorial written by predominantly women leaders of the key international autonomic societies, aiming to examine the roles and representation of women in autonomic neuroscience. Our analyses highlighted that while the autonomic societies have changed from being entirely dominated by males to now achieving gender parity in membership, women remain underrepresented in leadership roles. Publications and membership of the editorial board of a leading autonomic journal were also examined, and showed fewer women represented in authorship, particularly in the leadership roles represented by first and senior author, and fewer female members of the editorial board. These data highlight that, while there have been improvements in gender equity in the field over the last 30 years, there is still much more work to be done. Consideration of equity issues should be prioritised, and focused not only on gender equity, but representation and inclusion of other underrepresented groups, to ensure a rich and diverse community of autonomic clinicians and scientists working together to address pertinent autonomic issues in their research and clinical practice.

Damon Poburko

Associate Professor

Damon did a co-op program during his BSc degree which played a pivotal role in his career and largely led him to where he is now.

Outside work he enjoys:
Running, skiing, kayaking, and spending time with family.

Dream job outside academia:
Computer science developer/code writer.

Best advice received:
Ask for help when you need it. We can’t do everything on our own. Someone will always be there to help.

De-stress strategy:
Long-term: run/ exercise, meditate 10 mins/day, get into nature, note things that you are grateful for. In the face of panic: 5-4-3-2-1 method, breathing control/square breathing.

Advice to 20-year-old-self:
My thesis mentor once told me that “at no time in your life should be you without quality of life”. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is both simple and challenging, and now is the time to start. When you think about your future, try asking yourself, “Where do I want to be in 5, 10 and 15 year?” It can be helpful in creating concrete goals.

Amanda Bakkum

PhD Candidate
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Daniel S. Marigold
BPK Mental Wellness Committee Member
Former BPK Department Representative

My name is Amanda, and I am originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. I completed my undergraduate degree with honours at the University of Johannesburg. My honours thesis focussed on cardiac risk assessment in elite athletes. Following an internship year where a qualified as a Biokineticist (i.e., physical rehabilitation specialist), I moved to the west coast of South Africa to complete a master’s degree at the University of Cape Town. My research topic focused on effects of eccentric versus concentric cycling ergometry following total-knee-replacement surgery. During this time, I also worked at Victoria General Hospital as a clinical educator for aspiring Biokineticists. We provided on-site assessment and personalized exercise prescription for post-operative patients and I was responsible for the clinical education and supervision of the Biokinetics Honours students. My interdisciplinary research background, clinical training, and personal experience as a varsity athlete inspired me to gain a better understanding of the neural control of movement. As a result, I moved to Canada with my dog, Dudley, in 2016 to pursue a PhD in Sensorimotor Neuroscience at SFU.

What you do
My chosen field of research is sensorimotor control and learning. I investigate the factors that affect how the human body adapts to our environment to gain a better understanding of how coordinated movements are learned and controlled. I study this process by systematically exposing the nervous system to perturbations that shift the visual field using prism lenses. These lenses cause a mismatch between what we see and how we move and as a result, produce errors in goal-direct movement. Over time, people adapt to this change and become more accurate. My research is focused on identifying factors that enhance how we adapt, retain, and transfer this learning with the ultimate goal of exploiting this knowledge to design safe and effective rehabilitation programs.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Everyone’s journey is unique and at the end of the day, we’re all here to learn. So, be kind to yourself.

Which do you prefer - dogs or cats?
For those who know me, this is pretty obvious. Dogs—without exception.

Journal of Neurotrauma

Longitudinal Assessment of Autonomic Function during the Acute Phase of Spinal Cord Injury: Use of Low-Frequency Blood Pressure Variability as a Quantitative Measure of Autonomic Function.

Title of the article:
Longitudinal Assessment of Autonomic Function during the Acute Phase of Spinal Cord Injury: Use of Low-Frequency Blood Pressure Variability as a Quantitative Measure of Autonomic Function.

List of authors:
Vera-Ellen M. Lucci, Jessica A. Inskip, Maureen S. McGrath, Ian Ruiz, Rebekah Lee, Brian K. Kwon, and Victoria E. Claydon.

The journal in which the article is published:
Journal of Neurotrauma
doi: 10.1089/neu.2020.7286. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 32940126

Brief summary: 
In addition to causing paralysis and loss of sensation, spinal cord injury (SCI) can also damage nerves in the spinal cord (called autonomic nerves) that control subconscious body functions, like the heartbeat and the blood pressure. We used a new approach to quantify the severity and evolution of injury to these autonomic nerves after SCI. This approach was able to identify people with severe autonomic injury and was related to the symptoms of cardiovascular disease that they experienced. This technique can be used to identify those individuals at SCI who are most at risk of cardiovascular problems, and to track changes in function in response to treatment interventions.

Farhaan Kahn

"The BPK department is very lucky to have such a strong and engaged community with members who really want to help others if they can."

School can be overwhelming at times, and Covid definitely adds to the equation. One thing that helped me, and a piece of advice I would provide to others that are feeling overwhelmed, is to use your student society to your advantage. The BPK department is very lucky to have such a strong and engaged community with members who really want to help others if they can. Take advantage of this, talk to your peers, attend socials (even if they are virtual), get to know the individuals in your department. My lab members really helped me get through the tough first month, the comradery from everyone, listening to their experiences, the challenges they faced, how the overcame them, just talking to them in general really helped reduce the feelings of isolation. Your peers are probably feeling overwhelmed to, so talk to them, and together it will make things easier for everyone.

Farhaan Kahn – Undergraduate Student

Kyle Simpson

PhD Student
Supervisor: Dr. Thomas Claydon
BPK GSS Councillor

My name is Kyle, and I’m a PhD student in the Molecular Cardiac Physiology Group (MCPG), specifically in Tom Claydon’s lab. I was born and raised in East Vancouver and have basically been in school (mostly SFU) my entire life. I spent my first few years at Langara College, and then transferred to SFU’s Biological Sciences department for my upper division. I only got involved in research during my final year of undergrad but fell in love with it. After a year of undergrad research, I started my master’s degree in the same lab before eventually switching into BPK in Tom’s lab. Here I work on using genetic engineering techniques to help elucidate ion channel function with respect to cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart rate). My entire academic career has been focussed on cell biology and genetics, and the opportunity to use these amazing tools to modify the fundamental building blocks of life and what we are is incredibly exciting.

What you do

Our lab studies a particular potassium channel’s role in Long-QT syndrome, a prolongation of the cardiac action potential that can result in irregular heart rates and sudden cardiac death. The channel is called hERG (human ether-a-go-go related gene, story behind that name isn’t quite as interesting as it sounds), and my job is to develop an animal model to study this. I use genome engineering techniques such as CRISPR to create mutations in zebrafish that have been found clinically in humans with Long-QT Syndrome. My plan is to use these fish’s hearts in conjunction with electrophysiological techniques to examine the effect of these mutations and test potential drugs to reverse the negative effects.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates

While your research and degree are important, none of that matters if mentally you are not in the right headspace. Mental health is one of the most ignored but also prevalent issues facing graduate students, so make sure you take breaks, talk to people, meet other grad students from around the department, and ensure that when you are working you’re in the headspace to make it productive rather than hitting your head against the wall.

Which do you prefer - dogs or cats?

Dogs, and I’m only using this question as an excuse to show off a pic of my favourite dog ever, my uncle’s old dog Connor (Irish Wolfhound/Rottweiler mix)

Vera-Ellen

Ph.D. Candidate
Supervisor: Dr. Victoria Claydon

I’m Vera-Ellen (or rather, just Vera), a PhD Candidate in Victoria Claydon’s lab. Although I currently do not hold any positions within the department, I have a long history of GSA involvement including a 3-year stint as President, a more-recent term as GPC Rep, as well as helping to organise BPK Research Day from 2017-2020.

I grew up just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. I completed my kinesiology degree at McMaster in 2015, where I worked in a vascular dynamics lab and volunteered in a spinal cord injury rehab/fitness centre. My experiences here had me interested in pursuing graduate studies in the field. Luckily, all these interests all collided when I discovered Vic’s work and that is how my science career began! My PhD investigates the consequences a spinal cord injury has on the autonomic nervous system, and more specifically, on autonomic cardiovascular control. I am really interested in how the effects of these injuries evolve over time and what we can do to improve cardiovascular control and quality of life for individuals living with a spinal cord injury.

My biggest advice would be to explore all your options and take advantage of all the opportunities graduate life affords you including diversifying your projects, collaborating, getting involved in student life, and having the flexibility to explore your outside interests. The bigger skill here is learning how to balance everything you want to do with everything you need to do. Often, I have found, the wants and the needs fuel each other and symbiotically add to your overall success

Prior to travel restrictions I had some lofty post-PhD travel goals including scotch drinking my way through Scotland, climbing in Wadi Rum, Jordan, and paddling the Great Bear Rainforest. I really can’t pick which one I rather do right now so instead I will keep adding to the travel fund and dreaming of a time when all this will be possible again.

Keep on keeping on, my friends.

V

Stem Cells Translational Medicine

Drug screening platform using human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived atrial cardiomyocytes and optical mapping

Title of the article:
Drug screening platform using human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived atrial cardiomyocytes and optical mapping

List of authors:

Marvin G. Gunawan*, Sarabjit S. Sangha*, Sanam Shafaattalab*, Eric Lin, Danielle A. Heims-Waldron, Vassilios J. Bezzerides, Zachary Laksman, Glen F. Tibbits

The journal in which the article is published:
Stem Cells Translational Medicine
doi: 10.1002/sctm.19-0440. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 32927497

A brief summary:
Our study aimed to overcome the difficulty of translating findings from the lab to the patients of atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder affecting the upper chambers of the heart. In this work, we developed a cell-based drug screening platform by using human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived atrial heart cells and optical mapping, a unique image analysis technique. The generated atrial heart cells have responses to drugs that are specific to the atria, and molecular profiles and key functional signatures reflecting human biology. This platform can be readily applied as a relevant tool in drug development efforts of potential atrial fibrillation therapies.

British Journal of Pharmacology

Cannabidiol protects against high glucose‐induced oxidative stress and cytotoxicity in cardiac voltage‐gated sodium channels

Title of the article:
Cannabidiol protects against high glucose‐induced oxidative stress and cytotoxicity in cardiac voltage‐gated sodium channels

List of authors:
Mohamed A. Fouda, Mohammad‐Reza Ghovanloo and Peter C. Ruben
Journal in which the article is published:
British Journal of Pharmacology doi: 10.1111/bph.15020. Epub 2020 Mar 10.PMID: 32077098

Paper summary:
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, especially cardiac arrhythmias. One of the proteins affected by hyperglycemia is the voltage-gated sodium channel, also called Nav1.5, which—along with other ion channels—is responsible for the electrical signal leading to the heartbeat. We found that that high glucose caused Nav1.5 to function abnormally, and that cannabidiol, the main non-psychotropic component of Cannabis, rescued normal Nav1.5 function both by directly affecting Nav1.5 and through its antioxidant properties. Notably, cannabidiol is approved for treating a seizure disorder caused by the same abnormal sodium channel function in the brain.

Nadine Wicks

Lecturer

Nadine’s interest in biology solidified in high school; she gravitated towards physiology during her B.Sc. (MBB@SFU). She took the scenic route through undergrad: bartending, travelling, finding her passions, and she didn’t always get it right on the first try! She finished her M.Sc. (MBB@SFU) and then spent four years in New England for her Ph.D. before circling back to UBC and BPK@SFU. She is married and lives on the North Shore with her spouse, daughter, and their puppy.

Outside work she enjoys:
Travel, dining and sports: playing fastpitch, hiking, surfing, skiing and watching hockey, football, basketball. Go Canucks 😊 Go Chiefs 😊

De-stress strategies: 
Family time. Nature. Exercise. Diversity. Cooking. Making crosswords. Breaks from social media. Zoom dates with family and friends.

Her tips for students:
I didn’t have a 4.33 as an undergrad and you probably don’t either. Figure out what you want to do and do it: don’t let perceived limitations constrain you. Find, make and pursue opportunities. Work hard, find your passion, and do what you want to do, rather than what someone else wants you to do!

Charlotte Mackenzie

"A bad grade does not define your academic success, the way you react and prepare for the next challenge is."

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned in university is how to bounce back stronger after a disappointing result. It’s difficult to keep your head up and not get discouraged after a tough midterm! We have all been there. When things don’t go the way I want, I focus on what I can control- meeting with the prof to go over the midterm and studying harder for the next one- and moving on! A bad grade does not define your academic success, the way you react and prepare for the next challenge is.

Undergraduate- Charlotte Mackenzie

Sneha Ralli

Ph.D. Candidate
Supervisor: Dr. Angela Brooks-Wilson

My name is Sneha, and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Angela Brooks-Wilson's lab. I was born and raised in Vashi, a town in the suburbs of Mumbai, India. As many of us do in school, I picked a career based on the subject that interests me the most. For me, it was Biotechnology. During my undergrad, one of the lab experiments that intrigued me was G-banding (method of staining chromosomes). While analysing my slide, I was fascinated by the tiny chromosomes and wanted to explore the field of cytogenetics. Around that time, I started looking for an internship to gain experience and fulfill my graduation requirement. I worked at the National Institute of Immunohematology, Mumbai, on promoter p15 and p16 methylation in myelodysplastic syndrome. My work in the lab was focused on hypermethylation of the p15 and p16 promoters and the correlation of methylation status with cytogenetic and immunologic features. It was here that I came across patients and saw firsthand how cancer impacted them and their families, a sobering experience for me. At this stage, I decided to switch gears into another aspect of research.

I worked in Intellectual Property (IP) Rights for three years as an IP Engineer that combined my passion for technology and research. My role was to analyse patents in the biomedical space. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the product research and development cycle, where I filed my first patent. This inspired me to transition from a professional to a research student at SFU. My journey at Simon Fraser University started in the fall of 2017. I started as a master's student in BPK; my fascination with lymphoid cancer complexity led me to transition into a Ph.D. program. Here at SFU, I work on disease-gene detection in lymphoid cancer families at Brooks-Wilsons lab. What I love about my research it that I work across two disciplines - (1) genetics and (2) bioinformatics approaches to understand the disease.

What you do
My Ph.D. work aims to identify susceptibility genes in families affected with lymphoid cancers (begins in the immune cells), including lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma, using next generation sequencing methods. The rationale of my work comes from the fact that lymphoid cases in a family often develop different subtypes of lymphoid cancer rather than developing precisely the same disease. I analyse germline exome sequenced data generated from these families. Here, I am developing a novel method that can prioritize variants and genes by combining large and small lymphoid cancer families as pre-existing methods fail to gain insights from small families.

Although the method will rank variants and genes in lymphoid cancer families, it can be fine-tuned and applied to other familial complex disorders. Apart from the method development, I am also interested in combining both the somatic and germline exome data to detect disease-genes in families affected with a subtype of lymphoid cancer, Follicular lymphoma. Identification of such shared susceptibility genetic factors will aid in understanding hereditary lymphoid cancers.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates?
Keep your eyes and mind open to new experiences. You are extremely fortunate to be in a country that embraces people from different cultures, embody this value broaden your world view. Always remember that it is better to try, fail and learn from it than to have never tried at all.

What is your favourite quarantine snack?
Roasted seaweed snack

Rachel Tan

BNS Undergraduate

Hi! I’m Rachel, I’m from Singapore and I moved to Vancouver 2.5 years ago in my Grade 12 year. I decided to come to SFU as I wanted to stay closer to my family where I still have younger siblings. I love any asian food and unpopular opinion, but I hate burritos. I could eat noodles for every meal. I’m a dancer and currently teach at my local studio.

Your chosen major and future career plans
I’m majoring in Behavioural Neuroscience and hope to create a form of dance therapy in the future in hopes of using it to increase awareness of the body and mind to aid mental health :)

Why did you choose to study BPK?
I chose to study BPK because I have a medical condition that affects my nervous system and that definitely sparked an interest in me to learn more about it.

Favourite Show To Binge Watch?
It has to be dance moms. It’s a blessing of a show.

Betty Chinda

MSc Student
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Xiaowei Song

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My name is Betty and I am a Masters’ student in the SFU ImageTech Lab under the supervision of Dr. Xiaowei Song. I am originally from Nigeria, a diverse and multicultural country in West Africa. I have been blessed to call British Columbia home since 2013.

My journey to SFU started in Summer 2014 when I transferred from Fraser International College (FIC) after completing a 1 year University Transfer Program. My interest in the human brain was piqued in my first psychology class in 2013 and this led me to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Behavioural Neuroscience at SFU which I completed in 2017. However, I had no interest in research until I took BPK 448 in my 3rd year of undergrad – which opened my eyes to the world of research and current rehabilitation efforts being made for neurological disorders. Since then, I have gone on to volunteer with recovering Stroke patients as well as several neurological research projects with my current supervisor, ultimately culminating in my graduate school pursuit.

What you do
My research focuses on the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to study brain pathologies. fMRI allows us to directly view the brain and its activity when performing a specific task, allowing us to temporally and spatially isolate cerebral recruitment. Specifically, I am interested in the use of fMRI to detect cognitive recovery in patients with carotid stenosis after undergoing revascularization by stenting. Patients with flow-limiting carotid stenosis are at increased risk of cognitive decline in addition to increased risks of stroke. The effects of revascularization therapies on cognition is not well understood. It is my interest to see how imaging technologies like fMRI can help us understand this problem and by extension other brain pathologies where cognition is impaired such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Any advice you would give to starting graduates?
LOVE your research topic/area and have a genuine passion and interest for what you do. That will take you through the long nights and keep you going when you are tempted to give up.

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats?
NONE – Hahahaha. In Nigeria, dogs are usually very large, fearsome, used for security purposes and would often bark and bite – it was a huge culture shock coming to Canada and seeing people have them as pets. I have never gotten over it!

Jenissa Flood

“I think its really important for students to allow themselves breaks from studying, especially at the moment when classes are online."

“I think its really important for students to allow themselves breaks from studying, especially at the moment when classes are online. Not only do I find my mental health benefits from taking regular breaks, but I am also more productive! Scheduling in regular breaks allows you to do things that make you feel happy without feeling guilty that you aren’t studying. During my breaks, I like to exercise, bake and cook, and chat with friends. I also think its really important to remember that getting a bad mark does not define who you are, or even what kind of student you are. Everyone gets marks they wish were higher, so try to not be too hard on yourself and focus on what you can control in the future rather than a mark you got in the past."

– Jenissa Flood, undergrad student

Thiago Bassi

PhD candidate
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Steve Reynolds

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Who you are:

My name is Thiago Bassi. I am a Ph.D. candidate at BPK, and my supervisor is Dr. Steve Reynolds. I am a neurosurgeon from Brazil. I have arrived in Vancouver in 2016 to study English and I fell in love with the city. After that, I got accepted at BPK to do my Master’s degree in 2017. However, in 2018 I have transferred from the Master’s program to a Ph.D. program due to the complexity of my project.

What do you do?

Currently, I am researching ventilation-induced brain injury (VIBI) which is a novel and exciting topic. Our lab is focused on translational research in intensive care units (ICUs), meaning that our lab investigates and validates strategies preclinically before designing clinical studies. Any advice you would give to starting graduates Firstly, be patient, Ph.D. is a long-term commitment. Secondly, read a lot of papers from your field and from outside your field to give you a broad perspective of what is going on in the scientific community now. Thirdly, be optimistic, either Master’s or Ph.D. programs will require optimism and positivity (a lot of it!!! So, start to train your mindset now). And finally, find joy in everything you do, all the time. Even when you get emails saying that your manuscript was rejected, by the way, this is part of the research life. Get over it! Try to address all the reviewer’s feedback, which most of the time will improve your manuscript, and keep resubmitting!!!

What is your favorite quarantine snack?

Coconut cake is my favorite snack during the quarantine.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Star Wars. Sorry to say that but I am a Darth Vader’s fan.

What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?

I love watching Japanese anime. My favorite is one called Black Clover.

Which do you prefer – dogs or cats?

I like both dogs and cats. Having said that, I have two cats, Kylie and Cookie.

If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be?

I would like to visit Italy because I love Italian food and my family came to Brazil originally from Italy (Mantova and Treviso). 

Mariel

BNS Undergraduate

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Who you are:

Mariel here! I'm in my second year, and in my downtime I enjoy playing the guitar. You can also catch me in @sfuco's virtual ensembles or volunteering as a Health Peer for @sfuhcs!

Your chosen major and future career plans:

Behavioral Neuroscience, looking towards an MD or counselling!

Why did you choose to study BPK?

I Googled SFU's programs in elementary school and saw the BNS page with all the fancy EEG electrodes and was pretty much sold on it since then LOL

Any hidden talents?

I can cook Japanese curry from scratch (which may or may not contain a banana)

Neuroimage

Neuromagnetic activation and oscillatory dynamics of stimulus-locked processing during naturalistic viewing

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Title of the article:

Neuromagnetic activation and oscillatory dynamics of stimulus-locked processing during naturalistic viewing

List of authors:

Nunes, Adonay S.; Kozhemiako, Nataliia; Moiseev, Alexander; Seymour, Robert A.; Cheung, Teresa P.L.; Ribary, Urs; Doesburg, Sam M.

Published in:

Neuroimage
doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116414. Epub 2019 Nov 30.
PMID: 31794854

Brief summary of the paper:

Instead of using a traditional paradigm where stimuli are presented repetitively to extract reliable brain activity, in this study we used a more ecologically valid approach. A 10 minute movie was shown during a Magnetoencephalography recording and we were able to extract rich temporal activation and brain connectivity dynamics. Visual (faces and hands) and auditory (words and non-words) stimuli were timelocked to their onset and used to map brain activation associated with the stimuli and synchronization over time. Our results demonstrated that during the movie, the three main face processing areas were synchronously activated. When participants observed hand manipulations, beta band desynchronization in motor-related areas was observed, supporting previous literature on mental projections and theory of mind. Overall, this study provides novel evidence of the rich spatial and spectral brain information that can be extracted during a naturalistic paradigm and opens the door to new studies and techniques that can exploit the benefits of this paradigm. 

Dylan Cooke

Assistant Professor | Director, Sensorimotor Neuroplasticity Lab

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ABOUT HIM:

For the first two years of his life, Dylan lived in a cabin built by his parents in the woods of Vermont with no electricity or flush toilets. When he was five, his family moved to a 200-year-old house in a small New Hampshire town.

OUTSIDE OF WORK, HE ENJOYS:

Hiking, downhill and crosscountry skiing, photography, reading, playing games with his family.

DE-STRESS STRATEGY:

Spending time with his family and friends takes his mind off of work and being with his kids helps him put life in perspective. He also finds manual labour relaxing, especially working in the garden. 

BEST ADVICE HE RECEIVED:

Learn from regrets, then forget about them.

ADVICE TO HIS 20-YEAR-OLD SELF:

Have a career plan but know that it is likely to change.