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Meet Our Ottawa Chapter Team!

The Ottawa S2BN Chapter partners with regional stakeholders to organize career development and networking events for STEM and Health/Life Sciences graduate trainees. Our aim is to support the growth of Ontario's Health and Life Sciences sector by preparing highly qualified personnel for a career path outside of academia. 

For more information about Ottawa Chapter events please visit the Upcoming Events page.

Contact the Ottawa S2BN Chapter at:

ottawaS2BN@gmail.com

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Piriya Yoganathan PhD

Chapter President

Head of R&D, Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Piriya is currently Head of Research & Development at the Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. She completed her PhD at Queen’s University in the Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine with a specialization in cancer research, and holds an Executive MBA from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. 

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Rayanna Birtch

Mentorship Coordinator

PhD Student, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa

Rayanna Birtch completed her BScH in the Life Sciences (2020) and subsequently her MSc (2021) in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine with specializations in Cancer Research at Queen’s University. Here, she researched novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in triple-negative breast cancer. She now is a current PhD Student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa working under the supervision of Dr.s’ John Bell and Carolina Ilkow. Her research focuses on identifying, characterizing and improving the specificity of novel cancer killing therapeutic viruses called oncolytic viruses.

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Alicia Zhang

Event Support Associate;

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Emily Freeman

Event Support Associate

PhD Candidate, Health Canada

PhD Student,

University of Ottawa

Alicia Zhang received her Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia in 2016, with a Major in Biochemistry and Minor in Microbiology. After graduation she worked in the Research & Development department at STEMCELL Technologies Inc. for 3 years, developing and launching products to support stem cell research. Currently Alicia is pursuing a PhD in Immunology in the vaccine laboratory at Health Canada, focusing on vaccines against highly contagious respiratory viruses, including influenza and SARS-CoV-2. 

Emily earned her Bachelor of Science Honours in Biology (2016) from Brock University and a Master of Science in cellular and molecular medicine (2019) from the University of Ottawa. Here, she studied the crosstalk between cell signaling pathways and how they go wrong in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. She is currently finishing her PhD in cellular and molecular medicine at the University of Ottawa. During her PhD, she discovered that the small molecule channel Pannexin 1 holds sex-dependant roles in muscle and is now focused on discovering new Pannexin 1 targeted therapeutics for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In addition to her work with muscle, she works with an up and coming biotech company CureO-V where she develops and optimizes mid-scale viral production and purification methods for oncolytic vaccine candidates. 

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Joey Sheff PhD
Megan Mahoney PhD

Event Support Associate

Program Advisor

Mihir Bhatt

Mentorship Coordinator

Internal Representative, Ashfield Healthcare

Mihir Bhatt is a Medical School graduate from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and has completed a Graduate Diploma in Business program from the Smith School of Business.  His true passion lies in the utilization of his business and medical background in order to make an impact in the healthcare industry. He has quite recently made a leap towards his end goal of being involved in medical education by accepting a position with Ashfield Healthcare where he will be an Internal Representative in the pharmaceutical space.

Research Officer, Human Health Therapeutics, National Research Council Canada

Joey Sheff is a Researsch Associate at the National Research Council Canada (NRC). He is part of the analytics team within the Human Health Therapeutics division. His work is centered around understanding the mechanism underlying the delivery of therapeutic antibodies across the blood brain barrier. He completed his PhD in bioanalytical chemistry at the University of Calgary.

Director, Scientific Affairs and Training Programs, BioCanRx

Megan currently works as Director, Scientific Affairs and Training Programs at BioCanRx, a federally funded Network of Centres of Excellence focused on the development of novel approaches in the treatment of cancer using immunotherapy. Since joining BioCanRx in 2017, she has developed and overseen training initiatives aimed at bridging the gap and growing the talent pool in translational expertise related to cell and virus-based therapeutic development. Prior to joining BioCanRx, Megan was Operations Manager for the Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre (BMC) Virus Facility at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. In this role, she oversaw the operational activities of the BMC, which specializes in virus and vaccine development and manufacturing services for products destined for pre-clinical and clinical research. Megan is passionate about HQP skills and professional development and strengthening the Canadian bioeconomy ecosystem. She is a program committee member for the Canadian Science Policy Centre, and a program advisor for the Science to Business Network (S2BN), where she developed and leads the Ottawa Chapter S2BN Mentorship Program. Megan received her PhD in Neuroscience from Queen's University in 2014.

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Anjali Patel

Mentorship Coordinator

MSc Neuroscience, University of Ottawa

Anjali Patel has recently completed a MSc. in Neuroscience at the University of Ottawa. Her work in the lab of Dr. Maxime Rousseaux utilized cell and mouse models to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s.  In addition to conducting research in the lab, Anjali completed an industry internship with the Ximbio Ximbassador Program where she worked to identify and help commercialize life science tools and reagents invented at the University of Ottawa. Anjali’s interests lie in biotech and drug discovery, and she is passionate about science communication and outreach.

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Fatemeh Rezaei

Event Support Associate

PhD student,

Univerisity of Ottawa

I am Fatemeh Rezaei, a PhD student majoring in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa. As part of Dr. Jyh-Yeuan (Eric) Lee's lab, I perform structural biology research to determine the structure of cholesterol transporters.

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George Hilan

Event Support Associate

MSc student,

Carleton University

George obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology with a minor in chemistry, from Carleton university in 2022. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in biology at Carleton University with a specialization in Biochemistry, supervised by Dr. Bill Willmore. During his masters, George synthesizes peptide sequences using standard Fmoc- chemistry (solid phase synthesis), where the peptides have a fluorescent tag (FITC) and contain moieties responsible for targeting cell surface receptors and can penetrate into the cytoplasm of the cell. These peptides are characterized using various methods (LCMS, CD spectroscopy, Absorbance and emission profiles to name a few) then complexed with small interfering RNA (siRNA) to create nanostructures that can downregulate specific protein chaperones within the cells. The peptides can be analyzed within live cell cultures using MCF7, MCF10, and MDA-MB-231, and analyzed through confocal microscopy, flowcytometry, and PCR.

Past Team Members

S2BN

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