Elina CookPresident - 3rd year MD-PhD Program, Queen’s University
Elina Cook is a BSc and MSc alumnus of the University of Toronto, and is now a third-year MD-PhD student at Queen’s University. Her research deciphers the shared clinical and molecular landscape that precedes several comorbidities of aging, and draws from several disciplines of medicine and science. In 2016-17, she helped shape and run the 2017 CSCI-CITAC Annual Scientific Meeting as the AGM Chair. As President, she is 1. growing collaborations with other organizations serving MD+ needs, 2. continuing to adapt the AGM to better meet the needs of MD+ trainees, 3. helping to reinitiate conversations with CIHR to support MD-PhD programs, and 4. promoting information-gathering across the country through various surveys. Finally, she is committed to increasing resources and the visibility of MD+ trainees in Canada. She believes in enhancing the clinician-scientist training experience.
Tina B. MarvastiPresident Elect - 4th year MD-PhD Program, University of Toronto
I completed my undergraduate degree in Physiology and Biochemistry and my Masters training in Vascular Imaging at the University of Toronto. As a fourth year MD-PhD student at the University of Toronto, I am conducting my PhD research in the field of Cardiac Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology at the Toronto General Research Institute. My interests outside academia and medicine include paddling, training for a half-marathon and spending quality time with my friends and family. I have been involved with CITAC as an executive member for the past 2 years. As the mentorship chair, I have helped initiate the mentorship survey, results of which will be published as a commentary in early 2019. I also proposed and initiated the establishment of a national mentorship database for clinician-scientist trainees across Canada. As the CFMS Liaison, I have also had the experience of working with the Canadian Federation of Medical Students to advocate for MD-PhD medical students and update the trainees on how changes in the upcoming 2021 electives will effect our members at large. I am passionate about advocating for re-instating the federal funding for MD-PhD programs, better integration of research for clinician-scientist trainees during residency and mentorship within the clinician-scientist trainee communities across Canada. I look forward to the opportunity to serve as the president-elect of CITAC in 2019.
Kirill ZaslavskyPast-President
Kirill obtained his HBSc from the University of Toronto specializing in neuroscience. During his undergraduate studies, he investigated the impact of deep brain stimulation on adult neurogenesis and learning with Dr. Scellig Stone and Dr. Paul Frankland. He entered University of Toronto’s MD/PhD program in 2010. During his time in the program, he has been involved in student government, and served as one of the editors-in-chief of the University of Toronto Medical Journal and the 7th edition of the Essentials of Clinical Examination. He is currently studying the neurobiology of autism using human stem cell-derived neurons from autistic children in the laboratory of James Ellis at the Hospital for Sick Children.
Xiya MaVP Internal - 6th year MD/MSc at Université de Montréal
Xiya Ma is a 6th year MD-MSc student at Université de Montréal. She recently finished her masters in experimental medicine, a collaborative project between CHU Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Neurological Institute, focusing on peripheral nerve regeneration and biocompatible neurotechnological interfaces. As VP internal, Xiya aims to support CITAC structure internally by producing newsletters, facilitating communications with members and keeping the website updated with Valera. Xiya is looking forward to work with the rest of the team to take CITAC to another level.
Valera CastanovVP Internal Elect
Kirill ZaslavskyChair of Special Projects Committee
Kirill obtained his HBSc from the University of Toronto specializing in neuroscience. During his undergraduate studies, he investigated the impact of deep brain stimulation on adult neurogenesis and learning with Dr. Scellig Stone and Dr. Paul Frankland. He entered University of Toronto’s MD/PhD program in 2010. During his time in the program, he has been involved in student government, and served as one of the editors-in-chief of the University of Toronto Medical Journal and the 7th edition of the Essentials of Clinical Examination. He is currently studying the neurobiology of autism using human stem cell-derived neurons from autistic children in the laboratory of James Ellis at the Hospital for Sick Children.
Alan BlayneyVP External - SUNY Upstate
Bahar BehrouziVP External Elect - 2nd year MD/PhD Program, University of Toronto
I am currently a second-year MD/PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, where I intend to answer questions that will ultimately enable me to serve as both a physician and clinical trial methodologist. Through my PhD in Clinical Epidemiology, I will be working on innovative prospective cardiac clinical trials to develop novel methods for measuring clinical outcomes using big data. I also currently sit on the MD/PhD Class Council as Co-Vice-President of Communications and External Affairs, as well as on the organizing committee for UofT’s Medical Student Research Day, which is the largest Canadian student-run research conference for medical students. I have a longstanding interest in further solidifying collaborations and partnerships with a wide variety of international physician-scientist training programs, beginning with the US and then expanding beyond. In my previous role at a large multinational company, partnerships were integral to achieving my team’s objectives, and so I want to leverage the skills and networks that I developed in that context to push forward the recommendations made by Strong et al., (2018) at the Canadian National Consensus Conference addressing the challenges currently faced by our domestic training programs. I am specifically interested in developing capacity for funding and mentorship support, developing coherent networks across a broad range of clinician-scientists to reflect the interdisciplinarity of health research, as well as transferring established and successful curriculum elements and programs from other parts of the world over to Canada, to continue our growth and expand our footprint both locally and globally.
Adam PietrobonPolicy Chair
I’m an MD/PhD student at the University of Ottawa studying the rare disease lymphangioleiomyomatosis- I know, try saying that five times fast! While my PhD research sits at the junction of stem cell and cancer biology, I’ve slowly developed an interest in the evidence (or perhaps, lack thereof) supporting/denouncing clinician-scientist training programs. It’s become a passion of mine to start building upon current evidence while using existing data to support continued and sustained support for MD/PhD and MD/MSc training programs. On the non-academic side of things, I love to cook, run, bike, and binge-watch anything Marvel! I have a bold and ambitious vision for the Policy Chair portfolio this year. Quite bluntly my primary goal is to ramp-up lobbying efforts for establishing new and secure funding for MD/PhD and MD/MSc programs. I believe we are at an opportune time- with new funding flowing into CIHR and repeated public commitments to clinician-scientist trainees- to make funding MD+ programs a strategic priority. More longitudinally, I am seeking to establish CITAC representation with a variety of partner organizations, such as CIHR and AFMC. Based on previous work, I will strive to create a national oversight committee on physician-scientists training with input from a number of stakeholders. I will work to continue ongoing CITAC research projects to build the foundation of evidence support MD+ trainee programs.
Siddharth NathCFMS Liasion - 6th year MD/PhD Program, McMaster University
Siddharth is an MD/PhD student at McMaster University. His research is focused on understanding the cellular biology of genetic neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and the spinocerebellar ataxias. He also has a special interest in conducting large-scale systematic reviews and meta-analyses. I am presently the CFMS’ CITAC Liaison. In an effort to increase efficiency in communication between the two organizations, this equivalent position on the CITAC will help me build a solid and lasting dialogue between the CFMS and CITAC which will benefit both MD+ and MD trainees Canada-wide.
Helena ZakrzewskiTreasurer - 3rd year PhD (MD completed), McGill University
I graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Immunology and Infection and from McGill University with a MSc in Experimental Surgery. I completed medical school at the University of Calgary. I am currently completing a PhD at McGill University in the same department. My area of interest focusses on surgical planning, particularly in resource-challenged settings. I was elected Secretary-General of the Post-Graduate Students’ Society of McGill University on June 1st, 2018 and have served as an active voice for the over 9 000 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at the institution. In this role I have become familiar with the various sources of funding for not-for-profit or similar organizations and contributed to the financial oversight of an annual 4 million dollar budget.
Alexander LevitCIM Editorial Chair
I am currently in the 5th year of my MD/PhD program at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University. In the department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, I research early behavioural and neurological changes in a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer disease and mixed dementia. I enjoy supporting my peers’ academic interests as current Co-Editor-in-Chief of the University of Western Ontario Medical Journal, and I look forward to motivating trainees nationwide to publish in Clinical and Investigative Medicine.
Nick TonialAGM Chair
Nicholas Tonial is a first year MD/PhD student at Western University in Dr. Brad Urquhart’s lab. He is currently completing 3 years of my PhD, followed by 4 years of medicine. His research focuses of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the impact CKD has on drug disposition. Mainly, he focuses on non-renal alterations of drug exposure, specifically in the liver. He uses a combination of animal models and clinical studies to characterize the impact that CKD has on the liver’s ability to metabolize and excrete drugs from the body effectively, and how dialysis treatment impacts an individual’s exposure to therapies. As the AGM chair, he is hoping to shape the CSCI-CITAC Annual Scientific Meeting to continue to discuss modern and applicable issues and challenges that clinician trainees face and ways that we, as young trainees, can utilize the resources available to be successful in our future careers.
Heather Leduc-PessahMembership Chair
Heather Leduc-Pessah is an MD/PhD student from the University of Calgary who has been in the Joint training program in Calgary for 4 years. She has completed her PhD and is now in her first year of medical school. She has been involved in student executive throughout graduate school and has continued in Medical school as the Chair of our joint program (Leaders in Medicine) executive committee. Heather is working towards a career as a Clinician-Scientist and is eager to become more involved in CITAC through the position of Membership Chair.
Matthaeus WareFinance Committee Chair
Chris NewellSecretary
Chris Newell is a 6th year MD/PhD student at the University of Calgary, having completed his undergraduate degree at St. Francis Xavier University in 2012. Chris successfully defended his PhD in May of 2017 in Medical Sciences where he studied novel diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for the management of mitochondrial disease, a rare subset of metabolic disorders. Chris is currently completing his 1st year of clinical training and is planning on pursuing a career as a surgeon-scientist.
Kevin FanMentorship Chair - 2nd year MD/PhD Program, University of British Columbia
I grew up in Toronto and attended Western University, where the Scholar’s Electives Program allowed me to pursue a research project in a different lab each year, kindling my interest in becoming a clinician-scientist. On my spare time, I co-founded and led a synthetic biology research and education program that led to the development of a synthetic biology curriculum. I currently work in cancer genomics and bioinformatics at the BC Cancer Genome Sciences Centre. I’m undertaking my medical training at UBC, and aspire to become a medical oncologist involved in personalized medicine initiatives. On my free time, I enjoy a cappella, volleyball, hiking and travelling. There are few paths as overwhelming as that of becoming a clinician-scientist, and I personally believe that finding a good mentor along the way is the most valuable gift. The Clinician-Scientist Career Group was founded last year (2017-2018) by a group of motivated MD/MD+ students at UBC. As Mentorship Committee Co-Chair, I organized UBC’s first ever mentorship and networking events for clinician-scientists. I recruited mentors (faculty and clinician-scientists) and oversaw mentee (MD/MD+ students) applications, matched them based on career/research interests, organized a meet-and-greet, and coordinated meetings/lunches for individual mentor groups (3-5 students + 1 mentor) throughout the school year. I am glad to continue organizing mentorship connections and events for clinician-scientists across the country through CITAC. I envision a similar system using a database to match mentors and trainees based on career interests, and coordinating meetings/Skype calls to forge connections that transcend the barriers of individual institutions. I look forward to collaborating with the CITAC team to pilot this initiative.
Alexander Levit PR Chair - 6th year MD/PhD Program, University of Western Ontario
I am currently in the 6th year of my MD/PhD program at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University. I completed my PhD in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, researching early behavioural inflexibility and white matter inflammation in a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer disease and mixed dementia. As former Social Media Manager for the Schulich Public Advocacy Committee, I have experience in publicizing the success of my peers and engaging both the healthcare community and the general public. CITAC supports a national community of aspiring clinician scientists that helps trainees in developing and achieving their career goals. Our careers rely on effective networking, and as Public Relations Chair, my ultimate goal is to foster research and clinical connections through social media engagement. I also look forward to coordinating with the Exec team to promote the AGM and CITAC initiatives. In particular, social media is an essential tool in advocating for better support and resources for young clinical clinician scientists. #CITAC

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