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Current Students


Dr. Roman McKay

Lab coordinator

Roman is a research coordinator in the INSIGHT lab whose research interests include vector-borne disease epidemiology, geographic distribution of disease vectors, arthropod-host interactions, and assessment of vector potential and capacity.  He contributes to the CLYDRN, eTick and UPTick projects and coordinates field research on Lyme disease.

Dr. Benoit Talbot

Research associate

Benoit is interested in how vectors and reservoirs of human and animal illnesses spread through the landscape and adapt to local environments. Previously, as a Postdoctoral Fellow at INSIGHT funded by FRQNT and a CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellowship, Benoit has contributed to collaborative research projects throughout the Americas on mosquito-borne West Nile virus and Zika virus, and on tick-borne Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme Disease. He currently supports collaborative research for geospatial capacity building and analysis with partners at LSHTM and Institut Pierre Richet in Cote d'Ivoire assessing next generation malaria vector control tools.

Dr. Jaameeta Kurji

SAHMRI - Postdoctoral research collaborator

Jaameeta is an Epidemiologist and global health researcher currently collaborating with the INSIGHT lab to complete analysis planned under the IMCHA Safe Motherhood project’s cluster RCT in Ethiopia. As part of her doctoral research with Dr. Kulkarni that was nested within the Safe Motherhood project, she worked on understanding whether or not upgraded maternity waiting homes operating in an enabling environment could improve access to facility-based obstetric care among rural Ethiopia women. Jaameeta’s other research areas include adolescent sexual and reproductive health, the design and evaluation of complex interventions and using geospatial analysis to explore access to maternal and reproductive health services.

Dr. Amber Gigi Hoi

University of Toronto - Postdoctoral research collaborator

Amber is a data scientist and theoretician broadly interested in vector ecology and parasite evolution. She completed her BSc (biology) and MSc (epidemiology) at Simon Fraser University and later her PhD at the University of Toronto (ecology and evolutionary biology). Her past research spans diverse topics such as mosquito blood-feeding behavior, disease community ecology theory, and parasite life-history optimization. During her tenure at the INSIGHT Lab, Amber worked on extending her spatial epidemiology toolkit to study landscape determinants of vector distribution and disease burden, and contributing to a project assessing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on malaria control in Benin. She continues to collaborate on projects related to vector-borne disease ecology. Her hobbies include swimming and biking, making and eating cake, teddy bears, and whiskey.

Past students

Jay Logan

PhD candidate

Jay is a doctoral student whose research interests are emerging vector-borne disease epidemiology and the impacts of geographic variance on risk of vector-borne disease exposure. His experience brings an interdisciplinary approach, having previously earned an MGIS through Penn State University after his work examining blood-borne pathogen exposure risk with GIS technology and social network analysis techniques. Jay has previously worked as a spatial analyst and GIS web developer for various government agencies and private companies, and fences in his spare time.

Charles Thickstun

PhD candidate

Charles is a doctoral student in epidemiology who is conducting research on the spatial epidemiology of malaria and implications for the design of malaria vector control trials. He completed his MSc in epidemiology in the INSIGHT lab, where his thesis project examined the spatial variations in risk factors for malaria in Muleba, Tanzania. For his doctoral research, Charles will be part of an international research team with partners in from the Pan-African Malaria Vector Research Consortium. Bringing an interdisciplinary approach to his work, Charles has research interests in global health, development economics, population movements, neglected tropical diseases, disaster preparedness and response, and spatial analysis. 

Claudia Duguay

PhD candidate

Claudia is a doctoral student focusing her research on the spatial epidemiology of malaria and co-infections in children in Northwestern Tanzania. She obtained a BS in Biomedical Engineering and a MPH in Epidemiology from Drexel University prior to joining the University of Ottawa. Claudia started working with the INSIGHT lab in the summer of 2019, where she investigated the environmental limits of hookworms in northern Tanzania using spatial data. She previously conducted fieldwork monitoring large mammals in Cameroon and worked on WASH-related projects in Zambia.  Her main research interests are in spatial epidemiology, malaria, neglected tropical diseases and WASH. As a former NCAA division 1 student athlete, she continues to live an active lifestyle, enjoying swimming, golf, hiking and yoga.

Katarina Ost

PhD candidate

Katarina joined the INSIGHT lab as a doctoral student in epidemiology with an interest in studying the control of Lyme disease in Eastern Ontario. She is interested in research on vector-borne diseases, global health, and the health impacts of climate change and completed her MPH at the University of Washington through a climate change and malaria project.

Michala Norman

MPH candidate

Michala is an MPH student with an interest in utilizing a global health perspective to address health disparities and promote equity within diverse cultural contexts. At the INSIGHT lab, Michala is involved in tick-borne disease research and surveillance projects to assess the environmental risks for Lyme disease transmission. Her current research at the lab is focused on investigating current climate change adaptation strategies aimed at addressing the emerging risks of vector-borne diseases.

Kiley Mackenzie

BSc (Hon.) student

Kiley is currently completing her Honours Bachelor's of Science in Biochemistry with a specialization in microbiology and immunology at the University of Ottawa. She is completing her honours project at INSIGHT as part of the ongoing UPTick project looking at the density and infection prevalence of ticks in various neighborhoods of Ottawa. When she is not working in the lab, Kiley enjoys thrifting, cross stitching, and playing cozy video games!

Andreea Slatculescu

PhD Epidemiology

Andreea completed her doctoral research at INSIGHT on the molecular and spatial epidemiology of Lyme disease emergence in Eastern Ontario. She previously completed an MSc in microbiology and immunology and a graduate diploma in population health risk assessment and management. Andreea currently works as and Epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Jaameeta Kurji

PhD Epidemiology

Jaameeta Kurji recently completed her PhD studies investigating the effectiveness of optimally functioning maternity waiting homes in improving maternal health service converage in Ethiopia. Her thesis work was part of an IDRC-funded implementation study led by her supervisors (Dr. Manisha Kulkarni and Prof. Ronald Labonte) and colleagues from Jimma University, Ethiopia.

Mariame Ouedraogo

MSc Epidemiology

Mariame received her MSc in epidemiology in 2018. Her thesis focused on underlining some of the strategies, barriers, and determinants to optimal maternal and child health (MCH) in Jimma Zone, Ethiopia. More specifically, she assessed the quality of MCH data collected within the health management information system and how women utilize key preventive measures for pregnancy complications and malaria. Mariame now works at SickKids Centre for Global Child Health in Toronto.

Andrew Tomayer

MSc Epidemiology

Andrew earned his Master's in epidemiology in 2016 with his thesis "Impact of Indoor Residual Spraying and Insecticide-treated Bed Nets on Malaria Transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa Using Mathematical Modelling" and was co-supervised by Dr. Manisha Kulkarni and Dr. Robert Smith. Andrew was also a research assistant for Dr. Kulkarni throughout the duration of his degree, developing GIS models of mosquito populations in Moshi, Tanzania. He currently works as a data analyst at the Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centers as part of the Canadian Pediatric Decision Support Network.

Isha Narula

MSc Epidemiology

Isha completed her Master's in epidemiology in 2017 examining Spatiotemporal trends in Lyme disease emergence in Eastern Ontario. She is currently an MD candidate at the University of Toronto.

Esha Homenauth

MSc Epidemiology

Esha completed her Master's degree in epidemiology in 2016. Her thesis focused on evaluating multilevel risk factors associated with malaria and arbovirus prevalence in regions of Tanzania. These research findings have assisted in guiding policy decisions regarding surveillance efforts as well as informed where and when to prioritize interventions. Esha is currently an epidemiologist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

Jessica Sutinen

MSc Epidemiology

Jessica recently completed her Master's in Epidemiology with a research interest in viral epidemiology. Her thesis project focused on identifying comorbid conditions as risk factors of severe neurological disease following West Nile virus infection. In addition, she is part of a team at Health Canada that is conducting monitoring and surveillance of climate-related impacts on health.

Shruti Mallya

MSc Epidemiology

Shruti's Master's thesis project looked at factors predicting the occurrence of human West Nile virus cases in southern Ontario. Climate data as well as mosquito surveillance data were used in a generalized linear mixed model to forecast risk of disease in an upcoming season. The time lag between the appearance of positive mosquito clusters and human case clusters was also explored. Since graduating, Shruti has worked as a data analyst at the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health in Toronto and is currently a health analyst at Peel Region Public Health.

Aisha Barkhad

MSc Epidemiology

Aisha completed her Master of Science in Epidemiology in 2019. Her research interests include, but are not limited to, vector-borne disease epidemiology, neglected tropical diseases, and globalization and health equity. Aisha’s background concentrated on biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology with emphasis on pathogen-host interactions. At the INSIGHT Lab, Aisha's major research paper highlighted trends in malaria burden in Tanzania using Malaria Indicator Survey data.

Amarachi Asomugha

MPH practicum student

Amarachi is an MPH student at the University of Ottawa with interests in health promotion, health policy analysis, and climate change from a socio-ecological perspective. She has an M.D. from V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine. As part of her MPH practicum, she worked at INSIGHT lab on climate change adaptation and vector-borne diseases in Africa, specifically in Tanzania and Benin. This experience has further spurred her interest in the impacts of climate change on sleep health and psychological well-being in the global context.

Renée Schryer

MPH practicum student

Renée is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student with interests in vector-borne disease, public health communication, and One Health. She holds a BSc in Immunology and Physiology from the University of Toronto. As a practicum student and research assistant at the INSIGHT lab she conducted tick and small mammal fieldwork, literature reviews relating to climate change and vector-borne disease, and tick identification projects.

Sam Yee

BSc (Hon.) student

Sam completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical science with a minor in Indigenous studies at uOttawa in 2022. Her honours project with the INSIGHT Lab focused on assessing the indicators and determinants of good knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) related to COVID-19 among residents of three rural districts in Benin. This research contributed to a larger project with partners in Benin that assessed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on malaria prevention and control at the community and health systems levels. In her spare time, Sam enjoys watching movies, reading graphic novels, riding her bike, and helping her fellow students through advocacy and student government. She is currently an MD student at the University of Toronto.

Danny Ke

BSc (Hon.) NSERC Summer Student

Danny obtained his BSc in Biomedical sciences at the University of Ottawa and is currently an MD student at Queen's University. His 2021 summer research involved the UPTick Project, analyzing the 2020 Lyme disease prevalence in blacklegged ticks among habitats in the Ottawa region. He also helps out with capturing and identifying ticks and small mammals and testing them for Lyme disease. In his spare time, he writes music, mostly for piano.

Marianne Lahaie Luna

BSc (Hon.) Environmental Science

Marianne received an Honours BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Ottawa in the spring of 2018 and will begin a Masters of Science in Public Health at McGill University in the fall of 2018. For her undergraduate thesis project at the Kulkarni lab (co-supervised by Dr. Manisha Kulkarni and Dr. Laurie Chan), she worked on identifying potential Lyme disease risk areas to human populations in urban and rural areas in the city of Ottawa. Marianne is currently an MPH student at McGill University.

Jean-Paul Soucy

BSc (Hon.) Biology

Jean-Paul obtained his BSc in biology with a minor in mathematics from the University of Ottawa. For his undergraduate thesis project, he worked in the Kulkarni lab on modelling the vector of Lyme disease in Ontario, and was co-supervised by Jeremy Kerr. He is currently a Doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Toronto, having recently completed his Master's in epidemiology at McGill University where he worked with Dr. David Buckeridge on modelling the relationship between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in Québec. He is also collaborating with the INSIGHT lab on projects on Lyme disease and Zika virus vectors in North America.

Merlin Caron-Levesque

BSc (Hon.) Biology

Merlin completed an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Ottawa. His honours project was on the spatial trends of West Nile virus vectors within Ottawa. Merlin also worked as a research assistant on Dr. Kulkarni's project for Lyme disease surveillance in Ottawa, helping to capture and identify the ticks, test the ticks for Lyme disease, and conduct spatial analyses. Merlin is currently a Master's of Biology student at the University of Ottawa. 

Andrew Meyer

BHSc student & research assistant

Andrew is an undergraduate student completing his bachelor’s degree in health science at the University of Ottawa. With research interests in vector borne diseases, zoonotic diseases, climate change, and emerging infectious diseases, Andrew joined INSIGHT as a research assistant to contribute to fieldwork with the UPTick project and conduct a literature review assessing the risk of zoonotic diseases within an ever-greening urban environment.

Olivia Facchin

BHSc (Hon.) student & NSERC summer student

Olivia completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at the University of Ottawa in 2022. In 2021 and 2022, she undertook her summer and Honour’s projects at INSIGHT as part of the ongoing UPTick project, with a focus on the relationship between the density and infection prevalence of ticks and small mammals in western Ottawa. When she’s not in the field or the lab, Olivia enjoys canoe camping, volunteering at animal hospitals, and playing piano. Olivia is currently an MD student at the University of Toronto.

Ananya K Mallubhotla

BHSc (Hon)

Ananya performed volunteer work for the Lyme disease project at the INSIGHT lab during her 3rd year undergraduate studies (Honours program in Health Sciences along with a minor in Public Administration). She wishes to pursue a combination of Law and Masters in public health after her undergraduate studies. In her spare time, Ananya loves painting, participating in public speaking and debate events, and writing essays and poetry. She is also a trained Indian classical dancer and has recently started learning Indian Carnatic music.

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