Dr. Seyyed M. H. Haddad – Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Dr. Haddad received his B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering-Communications from Tehran Polytechnic (Amirkabir University of Technology) in 2002 and M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering-Communications from University of Tehran in 2005. He held a faculty position in the Department of Electrical Engineering in Shahabdanesh Institute of Higher Education until 2011. He received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario in 2016. Dr. Haddad is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate co-supervised by Dr. Montero-Odasso and Dr. Robert Bartha at the Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping (CFMM) at Robarts Research Institute. He investigates the correlation between brain structure particularly white matter integrity evaluated through diffusion imaging and motor/cognitive brain functions assessed by various behavioral and physiological measurements, mainly gait measurements, towards more precise appreciation of the structure-function relationship of the human brain and possibly more effective diagnosis and therapy of diverse brain conditions.
Demian Kogutek – Post-Doctoral Fellow
Demian Kogutek is an accredited music therapist with the Canadian Association for Music Therapy and a PhD. candidate in the Health and Rehabilitation Science program at Western University. He began his formal music studies at Juan Jose Castro Conservatory of music in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the age of fifteen. In 2009, he graduated from the Honors Bachelor of Music Therapy program at University of Windsor and the Master’s of Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011. His main instrument of practice is classical guitar, but feels comfortable playing a myriad of instruments and voice. He has experience working in geriatrics, oncology, and palliative care clients in long-term care, hospital, and hospice settings. His PhD. research stems from collaboration between Health Sciences and Psychology with co-supervision from Dr. Jessica Grahn and Dr. Jeffrey Holmes. His research area of interest is motor improvement through participant’s active use of musical instruments within improvised music therapy sessions for those with physical impairments resulting from neurological conditions. Currently, his PhD. research is being expanded with the support of Mary Elizabeth Horney Fellowship in Rehabilitation Research from the Parkwood Institute Research-Specific Endowment in collaboration and supervision from Dr. Jessica Grahn and Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso.
Nick Bray – PhD Candidate
Nick is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Kinesiology at Western University and is supervised by Dr. Montero-Odasso. He graduated from Acadia University in 2015 with a B. Kin. and from the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) in 2017 with a M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Health and Exercise Science). His M.Sc. research investigated the effect of high-intensity, progressive exercise on frailty, strength and functional tasks in pre-frail females. Nick was recently awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) to support his research on the effect of a multi-modal intervention (exercise, cognitive training and vitamin D supplementation) on functional brain network connectivity (FBNC) in seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). He also plans to investigate the relationship between FBNC and muscle strength in the same demographic. Overall, Nick’s PhD research aims to explore the relationship between physical and cognitive decline associated with aging and the role of exercise to improve both physical and cognitive outcomes for older adults.
Josh Titus – MSc Student
Josh is currently enrolled at Western University as an MSc. candidate in the School of Kinesiology, where he is supervised by Dr. Montero-Odasso. He graduated from Western University in 2016 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Kinesiology. During his undergraduate studies and his work as a volunteer for the Gait and Brain Lab, Josh acquired an interest in the topic of exercise and cognition in older adults. For his research, Josh plans to investigate the mediating and moderating effects of key blood biomarkers in cognitive performance in reponse to long-term exercise. Additionally, Josh has taken a key role in supervision of exercise sessions for the SYNERGIC Trial.
Stephanie Cullen – MSc Student
Stephanie has recently completed her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology at Western, where she completed her fourth year Honours project under the supervision of Dr. Montero-Odasso. She will continue her work with the Gait and Brain lab as a MSc. student this fall in the Department of Kinesiology at Western, under the supervision of Dr. Montero-Odasso. Throughout her studies at Western and her volunteer work with the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, she became interested in the mental and physical impairments common in older adults and how they relate to each other. Her research interests include injury rehabilitation and prevention strategies, body composition changes in older populations, and the effects of cognitive impairment on human kinematics. She assists in several tasks around the lab for ongoing research projects and has taken a key role in the gait data collection from clinics with Dr. Montero-Odasso and Dr. Michael Borrie.
Joel Mahon – MSc Student
Joel has recently completed an Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with specialization in Biology from Western University. He wass the successful recipient of a Canada Summer Jobs Program grant for summer 2018, where he contributed to the lab and gained experience as a Research Assistant. Joel’s duties include supervising SYNERGIC Trial weekly exercise intervention sessions at Western campus, as well as project support at Parkwood Institute for various ongoing research projects. Joel has also begun his MSc. candidacy in the Department of Kinesiology at Western, under the supervision of Dr. Montero-Odasso. Throughout Joel’s studies and his volunteer work with the SYNERGIC Trial, he has become interested in the relationship between physical and cognitive impairments in older adults, as well as how exercise affects this relationship. Over the course of his MSc. studies, he hopes to explore how mood and anxiety symptoms are affected by exercise interventions in older adults.
Erica Figgins – MSc Student
Erica is a MSc. candidate in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University and is co-supervised by Dr. Montero-Odasso and Dr. Mark Speechley. She recently completed her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Behaviour Cognition and Neuroscience at the University of Windsor (2018). Through her participation in undergraduate research investigating treatments for Parkinson’s disease and her volunteer work with the Windsor-Essex Community Health Center’s Chronic Disease Management program, she became interested in how individuals are impacted by chronic diseases both physically and mentally. While her Master’s project has not yet been decided, Erica hopes to explore the epidemiological methods applied to explore the relationship between motor control and cognitive functioning in adult populations. Additionally, Erica is a successful applicant of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for fall 2018.
Anish Naidu – MD Student, Research Trainee
Anish, M.E.Sc., is a medical student at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University. He received the B.E.Sc. degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering and the M.E.Sc. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Western University in 2014 and 2015, respectively. His research interests include applications of engineering and technology in medicine. He won the Schulich Summer Research Training Program (SRTP) award to work as a research assistant at the Gait & Brain Lab during the summers of 2016 and 2017. Besides assisting with ongoing projects as needed, he is currently involved in researching the use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for improving executive function and gait in seniors who are showing early signs of executive dysfunction
D’Arcy Arends – Clinical Trials Management Student
D’Arcy is a Western Clinical Trials Management student who, as part of the program, is completing her 400h student practicum at the Gait & Brain Lab (April 2018). D’Arcy is passionate about sport and believes exercise is the best medicine. With this, she personally enjoys competing as a member of the varsity rowing team at Western. She previously completed her Honours Bachelor of Science degree with specialization in Biology from McMaster University in 2017. As a part of the Gait & Brain Lab, D’Arcy will be assisting as project research support. She will also be spending time assisting Shay at the SYNERGIC Trial sessions held at Western campus three times weekly.
Dr. Luxey Sirisegaram
Dr. Luxey Sirisegaram completed her BSc. Honours in Neuroscience at Carleton University. She went on to complete her MD at the Cumming School of Medicine at University of Calgary. She is currently enrolled in her residency program of Internal Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario. She has a keen interest in interplay between neuroscience and medicine within the sphere of the aging population.
Catherine Avrutin – Undergraduate Volunteer
Catherine is a third year medical sciences student completing an honours specialization in biochemistry of infection and immunity and a major in physiology. She has been volunteering at Western campus assisting with the SYNERGIC Trial intervention three times weekly and has recently taken on more tasks at the hospital-based lab. Catherine is very passionate about research because it holds the key to the future of medicine. She recognizes the devastating effects of dementia in older adults and strongly believes in the purpose of Gait and Brain research. Her goals are to learn more about the influence of exercise on MCI within this age group and other interventions relating to cognitive impairment.
Abbie Barron – Undergraduate Volunteer
Abbie is currently in her fourth year of study in the Honours Specialization in Kinesiology, BA program at Western University. The past year she has been an active volunteer for the SYNERGIC Trial and has developed an interest in exercise and cognition research with the aging population. She hopes to gain more knowledge and experience in this area of research through her current position as a volunteer for the Gait and Brain Lab at Parkwood Institute.