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




Simon Benoit

Simon Benoit


Email: sbenoiATuwo.ca
PhD 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
PhD 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.

 




Niveen Fulcher

Niveen Fulcher


Email: nfulcherATuwo.ca
PhD Candidate

Niveen began as a M.Sc. candidate in Neuroscience in September 2016, and is still thoroughly enjoying long days at the Schmid Lab! Niveen completed her H.B.Sc. 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. At the Schmid Lab, the stars delightfully shifted her towards the rat model, where the goal is to uncover underlying mechanisms of sensory filtering and sensorimotor gating. Specifically, Niveen examines the tegmental areas of the mid-brain on a cellular level. By inhibiting particular cell types within these areas, Niveen hopes to uncover why patients with particular psychiatric illnesses, like Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorder, show deficits in sensory 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.

 




Faraj Haddad

Faraj Haddad


Email: fhaddad2ATuwo.ca
PhD 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!

 




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.

 

 

Scholar's Electives and Honors Thesis Students




Linda Wang

Linda Wang


Email: wwang456ATuwo.ca
4th Year Undergraduate
Honors Thesis Student

Linda is in her fourth year of the Medical Science program doing an Honours Specialization in Physiology. She began in the lab doing work study, assisting in projects investigating mechanisms of sensory filtering through both behavioural and cellular experiments. She is happy to continue her love for research in the Schmid lab through her own project developing a model to examine temporal order judgement of auditory and visual stimuli in rats using Bussey touchscreen boxes.
Outside of the lab, Linda is often found in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu classes on campus, at the Cronyn observatory with her club (Space Society of London), and enjoying the Spoke bagels.

 

 

Visiting Students

 

Work Study Students

 

Volunteers




Karnig Kazazian

Karnig Kazazian


Email: kkazaziaATuwo.ca
3rd Year Undergraduate

Karnig is entering his third year as an undergraduate student at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently completing his degree in the undergraduate Neuroscience program, intending to graduate with an honors specialization in Neuroscience. At the lab, he primarily assists Niveen with many aspects of her research, which include rat handling, tissue collection, PCR, immunohistochemistry, and behavioral testing.
Outside the lab, Karnig enjoys being involved with many extracurricular activities at Western, running, cooking, and playing Settlers of Catan.

 




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 working in well-resourced fast-paced hospital units, participating in bedside patient care, advocating for patients, keeping up with the latest public health initiatives, and taking post-graduate nursing courses to keep her knowledge updated. Hobby-wise, she enjoys singing, playing piano, listening to music, reading, keeping up with current events, traveling, cooking up a storm, riding her bicycle, spending time with friends and family, and relaxing until her next set of hospital shifts.

 

 

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

Andrea LouttitAndrea Louttit

Graduate Student

Lu LuLu Lu

Visiting 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 ZamanTariq Zaman

Postdoctoral Fellow