Kirill Zaslavsky 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.
Josh AbrahamPresident Elect
I am a fourth-year MD-PhD student at the University of Toronto. In my research, I integrate powerful yeast genetic systems with cutting-edge approaches using human cell lines to study the basic mechanisms that protect DNA from damage. My goals are to one day run a basic research program that will advance scientific knowledge to better understand and treat human disease, and to become a leading ambassador for Canadian biomedical research. In 2016, I was fortunate to work with an exceptional group of students who fulfilled various roles in the CITAC executive committee. Through my involvement with CITAC, I realized the vital role that CITAC fulfills within the Canadian clinician-scientist community and the many opportunities it offers. As president-elect, I look forward to working with our talented and hardworking CITAC executive members to realize these collective goals.
Alexandra KuzykPast-President
Alexandra Kuzyk is an MD/PhD candidate at the University of Manitoba. She is in her seventh year of the combined program with a research focus of identifying novel tumor biomarkers using high-resolution imaging. This is her fifth year as part of the CITAC Executive, previously serving as Secretary and VP External prior to her current role of President. As President, her initiatives for this year include establishing a Canadian database for clinician-scientist alumni outcomes, determining a plan with other stakeholders for sustainable clinician-scientist training programs, and strengthening the presence of CITAC through collaborations with national and international partner organizations. Her vision is for CITAC to be an evidence-based global voice and resource for clinician-scientist trainees.
Ellen ZhouVP Internal
Ellen entered McGill MD-PhD program in 2013. Currently working at St.Justine Hospital and Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, her PhD research focuses on Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), the most common cause of blindness in preterm newborns. Using molecular biology, she strives to understand the long-term sequelae of ROP. Ellen served as the CITAC Finance Committee Chair in 2015 and continue to serve this community as the VP-Internal Elective this year. Partnering with Eric Zhao, Ellen’s main project will be revamping CITAC website and estasblishing CITAC’s social media presence.
Kristen BartonVP Internal Elect
Kristen Barton is a 5th year MD/PhD student at the University of Calgary, having previously completed the integrated BSc/MSc program in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Kristen completed her PhD in 2016 in Medical Sciences where she studied the use of a glucocorticoid on mitigating osteoarthritis development following knee injury. She is looking forward to being involved with CITAC as the VP-Internal Elect and will be working with Ellen Zhou on continuing to enhance CITAC’s newsletters, website, and social media.
Andrea JonesChair of Special Projects Committee
My name is Andrea and I am honoured to serve as this year's CITAC/ACCFC Special Projects Committee Chair. Over the last two years, I have collaborated with Enoch Ng, past Mentorship Committee Chair, and the Institutional Representatives (IReps) team to evaluate and disseminate findings from a national trainee and program director survey. This year, we hope to continue contributing to the discussion to advance clinician scientist training in Canada. As part of my MD/PhD training at the University of British Columbia, my research aims to improve understanding of psychosis experienced by marginalized populations living with mental illness, substance use disorders,poverty, and other complex multimorbid conditions.
Matthew BeneschVP External
My name is Matthew Benesch and I am a 7th year MD/PhD student at the University of Alberta, having obtained my PhD in 2015 in cancer and inflammation. As the CITAC VP External, my goals are to work with the team increase the liaison between our organization and other agencies that share or ought to help foster an appreciation for MD+ training programs across Canada. Part of this role is to measure the impact trainees and alumni are having on improving health care delivery and innovation. Have such quantitative evidence would strengthen efforts to both stabilize and advance MD+ training opportunities. My primary goals are to help lead in collecting this data and establish longitudinal systems whereby successes at both the institutional and national levels can be readily appreciated. Please feel free to contact me at
Peter LiuVP External Elect
I started the MD/PhD Program at the University of Toronto in 2015 after completing a Bachelor of Health Sciences Honours degree at the University of Calgary. During my undergraduate study, I have conducted research in Canadian and Chinese institutions and taught at a Nicaraguan university with a focus on oncology and molecular biology. As the Secretary and Treasurer of CITAC, I look forward to making communication and financial affairs among and between CITAC members and governance body effective, transparent, and interactive. Furthermore, I hope to organize meetings and communicate regularly with each member of the Executive Committee to help move us forward as a cohesive team.
Patrick SteadmanPolicy Chair
Patrick Steadman is a MD/PhD student in his 4th year at the University of Toronto. His PhD work explores how our brain encodes cellular networks representing memories and mapping cellular changes in response to learning. In his position as Policy Chair he will advocate for improved support of clinician-scientist trainees in Canada by collaboratively working to collect the necessary data to inform medical and research training policy.
Sara MiraliCFMS Liasion
I completed my Bachelor’s degree at McGill and am currently a 2nd year MD/PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. As CFMS Liaison, I hope to strengthen CITAC’s national presence by collaborating with an equally passionate organization. As clinician-scientists in training, we constitute a small percentage of medical trainees. By communicating our shared obstacles and goals, we can integrate our vision with the broader medical community, while building an impactful relationship with a powerful national partner.
Christophe ModerieTreasurer
My name is Christophe Moderie and I am a 3rd year MD/MSc student at the Université de Montréal. Currently working at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine (CARMS), my research interests include interindividual variability in biological rhythms and sleep disorders. As the Treasurer of CITAC, I look forward to ensuring the financial stability of the organization and facilitating the communication of financial affairs between CITAC members and governance body.
Caitlin LeesCIM Editorial Chair and CIP Committee Chair
Dr. Caitlin Lees is a PGY3 Internal Medicine/Clinician Investigator Program resident at Dalhousie University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Film and Television Studies at Northumbria University in England, a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto, and then completed her medical degree at McMaster University. Dr. Lees’ research interests include end of life care, pancreatic cancer, and patient/provider relationships. In her spare time, she enjoys playing hockey and hiking with her dog, Laika. She looks forward to the opportunity to become more involved with CITAC.
Elina CookAGM Chair
Elina is a BSc and MSc alumnus of the University of Toronto, and is now a first-year MD/PhD student at Queen’s University. While deciphering the clinical and molecular landscape that precedes leukemia, she will also help shape the annual CSCI-CITAC Annual Scientific Meeting. In doing so, she aims to contribute her passion for scientific discourse and previous leadership experience to the CITAC community.
Katarina Ondrusova Membership Chair
I am currently in the third year of my PhD degree in Pharmacology at the University of Alberta. My research focuses on investigating and utilizing endogenous and recombinant light sensitive proteins called opsins in fat cells in the context of diabetes pathophysiology and treatment. As Membership Chair, my goals are to collaborate with the CITAC executive team to expand our membership recruitment efforts, as well as strengthen ties with our current members. I am looking forward to aiding in CITAC’s continued national growth and collaboration.
Alvin TieuFinance Committee Chair
I am currently a first-year MD/PhD student at the University of Ottawa. I completed my BMSc and MSc at Western University with a primary research focus on the pharmacology behind chronic kidney disease from both preclinical and clinical perspectives. As the Finance Chair for CITAC, I plan to help the continued growth of CITAC by identifying and securing corporate sponsors. My goal is to maintain transparent communication with all other members of the CITAC executive committee and help organize our annual scientific meeting to support the development of future clinician-scientists.
Nicholas JetteSecretary
Nicholas Jette is an 4th year MD/PhD student at the University of Calgary. He is currently working to develop new precision medicine approaches for colorectal and pancreatic cancer patients. This is Nicholas’ first year with CITAC and as secretary Nicholas hopes to have a positive impact on CITAC initiatives through the effective organization of meetings and taking detailed minutes.
Tina Binesh-MarvastiMentorship Chair
I completed my undergraduate degree in Physiology and Biochemistry and my Masters training in Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. As a second year MD/PhD student at the University of Toronto, I will be conducting my PhD research in the field of Cardiac Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology. Both as an undergraduate and a graduate student, I have worked with students and faculty members to improve mentorship programs at the University of Toronto. As the mentorship director for CITAC, I look forward to implementing programs for the clinician-scientists in training across Canada.

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