People

Current Members




Dr. Susanne Schmid

Dr. Susanne Schmid


Email: susanne.schmidATschulich.uwo.ca
Associate Professor of Neurobiology
Associate Chair for Research (Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology)
Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Susanne Schmid studied Biology in Tübingen (Germany) and São Paulo (Brazil). She was trained as an electrophysiologist (patch-clamp recordings in brain slices) during her PhD working at the University Eye Hospital in Tübingen under Dr. Guenther and Professor Zrenner. Dr. Schmid started her own independent group in 2000 in the Animal Physiology Department (Professor Schnitzler) at the University of Tübingen, Germany. In 2006, she spent a year at the University of Toronto as a Heisenberg Fellow working with John Yeomans, before she moved to Western in 2007.
Dr. Schmid was always interested in synaptic plasticity, first during retinal development, and later, when she founded her own group, in relation to behavioural plasticity and learning. Habituation of startle is an excellent model to explore cellular and molecular mechanisms of learning in mammals. Habituation is also a sensory filtering mechanism, therefore she started to study other sensory filtering mechanisms as well, most importantly prepulse inhibition. Both habituation and prepulse inhibition are also measured in humans and are clinically highly relevant.

 

 

Lab Technicians




Cleusa De Oliveira

Cleusa De Oliveira


Email: Cleusa.deoliveiraATschulich.uwo.ca

Cleusa is the lab technician/manager. She is responsible for all the ordering in the Lab and she also helps all the students with their projects. Cleusa works with the animals, doing surgeries and behavioral tests. She also works with immunohistochemistry experiments and PCR tests. Cleusa just loves her work!
Outside of the lab, she loves to spend time with her family and her shih-tzu dog, Dodo.

 

 

Research Assistants




Renée Phillips

Renée Phillips


Email: rphill8ATuwo.ca

Renée was born and raised in London, Ontario. She received her undergraduate degree from Western with a double major in Physiology and Psychology. Continuing her studies in the department of Neuroscience seemed like the next logical step. Like others in the Schmid lab, Renée studies the startle reflex. Instead of examining this response in animal models of autism, her subjects are human children with autism (with the help of Dr. Rob Nicolson at LHSC). This not only reduces her risk of bites, but also allows us to determine the relevance of the rat autism models. Children with autism spectrum disorder are often reported to have difficulty filtering out the enormous amount of sensory information their brains receive every day. The physiologic deficits in sensory filtering are thought to underlie many of the social symptoms of this disease spectrum. So far though these reports are only anecdotal. No quantitative physiological methods of assessment have been robustly studied. Renée hopes that by better understanding the sensory gating deficits in children with autism, clinical interventions could be developed to assist with the underlying problem that causes the host of symptoms experienced by children with autism.
Outside the lab, Renée spends her time caring for her own brood of children, knitting, singing, and engaged in social justice initiatives. She is a foster-parent and small-business owner. One day she hopes to be Miss. Frizzle and have a magic school bus.

 

 

Postdoctoral Fellows

 

Graduate Students




Erin Azzopardi

Erin Azzopardi


Email: eazzoparATuwo.ca
PhD Candidate

Erin is a PhD Candidate in the Schmid lab. She joined in 2010 as an MSc and converted to the PhD program two years after. She completed her BSc in Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University and complete an honours thesis with Dr. Diano Marrone, investigating aging in the hippocampus. Her PhD project focuses on understanding cholinergic mechanisms of sensory filtering. In the past Erin has used transgenic mouse models, pharmacological manipulations, or immunohistochemistry to investigate this. Currently, she is exploring the use of optogenetics to answer mechanistic questions regarding midbrain cholinergic function in sensory filtering.
A fun fact about Erin is that since moving to London, she has taken fencing, belly dancing and pottery classes. Using her critical thinking skills and empirical nature, which have been carefully cultivated through years of grad school, she has determined that she cannot dance, fence, or make art. Erin has decided to stick with science and has enjoyed her time in grad school, especially working with all the wonderful people in the Schmid lab.
Feel free to contact Erin if you have questions about graduate school in general, or more specific questions about grad life in Anatomy and Cell Biology and the Schmid lab.

 




Andrea Louttit

Andrea Louttit


Email: alouttitATuwo.ca
MSc Candidate

Andrea is a MSc candidate in the Schmid lab. She completed her undergraduate degree in Medical Science with an Honors Specialization in Medical Cell Biology at the University of Western Ontario. Andrea completed her fourth year honors project in the Schmid lab studying the role of cannabinoid receptor type 1 in habituation. Andrea is excited to continue sensory filtering research in the anatomy and cell biology department.
Outside of the lab, Andrea enjoys the outdoors and her favourite activities include biking, fishing (both in the summer and winter), and swimming. She also enjoys reading and travelling.

 




Kaela Scott

Kaela Scott


Email: kscot26ATuwo.ca
MSc Candidate

Kaela is a MSc candidate in the Schmid Lab. She completed her undergraduate degree in Honors Biology at the University of Windsor in 2015. Kaela’s project focuses on the use of a VPA-induced ASD rat model to study the associated dysfunction in cortical multisensory processing, characterized by altered integration of audio-visual stimuli at the single-neuron level. She is co-supervised by Dr. Allman whose lab has developed the use of in vivo, high-channel count electrophysiological techniques which will be used to investigate audio-visual processing in the cortex.
Outside of lab, Kaela enjoys exercising and martial arts, reading, and playing board games.

 




Simon Benoit

Simon Benoit


Email: sbenoiATuwo.ca
MSc Candidate

Simon is a MSc candidate in the Schmid lab. His undergraduate studies in both Biomedical Sciences and Psychology were completed at the University of Ottawa in 2015. Those studies included an honours thesis on the effects of an HPA axis antagonist on neurotrophic factor expression in an animal model of global cerebral ischemia. His Masters work, co-supervised by Dr. Matthew Hebb, will explore the use of cortical cells obtained from patients living with Parkinson’s disease as a potential source of cells for autologous cell therapies.
When not hard at work, Simon mostly enjoys spending time with his family doing activities such as rock climbing, biking, gardening, watching movies, playing music – and even taking out the occasional board game.

 




Andrew Deweyert

Andrew Deweyert


Email: adeweyerATuwo.ca
MSc Candidate

Andrew is a MSc candidate in the Schmid lab. He completed his undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences with an honors specialization in anatomy and cell biology at the University of Western Ontario in 2016. Prior to this Andrew completed two years of a medical doctorate program at Ross University School of Medicine. He left medicine to pursue a research career and started his research in the Lala Lab working with breast cancer. He has now undertaken a new project with the Schmid lab that investigates novel experimental therapies to treat the brain tumour glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Furthermore, Andrew is co-supervised by Dr. Matthew Hebb - a neurosurgeon with a focus on glial biology and neuro-oncology.
Outside of the Lab Andrew enjoys cooking, hiking, and reading.

 




Faraj Haddad

Faraj Haddad


Email: fhaddad2ATuwo.ca
MSc Candidate

Faraj is a MSc candidate at the Schmid lab. He started at the Schmid Lab as part of a work study program; investigating sensorimotor and attentional deficits in a Valproic acid (VPA) rat model of autism. Enjoying his work at the lab, he opted to complete his Undergraduate Honours thesis at the Schmid lab looking at the cholinergic midbrain's role in visual attention in rats. After completing his Undergraduate Honours thesis, he decided to return to the Schmid lab and is currently pursuing a Master's degree combining his two previous experiences to further investigate sensorimotor and attentional behaviour in two models of autism: The VPA model and a genetic CNTNAP2 knockout model.
Outside of the lab (or sometimes even inside the lab while waiting for dreadfully long experiments), Faraj loves to play computer games and follow eSports. In order to keep his health from deteriorating because of long and emotionally intense gaming or streaming hours, he decided to take up swimming and loves going to the university pool for some exercise. In his free time, Faraj is an avid baker and plans to casually take over the world through the powers of delicious cakes and desserts!

 




Niveen Fulcher

Niveen Fulcher


Email: nfulcherATuwo.ca
MSc Candidate

Niveen was born in London, England, but raised in Dubai, U.A.E. and Mississauga, Ontario. She has finally settled down in London, Ontario as a MSc candidate in Neuroscience. Niveen completed her HBSc degree at the University of Toronto where she worked primarily in Dr. Robert Gerlai’s Behavioural Genetics Lab studying a variety of social, anxiety, and neurochemical phenomena in zebrafish. Now, the stars have delightfully shifted her towards the rat model, which she works on at Dr. Susanne Schmid's Lab. Her current goal is to examine the GABAergic system in the pedunculopontine tegmental area, with specific aims to better understand the mechanisms of sensorimotor filtering.
Outside of the lab, Niveen enjoys running, reading, socializing, and snowboarding in the wintertime. Visiting family abroad – and travel in general – is on Niveen’s priority life-list, as well.

 

 

Scholar's Electives and Honors Thesis Students

 

Visiting Students




Lu Lu

Lu Lu


Email: llu92ATuwo.ca
5th Year Undergraduate

Lu Lu is a visiting student from China. She was selected by Sichuan University’s West China School of Medicine for sponsorship from the China Scholarship Council to do a one-year research internship with the Schmid Lab.
In China, Lu Lu specialized in diagnosing and treating epilepsy and stroke. She also researched the prevention of these disorders. Currently, Lu Lu is excited to explore the field of neuroscience. At the Schmid Lab, she will be studying the filtering mechanism of the nervous system and the impact of Ritalin on an animal model with prepulse inhibition (PPI) deficit. She is looking forward to learning from the Schmid Lab and the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.
Outside of the lab, Lu Lu loves collecting classical music CDs and going on hikes. She has also developed an interest in cooking while in Canada.
In 2017, she will return to China to finish her undergraduate degree in Clinical Medicine with an Honors Specialization in Neurology.

 

 

Work Study Students




Linda Wang

Linda Wang


Email: wwang456ATuwo.ca
3rd Year Undergraduate

Linda is in her third year of Medical Science at the University of Western Ontario doing an Honours Specialization in Physiology. She is currently helping Andrea with their research. She works with animals, doing handling and behavioural testing. She also does wet lab work, such as PCR.
Outside of the lab and classroom, Linda likes to swim, go stargazing, and play with her husky.

 

 

Volunteers




Josephine Lau

Josephine Lau


Email: jlau248ATuwo.ca

Josephine is a volunteer website developer at the Schmid Lab. She graduated from Western University with an Honors Double Major in Medical Sciences and Biology in 2014 and a Bachelors of Nursing Science in 2016. She started working as Dr. Schmid's work study student in 2013 and continued on as a volunteer after graduation. Using WordPress, Google, and CSS programming, she created Dr. Schmid's website and regularly keeps it updated.
Outside of volunteering, Josephine likes singing, playing piano, reading, keeping up with current events, traveling, cooking up a storm, and spending time with friends and family.

 

 

Former Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Erin AzzopardiErin Azzopardi

Graduate Student

Tyler BrownTyler Brown

Graduate Student

Mitchell CooperMitchell Cooper

Graduate Student

Justine CzajkaJustine Czajka

Work Study Student

Amalka De SilvaAmalka De Silva

Graduate Student

Jason GopaulJason Gopaul

Graduate Student

Jeremy KwokJeremy Kwok

Work Study Student

Magdalena MirkowskiMagdalena Mirkowski

Graduate Student

Farena PinnockFarena Pinnock

Graduate Student

Grace QiGrace Qi

Honors Thesis Student

Jordan RobinsonJordan Robinson

Graduate Student

Komal ShaikhKomal Shaikh

Graduate Student

Nadine SimonsNadine Simons

Postdoctoral Fellow

Mahabba SmokaMahabba Smoka

Graduate Student

Marei TypltMarei Typlt

Postdoctoral Fellow

Bridget ValsamisBridget Valsamis

Graduate Student

Charles WalewskiCharles Walewski

Honors Thesis Student

Alvin YangAlvin Yang

Honors Thesis Student
Scholar's Electives Student

Tariq ZamanAlvin Yang

Postdoctoral Fellow