ASNPN Executive Committee (2014-2015)
President - Lianne Soller, McGill University
Lianne successfully defended her PhD in Epidemiology, completed under the supervision of Dr. Ann Clarke, at McGill University in April 2015. Her research, for which she has been awarded an FRQS Doctoral Award, focuses on the prevalence and treatment of food allergy in Canada.
Lianne was an inaugural winner of AllerGen’s International Research Visit Award; for six months starting September 2013, she worked with Drs Jonathan Hourihane and Audrey Dunn Galvin at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.
Lianne has served on the ASNPN Leadership Committee as Vice-President and Regional Director for Québec and the Atlantic provinces prior to this role. This is her third term as ASNPN President.
Vice-President - Pia Reece, Sim & McBurney IP
Sim & McBurney IP
Pia received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and her Ph.D. in Medical Sciences (Immunology) from McMaster University. Her thesis, supervised by Dr. Judah Denburg, involved investigating the mechanisms of stem cell differentiation in relation to both microbial influences and maternal atopy (i.e., surrogate measure of infant-allergic risk). This work has been published in PLOS One, Immunology and the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and has been presented at national and international meetings.
She completed a postdoctoral fellowship investigating whether gene expression profiles in differentiating cord blood progenitor cells may serve as molecular “biomarkers” of infant atopic risk, co-supervised by Drs Judah Denburg and Guillaume Paré and involving collaboration with AllerGen investigators of the Canadian Healthy Individual Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study.
Pia commenced a position as patent agent with Sim & McBurney IP in March 2015.
This is her third term as ASNPN Vice-President.
Events Director - Leah Shaver, University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo
Leah received her B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences from Brock University in 2013. She is presently an M.Sc. student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Leah’s broad research interests focus on experiences and perceptions of the management of anaphylactic allergies. Under the supervision of Dr. Nancy Fenton, Leah’s thesis examines school-based anaphylaxis management policies; in particular, the implementation and implications of school policies on the lives of at-risk children, teachers, parents and other individuals.
Communications Director - Mena Soliman, Queen's University
Mena completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB ChB) degree at the Kasr Al-Ainy School of Medicine of the University of Cairo in Egypt. He has also completed elective training in several specialities at Toronto Western Hospital (University of Toronto), St. Joseph’s Hospital (McMaster University), and McMaster Children’s Hospital. Mena is currently an M.Sc. student in Immunology and Microbiology at Queen’s University, supervised by Dr. Anne Ellis.
His research is focused on optimizing Nasal Allergen Challenge (NAC) protocols to study the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis (AR) as well as the effect of novel medications on AR. Mena is also working on phenotyping the AR response and identifying the nasal biomarkers for each phenotype. The optimized model is part of the AR–Clinical Investigator Collaborative (AR-CIC) of the AllerGen network, which aims to implement the NAC model for use in multi-centre clinical trials.
Pacific Director - Amrit Singh, The University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia
Amrit graduated from McMaster University in 2010 with a B.Sc. in Biology and Mathematics. Amrit is currently a Ph.D. student in Experimental Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Scott Tebbutt. His main research focus is on discriminating allergen-induced isolated early and dual responders by using various ‘omics’ data sets derived from peripheral blood, as part of the AllerGen Clinical Investigator Collaborative. Amrit is also a trainee at the PRevention of Organ Failure (PROOF) Centre. This is his second term as Pacific Director.
Central Director - Vivek Gandhi, University of Alberta
University of Alberta
Vivek received his B.Sc. from Bhavnagar University and M.Sc. in Microbiology from Sardar Patel University in India. Currently, Vivek is a Ph.D. student in Experimental Medicine at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Harissios Vliagoftis. His research focuses on understanding the expression regulation of a pro-inflammatory receptor called Proteinase Activated Receptor-2 (PAR-2) on airway epithelium in asthma.
Ontario Director - Elizabeth Simms, McMaster University
Elizabeth is an MD/PhD student at McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Mark Larché. Prior to joining the MD/PhD program, she completed an M.Sc. supervised by Drs. Mark Larché and Parameswaran Nair, in which she examined the role of allergen in driving T-cell cytokine responses in asthmatic patients. For her Ph.D. thesis, she is investigating the use of peptide immunotherapy for the treatment of peanut allergy. Elizabeth hopes to build a career that will blend hands-on patient care with her interest in clinically focused research.
Québec/Atlantic Director - Stephanie Nairn, McGill University
Stephanie is a Ph.D. student in the Social Studies of Medicine, Bioethics and Sociology Department. She completed her Master’s degree at Queen’s University in Sociology and studied the everyday experience of food allergy and food intolerance. Her current research interests lie at the intersection of sociology, psychology and biological studies of health and illness. Stephanie is a research assistant on a number of different projects at McGill. She is interested in the social construction of scientific, medical and individuals’ knowledge about food allergy and intolerance and uses social theory and ethnographic methodologies to explore these phenomena. She also researches the experience of chronic stress, its impacts on health, and the ways in which individuals become resilient to adverse health and illness via access to social support. This is her second term as Québec/Atlantic Director.
Member-at-large - Carlo de Olim Rugginenti, University of Montreal
University of Montréal
Carlo currently studies in the Biomedical Sciences Masters Degree program under the supervision of Drs Catherine Lemière and Michel Gérin. His research interests include the evaluation of qualitative assessment methods of occupational exposures in work-related asthma. Carlo received his B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences with a specialty in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Mogi das Cruzes in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Following the completion of his B.Sc., he worked as a medical laboratory technician in clinical pathology and anatomic pathology laboratories. Aside from his interest in epidemiology and clinical biochemistry, Carlo also has a strong interest in the knowledge translation of research results. This is his second term as Member-at-Large.
Member-at-large - Laura Feldman, University of Toronto
University of Toronto
Laura is an MPH student studying Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Laura received her B.Sc. in Environment and Health from the University of Toronto in 2014. Since 2011, Laura has worked under the supervision of AllerGen investigator Dr. Teresa To, focusing on asthma surveillance and the identification of risk factors for asthma. Working with Dr. To, Laura has developed an interest in the growing field of spatial epidemiology—a field she hopes to explore further over the course of her graduate studies. Laura is a three-time recipient of the AllerGen Undergraduate Summer Studentship.