2018/19 UTCSP Pain Scientist Scholarship Recipients

Lizbeth Ayoub completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Honours) at the University of Ottawa. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Faculty of Dentistry under the co-supervision of Dr. Massieh Moayedi and Dr. Mary Pat McAndrews. Her thesis focuses on the role of the medial temporal lobe in pain processing. Her research investigates the structure and function of the medial temporal lobe in healthy individuals and patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, by using neuropsychological and sensory tests, and neuroimaging tools (fMRI and sMRI). She is a Junior Fellow at Massey College.

Mariana Bueno is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr Bonnie Stevens’ lab at The Hospital for Sick Children. She obtained her Masters in Nursing (2006) and PhD (2011) at the School of Nursing, University of São Paulo. From 2012-17 Dr Bueno was an Assistant Professor in Brazil and successfully obtained research funding from national and international agencies, published papers in peer-reviewed journals, and established partnerships with researchers from different countries. Dr Bueno’s research career focuses on generating and synthesizing evidence for preventing or minimizing pain in neonates and infants. Her current research focus is to build capacity on developing and evaluating knowledge translation interventions targeted at knowledge users (parents, families, and health care professionals) to improve pain outcomes in neonates and infants.

Katherine Halievski is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Mike Salter's lab at the Hospital for Sick Children. Katherine earned her PhD in Neuroscience at Michigan State University (2016) studying the role of skeletal muscle-derived neurotrophic factors in androgen-dependent neuromuscular disease in the lab of Drs. Cindy Jordan and Marc Breedlove. Prior to that, she completed her H.BSc (2012) at the University of Toronto Mississauga specializing in Behaviour, Genetics, and Neurobiology, where she also evaluated the role of the androgen receptor in development and disease of sexually-differentiated neuromuscular systems in Dr. Ashley Monks' lab. Her current work has shifted to examining chronic pain, with a focus on how mechanisms driving pain differ between males and females, with the ultimate goal of identifying appropriate and efficacious treatments.

Alborz Noorani completed his Bachelor of Science in Cell & Molecular Biology at the University of Toronto. He recently started his Master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Mojgan Hodaie at the Krembil Research Institute. Alborz’s research project aims to use neuroimaging techniques to understand hippocampal changes in Trigeminal Neuroglia patients.


2018/19 Purdue Pharma Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology Recipient

Dhekra Al-Basha is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physiology working under the supervision of Dr. Steve Prescott at the Hospital for Sick Children. After completing her Honours Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences in the University of Calgary, Dhekra worked as a lab technician for a year during which she audited a neuroscience class and attended a neuroscience journal club where she was introduced to the pain field. Motivated to understand the neurobiology of pain, Dhekra moved to Toronto to join the lab of Dr. Steve Prescott in 2015. In Dr. Prescott’s lab, Dhekra’s research aims to understand how a gentle touch can be perceived as excruciating pain, a hallmark symptom of neuropathic pain. Dhekra’s work combines cutting edge techniques such as in vivo optogenetics and in vivo electrophysiology. Thus far, Dhekra has unravelled questions about how normal touch in encoded at the periphery and the brain. She has presented her work in a number of national and international conferences and her work will be published soon. In the near future, Dhekra is planning to take what she has learned about normal encoding of touch to investigate how neuropathic pain changes the neural code. While doing her PhD, Dhekra secured a number of awards such as CIHR, OGS, Restracomp and currently QEII-GSST. Outside the lab, Dhekra is involved in science outreach through her favourite organization, Let’s Talk Science, where she has been involved in different capacities since 2010.