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.
|Krys is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Neuroscience in Dr. Allman's lab. She is interested in how noise exposure affects higher-order cortical areas, and how top-down modulation of sensory processing is altered in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. If not a scientist, she would be a movie director, philosopher or Time Lord. In her free time, she loves to go to concerts, read books and travel. As an ex-swimmer, she is trying to go back to a gym and is looking for a swimming buddy.
|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.
|Abdullah is a PhD student in the neuroscience program under the co-supervision of Dr. Penny MacDonald (PI) and Dr. Jessica Grahn. His research investigates several aspects of Parkinson’s disease (PD). From a molecular level, they are looking at genetic polymorphisms that affects dopaminergic signaling in the striatum. In addition, he is investigating the effect of anxiety reduction on freezing of gait in PD. Moreover, Abdullah is studying the effect of certain auditory stimuli on brain activity via EEG and fMRI. Globally, his projects aim to increase and strengthen our understanding of the dorsal and ventral striatum in PD.
|Ariel is a PhD student in the neuroscience program at Western University. He moved to London from Vancouver in 2016 in order to begin graduate school at Western. He is a neurobiologist who is currently researching aging, metabolism and memory in hopes that his future work will address the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease etiology. Ariel is the managing editor of GradCast, the official radio show and podcast for the Society of Graduate Students at Western University. Ariel likes in depth discussions on controversial topics, playing soccer and the number three.
Lab website: www.thecumminglab.com
Interview on GradCast: Episode #167: The Super Secret Sex Life of Fruit Flies
|Simon is a 3rd year PhD candidate co-supervised by Drs. Susanne Schmid and Matthew Hebb. Coming from a lab at the University of Ottawa which focused on stroke, he is now using brain biopsies from living patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) to expand our knowledge of the pathophysiology of the disease and to develop new treatment strategies. This includes interrogating gene expression in the PD brain using RNA sequencing and generating patient-derived progenitor cells to investigate their utility as a cell-based therapy. When not hard at work, Simon primarily enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, as well as living an active lifestyle comprising of hiking, biking, running, volleyball and whatever else he can fit into his busy schedule.
Interview on GradCast: Episode #138: The Latest Scoop on Parkinson’s Disease
|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/
|Joyla completed her Honors B.Sc. at University of Toronto with a Specialization in Psychology, and is currently a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Neuroscience at Western University. Broadly speaking, her research interests include exercise, aging, brain health, and cognition. Her doctoral research uses fMRI to examine the effects of resistance exercise on memory and brain function in sedentary, overweight older adults. Outside of the lab, her hobbies include volunteering, outdoor activities, cycling, and quality time with her cats.