Meet the 2014-15 ASNPN Committee


Lianne Soller – McGill University

Lianne is a Ph.D. candidate in Epidemiology at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Ann Clarke. Her research, for which she has been awarded an FRQS Doctoral Award, focuses on the prevalence and treatment of food allergy in Canada. Lianne was an inaugural winner of AllerGen’s International Research Visit Award; for six months starting September 2013, she worked with Drs. Jonathan Hourihane and Audrey Dunn Galvin at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. Lianne previously served on the ASNPN Leadership Committee as Vice-President and Regional Director for Québec and the Atlantic provinces. This is her third term as ASNPN President.



Pia-Lauren Reece  – McMaster University

Pia received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and her Ph.D. in Medical Sciences (Immunology) from McMaster University. Her thesis, supervised by Dr. Judah Denburg, involved investigating the mechanisms of stem cell differentiation in relation to both microbial influences and maternal atopy (i.e., surrogate measure of infant-allergic risk). This work has been published in PLOS One, Immunology and the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and has been presented at national and international meetings. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow investigating whether gene expression profiles in differentiating cord blood progenitor cells may serve as molecular “biomarkers” of infant atopic risk. This work is co-supervised by Dr. Judah Denburg and Dr. Guillaume Paré and will involve collaboration with AllerGen investigators of the Canadian Healthy Individual Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study.  This is her third term as ASNPN Vice-President and member of the Research Management Committee.




Leah Shaver – University of Waterloo

Leah received her B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences from Brock University in 2013. She is presently a M.Sc. student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Leah’s broad research interests focus on experiences and perceptions of the management of anaphylactic allergies. Under the supervision of Dr. Nancy Fenton, Leah’s thesis examines school-based anaphylaxis management policies; in particular, the implementation and implications of school policies on the lives of at-risk children, teachers, parents and other individuals.



Mena Soliman – Queen’s University

Mena completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB ChB) degree at the Kasr Al-Ainy School of Medicine of University of Cairo in Egypt.  He has also completed elective training in several specialities at Toronto Western Hospital (University of Toronto), St. Joseph’s Hospital (McMaster University), and McMaster Children’s Hospital. Mena is currently an M.Sc. student in Immunology and Microbiology at Queen’s University, supervised by Dr. Anne Ellis. His research is focused on optimizing nasal allergen challenge (NAC) protocols to study the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis (AR), as well as the effect of novel medications on AR. Mena is also working on phenotyping the AR response and identifying the nasal biomarkers for each phenotype. The optimized model is part of the AR–Clinical Investigator Collaborative (AR-CIC) of the AllerGen network, which aims to implement the NAC model for use in multi-centre clinical trials.




Amrit Singh – The University of British Columbia

Amrit graduated from McMaster University in 2010 with a B.Sc. in Biology and Mathematics.  Amrit is currently a PhD student in Experimental Medicine at The University of British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Scott Tebbutt.  His main research focus is on discriminating allergen-induced isolated early and dual responders by using various ‘omics’ data sets derived from peripheral blood, as part of the AllerGen Clinical Investigator Collaborative.  Amrit is also a trainee at the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF) Centre.  This is his second term as Pacific Director.



Vivek Gandhi – University of Alberta

Vivek received his B.Sc. from Bhavnagar University and his M.Sc. in Microbiology from Sardar Patel University in India. Currently, Vivek is a Ph.D. student in Experimental Medicine at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Harissios Vliagoftis. His research focuses on understanding the expression regulation of a pro-inflammatory receptor called Proteinase Activated Receptor-2 (PAR-2) on airway epithelium in asthma.


Elizabeth Simms – McMaster University

Elizabeth is an MD/PhD student at McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Mark Larché. Prior to joining the MD/PhD program, she completed an MSc supervised by Drs. Mark Larché and Parameswaran Nair, in which she examined the role of allergens in driving T-cell cytokine responses in asthmatic patients. For her Ph.D. thesis, she is investigating the use of peptide immunotherapy for the treatment of peanut allergy. Elizabeth hopes to build a career that will blend hands-on patient care with her interest in clinically focused research.



Stephanie Nairn – McGill University

Stephanie is a PhD student in the Social Studies of Medicine, Bioethics and Sociology Department at McGill University. She completed her Master’s degree in Sociology at Queen’s University studying the everyday experience of food allergy and food intolerance. Specifically, Stephanie showed how individuals with food allergies navigate risks and the desire to experience pleasure in consumption in everyday life. Her current research interests lie at the intersection of sociology, psychology and biological studies of health and illness. Stephanie is a research assistant on a number of different projects at McGill. She is interested in the social construction of scientific, medical and individuals’ knowledge about food allergy and intolerance and she uses social theory and ethnographic methodologies to explore these phenomena. She also researches the experience of chronic stress, its impacts on health, and the ways in which individuals become resilient to adverse health and illness via access to social support. This is her second term as Québec/Atlantic director.


Carlo de Olim Rugginenti – University of Montréal

Carlo currently studies at the University of Montréal in the Biomedical Sciences Master’s Degree program under the supervision of Drs Catherine Lemière and Michel Gérin. His research interests include the evaluation of qualitative assessment methods of occupational exposures in work-related asthma. Carlo received his B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences with a specialty in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Mogi das Cruzes in Sao Paulo, Brazil, following which he worked as a medical laboratory technician in clinical pathology and anatomic pathology laboratories. Aside from epidemiology and clinical biochemistry, Carlo also has a strong interest in the knowledge translation of research results. This is his second term as Member-at-Large.


Laura Feldman – University of Toronto

Laura is an MPH student studying Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Laura received her B.Sc. in Environment and Health from the University of Toronto in 2014. Since 2011, Laura has worked under the supervision of AllerGen investigator Dr. Teresa To, focusing on asthma surveillance and the identification of risk factors for asthma. Working with Dr. To, Laura has developed an interest in the growing field of spatial epidemiology—a field she hopes to explore further over the course of her graduate studies. Laura is a three-time recipient of the AllerGen Undergraduate Summer Studentship.