Health Sciences Graduate Student Federation

Health Sciences Graduate Student Federation

The Health Sciences Graduate Student Federation (HSGSF) is a non-profit, McMaster-based collaboration of academics, professionals, and graduate students. We represent students from all departments within the Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate studies program at McMaster University. 

The HSGSF aims to facilitate opportunities for students to further enrich their graduate experience at McMaster University by organizing a variety of events ranging from social events to professional workshops. By participating in these events, students are provided with the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues outside of their field of study, immersing students in a culture of open communication and collaboration.

The Health Sciences graduate student body is the largest student body at McMaster. As such, the Health Sciences Graduate Student Federation (HSGSF) was established in 1996 to provide students with opportunities to further develop and strengthen their graduate experience. We are a non-profit collaboration of academics, professionals and graduate students, representing students from all departments within the Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate studies program at McMaster University. 

Our Mission

The HSGSF is committed to further enriching the health science graduate student experience at McMaster by facilitating opportunities to help immerse students in a culture of open communication and collaboration. 

Representation at McMaster

At McMaster, HSGSF representation is present on the following committees; FHS Graduate Policy and Curriculum Committee, FHS Graduate Program Executive Committee, Graduate Council, and Graduate student association (GSA). The role of HSGSF on these committees is to represent all FHS students. With that being said, contact us if you have any concerns or ideas that you would like HSGSF to present to these committees.

Meet the Team 

  • Name: Sandy Zakaria
  • Position: Co-president
  • Program: Biomedical engineering
  • Graduate level: Ph.D. candidate
  • Fun fact: I have lived in Ontario, Canada my whole life and hope to permanently reside in New Zealand one day.

  • Name: Sarah Medeiros 
  • Position: Co-President
  • Program: Medical Sciences
  • Graduate Level: Ph.D. Candidate                           
  • Fun Fact: I would trade my soul for Doritos Sweet Chili Heat Chips.

  • Name: Neha Sharma
  • Position: Co-internal affairs VP 
  • Program: Medical Sciences
  • Graduate Level: Ph.D. Candidate
  • Fun Fact: An item on my bucket is to go skydiving!

  • Name: Raha Mahmoudi
  • Position: Co-Internal affairs VP
  • Program: Public Health
  • Graduate Level: Master’s Candidate
  • Fun fact: It took me 3 days to unearth a fun fact about myself and I settled on: sometimes I pretend to know exactly what to do when I open the mystery basket in Chopped and find cotton candy and a T-bone steak. Seared steak with a fairy floss-infused balsamic reduction, obviously.

  • Name: Taneya Janakan
  • Position: Co-Internal affairs VP
  • Program: Biomedical discovery and commercialization

  • Name: Simone Smith
  • Position: Co-External Affairs VP
  • Program: Public Health
  • Graduate Level: Master’s Candidate
  • Fun Fact: I am a registered Radiation Therapist!

  • Name: Nirushi Kuhathasan 
  • Position: Co-External Affairs VP
  • Program: Neuroscience 
  • Graduate Level: Ph.D. Candidate
  • Fun fact: Outside of my academic life, you’ll likely find me reading comics (I am a huge DC comics fan) or watching my favourite shows. 

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  • Name: Sana Mohammad
  • Position: Co-External affairs VP
  • Program: Public Health

  • Name: Caroline Seiler
  • Position: Co-Treasurer
  • Program: Medical Sciences
  • Graduate level: Ph.D. Candidate
  • Fun fact: I make DIY cosmetics, including lip balms, bath bombs, and hand creams.

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  • Name: Reeta Nan  
  • Position: Co-Treasurer 
  • Program: Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization 
  • Graduate Level: Master’s Candidate
  • Fun fact: I have been living in Hamilton since I landed in Canada.

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  • Name: Ana Maria Ilicic
  • Position: Co-Treasurer
  • Program: Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Graduate level: Master’s Candidate
  • Fun Fact: Working my way towards travelling to 25 countries by the time I turn 25.

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  • Name: Jordyn Perry
  • Position: Co-Communications VP and Co-HSGSF Mentorship VP
  • Program: Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
  • Graduate Level: Master’s Candidate
  • Fun Fact: In my free time I enjoy running and my favorite food is sushi! 

  • Name: Pauneez Sadri
  • Position: Co-Communications VP
  • Program: Public Health 
  • Graduate Level: Master’s Candidate  
  • Fun fact about myself: After dozens of road trips, no one can beat me at the game geography! 

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  • Name: Tushar Dhawan
  • Position: Co-Communications VP
  • Program: Medical Sciences

  • Name: Jaskirat Arora
  • Position: Co-Event Coordinator 
  • Program: Medical Sciences
  • Graduate level: Ph.D. Candidate
  • Fun fact: I love travelling and collecting currencies as souvenirs from different countries.

  • Name: Vanessa De Rubei
  • Position: Co-Event Coordinator
  • Program: Health Research Methodology 
  • Graduate Level: Ph.D. candidate
  • Fun Fact: I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy since it came out in 2005!

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  • Name: Ana Portillo
  • Position: Co-Event Coordinator and Co-HSGSF Mentorship VP
  • Program: Medical Sciences program
  • Graduate Level: Ph.D. candidate
  • Fun Fact: I really enjoy backpacking and rock climbing whenever I am not in the lab!

  • Name: Shuwen Qian
  • Position: GSA representative
  • Program: Biochemistry and Biomedical sciences

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  • Name: Zarwa Saqib
  • Position: GSA representative and Co-HSGSF Mentorship VP
  • Program: Medical Sciences

Current Events

November 2020 – Mental Health Workshop

The mental health workshop will be geared towards teaching graduate students how to manage and reduce stress in the research environment.

More details to come. Check out our previous events in the mean time!

Previous events

October 2020 – Practical tips for tweeting research and networking

Date: Oct. 21, 2020 @ 2 pm

Our speakers, Ahmed Ali and Dr. Ahmad Firas Khalid, are health systems and policy experts who have extensive experience synthesizing and communicating research evidence in meaningful ways using Twitter.  They will share their unique insights on how to use Twitter to effectively communicate your research to the wider community and enhance your academic career. 

September 2020 – HSGSF Information Session 

The HSGSF information session is designed to introduce new FHS graduate students to their fellow students, the HSGSF committee, and the faculty of health sciences. In light of the current circumstances, this year we will be hosting our initiative online in a virtual panel format where students will be able to ask questions and engage with HSGSF members and learn about McMaster and Hamilton resources.

Date: Sept. 23, 2020 @ 1:00 pm

Click here if you missed the show!

Future events

December 2020 – Winter Social

The winter social is themed towards winter activities, which in previous years has included decorating gingerbread cookies and a gift wrapping relay.

More details to come.

 January 2021 – Professional Relationship Development Workshop

The professional development seminar will focus on student and supervisory relationships. Specifically, this seminar will teach graduate students how to manage supervisory relationships to achieve the best possible relationship.

More details to come.

February 2021 – Mental Health Workshop

The mental health workshop will be geared towards teaching graduate students how to manage and reduce stress in the research environment.

More details to come.

March 2021 – Financial Workshop

HSGSF will be collaborating with the McMaster money centre to provide a financial literacy workshop. The workshop will teach students money management skills including budgeting, saving, spending, and investing.

More details to come.

April 2021 – Graduate Writing Workshop 

The academic writing workshop will be designed to help graduate students work on resumes, as well as thesis and academic article writing.

More details to come.

May 2021 – Career Networking Event

The career networking event will provide an opportunity for graduate students to engage with professionals in various disciplines (research, government, industry, etc.) and inquire about career paths.

More details to come.

June 2021 – Spring Social

The spring social is a new event that HSGSF is excited to introduce to you this year! More details to come.

The HSGSF is responsible for allocating the following awards at the annual Faculty of Health Science Research Plenary. 

HSGSF Impact Award 

The HSGSF would like to recognize and award at least four Health Sciences graduate students who demonstrate having a significant impact on the academic or professional community given their excellence in research, scholarly work or practicum contributions. Contributions recognized may include but are not limited to original published work, key research contributions deemed inventive in nature, or an innovative approach to completing their practicum placement that significantly impacts or has the potential to impact the larger community. 

HSGSF Excellence in Open Communication and Collaboration Award

The HSGSF would like to recognize graduate students in Health Sciences and affiliated Interdisciplinary graduate programs who demonstrate open communication and collaboration in their research. This award recognizes contributions of graduate students who seek to expand communication and collaborative research opportunities across graduate programs, departments and/or disciplines. This award requires a nomination form, CV and a minimum of one letter of support. 

HSGSF Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision Award

These awards are for faculty members in the Faculty of Health Sciences who have demonstrated outstanding supervision of graduate students in Health Sciences Graduate Programs. Nominees cannot receive this award if they have received one within the past 3 years.

HSGSF Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award

These awards are for faculty members in the Faculty of Health Sciences who have demonstrated excellence in teaching in Health Sciences Graduate Programs. Nominees cannot receive an award if they have received one within the past 3 years.

Are you interested in joining one of the leadership roles within the HSGSF? 

Graduate students enrolled under the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) are eligible to run for HSGSF executive committee positions. The call for nominations will be made in April for the upcoming year. FHS graduate students will vote to elect members of the HSGSF executive committee. All positions within the HSGSF are held for one year, except the co-president positions which are a two-year role commitment. The responsibilities of executive members include, but are not limited to, attending HSGSF monthly meetings, helping with the planning and execution of HSGSF events and initiatives, and attending HSGSF events.

The HSGSF Executive committee includes:

  • Co-Presidents
  • Internal Affairs VP
  • External Affairs VP
  • Event Coordinator
  • Communications VP
  • Treasurer
  • GSA representatives (elected by GSA, for more information visit https://gsa.mcmaster.ca.) 

Are you interested in joining our mentorship program?

We are welcoming all FHS students to apply to be either an upper year mentor or mentee.  Please visit our mentorship page for more details on how to get involved!

Collaborations

HSGSF encourages collaborations with external and internal organizations for any upcoming events to enhance the graduate student experience. If you would like to collaborate with HSGSF for any forthcoming events, feel free to reach us at hsgsf@mcmater.ca.

HSGSF Mentorship program

HSGSF is excited to announce its new mentorship program in collaboration with the Medical Science Mentorship Group (MSMG). We are now offering peer-2-peer mentoring to incoming FHS graduate students through the new Health Sciences Mentorship Program (HSMP)! The goal of the program is to provide support to first and second-year graduate students in order to ease the transition into grad school, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mentee’s will be matched with an experienced upper-year student mentor which will provide highly confidential support on topics such as time management, academic and professional development, and supervisor/lab relationships. 

Get involved!

If you are interested in becoming a mentee, please click here to sign up.

If you are an upper-year FHS graduate student interested in becoming a peer mentor, please click here to apply.

Contact us at hsgradmentors@gmail.com for more information.

MEET YOUR MENTORS

 

Name: Laura Garcia (She/Her)

Program: 2nd Year MSc in Occupational Therapy and PhD in Rehabilitation Science (Dual-Degree)

Research project and research interests: Dementia friendly communities (evaluation of impact).

Hobbies and personal interests: hiking, yoga, traveling 

Fun fact: I spent a year traveling following the hiking seasons around the world.

Other: I am fluent in Spanish (born and raised in Colombia) and I work for the Alzheimer Society of Canada.

Name: Ava Mehdipour

Program: 1st year PhD student at the School of Rehabilitation Science 

Research project: My research project will be focused on evaluating the performance of virtual clinical tests for community-dwelling older adults. My research interests include aging, mobility, measurement and health outcomes. 

Hobbies and personal interests: I love to dance, whenever, wherever…eat tacos on a regular basis and binge watch a good show when time permits. 

Fun fact: I will be a mom to a fur baby in October! 

Other: I did my undergrad (Life Science) and MSc (Rehabilitation Science) at McMaster, I moved to Canada from Iran when I was 7 and I can speak Farsi.

Name: Youqing Mu

Program: 2nd Year MSc in eHealth

Research Project: Research on natural language processing for pathology description; design pipeline to train, evaluate and interpret transformer models on pathology reports.

Hobbies and Personal Interests: Learn new things about Google Cloud products to complete interesting toy projects. Read The Economist. Read non-fiction books. Play the piano. Play badminton and skateboarding. (Should I admit I enjoy watching animes) (-‸ლ)

Fun Fact: I majored in biotechnology when I was an undergraduate. One day, I felt bored staying in the lab and caring cells, accidentally, psychology interested me. Then, I read lots of psychology textbooks and thought it might be my future goal. However, the more I read, the more I realized that almost no space left for me to explore in psychology. So I said good-bye. Later, I self-studied computer science and researched medical informatics. And I know I found my fate.

Name: Jill Van Damme (She/Her)

Program: 2nd Year MSc in Physiotherapy and PhD in Rehabilitation Science (Dual-Degree)

Research project: Jill’s doctoral research is examining virtual for chronic disease management programs working with the GLA:D Canada program.

Hobbies and personal interests: As an outdoors lover, I enjoy visiting the local trails around Hamilton during my breaks and will stop to pet every dog I meet!

Other: I completed her Bachelor of Human Kinetics in Movement Science, at the University of Windsor before pursuing a Master of Science at the University of Waterloo in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. 

Name: Bre-Anna Owusu

Program: 3rd year PhD in Neuroscience

Research project: My research explores how timing in music affects speech processing, memory and language learning in people with learning disabilities (Dyslexia). To better understand these effects, I use a combination of behavioural and electrophysiological measures. 

Hobbies: I spend most of my time enjoying hikes through trails and parks and exploring a collection of cultural cuisines around the Hamilton-Halton region and the Greater Toronto Area. 

Fun fact: I lost count of how many times I have (re)watched The Office.

Other: I have held a Sessional Faculty appointment at McMaster University. I am a literacy tutor at Reading Rocks; an organization that provides advocacy, education and services for children and youth with an identified or suspected learning disability.

Name: Rebecca Correira (She/Her)

Program: 2nd Year MSc in Health Research Methodology

Research project: I am interested in improving the care of older adults by using big data to conduct health services research. My thesis project will examine health services outcomes among family physicians with specialized certificates, skills, and training to care for older adults.

Hobbies and personal interests: Skiing, hiking, reading, playing board games, and swimming

Fun fact: I love trying new foods and started a food blog a few years ago!

Name: Caressa Tsai (She/Her)

Program: PhD Candidate in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

Research project: Antibiotic discovery for the gastrointestinal pathogen Salmonella

Hobbies and interests: Running

Fun fact: I love baking and my favourite dessert to make is blueberry pie!

Name: Matthew Lam (He/Him)

Program:  2nd Year MSc in Occupational Therapy

Research project: My most recent clinical experience as a student occupational therapist was in Northern Ontario. I worked on an inpatient physical rehabilitation unit, primarily providing care to diverse patients who had experienced stroke. I also draw on clinical and research experiences centred on child and youth mental health. 

Hobbies and Personal Interests: Graphic Design, Photography, Hiking

Fun Fact: I did my undergraduate degree at Mac too!

Other: I speak English and Cantonese.

Name: Marlon Imasogie

Program: 2nd Year MSc in eHealth 

Research project: Currently looking at clinical decision support systems and their perceived effectiveness amongst clinicians through emotional/performance metrics.

Hobbies and personal interests: I enjoy being active by going to the gym, working out and playing sports (Go Raptors). I also enjoy the outdoors and spent some time fishing, hiking and viewing some waterfalls while in Hamilton.

Fun fact: My karaoke song is Dancing Queen by ABBA.

Name: Celeste Suart (She/Her)

Program: 2nd Year PhD Candidate in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

Research project: My thesis work is on Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 1 (SCA1), a neurodegenerative polyglutamine expansion disease. Outside of wet-lab work, I also do research on knowledge translation initiatives, particularly those impacting the ataxia patient community.

Hobbies and personal interests: Cooking, Critical Role, Animal Crossing, minor Starbucks addiction

Fun fact: I was born and raised in New Brunswick! Although I’ve been in Ontario for over half my life at this point, I still sometimes feel like a small fish in a big pond. 

Other: I currently am a lead educational development fellow at the MacPherson Institute, the teaching and learning center at McMaster University. They have multiple resources and opportunities for grad students, including a free certificate program

Name: Aidan Giangregorio

Program: 2nd Year MSc in eHealth

Research project: My research focuses on the effectiveness of medical cannabis for chronic pain. We have partnered with a company called Strainprint to analyze data collected through their mobile app.

Hobbies and personal interests: I enjoy playing sports, cooking and gardening.

Fun Fact: I run a journal club for MAPS. MAPS funds and conducts research on the medicinal properties of psychedelic drugs.

Name: Jenna Amoruso (she/her)

Program: 2nd Year in Master of Science/Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner

Research project: Rather than research, my program has a clinical component and my current placement 

is at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Hobbies and personal interests: yoga, running, travel, and baking

Fun fact: I am a Registered Nurse and have been working in acute medicine for 4.5 years

Name: Kendra Wormald (She/Her)

Program: MA Speech-Language Pathology

Research project: I’m specifically interested in swallowing disorders and traumatic/acquired brain injury as it pertains to speech-language pathology. 

Hobbies and personal interests:I have been doing CrossFit for three years and likely won’t go back to a regular gym ever again. I’m involved in McMaster’s Mental Health Association and am on the Admissions Board for S-LP.

Fun fact: I was an axe throwing coach for two years!

Name: Rebecca Burchett (She/Her)

Program: 2nd Year PhD in Biochemistry Biomedical Sciences

Research Project: My research project focuses on combining genetically engineered immune cell therapies (CAR-T cells) with cancer vaccines to boost the anti-tumour immune response. My research interests generally include cancer biology, vaccines and immunotherapies, T cell biology, oncolytic viruses, and syngeneic mouse models.

Hobbies and Interests: I like to run, play soccer, listen to podcasts (highly recommend “Ologies”!), and try new recipes. I also love to work with science outreach initiatives like Let’s Talk Science and Science FUNdamentals!

Fun fact: I officially became an Ontario resident one year ago – I grew up and did my undergrad in Edmonton and moved to Hamilton for grad school in 2017. 

Name: Kevin Moncion (He/Him)

Program: 3rd year MSc in Physiotherapy and PhD in Rehabilitation Science (Dual-Degree)

Research project: My research is focused on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health outcomes of exercise training in individuals with stroke. My research interests also lie in the implementation of evidence-based practice. 

Hobbies and personal interests: I enjoy playing sports like hockey and golf, and I like running and cycling. I also enjoy cooking! 

Fun fact: I have a new golden-doodle puppy named Winnie

Name: Catherine Nassralla (She/Her)

Program: 2nd Year MSc in eHealth

Research project: I will be exploring how drug safety alerts can be improved, and am currently involved in research looking into public health messaging, travel health and virtual health.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading and hiking. 

Fun fact: I enjoy playing volleyball!

 

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Name: Felix Croteau (He/him)

Program: 3rd Year PhD Candidate in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

Research project: I study bacteriophages, the CRISPR-Cas system, the development of bacterial immunity to phages and its link to natural competence.

Hobbies and personal interests: Baking, Reading, Video Games, Dungeon & Dragon

Fun fact: I have bartended for royalty from both England and Ghana

Clinical Study Recruitment

Get involved in our FHS student clinical studies! 

Title

Description

Eligibility

Compensation

Researchers

Diet in IBS Research Study

The Diet in IBS Research Study is a clinical crossover research study which is the first to investigate the effects of dietary gluten and amylase trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The trial is being led by Drs. Premysl Bercik and M. Ines Pinto-Sanchez in the Farncombe Digestive Disease Research Institute at McMaster University. The Study Coordinator is PhD Candidate Caroline Seiler and the co-investigators include Dr. Elena Verdu, Dr. Stephen Collins, Dr. Paul Moayyedi, and Dr. Andrea Nardelli. This study is supported by the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation and a Society for the Study of Celiac Disease (SSCD) grant for Non-Celiac Gluten/Wheat Sensitivity sponsored by the Nestle Research Center, Nestec SA to Drs. Bercik and Pinto-Sanchez.

Find out more at https://healthsci.mcmaster.ca/diet-in-ibs

Contact Caroline Seiler for more information at seilercl@mcmaster.ca

Adults aged 18+ with an IBS diagnosis based on Rome IV criteria who previously improved while on a gluten-free diet, are able to comply with the study procedures, and have signed the Informed Consent may be eligible for the study.

We will offer compensation and all the costs for the study visits will be covered.

Dr. Premysl Bercik,

Dr. M. Ines Pinto-Sanchez,

Caroline Seiler

Benralizumab regulates atopic dermatitis through effects on eosinophils, basophils and innate lymphoid type 2 cells

There are not many medications available that are fully effective and can be used long-term for treatment of atopic dermatitis. Benralizimab is a monoclonal antibody used for treatment of a type of asthma called “eosinophilic asthma”. Atopic dermatitis is also associated with elevated levels of eosinophils, and we would like to determine if benralizumab is effective in patients with atopic dermatitis. 

This is a placebo-controlled study with 7 visits over 9 weeks.

Contact Christiane Whetston for more information at whetstoc@mcmaster.ca

Male and female patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis aged 18-65.

$250 plus paid parking and food vouchers

Christiane Whetston, Dr. Ruth Cusack, Dr. Gauvreau, Dr. Sehmi, Dr. Lima, Dr. O’Byrne

The effect of sex hormone levels during the menstrual cycle on capsaicin evoked cough responses in mild allergic asthmatics.

All participants will undergo one screening visit to determine eligibility for the study, and 2 further subsequent visits. If you are a female participant on the oral contraceptive pill you will be assessed once between day 1-5 (during your pill break) and again between day 21-25. If you are a female participant with a natural cycle you will be assessed once between day 1 to day 5 of your menstrual cycle (i.e. during menstruation) and again between day 21-25 of your menstrual cycle. Men will be assessed in the same method, once between day 1 to 5, and once between day 21-25.

 

Contact Christiane Whetston for more information at whetstoc@mcmaster.ca

Males and females with mild allergic asthma aged 18-35.

$100 plus paid parking and food vouchers

Dr. Ruth Cusack, Dr. Gauvreau, Dr. Sehmi, Dr. Imran Satia, Dr. O’Byrne

McMaster Institute for Infectious Disease Research COVID-19 Saliva-Protocol ImplemenTation Study

With this study, we aim to assess the success, impact, and practicality of saliva-based SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 testing for scale up to include testing for large asymptomatic populations in a university laboratory setting. In addition to prevention of community, workplace, and school spread of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, we believe the impact of saliva-based routine testing on factors such as quality of life in the training/workplace environment will be substantially improved.

 

Contact Nakita Buenbrazo for more information at iidr.covidspit@gmail.com

Participants must be:

– >18 years of age 

– Working at least 2 days per week

– Full-time employee or student 

– Able to refrain from brushing teeth, eating and drinking for at least 1 hour before providing the sample. 

– Able to check their email at least once per day

 N/A

Dr. Dawn Bowdish and Dr. Eric Brown, Nakita Buenbrazo

How are changes in the pacing and rhythm of language processed? This study aims to investigate the role of rhythm and timing on how language is processed. As part of this study, participants will listen to auditory stimuli presented to them via earphones and watch a movie. Concurrently, EEG will be recorded to monitor their brain activity through electrodes placed on the scalp. 

Please visit our
website or contact Fareeha Rana at ranafs@mcmaster.ca for more information.
 Adults aged 18-35, with no history of neurological disorders or disease (eg. concussion etc.), must not be taking any medication that interferes with the CNS (e.g. anxiety/depression meds), no hearing impairments  $30 compensation total for a 2 hour session  Fareeha Rana, supervised by Dr. E. Service and Dr. J. Connolly.

If you want your study featured on our website, contact us at HSGSF@mcmaster.ca

Resources

The resources section is under construction. 

For the time being refer to the following sites below for resources on graduate writing, career and professional development, course registration, scholarship applications etc. 

Contact Information