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:

Co-President: Ritesh Daya

Ritesh is in his 4th year of his Ph.D under the supervision of Dr. Ram Mishra in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. His research focuses on the development of novel drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. His research spans the drug development spectrum: from cellular and animal models to early commercialization. Ritesh also holds positions in the Faculty of Science Graduate Policy and Curriculum Committee, and Canadian Science Policy Organization. In his free time Ritesh enjoys camping, fishing and indoor/outdoor soccer.

Co-President: Bill Simpson

Bill is in the 4th year of his Ph.D under the supervision of Dr. Meir Steiner and Dr. Benicio Frey. His research focuses on Women’s Mental Health, specifically the role of inflammation and biological rhythms in the development of postpartum Depression. Bill also works with Dr. Michael Van Ameringen studying anxiety disorders and is a data analyst and consultant for MEMOTEXT Corp. In his spare time Bill enjoys playing squash, cycling, and being a co-captain for the Cereballers, the McMaster Neuroscience Softball Team.

Senior Representative: Elizabeth Krawczak

Elizabeth is in her second year of her Masters. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Benicio Frey and her thesis focuses on the impact circadian rhythm disruptions during the perinatal period have on depressive symptoms during the postpartum. Elizabeth is also very active in the community. She volunteers at St.Joseph’s Hospital and she holds positions on two boards: vice-president of the Corktown Co-operative’s Board of Directors and director on the Golden Horseshoe Cooperative Housing Federation’s Board of Directors.

Senior Representative: Jon Lai

Jon is in the 6th (and final!) year of his PhD working with Dr Jane Foster. His research investigates the biology and behaviour in models of neurodevelopmental disorders, which advances understanding of the underpinnings of autism spectrum disorder and will contribute to developing research targets and tools for these disorders. In his spare time, he plays team sports, the piano and violin, and enjoys good conversation and a medium-rare steak with a glass of wine.

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.