Executive Committee

The Society of Neuroscience Graduate Students (SONGS) is an organization run by graduate students in the neuroscience program at Western University. Each of our committee members is elected through a voting process. Below you will find some information about our current members and their roles within the Executive Committee.

If you are interested in becoming part of this committee we are always looking to recruit new members. Please get in touch to receive more information about becoming involved with the society.


Faraj Haddad
Faraj is a PhD student in the Schmid lab. His work focuses on environmental influences on fetal brain development. More specifically, he studies the effects of maternal infection and the ensuing immune response during pregnancy on brain development and how it can increase the risk of autism and schizophrenia in offspring. His work involves a lot of rat behavioural work and some molecular techniques, but the thing he most enjoys his PhD is teaching and mentoring undergraduate students. Outside the lab, Faraj enjoys watching video game tournaments and baking.

Lab website: http://www.theschmidlab.com/
Vice President

Julia Sunstrum
Julia is a PhD student cosupervised by Dr. Wataru Inoue and Dr. Julio Martinez-Trujillo. She completed her MSc with Dr. Inoue studying the neurobiology of chronic stress using patch clamp electrophysiology. Her current project investigates the role of social interaction in reducing stress using in vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics and behaviour. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing sports, travelling and watching The Office.


Hayley Shanks
Hayley is a first year MSc candidate supervised by Dr. Taylor Schmitz. She is interested in understanding what factors cause cholinergic neurons to be selectively vulnerable to age and disease-related degeneration. Hayley’s MSc project uses longitudinal in vivo imaging techniques to investigate this question. In her spare time, Hayley enjoys running, baking and spending time with her friends. Contact: hshanks@uwo.ca

Lab website: http://incalab.ca

Niveen Fulcher
Niveen is the current Neuroscience Graduate Student Representative and is a 3rd year PhD student working in Dr. Susanne Schmid’s lab. In SONGS, Niveen played a key role in the initial organization of the Committee in 2017, is still the student liaison at the Program Executive Committee Meetings, and is the chief project manager of SONGS’ Neuroscience Research Day (NRD) taking place May 2019.
Outside of the lab and volunteering, Niveen enjoys playing volleyball, Monopoly Deal and hanging out with friends/family/cats.

Contact: nfulcher@uwo.ca

Twitter: @nivful
Media Coordinator

Rubina (Ruby) Malik
Ruby is a 2nd year Neuroscience PhD student in Dr. Elizabeth Finger’s lab. Her research explores the neurocognitive mechanisms and genetic biomarkers underlying apathy symptomatology in neurodegenerative dementias. In her spare time, Ruby enjoys running, playing basketball, drawing/painting, and doting over her baby nieces and nephew.

Contact: rmalik42@uwo.ca

Twitter: @Ruby__Malik
Academic Coordinator

Oren Princz-Lebel
Oren is a PhD student co-supervised by Drs. Tim Bussey, Lisa Saksida and Penny MacDonald. Her work focuses on how cell populations in the striatum support cognition in states of health and disease. To do so, she uses techniques such as in vivo fiber photometry and optogenetics to record and/or manipulate neuromodulator activity as animals perform complex touchscreen-based cognitive tasks. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing sports, traveling and baking.

Contact: oprinczl@uwo.ca
Social Coordinator

Esmin Unaran
Esmin Unaran is a master’s student in Neruoscience supervised by Dr. Ravi Menon. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Yasar University, Izmir, Turkey. She investigates the resting state networks involved in Alzheimer's Disaese and learning dependent myelination in brain. Outside the lab, she is incredibly into cooking and baking (and eating), loves cycling, learning to play piano, enjoys watching movies and traveling.

Past Executives

Krys Wieczerzak

Joyla Furlano

Simon Benoit

Abdullah Al-Jaja

Ariel Frame

Chloe Carter

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