Nov 3, 2023

Fall 2023 Graduates on Research, Grad School Highlights and What's Next

Current Students, Prospective Students
By Sarah Topa

Ahead of their convocation ceremony on November 7, 2023 three Institute of Medical Science (IMS) graduates discuss their research, their graduate school highlights, what they're doing next and their advice for new students. 

Danny Bojic

Dejan (Danny) Bojic, MSc

Research Area: Lung Transplantation: Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion
Supervisor: Dr. Mingyao Liu
Research Site: MaRS Centre, Toronto Medical Discovery Tower

My MSc research focused on Ex-Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP), a technology that allows physicians to treat and evaluate donor lungs outside the body. Specifically, I developed a novel perfusate with the goal of increasing the amount of time lungs can stay outside the body while on EVLP.

I was drawn to this research because of its translational nature and the world-renowned team leading the work. It was inspiring to learn from the talented researchers and clinicians at the Toronto Lung Transplant Program and to see the real-world impact of our research.

The greatest highlights of my time at IMS came from being part of the IMS Students' Association. As one of the Co-Presidents, I worked alongside a passionate executive team to organize community building events such as the annual Winter Party, where students and supervisors traded out their lab coats and safety goggles for suits and dresses. I also participated in meaningful leadership meetings regarding issues facing IMS students and saw first-hand the value IMS places on providing an enriching graduate student experience.

I have just started medical school at the University of Toronto and am  excited to spend more time in the hospital setting, learning and interacting with healthcare professionals and patients. 

My advice for new IMS students is to start writing your thesis early! Aside from that, it's also equally important to get involved in the IMS community. Graduate studies will come with highs and lows, and having a network to share these experiences with makes the hard times easier and the good times even better.

Stephanie Tran

 Stephanie Tran, PhD

Research area: Parkinson’s Disease
Supervisor: Dr. Robert Chen
Research Site: Krembil Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital

I volunteered at a brain stimulation lab at Western University during my undergraduate degree. I chose this research area for my PhD because I wanted to continue working with people with Parkinson’s disease.

My highlights of graduate school include meeting all the great minds at IMS, and helping plan events such as the Toronto Brain Bee and IMS Scientific Day.

I recently accepted a role at Johnson & Johnson MedTech as the Scientific Affairs Manager. I’m excited to start a career where I can stay involved in emerging research and advancing therapies.

My advice for new students is that graduate school goes by a lot faster than you think, so make sure to enjoy it!

Meital Yerushalmi

Meital Yerushalmi, PhD

Research area: The Skin Microbiome in Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
Supervisor: Dr. Vinod Chandran
Research Site: Krembil Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital

I trained as a chiropractor and my work with patients inspired me to pursue research on arthritis. I was fortunate to enroll at IMS and study Psoriatic Arthritis, a rheumatic condition associated with psoriasis. Through my initial literature review I became fascinated with the study of the microbiome in human health and disease, and under the guidance of Dr. Chandran conducted research to address the knowledge gap on this topic in psoriatic disease. 

I enjoyed the multifaceted nature of my research - from patient recruitment in the clinic to sample processing in the lab and analysis of results. I also enjoyed mentoring undergraduate students, attending conferences, and participating in Life Science Career Development Syndicate (LSCDS) programs. 

I joined Novartis USA as a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) where I currently cover seven states, help train new MSLs, and leverage my passion for research in my capacity as the MSL Trial Lead for two trials. 

My advice for new students it to start writing early on! I used to call them "Thesis Thursdays" - days I dedicated to putting pen-to-paper with literature reviews and protocols. In addition, take advantage of opportunities afforded to students like LSCDS events and Grand Rounds, and attending conferences at discounted rates. These will help you grow your network, which is important to build well-ahead of graduation.