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Current Students


Dr. Jaameeta Kurji

Research associate

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. 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

Postdoctoral fellow

Benoit is interested in how vectors and reservoirs of human and animal illnesses spread through the landscape and adapt to local environments. He has contributed to INSIGHT's 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. Benoit is currently holds a CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellowship and he is working with PHAC's National Microbiology Lab in Ste-Hyacinthe on the spatial epidemiology of mosquito-borne viruses. His goal is to identify landscape factors affecting vector abundance and spread and their associated pathogens, and how these relate to human disease risk. 

Dr. Amber Gigi Hoi

Postdoctoral fellow

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 will work on extending her spatial epidemiology toolkit to study landscape determinants of vector distribution and disease burden. Her hobbies include swimming and biking, making and eating cake, teddy bears, and whiskey.

Past students

Andreea Slatculescu

PhD candidate

Andreea is a doctoral student studying the molecular and spatial epidemiology of Lyme disease emergence in Eastern Ontario. She is a long-time student at the University of Ottawa, having previously completed an MSc in microbiology and immunology and a graduate diploma in population health risk assessment and management. In her spare time, Andreea moonlights as a baker and cake decorator for her mom's shop, paints abstract scenes and portraits, and takes headshots of her superstar cat.

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.

Sam Yee

Undergraduate Honours 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.

Olivia Facchin

Undergrad honours 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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