Current Members

olha haydaychuk, Co-Chair

OH_2Olha is a fourth year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree with an Honours Specialization in Biochemistry of Infection and Immunity at Western University. Throughout her undergraduate studies, Olha has been involved in research under the co-supervision of Specific Biologics Inc. and Dr. Edgell at Western University. Olha is actively working on developing a platform gene editing technology consisting of a CRISPR-based dual-cleaving nuclease that can be safely delivered to cells for the treatment of various genetic diseases, with an initial focus on lung cancer (non-small-cell lung carcinoma) and cystic fibrosis.

Claire Park, Co-Chair

CPcircClaire Park is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics, supervised by Dr. Aaron Fenster. Claire received her Honours Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree in Medical Biophysics (Clinical Physics Concentration) and Applied Mathematics at Western University. Her current research focuses on developing a mechatronic image-guided biopsy system using positron emission mammography (PEM) and ultrasound to improve spatial sampling of early stage breast cancer.

Lee Jones, co-founder, Past Chair (2010-2018), Community Member


Lee Jones is a co-founding member of the first Research Information Team which was founded in London, ON in 2010. Lee is a Certified Volunteer Resources Manager (CVRM) whose passion for cancer research was ignited while she was a Volunteer Engagement Specialist for the CCS Elgin-Middlesex Community Office from 2008-2010. Lee’s growing understanding of the impact of intersecting of the mapping of the human genome; the state of technology enabling the communication of massive of amounts of highly detailed data almost instantaneously; and the breaking down of the walls of proprietary and growth of collaboration within scientific research; inspired Lee to want to share the progress and promise of cancer research with the public at large.

While Lee moved on to work with other organizations in her role as a volunteer resources manager and establish her own volunteer management consulting business she maintained her active role with RIOT as Chair of the London team. Lee worked with Dr. Kelly Fathers at the CCS Ontario Division office to capture and articulate the mission, vision, and values of RIOT to provide the foundation for teams emerging in other cities with thriving cancer research communities. Lee enjoys providing orientation, support, and inspiration to RIOT Chairs.

Lee is extremely proud of the accomplishments of the RIOT team and experiences a deep sense of fulfillment in their success and recognition. She feels deep gratitude to Angie, the many members of the team over the years, and the many community partners, who have provided her with a supportive place to grow her own brand of leadership skills. Lee has no problem with not being the smartest person in the room. In fact, those very circumstances have enabled her to learn quite a lot!

Owen Hovey, mSc

TBCRUOwen Hovey is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Biochemistry under the supervision of Dr. Shawn Li. Breast cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body, primarily lungs and bones, and this migration is known as metastasis. A primary mechanism for cell migration is the phosphorylation-switch or P-switch though some breast cancers have deactivated their P-switch and used an alternative mechanism. He aims to figure out how some breast cancer migrates without the use of the P-switch. By understanding this, he can design a specific peptide inhibitor that can be used to prevent the spread of breast cancer.

Yu Fan (Peter) zeng

CPcircPeter Zeng is a MD/PhD Candidate working Dr. Anthony Nichols. His clinical and research interest lies in understanding why certain patients fail treatments in different types of head and neck cancer patients. Using next-generation sequencing technologies, he is using both wet-lab and computational approaches to find novel biomarkers, develop new treatment regimens for these high-risk patients, and translate his findings into the clinic.

tricia chinnery

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Tricia is an MSc Candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics, supervised by Dr. Sarah Mattonen. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Science in Medical Physics at McMaster University. Her current research focuses on extracting quantitative imaging information from the CTs of oropharyngeal cancer patients treated with radiotherapy. She uses machine learning techniques to develop image analysis tools to predict patient outcomes, such as recurrence and treatment toxicity.

komila zakirova

OH_2Komila is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, working under the supervision of Dr. Fred Dick. She received her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph. Her research focuses on elucidating the genetic factors contributing to metastasis in ovarian cancer.

sareh bagherichimeh

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Sareh Bagherichimeh is an MSc Candidate at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Art Poon. She received her HBSc. in Genome Biology from University of Toronto. Sarah’s current research focuses on examining the phylodynamics of HIV within hosts, to better understand the HIV latent reservoir.

Matt Borrelli

CPcircMatt Borrelli is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Trevor Shepherd at Victoria Hospital’s Cancer Research Laboratory Program. Matt obtained BMSc and MSc degrees from Western University, through the Physiology and Pharmacology department. His research now focuses on exploring the molecular mechanisms that enable metabolic plasticity in ovarian cancer, and the resulting impact of this plasticity on metastatic potential.