Postdoctoral Fellows


Graduate Students

Aina Roenningen (September 2021 - Present)

Aina joined the lab in September 2021 and is a PhD student from Norway. She completed her MA (under supervision of Dr. Brianne Kent) in November, 2023. During her MA, she worked on studies measuring the relationship between mental health, sleep and different cognitive functions in younger and older adults. Specifically, she focused on how episodic memory processes such as pattern separation may be affected by sleep and sleep loss. The studies are a part of a larger translational research program that investigates the role of sleep disturbances in the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Aina has 2 bachelor degrees in psychology; the first degree completed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway, and the second degree completed at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, BC. At TRU, she conducted research on the relationship between anxiety and executive functions (i.e., attentional and inhibitory control) in younger and older adults. The work increased her interest in brain aging and how it may affect different cognitive performances. For her PhD, she will be conducting research on brain resilience in middle-aged and older adults.

She is passionate about younger and older adults' mental, cognitive, -and physical health and wellbeing, and seeks to increase her understanding of how sleep and sleep disruptions are related to different cognitive -and health outcomes.

In her freetime, Aina enjoys hiking, going on adventures, and working on different fine arts projects. Aina also runs the TNL Instagram Page.

Alice Ayres (September 2021 - Present)

Alice Ayres is a Masters Student in the Cognitive and Neural Science programme, and is co-supervised by Dr. Kent and Dr. Mistlberger.

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 using touchscreen technology to assess the relationship between sleep, circadian rhythms and cognition. Twitter: @Alice_I_Ayres

Victoria Carriquiriborde (September 2022 - Present)

Victoria joined the lab as a Master's student in September of 2022. She is currently working on the traumatic brain injury (TBI) project assessing how TBIs affect seizure activity in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and testing a possible drug treatment for it.

Victoria is a returning SFU student since she completed her undergraduate degree and conducted her honors project at SFU too. She is excited to continue learning and developing skills in the area of neuroscience, and to be working with such talented and experienced researchers. She is passionate about understanding how the brain operates and how different neurological conditions can affect functioning.

In her free time, she enjoys playing rugby, outdoor activities, dancing, and traveling. 


Linkedin: Victoria Carriquiriborde


Research Assistants

Taha Yildirim (February 2021 - Present)

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. Currently, he is working on sleep modulation in mouse models of Alzheimer’s Disease using Optogenetic and Chemogenetic techniques.

In his free time, Taha enjoys shooting arrows and learning horseback archery.

Taha is also managing the TNL website. 

Kashish Mehta (January 2022 - Present)

Kashish is currently pursuing her major in Biomedical Physiology while minoring in Psychology. She joined the Translational Neuroscience Lab as a research assistant in January 2022 to get involved with the Human Research project. She has always been interested in the workings of the Central Nervous System. Throughout her university career, she has narrowed her interests to neurophysiology as well as the effects of neuropathology on human cognition. 

As she is passionate about research and learning more about ethics and methodology, the TNL lab provides her with the platform to not only explore her interests but also contribute to the growing field of neuroscience.


Robert Gibson (January 2022 - Present)


Robert is an undergraduate student in the Psychology program and a Research Assistant in the Translational Neuroscience Lab where he has mainly been involved with the touchscreen projects and animal research but also has assisted with the human projects. Robert was previously a Research Assistant in various Psychology labs at SFU, most recently with the Behavioural Neuroendocrinology Lab, where he has assisted in data collection and furthered his passion for the biological aspects of Psychology. He is interested in topics such as learning and memory, sleep and circadian rhythms, as well as neurodegenerative diseases and how these concepts are modelled in animal research. He chose the TNL because of how well his interests align with the ongoing research projects and interests of Dr. Kent. The TNL has allowed him to take a hands on approach to running animal research which he is extremely thankful for. Robert hopes to soon pursue the honours program in Psychology and graduate school with a focus on the interactions between cognition, sleep, and Alzheimer's Disease and their biological mechanisms.

Mayuko Arai (April 2022 - Present)

Mayuko is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. She is currently involved in a project led by Sean Tok that examines optogenetic and chemogenetic modulation of sleep in mouse models of Alzheimer’s Disease. She has also worked on touchscreen projects, investigating the effects of sleep fragmentation on touchscreen task performance and hippocampal neurogenesis. Mayuko’s research interests include translational neuroscience, optogenetics, drug development, immunohistochemistry, neural oscillations, EEG, sleep, memory, and circadian rhythms. Previously, as a volunteer, she has worked with drug-addicted individuals and people experiencing homelessness in several countries. She has also worked for an organization that supports people with disabilities. Through these experiences, she became interested in research that can support people who are struggling with cognitive impairments. Thus, she hopes to gain more research experience and pursue graduate studies. She loves spending time in the lab with other supportive and intelligent TNL members, learning something new every day.


Honorary Members

Jefferey Yue (Jan 2022 – Present)

Jefferey is currently pursuing his graduate studies in Prof. David Vocadlo’s chemical biology lab in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MBB), he is collaborating with the TNL to study the chronic pathologies induced by repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (rmTBI). His research interest focuses on characterizing molecular biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases using cultured cells and animal models, which then allows him to pursue novel drug discovery. In his home lab, he explores the use of glycosylation via pharmacological mean to slow pathologies in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Gaucher’s diseases. He is working closely with Dr. Michael Kelly in the TBI project, where he leads the CHIMERA TBI operation, immunohistochemistry and biochemical analysis of biomarkers related to TBI, Alzheimer’s disease and sleep.

Outside of lab, he invests his time in audio mixing, and wishes to one day produce original songs.

He is humbly grateful for working with a group of diverse and talented TNL members in his adventure in neuroscience.

Twitter: @jyuesciencetune

LinkedIn: Jefferey Yue


Scooter and Harley 

Scooter is one of the oldest member of the TNL since April 2021 and Harley joined us in November 2022. They are helping the lab by reminding us how much sleep is important by sleeping in the middle of meetings. Other interests of Scooter and Harley include asking for treats, playing with each other, and barking at the garbage truck in their free time.