Student Research

Student Research

Graduate Students

One key value at CommiSur is our student-centeredness. Graduate students are our core team, not just completing their individual degrees but actively interacting and collaborating with each other and with multiple supervisors in a very fertile discovery “playground”.

All graduate students are in the Department of Experimental Surgery, McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences unless otherwise specified.

New students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in our lab are invited to contact Dan Poenaru.

Have a look at some of our presentations for our monthly research meetings, posted on YouTube

PhD Candidates

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Fabio Botelho MD, MSc, PhD(c)

PhD Candidate 2023, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis Title: Non-technical skills (NOTS) in trauma training simulation 

I’m a Brazilian pediatric surgeon and the current Jean-Martin Laberge Global Pediatric Surgery Fellow at Montreal Children’s Hospital. My research focuses on investigating improvements in pediatric trauma care – the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in many countries in the world, including Brazil. My strong belief is that “surgery connects people and it is a tool for social change and global equality”.

My bio can be found here.
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Zanib Nafees, BSc, MSc, PhD(c)

PhD Candidate 2025, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis Title: Adaptation and translation of the Patient Reported Experience Measure for Children and Young People (PREM-CYP) at The Montreal Children’s Hospital

My thesis focuses on improving children’s experiences at the hospital and we are designing a survey that will tell us exactly how children want us to improve their experiences at the hospital. I love working with children, so I spend my late afternoons tutoring French and Math to elementary kids and high schoolers on a weekly basis. I love hiking and swimming in the summer and skating during the winter. I am really happy to be part of the Commisur lab and work with such a lovely and supportive team!

My bio can be found here.

Masters Candidates

Sacha Williams

Sacha Williams, MD, MS, MPH, MSc(c)

MSc 2024, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr Dan Poenaru

Thesis: Gender bias in access to care and outcomes for children’s surgery in LMICs

I am a Jean-Martin Laberge Global Pediatric Surgery Fellow. My research focus is on gender inequity and global surgery, particularly in low and middle income countries. I am strongly committed to: ameliorating clinical systems, patient care, health equity, and social justice to better serve vulnerable communities.

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My bio can be found here.
Julia

Julia Ferreira MD, MSc(c)

MSc 2023, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis Title: Patient-reported outcomes and experience in pediatric surgery

I’m a Brazilian pediatric surgeon, pursuing a Master’s in Experimental Surgery at McGill University. My research area is patient-centered care, connecting pediatric surgeons with patients and their families. I also lead a team of young surgeons in the fight against gender inequity in surgery.

My bio can be found here
Moe

Mohamed Elahmedi, MBBS PMP, MSc(c)

MSc Candidate 2024, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis Title: Digital health interventions in pediatric surgery

I’m a healthcare professional with a passion for combining healthcare with information technology. As a child, I created databases for a telecommunications company. During medical school in Sudan, I was able to apply his skills to alleviate suffering and save lives. After completing his clinical internship, I took a technical internship in an internet service provider. I then became a member of a multidisciplinary team that studied obesity and weight loss surgery in children, helping thousands of children and adolescents suffering from severe obesity and associated medical problems. I’m currently a master’s student in experimental surgery / digital health innovation at McGill. This is a digital health app that aims to improve the experience of children and their parents during surgical care by providing information, support, and communication tools. I’m dedicated to using his knowledge and experience to enhance the healthcare experience for both children and their parents through the use of digital technologies.

My bio can be found here
Alex Dimmer-2

Alexandra Dimmer, MD, MSc, MSc(c)

MSc Candidate 2024, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Co-Supervisors: Dr. Pramod Puligandla and Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia long-term follow-up clinic patient and family satisfaction

I’m a surgical resident at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY who is currently completing my MSc at McGill as part of her dedicated research time. I’m a Toronto native, who completed both her Bachelors and Masters degrees at McGill University, before pursuing a medical degree from St. George’s University. My future career aspirations are to become a pediatric surgeon.

My bio can be found here
Mahshid Mortazavi

Mahshid Mortazavi, MD, MPH, MSc(c)

MSc 2024, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr. Sherif Emil

Thesis: A systematic review of the risk stratification schemes for pediatric perforated appendicitis

My name is Mahshid. I graduated in 2013 from the Tehran University of Medical sciences. Currently an MSc student at the department of Experimental Surgery. I’m a wife, a mom and a foreign medical graduate from Iran with nine years of experience as a family doctor in my home country. I have been engaged in some research projects since medical school, and my field of interest is cancer epidemiology, public health and surgery. I love painting and playing basketball.

My bio can be found here
Jiahao

Jiahao Deng, MSc(c)

MSc 2023, Experimental Medicine, McGill University

Supervisors: Dr. Sam Daniel and Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis: Mixed-methodology study on patient-reported outcomes in adult bone-anchored hearing system users and non-users

Hello! I am a master’s student in otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, under the supervision of Dr. Sam Daniel and Dr. Dan Poenaru. My thesis projects are a systematic review of a new bone-anchored hearing implant and a piloting study of a mixed-method survey assessing patient-reported outcomes and experiences in those who refused the hearing implant.

My bio can be found here
Gianluca Bertolizio

Gianluca Bertolizio, MD, MSc(c)

MSc 2023, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis: Comparison between virtual reality- and high-fidelity-based simulation in training postgraduate anesthesia residents

I’m Assistant professor, McGill University in the department of anesthesiology. My research interests are brain physiology, Pediatric airway, Pain, Virtual Reality, Perioperative anesthesia. Currently I’m doing my master’s in virtual care with Dr. Dan Poenaru. I am learning downhill longboarding. I love working with children and their families because  every day they teach me a new way to be resilient and positive.

My bio can be found here
Mathias Johansen

Mathias Johansen, MD, MSc(c)

MSc, Experimental Surgery, McGill University

Supervisor: Dr. Dan Poenaru

Thesis: Short- and long-term gastro-intestinal and pulmonary complications in patients with esophageal atresia

My bio can be found here

Current Students

Julia Ferreira (Msc)
Mahshid Mortazavi (Msc)
Alexandra Dimmer (Msc)
Sacha Williams (Msc/PhD)
Mohamed Omer Elahmedi (Msc)
Zanib Nafees (PhD)
Gianluca Bertolizzio (Msc)
Mathias Johansen (Msc)
Aylin Ehrman (Msc, Computer Science)
Fabio Botelho (PhD)
Yasmine Yousef (PhD)

Current External Students

Felix Oyania (PhD, Mbarara University School of Technology)
Charles Odongo (PhD, Mbarara University School of Technology)

Past Students

Etienne St. Louis (PhD)
Kathryn LaRusso
Pier-Luc Beaudoin (MSc)
Luc Malemo (MSc, PhD)
Irina Boldeanu
Nadia Safa
Anne-Sophie Besner (MSc)
Zoe Atsaidis (MSc)
Parsa Bandamiri (MSc)
Hamed Ranjbar (MSc)

Past External Students

Naomi Wright (MSc, PhD, King’s College, London, UK)
Sabrina Wimmer (MA, Univ. of Groningen, NL)

Undergraduate & Medical Students

Many undergraduate students work and contribute in our lab, projects being typically supervised jointly by principal investigators and graduate students. We are open to both summer and year-long students interested in patient-centered and digital health innovation research.

New students interested in short-term research projects in our lab are invited to contact Dan Poenaru.