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."
Alan BlayneyVP External - SUNY Upstate
No bio provided
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.
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 Castanov, PhDVP Internal Elect - MD Student, Queen's University
Valera is a HBSc and PhD alumnus of the University of Toronto, and is now a first-year MD student at Queen’s University. His current research is focusing on the normal and pathological composition of the microbiome of the eye and its effect on ocular health. Valera is simultaneously pursuing his previous research interests, which involve using the novel digitization and 3D modelling methodology to investigate volumetric architecture and functional characteristics of human musculotendinous structures. As VP Internal Elect, he is looking forward to collaborating with the current VP Internal and the rest of the CITAC team in ensuring that CITAC has a successful 2018/2019 year!
Adam PietrobonPolicy Chair - 3rd year MD/PhD Program, University of Ottawa
Hello folks! 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.
Nora HutchinsonCIP Chair - PGY5 in General Internal Medicine; first year of CIP, McGill University
Nora Hutchinson completed her M.D.,C.M. degree at McGill University. She then received a Wellcome Trust Master’s Award to study at Cambridge University where she earned an MPhil in History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science, Technology and Medicine. After returning to North America to complete her core Internal Medicine training at Brown University, she took up a position as an Internal Medicine fellow at McGill in July 2017. Her research interest is in the ethics of pharmaceutical drug development. "CIP members are a unique group, at a different stage in their career from both MD-PhD students and established clinician scientists. My first step as CIP Chair is to poll CIP members to get a better understanding of their diverse views and needs, so that these can be better represented at a national level. As a CIP member from McGill, I greatly appreciated participating in the CSCI/CITAC conference in November 2018 and hearing about the research interests and career goals of other members. As CIP Chair, my aim is to foster links between the different programs in Canada, to enable greater communication between members and to facilitate the sharing of individual program successes and challenges. McGill has not recently had a large presence at CSCI/CITAC, and I believe there is a lot to be gained by encouraging greater integration and involvement of all CIP programs across the country."
Sara MiraliMembership Chair - 4th year MD/PhD Program, University of Toronto
I am a 4th year MD/PhD student at the University of Toronto, having previously completed a Bachelor of Science Honours degree at McGill University. My PhD work focuses on mitochondrial biology in Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I have previously been involved with CITAC, serving as CFMS Liaison and Mentorship Chair. Over the past two years, I have been involved with CITAC as both CFMS Liaison and Mentorship Chair. Through both of these positions, I have come to realize the importance of membership engagement and peer support in advancing CITAC’s initiatives. As Membership Chair, I am working closely with several other members of the executive team to advance the mentorship program, showcase our students work publically, and alert our membership base on important policy issues. I also look forward to engaging our valuable IReps to ensure that each institution is involved in our projects.
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."
Melica NourmoussaviSecretary - PGY8 2nd year CIP, Gynecology-Oncology Fellowship, University of Montréal
My interest in research began during my medical degree at McGill. I pursued my clinical research interest during my OBGYN residency at UBC, during which time I developed an interest in a career as a clinician-scientist. I continued my clinical research activities and also a desire to pursue translational research in oncology. I am now completing a 4-year fellowship program in gynecology oncology in conjunction with the clinical-investigator program at University of Montreal focusing on preclinical models in ovarian cancer research. "My objective in participating in CITAC is to help connect and guide clinician trainees and mentors in the field of research. Working as part of the CITAC team allows me to network with fellow colleagues from all over the country and to improve the tools that CITAC can provide to its members. As Secretary, I look forward to the opportunity to assist the team in different events and tasks with regards to meetings, conferences, and sharing some ideas on how to improve services offered by CITAC. Having assisted the CITAC annual conference and read the newsletters, I know how much work the committee puts into ensuring its success and I am looking forward to participating in its success."
Alexander LevitPR 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"
Danielle Weber-AdrianAGM Co-Chair - 2nd year MD Program (PhD completed), Queen's University
Danielle Weber-Adrian completed her PhD in Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at the University of Toronto in 2017. Her research focused on non-surgical gene delivery to the central nervous system using MRI-guided focused ultrasound. She has a keen interest in neurodegeneration research, specifically Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injury. Danielle has worked internationally (Canada, USA, Germany) in both commercial and academic research institutes, and completed her B.Sc. in biochemistry at the University of Waterloo. "Passion and communication are what take research from the level of incidental investigation to an opportunity to improve our global approach to medicine. During graduate school I realized that conferences were also an arena in which to forge pivotal collaborations and mentorship relationships. The AGM meeting supports these opportunities for budding and established clinical scientists, and I am delighted to use my previous experience in helping organize next year's annual meeting."
Julieta LazarteAGM Co-Chair - 3rd year MD/PhD Program, Western University
Julieta Lazarte is a BSc and MSc alumnus of the University of Toronto and currently a third year MD-PhD student at Western University. In her research, Julieta utilizes next-generation sequencing to unravel the genetic burden in atrial fibrillation. Her goal is to run a genetic research lab to advance knowledge and treatment solutions and continue her efforts to bridge the gap between the medical and scientific communities. As the AGM co-chair, she hopes to bring her knowledge and experience to the planning of the CSCI-CITAC Annual Scientific Meeting keeping as her top-priority the goal to enhance the clinician-scientist training experience "As the AGM Co-Chair, I bring my knowledge and experience to enhance the CSCI-CITAC Annual Scientific Meeting. My goal throughout is to improve the clinician-scientist training experience by making the event meaningful to the trainees. I will focus in enhancing mentorship opportunities and foster an environment suitable for learning from each other. I aim to continue to discuss challenges that clinician trainees face and bring experts with solutions to such challenges. Lastly, I hope to introduce sessions like career paths of established clinician-scientist to help the trainees learn from establish clinician-scientists, this is an activity I currently lead at Western and find that the trainees tremendously benefit from."
Matthaeus WareTreasurer - 2nd year MD/PhD Program, University of Toronto
I am a second-year MD/PhD student at the University of Toronto. Before coming to Toronto, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Honours Neuroscience at McGill University. During my undergraduate years, I was immersed in a community of peers and faculty genuinely fascinated by the brain. For my doctoral research, I am exploring how the brain’s environment contributes to the genesis/development of a deadly brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM). As I progress through this program, I am grateful to be part of such an exceptional national community of clinician-scientist trainees. As Finance Chair, my goal is to help facilitate CITAC’s initiatives by maintaining and strengthening our partnerships with existing sponsors, while making a concerted effort to expand our support to other likeminded organizations. I have led on multiple councils and committees, including worked directly with my financial representatives when serving as President of my undergraduate society, the head coordinator of an orientation week, etc. This year, my co-coordinators and I have already raised over $10,000 of sponsorships for our upcoming Medical Student Research Day. I believe that having organized and abundant finances will both catalyze CITAC’s ideas and help bring them to fruition. It is a pleasure to support CITAC in this capacity, and to serve all of you by helping further CITAC’s mission.
Margaret SunCIM Liaison - 1st year MD Program (PhD completed), Dalhousie
I recently completed my PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology at Western University (2018), studying the role of nuclear receptors in cartilage homeostasis. My research strives to provide better insight into the genetic regulation of cartilage physiology in order to identify novel therapeutic targets for skeletal abnormalities and osteoarthritis. I am currently a first-year medical student at Dalhousie University, where I am hoping to gain clinical knowledge and expertise to synergize my research experience in becoming an effective clinician-scientist. I am passionate about knowledge synthesis and dissemination and its application in facilitating clinician-scientist trainee development and growth. As the current editor-of-reviews of the Dalhousie Medical Journal and reviewer of several journals pertinent to my field, I have ample experience and active involvement in manuscript submission, review, and publication. I bring my experience and work closely with the CIM Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Bortolussi, as well as the current Senior CIM Assistant Editor to continue to encourage and facilitate knowledge exchange between trainees nationwide.
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."
Patrick SteadmanPatrick Steadman - 6th year MD/PhD Program, University of Toronto
I work to integrate neuroscience, medicine, computer science and public policy. "I have been working to run some data gathering projects for CITAC to examine debt and gender imbalances. I am helping to complete this goal for CITAC."

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