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Current Staff Members – Gait and Brain Lab

Dr. Frederico Pieruccini-Faria – Lab Deputy Director

Frederico is a Postdoctoral fellow in medicine at University of Western Ontario/Parkwood Institute supervised by Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso, having previously obtained a PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. He is currently investigating the influence of depression on balance control of individuals with mild cognitive decline and also the impact of obstacle negotiation on walking stability in the same population. Frederico has been recently awarded a Postdoctoral fellowship from Lawson Foundation to research the neural correlates of obstacle negotiation during walking in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, he is co-investigating the benefits of combined interventions using physical exercises, cognitive training and vitamin D supplementation on cognition and mobility deficits in seniors with mild cognitive impairment. Overall, his research aims to unveil and fix the underlying mechanisms of falls in older populations with cognitive impairments.


 

Dr. Yanina Sarquis-Adamson – Lab Manager

Yanina Sarquis-Adamson, PhD is a Research Coordinator at the Gait and Brain lab. Yanina obtained her Bachelors from University of Buenos Aires, and a PhD from the Biology Department at the University of Western Ontario in 2016. Her role at the Gait and Brain Lab involves creation and management of study databases, as well as analysis of research findings and reporting of results. Yanina also leads grant preparation for the lab. In addition, she assists other members of the lab with project support.


 

Sarah Chehade – Research Coordinator

Sarah Chehade joined the Gait and Brain Lab in May 2023, to pursue internship in Clinical Trials Management as part of the CTMG Diploma Program at University of Western Ontario. Sarah obtained her Bachelor in Oral and Dental Surgery (B.D.S.) in Lebanon in June 2021, after which she moved to Canada. She has great interest in improving people’s quality of life, which she learnt from Dentistry, and encouraged her to get involved in the world of Clinical Research, where making a difference in people’s lives is one of the goals. Sarah’s energetic and compassionate personality traits makes her a great asset to the team.


 

 

 

Diana Amaris – Research Coordinator

Diana Amaris recently joined Gait and Brain Lab as a Research Student. She obtained her BSc (Honours) in Medicine in Colombia. After working in clinical practice and clinical research for several years, she moved to Canada to expand on her education. She completed a post-graduate diploma in Clinical Trials Management at Western University. Diana will be part of SYNERGIC-2 clinical trial.


 

 

 

Teresa Ford – Research Coordinator

Teresa joined the lab as a Research Coordinator in September, 2022. She has a BSc in Nutritional Science and worked as a Clinical Research Associate in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. She is a certified Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach who draws on behavioural change science to support individuals seeking to improve their lifestyle habits. She recently became a certified Senior Fitness Instructor. Her primary role is to coach SYNERGIC-2 participants. She also conducts cognitive assessments for a variety of studies within the lab.  


 

Bedisha Ahmed – Research Assistant

Bedisha Ahmed worked as a physician in different hospitals in Bangladesh. In addition to clinical practice, she was involved in hospital based clinical research. After moving to Canada, she obtained Diploma in Nutrition and Food Service Management. She has working experience in Long Term care where she regularly interacts Geriatric population in Canada. Now She is working as a Research Assistant in Gait and Brain Lab. She is assessing the participants of ‘Gait as Predictor of Dementia and Falls’ Study. She is also responsible for Bio-sample collection and processing. She is also assisting other studies (Compass-ND, BHSP, Synergic) in the Gait and Brain Lab. She is devoted to contribute her knowledge and skills in Clinical Research that will help in early diagnosis of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.


 

Dr. Adriana Diez – Research Assistant

Adriana joined the lab as a Research Assistant in August, 2022. She obtained her BSc (Honours) in Psychology in Colombia, and after working there as a psychologist for several years, Adriana moved to Canada to further her education. Adriana completed a Masters in Linguistics, and a Masters and PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Western Ontario. Adriana’s role at the Gait and Brain Lab involves coaching SYNERGIC-2 participants, as well as conducting gait and cognitive assessments for a variety of studies within the lab.


 

 

Jackie Liu – Research Assistant

Jackie joined the Gait and Brain Lab in October 2022 as a Research Assistant. Jackie obtained her Bachelor’s (BMSc) in Honors Specialization in Interdisciplinary Medical Science at Western University in 2022, and she is currently enrolling in the Entry to Practice Doctor of Pharmacy program (PharmD) at the University of Alberta. She will be responsible for the development and regulation of the Gait and Brain, World Falls Guideline, and the SYNERGIC-2 websites. She will also help with the media relation aspect within the lab.

 

 


 

 

Melissa Calleja – Research Assistant

Melissa joined the Gait and Brain Lab as a Research Assistant in January, 2024. She obtained both her BKin (Honours) and MSc in Applied Health Sciences at Brock University. In her undergrad, she took independent study courses in the area of balance and gait where she assisted on researched projects involving gait, balance, and cognitive assessments. During her Masters, her research project was an intervention study involving both diet and exercise components. She then went on to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Exercise Science for Health and Performance at Niagara College. This program ultimately led to her certification as a CSEP Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Melissa will be primarily coaching participants as part of the SYNERGIC-2 clinical trial.