SOMA Student Representatives

SOMA is made up of both Master's and PhD MiNDS students who have volunteered their time and energy to enhance the MiNDS student experience. SOMA is always looking for new volunteers, event ideas and input on how we can enhance student life. If you would like to become a part of SOMA please let us know by emailing: soma@mcmaster.ca

Co-President: Jasmine Turna

Jasmine is in the first year of her Master's under the supervision of Dr. Michael Van Ameringen. Her project focuses on the involvement of the gut microbiome in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In her spare time you can find her planning her next trip or eating away at one of Hamilton’s many restaurants.

Co-President: Cory Richman

Cory is a first year Master's student under the supervision of Dr. Bhagwati Gupta in the Department of Biology. His research focuses on the characterization and application of neurotrophic factors in C. elegans models of neurodegeneration. Cory also holds a position on the Faculty of Science Graduate Curriculum, Policy, Admissions and Study Committee. In his free time he enjoys traveling and scuba diving.

Vice-President: Justin Balsor

Justin is in his 2nd year of his Ph.D under the supervision of Dr. Kathy Murphy in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour. His research focuses on the factors that influence synaptic plasticity in the visual cortex as humans age. His research spans multiple levels of analysis, from behavioural to molecular. Justin also works with Brainwaves, Out of our MiNDS and is actively involved in a variety of MiNDS events. In his free time Justin enjoys camping, playing sports, reading a great book and watching his stories.

Director of Finance: Gésine Alders

Gésine is in the 1st year of her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Luciano Minuzzi and Dr. Geoffrey Hall. Her research focuses on utilizing neuroimaging techniques to identify biomarkers in major depressive disorder. She is also interested in the emerging field of

neuroethics, and in evidence-based policy-making in the provincial children's mental health system. Gésine mentors and coordinates activities for the young ladies in her church, and in her spare time, she enjoys being a group exercise instructor, cycling, and spoiling

her nieces.

Director of Communications: Calan Savoy

Calan is in his first year of his Master's with Dr. Meir Steiner in the Women's Health Concerns Clinic, SJHH. His research is concerned with the co-morbidity between Major Depressive Disorder and Cardiovascular Disease, particularly during pregnancy. He is currently investigating coagulation-mediating proteins in peripartum depression and their role in future cardiovascular disease development. In his free time Calan enjoys drumming, baseball, hockey and camping.

Director of Outreach: Elyse Rosa

Elyse is finishing the 4th year of her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Margaret Fahnestock in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience. Her research focuses on the regulation of neurotrophic factors in Alzheimer’s disease with an emphasis on the mechanism of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) down-regulation and the impact of both amyloid-ß and tau proteins. Elyse also volunteers her time with the MiNDS Outreach Program and leads the MiNDS high school co-op initiative.

Director of Member Relations: Shawna Thompson

Shawna is in the first year of her Masters under the supervision of Dr. Jane Foster. Her research focuses on the influence of microglia and T cells on neuroanatomy. Shawna enjoys playing team sports, reading, baking, and paddle boarding on the lake.

Director of Events: Crystal Mahadeo

Crystal is in the first year of her Masters. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Shucui Jiang. Her thesis focuses on the examination of a putative receptor for the neuroprotectant guanosine.  She is also a writer for the MiNDS program Newsletter and a member of the outreach volunteer program Out of Our MiNDS.  In her free time Crystal enjoys traveling, running and cooking.  

SOMA was founded in 2011 by Bill Simpson, Ritesh Daya, Ahad Siddiqui, Thomas Sabljic, and Behrad Garmsiri.

During its first electoral year, 5 students were nominated by their peers as representatives: Jonathan Lai, Bill Simpson, Mark Tucci, Ritesh Daya and Eric Tatham.