The CIP Trainees

CIP Trainees 2023-2024

Dr. Cody Dunne

Dr. Cody Dunne (CIP Chief 2023-2024)

Dr. Dunne is an Emergency Medicine resident, currently pursuing his MSc in Community Health Science under the supervision of Drs. Andrew McRae and Khara Sauro. Dr. Dunne obtained his BSc and medical degree from the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Foreign body airway obstruction (FBAO) or choking represents a life-threatening emergency where the person’s outcome is determined largely by the initial actions taken by bystanders and care providers.  Focusing on long-term care residents, the goal of Dr. Dunn’s study is to evaluate how various factors improve or worsen the outcome of a person who suffers a choking event. Factors that will be examined include age, health status, what the person choked on, and what intervention(s) were used. By improving knowledge in this field and optimizing how first aiders intervene, there is potential to decrease poor outcomes in these individuals.

Dr. Holly Lee

Dr. Holly Lee

Dr. Lee is a Hematology resident, currently pursuing her MSc in Medical Science under the supervision of Dr. Nizar Bahlis. Dr. Lee obtained her Bsc from McGill and MD from the University of Toronto.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common type of blood cancer. Despite advances in immune therapies, this cancer remains incurable, and patients will unfortunately experience relapse. Dr. Lee’s research is expected to optimize the efficacy of current (CAR) T cell immunotherapy treatments by increasing the ability of the T cells to sustain their anti-tumor effects against myeloma cells. She will do this by assessing the transcriptome and epigenetic pattern of the T cell subsets and introducing or inhibiting transcription factors driving the T cell dysfunction, or manipulating epigenetic markers that either prevent T cell exhaustion or reinstate function in exhausted cells.

Dr. Jenna Mann

Dr. Jenna Mann

Dr. Mann obtained her BSc from the University of Wyoming and Doctor of Medicine from the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently a Neurosurgery resident at the University of Calgary and is pursuing a MSc in Community Health Sciences under the supervision of Drs. Jay Riva-Cambrin and Kirstie Lithgow.


Care for patients with pituitary lesions requires a complex, multidisciplinary team including neurosurgeons, endocrinologists, neuro-opthalmologists, neuro-radiologists, neuro-pathologists and radiation oncologists. Coordinating a large multidisciplinary team such as this can be challenging, particularly for patients who live outside of a city where this team is located. The goal of Dr. Mann's research is to develop an online resource for Alberta physicians to connect their patients with pituitary tumors to the appropriate group of specialists, facilitating follow-up in a way that is most convenient for the patient, regardless of where they live in southern Alberta. As well, the developed treatment pathway will act as a model for other large centers to close care gaps for thousands of patients.

Dr. Gareth Ryan

Dr. Gareth Ryan

Dr. Gareth Ryan is an Orthopedic Surgery resident, currently pursuing his MSc in Medical Science under the supervision of Dr. Prism Schneider. Dr. Ryan obtained his BSc from Dalhousie University and medical degree from the University of Toronto.

Patients with head injuries tend to produce more bone compared to those without a head injury. This can result in increased bone formation during fracture healing, or abnormal bone formation around joints or in muscles. Animal studies have suggested this might be due to certain bone-promoting proteins. His research will evaluate the blood levels of various bone-promoting proteins on patients with long bone fractures, with and without traumatic brain injury. The study hopes to aid in understanding the relationship between head injury and bone healing and potentially aid in the development of new therapeutic techniques to improve fracture healing.

Dr. Kirsten Sjonnesen

Dr. Kirsten Sjonnesen

Dr. Kirsten Sjonnesen recently completed her Pediatric Neurology residency at the University of Calgary, and is currently pursuing her MSc in Community Health Science under the supervision of Drs. Serena Orr and Tamara Pringsheim. Dr. Sjonnesen obtained her BSc from Queen's University and medical degree from the University of Alberta.

Migraine is a common headache disorder experienced by approximately 10% of Canadian children and adolescents. Those with migraine experience related disability, and a greater burden of psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety, when compared to their peers. Her research seeks to improve the understanding of the interaction between longitudinal maternal and child mental health and migraine incidence in the peri-adolescent period. She also aims to explore the day-to-day experience of children and adolescents with migraine and psychological risk factors for migraine-related disability. The results may influence the use of efficient clinical screening tools, may allow for the prediction of those at higher risk of incident migraine and related disability and may motivate the development of tailored interventions. The ultimate aim of the project is to decrease disability and improve outcomes for this vulnerable population.

Dr. Richard Yu

Dr. Richard Yu

Dr. Richard Yu is a Neurosurgery resident, currently pursuing his PhD in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Drs. Aaron Phillips and Steven Casha. Dr. Yu obtained his MSc and medical degree from the University of British Columbia.

Traumatic spinal cord injury is associated with significant mortality and impaired quality of life. Previous research has suggested that improving blood flow to the injured spinal cord may decrease the injury severity and potentially improve function. The goal of his research is to investigate whether inhaling carbon dioxide can improve the outcomes in an animal model of spinal cord injury and using specialized sensors, whether it can modulate spinal cord blood flow in human patients.

Dr. Ali Fatehi Hassanabad

Dr. Ali Fatehi Hassanabad

Dr. Fatehi is a cardiac surgery resident, currently pursuing his doctoral studies in Dr Paul Fedak's basic and translational sciences laboratory. Having completed his undergraduate degree in math and physics at the University of Prince Edward Island, Ali carried out his Master's of Science studies at the University of Toronto, where he investigated the role of statins as anticancer therapeutics in lung cancer. Subsequently, he finished his medical degree at the University of Toronto, where his interest in Cardiac Surgery was reignited.

Ali is very proud to have moved to Calgary for his residency training in cardiac surgery: he is able to learn from a group of excellent surgeons and mentors, and is afforded the opportunity to conduct exciting research under Dr Fedak's tutelage. For his PhD studies, Ali is interested in identifying and characterizing key substances that could aid in preventing post surgical scarring. His future goal is to become an adept cardiac surgeon-scientist.

Dr.  Vishnu Vasanthan

Dr. Vishnu Vasanthan

Dr. Vasanthan obtained his BSc and medical degrees from the University of Alberta. He is currently a Cardiac Surgery resident  at the UofC and is pursuing his doctoral studies in Dr. Paul Fedak's lab.
 
His research examines the pathways involved in the remodeling of heart tissue after a heart attack. With this unhealthy remodeling, cardiac muscle is replaced with fibrotic scar tissue and the patient's heart progressively loses its ability to pump. By isolating different mechanisms he hopes to help define therapeutic targets on which therapies can be focused to improve heart function after a heart attack. Patients with end-stage cardiac disease require surgery to restore blood blow to ischemic heart muscle; and ECM (extracellular matrix) biomaterial will serve as a patch that can be sewn onto injured heart muscle and promote healthy remodeling to maintain heart function. He hopes the research will add to the growing body of knowledge regarding developing therapies for heart failure, and provide surgeons with options to optimize their ability to restore proper heart function to their patients.

Dr. Jaylynn Arcand

Dr. Jaylynn Arcand

Dr. Arcand obtained her 3-year BA in Psychology, Medical Degree and Certificate in Global Health from the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently a Psychiatry resident at the University of Calgary. Dr. Arcand is pursuing a MSc in Community Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Services Research under the supervision of Drs. Glen Hazlewood and Zahinoor Ismail.

Dr. Arcand’s research interest is in using patient-oriented research to improve the care provided to patients with a Functional Somatic Disorder (FSD). Dr. Arcand’s thesis research aims to understand how the way physicians talk about FSD’s is experienced by patients and how these experiences alter the patient-physician relationship. Understanding the patient-physician relationship, from the patient’s point of view, is the required first step to direct future healthcare improvement initiatives toward addressing barriers to care which are directly identified by patients with an FSD. Dr. Arcand plans to develop this understanding by first by bringing together all the current research in the area in a review, which will highlight both what is known and unknown about the topic, and then exploring the currently unknown areas through one-on-one interviews with individuals who live with a Functional Somatic Disorder.

Dr. Jaclyn Strauss

Dr. Jaclyn Strauss

Dr. Strauss completed her BSc and MD at the University of Calgary and received a PhD in Microbial, Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Guelph. She completed her medical residency training in Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and is completing subspecialty training in Paediatric GI here in Calgary.

Dr. Strauss is pursuing her MSc in Clinical Epidemiology under the supervision of Drs. Jennifer deBruyn and Maitreyi Raman. She is studying the causes of anemia in children with intestinal failure (IF), a devastating condition characterized by the inability of the intestinal tract to absorb adequate nutrients and water to sustain normal growth, development and health. Chronic anemia is a frequent complication and is associated with negative long-term developmental outcomes. s Dr. Strauss’s study will determine the prevalence of anemia and associated micronutrient deficiencies in children with IF. The results will enable clinicians to improve surveillance and management, ultimately resulting in improved care and outcomes for children with IF.

Dr. Melanie Finkbeiner

Dr. Melanie Finkbeiner

Dr. Finkbeiner received a BSc in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia and obtained her medical degree at the University of Toronto. She completed a residency in Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and is completing subspecialty training in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Finkbeiner is pursuing a MSc in Immunology under the supervision of Dr. Doug Mahoney and Dr. Paul Beaudry. She is studying pediatric solid tumors, specifically neuroblastoma and sarcomas. Despite aggressive therapies, outcomes remain poor in the setting of metastatic or relapsed/refractory disease. Her research is focused on combining two exciting therapies designed to induce or enhance an immune response, CAR T cell therapy and oncolytic viruses.

Dr. Brij Karmur

Dr. Brij Karmur

Dr. Amelia Srajer

Dr. Amelia Srajer

Dr. Catherine Veilleux

Dr. Catherine Veilleux