Research Trainees

Asia Akther – MSc Student



Asia (pronounced: Aaazia) is currently doing her MSc in Epidemiology, at Ottawa’s SEPH, under the supervision of Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall and Dr. Ian Colman. She holds a BSc Honours degree in Neuroscience and Mental Health, with a minor in Psychology and Statistics, from Carleton University. Her research interest is in psychiatric epidemiology, focusing on addiction in the youth population. Aside from her educational life, she is an avid kdrama fan, shopaholic, and she loves travelling.




Brianna Frangione – MSc student


My name is Brianna Frangione, I recently graduated from Carleton University with an honours bachelor of Health Sciences. This is my first year in the masters epidemiology program, and I am looking to fast-track into the PhD program! I have been researching alongside Dr. Paul Villeneuve since May 2020, in occupational and environmental epidemiology. I currently have two published systematic reviews and meta-analyses. I also work for the Public Health Agency of Canada in the applied research division, exploring the CLSA datasets. This is the first year I am in Dr. Colman’s lab, and I am excited to learn more about psychiatric epidemiology!

Danielle Lemaire – MSc Student

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Danielle is a Masters student in the uOttawa School of Epidemiology and Public Health program and a research trainee in the APEAL lab. Danielle has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology Brain and Cognition with a minor in Neuroscience from the University of Guelph (2019). Danielle’s Masters research focuses on evaluating whether psychosocial factors moderate the relationship between victimization/poly-victimization and adverse adolescent mental health and is funded by a Canadian Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Apart from psychiatric epidemiology research, Danielle loves cottaging, going to the movies, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her dog Stella.

Seana Semchishen – MSc Student


Seana is a second-year MSc Epidemiology student. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA(Hons) in Psychology. Prior to joining the APEAL lab, she worked with various consulting organizations and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) supporting systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and network meta-analyses relating to cancers and chronic disease. Seana’s master’s research is investigating mental health services use among children and adults with developmental disabilities. Broadly speaking, she hopes to embark on a meaningful career that informs Canadian clinical practice and policies to ultimately improve the quality of life for those experiencing mental health challenges.

 Sara Siddiqi – MSc Student


Sara is a Master’s student in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health and APEAL laboratory. She has a MSc in Neuroscience and Bachelor of Health Sciences from Carleton University. Her work in neuroscience evaluated the role of ethno-racial factors in Parkinson’s Disease prevalence and advocated for diversity in research. She hopes to bring a unique background with neuroscience, biomedical sciences, and equity work to the field of Epidemiology. Supervised by Dr. Jess Fiedorowicz, Head and Chief of the Department of Mental Health at The Ottawa Hospital, her epidemiology thesis will investigate the relationship between severe mental illness and risk of cardiovascular disease. Outside of the lab she enjoys baking, hiking, and finding allergen-free places to eat!


Nicole Hammond – PhD Candidate

NHammond_APEAL Website PicNicole is a PhD candidate in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, and a research trainee in the APEAL laboratory. Nicole has a diverse educational background, having obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law & Psychology (2010) and Masters in Experimental Psychology (2012) at Carleton University, followed by a Masters of Science in Epidemiology & Community Medicine (2018) at the University of Ottawa, before pursuing her PhD. Nicole also has a varied research and professional work history, which she believes equips her with a unique skillset to contribute to advancing the field of Psychiatric Epidemiology. Nicole’s doctoral research focuses on family-level risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviours among Canadian adolescents, and is funded by a Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Shannon Thompson – PhD Student

SThompson CIHR Headshot 2019


Shannon is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Ian Colman’s APEAL laboratory. She holds a B.Sc in Behaviour, Cognition and Neuroscience from the University of Windsor, and an M.Sc in Neuroscience from the University of Ottawa. In her master’s work, Shannon investigated hippocampal postnatal neurogenesis and its association with the cognitive impairments affecting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients. Under the supervision of Dr. Michael Martin, Manager of the Mental Health Epidemiology branch at Correctional Services Canada (Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa; APEAL alumni), Shannon’s doctoral research will be to evaluate suicidality in Canadian Federal Penitentiaries





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