Meet The Speakers


Eliza Ali

PhD Student, Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University/ Merali Lab, The Royal's Institute of Mental Health Research

Talk Title: Can rats teach us more about empathy?

During her research in Neuroscience from Carleton University Eliza explored how vicarious stress affects the behaviour and the neurobiology of juvenile and adult rats. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience Chapter in Ottawa and is a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum. She combines her passion for teaching, science outreach, and youth empowerment through her work developing and presenting hands-on activities to explain complicated science topics with excitement and positivity. She has appeared as a guest scientist on TVO's Look Kool and has traveled to communities in Northern Ontario and Nunavut teaching science in schools. For her commitment to science outreach to the youth, she was nominated for the Let’s Talk Science National Volunteer Award. She enjoys reading books of all kinds, getting crafty and hiking.

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Dr. Irem Bor-Yaliniz

Senior Research Engineer / Huawei Canada Research Center

Talk Title: Sky is the limit for next generation wireless communications


Irem is a senior research engineer at one of the most distinguished wireless research centres, namely, Huawei Canada Research Center. She recently obtained her PhD from Carleton University. Her research has attracted significant attention within a short amount of time, and her studies have been described as "revolutionary" by professionals in her field. She is the first Canadian to be chosen as one of the Rising Stars in Communications and Networking by N2Women, and became a Senior Member of IEEE before graduation, which is a rare achievement. She is passionate about making science and engineering understandable for everyone, and encouraging young generations for such programs. Therefore, she designed and delivered the first Enrichment Mini Program Course on Wireless Communications, and became a founding member of Science Slam Ottawa, a branch of Science Slam Canada.

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Dr. Jodi Edwards

Scientist/Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa Heart Institute/University of Ottawa

Talk Title: Follow your heart but don't forget your brain: The heart-brain connection for cardiovascular health


Dr. Jodi Edwards is the director of the Brain and Heart Nexus Research Program at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) and an assistant professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Edwards is a cardiovascular epidemiologist whose research program involves risk assessment and predictive modeling for the heart-brain interface, with a specific focus on the identification of novel cardiac markers of stroke and dementia risk and women's heart and brain health. Dr. Edwards completed her doctoral training at the University of British Columbia in 2014, where she was awarded the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Neurosciences and Mental Health Brain Star Award for her doctoral work. She went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Sandra Black at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, prior to joining the UOHI in December 2017. Dr. Edwards has published extensively in leading clinical journals including the Journal of the American Heart Association, Stroke, Neurology, and Alzheimer’s and Dementia and her work has received national media attention. Dr. Edwards presently holds research funding from the CIHR, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Canadian Stroke Trials for Optimized Results.

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Dr. Gracielle Higino

University of British Columbia

Talk Title: Never tell me the odds!

​Gracielle is a biologist that has always wondered how species evolved and how they ended up living where they live now. She started her career researching why some female damselflies look like males and now she is a postdoc at the University of British Columbia rescuing data that's about to go extinct. Wait, data? Yes, data! She helps getting valuable environmental, ecological and evolutionary data that are not properly archived and make them open so they can thrive for many years to come. She also tries to understand things about the distribution of species, such as if we can use what we know about their interactions to find out where they are.

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Niki Mavragani

PhD. Student, University of Ottawa

Talk Title: Let's talk magnetism!


Niki Mavragani, originated from Greece, is an international graduate student at the University of Ottawa. She performed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Patras in Greece where she obtained a MSc in Analytical Chemistry (2018). Since 2019 she is pursuing a PhD in Chemistry and specializes on the synthesis of single molecule magnets as a member of the Murugesu Group at the University of Ottawa.

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Dr. Sangeeta Murugkar

Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Carleton University

Talk Title: Biophotonics: Shedding Light on Life


Dr. Sangeeta Murugkar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at Carleton University where she leads the research laboratory in Biophotonics. She is interested in applying her background in studying light-matter interactions and her experience in the photonics industry, to develop optical techniques that can be translated to the clinic for improving patient care.

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    Dr. Jagdeep K. Sandhu

    Research Officer, National Research Council Canada

    Talk Title: The inflamed brain: putting out the fire of inflammation

    Dr. Sandhu obtained her PhD in 1998 under the supervision of Dr. Hyman Birnboim from the University of Ottawa where she established the role of free radicals produced by tumor-infiltrating neutrophils in tumor progression. After obtaining the NSERC post-doctoral fellowship she joined the National Research Council Canada and was hired as a continuing Research Officer in 2001. Her research is focused on 2 themes: i) Understanding the role of the innate immune system during inflammation, ii) Leveraging exosomes - nature's own nanoparticles to deliver therapeutics and for biomarker discovery. She works closely with the biopharmaceutical companies and provide a wide range of expertise in the pre-clinical development and evaluation of therapeutic candidates by de-risking and accelerating their commercialization. As an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Sandhu is involved in teaching and extremely dedicated to the training of the next generation of scientists and serves as a member of the Faculty of Graduate and Post-doctoral studies.

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      Dr. Liette Vasseur

      Full Professor, Brock University

      Talk Title: For a good wine, you need a good vineyard 

      Dr. Vasseur is a full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She is also a member of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, one of five transdisciplinary research centers at the university). Since 2014, she has held the UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability: from Local to Global. Her research program is transdisciplinary and links to ecosystem management, resilience and adaptation to climate change through participatory action research with both rural and coastal communities. Her work is located not only in Canada, but also internationally in China (as a Minjiang researcher at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University), Ecuador, Burkina Faso and Senegal. She works on gender equality, diversity and inclusion with the UNESCO-CC. Since 2020, she is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal Botanique. She currently chairs the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) and the Ecosystem Governance Thematic Group of the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, where she is also Vice President for North America. Her university-community research has earned her the 2011 Latornell Award from Conservation Ontario and the 2018 Brock University Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award.

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      Dr. Onita Basu

      Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carleton University

      Talk Title: Do you know your SDGs?


      Dr. Basu is an environmental engineer with over 15 years experience in industry and academia. Dr. Basu leads an applied research group focused on experimental design, set-up and design of bench scale, pilot scale and full scale experiments. Coaching effective communication in STEM is a key focus of training in her research group.  Research applications include water treatment and  resource management in rural areas, biofiltration optimization, wastewater disinfection, membrane operations, and biofuel development. Dr. Basu recently received a Carleton University Research Achievement Award (2019), a Carleton Graduate Student Mentor Award (2021) and the PEO Ottawa Chapter Civic Award (2020).

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      Dr. Claire Deschênes

      Professor Emeritus, Univeristé Laval

      Talk Title: De la beauté en physique et dans les turbines hydrauliques 

      (Talk in French only)


      Professor Emeritus of Laval University, Professor Claire Deschênes is a pioneer known internationally for her research in engineering, for her commitment to expanding the place of women in science and for women's equality in general. Since 2017, she has been the director of the interdisciplinary scholarly journal Recherches féministes. She has received several honors including Member of the Order of Canada, Knight of the National Order of Quebec and two honorary doctorates. She founded the Hydraulic Machinery Laboratory at Laval University and established an industrial and academic research consortium that is now internationally recognized for the development of state-of-the-art experimental and numerical analyses of hydraulic turbines. 


        Dr. Monica Granados

        Senior Policy Analyst, Environment and Climate Change Canada

        Talk Title: Open science: Putting science within reach

        Dr. Granados is a Open Science and Data Policy Advisor at Environment and Climate Change Canada. She provides subject matter expertise and supports the delivery of Canada’s open science initiatives. As a member of the Leadership Team at PREreview she works to make peer review more open and diverse. Monica is also currently on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Open Data Society promoting open data in Canada and also an alumna of the Frictonless Data Fellowship.

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        Prof. Adina Luican-Mayer

        Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, University of Ottawa

        Talk Title: The amazing quantum world of the thinnest materials 

        Adina Luican-Mayer started as an assistant professor in the Physics Department at uOttawa in January 2016. She received her undergraduate degree from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany (2006) and her PhD in Physics from Rutgers University in the USA (2012). Prior to joining uOttawa, she was the Alexei Abrikosov postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago.


        Her research group focuses on uncovering the novel electronic properties of low-dimensional systems custom made by stacking atomically thin sheets of van der Waals materials using scanning probe microscopy and supporting spectroscopic techniques.

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        Dr. Nirosha J. Murugan

        Assistant Professor in Health Science, Algoma University

        Talk Title: Reprogramming Cancer – using regenerative & biomedical engineering strategies to change the fate of cancer

        I am a newly appointed assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Algoma University. Growing up in a busy city like Toronto, it always fascinated me to see so many people interact and communicate with others to build a prosperous city in what seemed like a chaotic environment. How much signal could be found within the noise? This fascination with biological systems and their environments took to me to Northern Ontario's Laurentian University, where I began to focus on these questions with an emphasis on human health; how biological systems communicate with their environments and what happens when these communication systems breakdown. I then gained interdisciplinary expertise with training in Neuroscience (BSc- Sudbury, ON), Cancer Biology, (MSc & PhD Sudbury, ON) and Regenerative Medicine & Biomedical Engineering (Post-Doc- Boston USA). I now use this diverse repertoire to bring a new perspective to complex questions with a centered focus: How can we talk with cancer to stop its harmful effects on the human body without damaging healthy cells? This is the main question I hope to answer in my new lab.

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        Dawn Pratt

        Founder/STEM Educator/Chemist Askenootow STEM

        Talk Title: Indigenizing STEM

        Tansi! Anin! 

        Dawn Pratt is a member of the Muscowpetung Anihšināpēk Nation. With varied experience in science education and an indomitable spirit, she has forged a professional consultancy as an Indigenous STEM Educational expert for the past 20 years.

        Dawn earned a Master of Science degree with a specialization in the design of organic adsorbent materials directed toward the removal of arsenic from contaminated water (University of Saskatchewan, 2011). Her research resulted in several peer-reviewed publications, including two first-authored and three co-authored papers along with her thesis entitled “Sorption of Arsenic Species using Chitosan-Based Biopolymer Sorbent Materials”. 

        Previously, she was actively involved in two University of Saskatchewan programs, Science Ambassador (2007) and MentorSTEP (2019). In both these programs, she contributed to designing or delivering STEM programming for Indigenous youth or young adults. In particular, MentorSTEP was designed to connect Indigenous girls and women to STEM studies and careers in research and mining. 

        Dawn is fundamentally driven to reinstate Indigenous Elder and Knowledge Keeper teachings into STEM education for the benefit of Indigenous Peoples’ futures. She seeks to amplify Indigenous STEM role models and Indigenized STEM content by transforming instructional practices and curricula in ways that embrace Indigenous cultural, linguistic and land-based traditions and resources. 

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        Julie Mireille Thériault

        Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

        Talk Title: Neige, pluie ou verglas ?

        (Talk in French only)


        Julie Mireille Thériault is a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Université du Québec à Montréal and holds the Canada Research Chair in Winter Extreme Weather Events. After completing her B.Sc. in Physics at the Université de Moncton, she obtained her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from McGill University. Her research focuses on winter precipitation at temperatures near 0C. She studies winter storms in a novel way using an innovative approach that combines atmospheric modeling and field observations. Its achievements have led to a better understanding of the uncertainty associated with the measurement of snow on the ground, the mechanisms of sleet and ice formation and their evolution in the future.

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        Dr. Winnie Ye

        Professor, Carleton University

        Talk Title: Magic of Light - Understanding Photonics/ Optics

        Dr. Winnie Ye is a Full Professor in the Department of Electronics at Carleton University. She is also a Canada Research Chair (Tier II), and her expertise is in silicon photonics and its applications in telecommunications, data communication, biophotonics, and renewable energy. Dr. Ye received her B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University. She then studied Photonics and received her M.A.Sc. and Ph.D degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto and Carleton University, respectively. She then joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University as a NSERC postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Ye returned to Carleton as a faculty member in 2009.

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