research lab coordinator
Hayley Riel, MSc
Hayley received her Master of Science degree in Psychiatry Research from Dalhousie University where she focused on studying biomarkers for early-phase psychosis. Her research interests involve using genetics, symptomatology, and neurocognition to better understand schizophrenia and biomarkers/predictors of conversion to schizophrenia, treatment resistance, and treatment approaches.
Dr. Urmi Das, University of Manitoba
Dr. Das joined the Kowalec Lab at the college of Pharmacy in April 2022. She holds
a PhD in Cancer Genetics from the University of Manitoba where she identified
aberrant RNA-transcript regions expressed in particular cancer patients carrying
specific genetic variants as her research project. Her current research focuses on
investigating the genetic architecture of schizophrenia in Sweden. Outside of
research, Dr. Das enjoys travelling, hiking and reading.
Dr. Mina Shirinbakhsh Masoleh, MSc, University of Manitoba
Mina received her PharmD from the Tehran University of Medical Science (Iran) and her PharmD research included an assessment of psychiatric conditions and cognition in patients hospitalized for bone marrow transplantation, which was subsequently published in the Iran J of Psychiatry. Mina also received her MSc in Pharmacy at the UM which focused on pharmacoepidemology of antipsychotics in Manitoba during COVID-19.
Gerald Trojillo, MSc student, University of Manitoba
Gerald first started with the Kowalec Lab as a University of Manitoba Undergraduate Research Awardee in the Summer 2020. Gerald investigated psychiatric genetic risk scores and its connection to disease activity in different types of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, through data analysis using various R packages. For his thesis, Gerald will be extending this work.
Dr. Laila Aboulatta, PhD student, University of Manitoba
Dr. Aboulatta has a Bachelor's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Postgraduate PharmD degree, Alexandria University, Egypt. Currently, Dr. Aboulatta is a PhD student at the College of Pharmacy, University of Manitoba under the co-supervision of Dr. Kowalec and primary supervision of Dr. Sherif Eltonsy. Dr. Aboulatta's current research focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and neonates.
Md. Abdul Aziz, PhD Student, University of Manitoba
Aziz received his Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy followed by a Master's in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology from Bangladesh. Aziz finds interest in Pharmacogenomics, Pharmacoepidemiology, or Genetic Epidemiology research. His previous research focused on the association of genetic polymorphisms with cancers and neurogenic disorders while his current research focuses on evaluating the pattern of antidepressant use for patients with mood and/or anxiety disorder under the supervision of Drs. Leong (Advisor) and Kowalec (Co-advisor). Aziz has won the College of Pharmacy Graduate Fellowship, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Studentship, and University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship.
Research students and volunteers
Francisca Jacobo was an undergraduate summer student in the Kowalec Lab Group for the summer 2022 and 2023. She is completing her final year of study at the University of Manitoba, majoring in Accounting. She is assisting to investigate psychiatric comorbidity in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases using genetics and statistical analysis. Francisca won a University of Manitoba URA award in summer 2022.
Thuy-Dung Nguyen, PhD, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Thuy-Dung has a BSc in Public Health from Hanoi University of Public Health (Vietnam) and a MSc in Public Health Epidemiology from Karolinska Institutet (Sweden). She received her PhD at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet under the co-supervision of Dr. Kowalec and primary supervision of Dr. Yi Lu. Her research focuses on using machine learning to subtyping major depressive disorder (MDD) cases to reduce genetic heterogeneity and predicting long term outcomes of MDD. (Photo: Quang Bui)
Daniel Luo, PharmD research student (2022)
Daniel was a 4th year PharmD student at the University of Manitoba. As part of his final year in the program, he will be completing his research rotation block at the Kowalec Lab at the end of 2022. His focuses will include analysis of clinical data from MS patients treated with dimethyl fumarate in an on-going search for predisposing genomic variants.
Dr. Jing Han, Biostatistician (2021)
Dr. Jing Han received her Ph.D. in Health Economics from the University of Manitoba. Her research focuses on studying issues like health inequality, socioeconomic determinants of health, health behavior, and utilization of health care across population groups using large complex datasets. She joined a research team at the Community Health Science, the University of Manitoba as a post-doctoral research fellow on multiple data-driven and policy-oriented research projects in community health and public health. Dr. Han also worked as a research and evaluation specialist at the Addiction Foundation of Manitoba to support decision-making and quality improvement in areas of addictions and mental health.
Mitul Patel, Data Analyst (2019-2021)
Mitul has a BSc in Physics (Applied) from St. Mary’s University, UK and a MSc in Theoretical Physics from the University of Manitoba. During his BSc, Mitul worked as an intern at the UK’s National Physical laboratory (NPL) investigating the resistivity of certain materials, NPL is responsible for developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards. During his MSc, Mitul worked on understanding the physics of the very early universe using string theory. He has also worked as a short term intern at the University of Winnipeg as a machine learning engineer in the neutrino physics group.
Brianne Desrochers, Undergraduate summer student (2022)
was a 2nd year PharmD student with the College of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba. Brianne worked in Dr. Kaarina Kowalec’s lab summarizing the current literature on the predictors of dimethyl fumarate-induced lymphopenia in multiple sclerosis in summer 2022. Brianne’s research interests include pharmacogenetics, oncology, drug safety in mothers and neonates, and pharmacoepidemiology. Upon graduation, Brianne plans to obtain her extended practice certification in oncology. Brianne also won a College of Pharmacy Summer Research award for her time with Dr. Kowalec's group, congrats!
Sarah Lyle, Undergraduate Summer Student (2020)
Sarah was in her 4th year of a Genetics Honours Co-op degree at the University of Manitoba. She is pursued her third co-op work term under the supervision of Dr. Kowalec in 2020. Sarah’s pervious Co-op work terms have involved the study of infectious disease including Influenza and Ebola. Sarah studied the connection between psychiatric genetic risk scores and immune-mediated inflammatory disease outcomes.
Heather Carney, Undergraduate Summer Student (2019, 2020)
Heather began in the Kowalec Lab as a recipient of a 2019 and 2020 College of Pharmacy Undergraduate Research Award. Heather was in her third year of the BSc Pharmacy program at the University of Manitoba. Heather previously completed a BSc in Environmental Science with a focus in Chemistry at the University of Winnipeg where she received an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award to study the quantification of organic contaminants in environmental waters. Heather studied the rate of substance use disorder in those with inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.