Contributors: Spring 2023

Meet the IMS Magazine Spring 2023 Team

Niki Akbarian is a first-year MSc student under the supervision of Dr. Linda Mah and Dr. James Kennedy. Her research focuses on better understanding the association between personality traits and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and the genetic basis of this association. Outside of academia, Niki enjoys photography, playing the piano, and watching sitcoms.

Kristen Ashworth is a first year MSc student with IMS working under the supervision of Dr. Brian Ballios at the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute and Krembil Research Institute. Her thesis work is focused on developing a retinal organoid model in which to evaluate stem cell therapies for USH2A- and CRB1-related inherited retinal diseases.  Kristen loves cross country running, reading a good book, going to Marshalls, and most importantly, doting on her two adorable golden retrievers.

Syed Hussain Ather is a first-year Ph.D. student working under John Griffiths at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He uses and develops computational modeling techniques to investigate the brain connectivity structures underlying neuropsychiatric disorders. He also likes cosplaying.

Ali Golbabaei is a PhD student under supervision of Dr. Paul Frankland at the Hospital for Sick Children. His research focuses on investigating the engagement of different brain circuits at long term memories. Outside of the lab, Ali enjoys traveling and exploring new places.

Sipan Haikazian is a first-year MSc student researching the efficacy and safety of maintenance ketamine infusions for relapse prevention in patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression, under the supervision of Dr. Joshua Rosenblat. Outside of research, Sipan enjoys playing the piano, exercising, and being around good company

Instagram: @sipanhaikazian

Iciar Iturmendi Sabater is a PhD student researching social processing and adaptation across neurodevelopmental conditions (autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc) under the supervision of Dr. Meng-Chuan Lai and Dr. Hsiang-Yuan Lin. Iciar likes reading, exploring new places, and spending time with family and friends. 

Twitter: @iciar_itur

Goldin Joghataie is a first year MSc student supervised by Dr. Carmela Tartaglia at the Krembil Brain Institute, Toronto Western Hospital. Her research focuses on neurodegeneration and concussion, specifically post concussion neuropsychiatric issues faced by ND patients who experience falls. Outside of academia she enjoys writing, skating, listening to music and reviewing movies.

Instagram: @gol.joghata

Nikou Kelardashti is a first year MSc student under the supervision of Dr. Karen Davis. Her research focuses on the relationship between neural oscillations and pain-attention interaction. Outside of academia, Nikou enjoys reading poetry and classic literature, watching old movies, and going for long walks. 

Lindsey Thurston is a PhD candidate studying sex/gender and sex steroid hormones in the brain. Specifically, she investigates biopsychosocial relationships in white matter microstructure using diffusion tensor imaging. Lindsey’s work with transgender and gender non-conforming populations bridges social and scientific disciplines by drawing on neurofeminist theory. Lindsey also enjoys photographing the CN tower and nature’s delights. 

Ben Traubici is a first year MSc student under the supervision of Dr. Brian Feldman at The Hospital for Sick Children. His work focuses on developing and testing a social participation measurement tool for patients with rheumatic conditions. Outside of academia, Ben enjoys hockey, travelling and running.

Kyla Trkulja is a second year MSc student at IMS studying under the supervision of Dr. Armand Keating, Dr. John Kuruvilla, and Dr. Rob Laister at Princess Margaret Hospital. Her work focuses on better understanding the mechanism of action of a novel cancer therapy for lymphoma so it can be better utilized in the clinic. Outside of academia, Kyla enjoys reading, writing, video games, and going for road trip adventures across the province.

Twitter: @kylatrkulja_ 


Elizabeth Karvasarski (Lead) is a PhD IMS at Mount Sinai Catheterization Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Susanna Mak. Her research involves investigating right ventricular and pulmonary arterial interactions in patients with pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. Outside of research, Elizabeth practices martial arts and is a 4th degree black belt.

Lizabeth Teshler is a first year MSc student at IMS supervised by Dr. Brian Feldman at The Hospital for Sick Children. Her research investigates physical joint health assessment in people with Hemophilia. Outside of research, Lizabeth loves biking, spending time outdoors and volunteering for various community initiatives. 

Mahbod Ebrahimi is a first-year MSc student investigating the association between immune gene expression and suicide risk in schizophrenia patients under the supervison of Dr. James Kennedy. Outside of research, Mahbod enjoys a good book, playing chess, and listening to Jazz music.

Twitter: @mahbooli99 


  • Madhumitha (Madhu) Rabindranath
  • Mahbod Ebrahimi
  • Molly Zhang
  • Shu’ayb Simmons
  • Denise Sabac
  • Beatrix Wang
  • Nayaab Punjani