Graduate Students

  • Hitasha Bajaj

    Hitasha completed her BSc in Behavioural Neuroscience with a Minor in Law and Society at UBC in 2022. As an undergraduate, she recieved the Science Undergraduate Research Experience Award and Quinn Research Assistantship. She also received the Trainee Professional Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience.

    Hitasha is co-supervised by Drs. Kiran Soma and Annie Ciernia for her MSc in Neuroscience. Her research focuses on investigating the effects of early-life stress on local glucocorticoid regulation and gene expression in the brain. She is especially interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying the negative effects of early-life stress and would like to further investigate the role microglia play in local glucocorticoid synthesis. Hitasha received the NSERC CGS-M to support her research.

  • Jérôme P. Plumier

    Jérôme hails from Belgium, where he obtained a bachelor degree in Psychology from the Université de Liège. During his undergraduate studies, he worked with Prof. Charlotte Cornil on the singing behaviour and reproductive physiology of male canaries. 

    Now as a M.Sc. student in Neuroscience at UBC, Jérôme studies the relationship between neurosteroids and aggressive behaviours in song sparrows, with a particular emphasis on the detection of dehydroepiandrosterone using LC-MS/MS.

  • Megan Q. Liu

    Megan completed her BSc in Neuroscience at McGill University in 2020. During her undergraduate degree, Megan worked with Prof. Nahum Sonenberg to investigate the relationship between global protein translation and depressive-like behaviors in mice. She also worked with Prof. Rosemary Bagot to study how chronic stress changes the inputs received by the nucleus accumbens and alters information processing. Her work with Prof. Bagot was supported by a Science Undergraduate Research Award.

    As a MSc student in Neuroscience, Megan is currently using a wheel running task to study the motivation to exercise in rats, and is particularly interested in how this behaviour is regulated by local sex steroids in the brain and other hormones. She is also developing an ultrasensitive method for measuring multiple estrogens using LC-MS/MS that is optimized for use in rats and mice.

  • Melody Salehzadeh

    Melody completed her BSc in Combined Major in Science at UBC in 2017. As an undergraduate, Melody received the Quinn Research Assistantship and the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award. She received travel awards to present at the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology conference.

    As an MSc student in UBC Zoology, Melody focused on local glucocorticoid production in immune tissues, particularly the regulation of corticosterone production in the thymus. Melody earned an NSERC CGS-M and Endocrine Society Summer Research Fellowship to support this novel research.

    Melody transferred to the PhD program and earned an NSERC CGS-D to continue her studies on the regulation of glucocorticoids in immune tissues across development.

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  • Minseon M. Jung

    Minseon (Michelle) completed her BSc in Biology at UBC in 2021. During her undergraduate studies, Michelle worked with Profs. Shernaz Bamji and Tim O’Connor to screen the functions of gene variants associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    As a MSc student, Michelle is currently investigating the effects of maternal sucrose intake on offspring physiology and behaviour. She is particularly interested in how maternal sucrose consumption alters glucocorticoid physiology.