Past Staff and Trainees

Nathan Cantor - MSc



Nathan completed his MSc. in Epidemiology under the supervision of Dr. Colman in 2020. He graduated with a B.Sc(H) in Biology from Queen’s University in 2018. His MSc. Research Paper focused on factors related to driving under the influence of cannabis in high school students. During his MSc., Nathan worked as a  Research Assistant under Dr. Lynne Leonard for the  iTRACK study, learning about people who inject drugs’ attitudes and opinions of supervised injection sites. He is currently working as an RA at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute under Dr. Peter Tanuseputro, with a focus on alcohol and cannabis policy research. Nathan’s highlights during his MSc. included: SEPH Research Day, APEAL trivia matches, and one-on-one classes with Dr. Colman for Psychiatric Epidemiology (where they only sometimes went off-topic to discuss the Toronto Raptors).

François Thériault - PhD


Francois completed his PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Colman in 2020. His doctoral thesis explored factors associated with incidence of, and service use for, major depression in the Canadian Armed Forces. He currently works as a Senior Epidemiologist with the Department of National Defence.

Ewa Sucha – Research Associate


Ewa was a Biostatistician in the APEAL lab. In 2012, she completed her M.Sc. in Biostatistics at University of Ottawa and is currently working on her PhD in Statistics. Her statistical interests lie in the area of parametric and nonparametric estimation methods in survival and recurrent events analysis. For past 4 years, she was also working as a biostatistician on several projects including studies of various health outcomes in official language minority population in Canada (RRASFO), and studies of a relationship between prescriptions volume and morbidity in Canadian population (Health Canada). Ewa also received a MA in personality psychology from Poland. During her time in the APEAL lab, she completed analyses for a project examining the association between depression and all-cause mortality using data from the Stirling County Study, and another project examining associations between parenting practices in childhood and mental health in adolescence.

Gabrielle Galley - MSc

GabbyGabby completed her MSc in Epidemiology under the supervision of Dr. Ian Colman. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from the University of Ottawa. She then went on to work at the Mental Health Commission of Canada as a Program Manager, supporting the research of a National, community-based suicide prevention demonstration project. She is currently working as the Senior Research & Policy Analyst at the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions. Her research interests include: suicide prevention, intentional self-harm, first responder and Veteran mental health, PTSD, early life risk factors for mental health disorders, fetal programming theory, and e-therapies.

Corneliu Rusu – MSc

Corneliu Rusu recently graduated with an MSc in Epidemiology under Dr. Colman’s supervision. He holds an MD and an MSc in Biostatistics. He previously worked for the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control. He currently holds an epidemiologist position in the Directorate of Mental Health at the Department of National Defense. His primary research interest is machine learning in mental health, with a focus on clinical decision support and clinical program evaluation.

Dylan Johnson – MSc



Dylan Johnson completed his MSc in Epidemiology under Dr. Ian Colman’s supervision in May 2018. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. He is currently studying at the University of Toronto in the School and Clinical Child Psychology MA/PhD program. His current research includes a systematic review and meta-analysis exploring the differential effects of threat and deprivation on childhood executive function and the design and implementation of an international longitudinal cohort study designed to investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on parental stress, child psychopathology, and family functioning. As part of his clinical training, he is currently completing a school psychology practicum with the York Regional District School Board.

Kiyuri Naicker - PhD


Kiyuri is a recent graduate of the PhD program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree with double majors in Biology and Psychology from the University of Victoria, and a Masters in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her previous work experience includes a role as Polio Coordinator with the Polio Eradication Initiative, with fieldwork in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her research interests include mental illness and chronic disease comorbidities, and her doctoral research was  supported by an award from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation. For this project, she worked with collaborators at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health to explore associations between depression and anxiety comorbidities and Type 2 diabetes complications and mortality. She currently holds a surveillance epidemiologist position with the Department of National Defense.

Michael Martin - PhD


Michael Martin was the first PhD graduate of the APEAL lab. He was the Chair-elect of the student section of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services, and an alumnus of the CIHR Social Aetiology of Mental Illness training program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He previously worked for the Mental Health Branch at National Headquarters of Correctional Service of Canada, where he was involved in the development of a mental health screening system offered to all inmates upon intake to prison. Michael’s primary research interests are on the intersection between mental health and justice outcomes. His thesis research explored the effectiveness of this screening system to detect mental illness in prison and to reduce rates of violence, self-harm, and suicide during incarceration.

Christine Frank - Research Associate

Christine was a senior research associate in the APEAL lab. She joined the lab in June 2016. In 2012, christine2she completed her M.A. in Psychology at Carleton University and is currently working on her PhD. Prior to joining the lab, Christine worked as an analyst and methodologist at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre. Christine is currently working with the Department of National Defence on a research project that examines stigma as a consequence of care-seeking in the Canadian Armed Forces.



Nathalie MacKinnon – Research Associate

10549633_10202032875817608_2960373597850740491_oNathalie was a research associate in the APEAL lab from 2015-2016. Nathalie holds a BSc. in Neuroscience from McGill University and an MPhil in Public Health from Cambridge University. Her thesis addressed early life risk factors for psychosis and schizophrenia, and specifically looked at the role of the immune system and infections in early life. She graduated in 2015 and soon after joined the APEAL lab. She extended her thesis work in the APEAL lab, looking at early life risk factors for additional mental illnesses, including depression. Nathalie is now attending medical school at McGill University.

Murray Weeks – Research Associate


Murray was a Research Associate in the APEAL Lab from 2012-2015. During his time in the APEAL lab, he led a series of projects using the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth to examine the development of anxious and depressive symptoms in children and adolescents. He also worked at the Department of National Defence in the Directorate of Mental Health, where he conducted research examining the mental health of Canadian Armed Forces personnel. Murray now works as an Epidemiologist with the Centre for Surveillance and Applied Research at the Public Health Agency of Canada. He still makes puns regularly.

Marc-André Bélair – MSc

Marc-André Bélair is a Public Health Officer and Epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada, currently deployed inside the BC Centre for Disease Control where he is primarily responsible for coordinating the response to the overdose crisis between the BC Coroners Service and the BCCDC.  He holds a B.Soc.Sci in Political Science, and an M.Sc. in Epidemiology from the University of Ottawa. Marc-André has been working and studying in public health in one capacity or another for over 15 years, in both policy and epidemiological capacities. In addition, he has had the privilege of being deployed five times in the last three years, as part of the G7 Summit in Quebec City in 2018, to evaluate a syndromic surveillance system for asylum seekers in temporary housing in Montréal, also in 2018, the Jeux du Québec in 2019, and two COVID-19 mobilizations, in the Fraser Health Authority in the lower mainland of BC, and Montreal Public Health.  He is also a designated screening officer under the Quarantine Act and has undertaken passenger screening for COVID-19 at the Vancouver International Airport.

Outside of work, Marc-André sings in the Tenor 2 section of the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, loves to travel (in normal times!) and is passionate about video games, cooking, hiking, cheese making, and is recently embarked on a training program with the goal of completing his first 5km jog.

Jen Dykxhoorm – MSc


Jen completed her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine under Dr. Colman’s supervision. Her thesis research focused on early life predictors of adolescent suicidal thoughts. As a research assistant in the APEAL lab, Jen was involved in projects investigating temporal trends in mental health, the link between use of preventative health services and mood disorders, and the links between child abuse and suicidality.  She worked as an epidemiologist at Public Health Agency of Canada and strategic research and policy advisor at the Mental Health Commission of Canada before moving to the UK to complete her PhD at UCL. Jen’s PhD research at UCL focused on the social and spatial determinants of psychotic disorders, with a particular focus on migrant mental health. Jen currently holds a senior research fellowship in public mental health at UCL.

Seanna McMartin – Research Analyst

Seanna was a Research Analyst in the APEAL Lab from 2011-2013. Seanna completed a BSc in Life Sciences and Health Studies at Queen’s University in 2009, followed by a MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Alberta School of Public Health where she joined the APEAL Lab. Her thesis research focused on the relationship between diet and mental health in Canadian children. Seanna was involved in several APEAL lab projects including further studies of the association between diet and mental health, and factors that protect adolescents against depression as they enter adulthood.

Hayat (Yasmin) Garad – MSc

Yasmin completed her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Alberta School of Public Health under Dr. Colman’s supervision. Yasmin’s thesis research focuses on the relationship between traumatic events in childhood and cardiovascular disease in adulthood. Yasmin is currently working as a Research Coordinator at Western University.

Maeve Wickham – MSc

Maeve completed her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Alberta School of Public Health under Dr. Colman’s supervision. Maeve’s thesis research focused on the relationship between maternal depression in childhood and risky health behaviours in adolescence. Maeve is currently a PhD student at the University of British Columbia.

Anushka Ataullahjan – Research Analyst

As a research analyst with the lab Anushka worked on a variety of projects, but primarily investigated the relationship between low birth weight and depressive symptoms in the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. Anushka is now a PhD candidate at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her thesis investigates the ideology underlying family planning decision making in rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

Mzikazi Nduna – Visiting PhD Student

Mzi was visiting PhD student from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. At the APEAL Lab, she completed a project that investigated the association between depression and risky sexual behaviours. Mzi is currently an associate professor in the School of Human & Community Development at the University of Witwatersrand.

Jason Randell - MSc

Jason recently completed his MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Alberta in 2010 at the APEAL Lab. Jason’s MSc research was an investigation of how we assess patients for self harm risk in the emergency department. Jason is currently pursuing his Phd from the University of Manitoba.

Rebecca North – MSc

Rebecca completed her MSc in Epidemiology at the APEAL Lab. Her MSc thesis was an investigation of the relationship between early cognitive development and adolescent depression. Rebecca is currently working as a research analyst for Eastern Health in St. John’s Newfoundland.

Sonja Swanson – Visiting PhD Student

Sonja visited the APEAL Lab in the summer of 2011 during her doctoral training. Sonja worked on one project that investigated exposure to suicide as a risk factor for suicidality among Canadian youth, and another that studied the relationship between migraine headache and depression. She is now an Assistant Professor in the department of Epidemiology at Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

Yiye (Grace) Zeng - Biostatistician

Yiye (Grace) Zeng  was a biostatistician at the APEAL Lab. She worked on data analysis for several projects using the Statistics Canada survey data, specifically the National Population Health Survey (NPHS). Grace is currently working for the Government of Alberta as a Health System Analyst at the Ministry of Health.


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