Trainee News!

Trainees of DREAM are provided access to a top-notch training environment at the Children's Hospital Reseach Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM). CHRIM fosters multi-disciplinary research interactions that facilitate translational research between the pre-clinical, clinical and population health-based sciences. Additionally, CHRIM provides an open and collaborative environment, which houses many eminent researchers with whom our trainees forge strong research collaborations and receive mentoring and guidance. Another excellent training opportunity for our trainees is participation in our Annual Diabetes Symposium, which is organized and hosted by DREAM. This symposium provides an excellent opportunity for trainees to showcase their work and allow them to network with both local and international leaders in the diabetes field.

DREAM also has a DREAM Trainees Seminar Series, which provides students and trainees opportunities to share and discuss relevant research papers as well as discuss work in progress, obtain critical feedback on research projects and hone oral communication skills. The DREAM Trainees Seminar Series is also used as a forum to invite world-renowned researchers to meet with trainees and discuss exciting new avenues of research, career paths and advice on balancing work and home life. The creation of the DEVOTION research cluster has allowed the DREAM trainees and the student group from the Biology of Breathing group (BReaTH) to join forces and participate in joint professional development sessions. The translational nature of this environment cultivates a greater appreciation for the clinical and fundamental aspects of research related to type 2 diabetes in youth.


DREAM trainees have created their own monthly newsletter starting in January 2018 in order to keep everyone updated on important news, opportunities, successes and upcoming events. View the first newsletter below! 


Postdoctoral Researchers

Postdoctoral Researchers

Prasoon Agarwal

Project Title: Epigenetic biomarkers and the mechanistic basis of childhood obesity

Research Focus: More and more people, including children are overweight or obese. This is concerning because obesity is a major factor that drives the development of type2 diabetes (T2D), and heart disease. These conditions are now the leading causes of death and disability and obesity-related healthcare expenditures have been estimated to exceed $6 billion annually in Canada alone. While healthy diets and physical activity are important for maintaining a healthy weight, it is now increasingly appreciated that environmental exposures during pregnancy can influence body weight in children, independent of lifestyle factors. It is believed that the methylation of an infant’s DNA while in utero affects levels of genes throughout the lifespan of the offspring. My project aims to understand how diabetes during pregnancy affects DNA methylation in the offspring. This project will help in deciphering underlying mechanisms and identify epigenetic biomarkers and develop novel strategies to mitigate risk of childhood obesity.

Previous Education: Masters in Biotechnology (India), PGD Bioinformatics (India), PhD in Cancer biology and Bioinformatics (Uppsala University, Sweden).

Interests: To teach bioinformatics and learn while teaching. 

Email: and


Latest Achievements: 

1. Awarded “Heinz Bohnet Travel Award” by Division of Endocrinology and Metabolic Disease, University of Manitoba, 2017–2018

2. Awarded Best poster presentation (Bronze category) at CHRD meeting held at Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from 3rd - 4th Oct 2017

3. Post-doctoral research grant “Manitoba Health Research Council” in Canada on June 2017

4. Research grant from “Karolinska Institutets forskningsbidrag, Karolinska Institute”, Sweden on October 2016

PI - Dr. Vern Dolinsky

Laura K Cole

Project Title: Regulation of cardiolipin metabolism in animal models of diabetes

Research Focus: My research focuses on how lipid homeostasis is important to avoid mitochondrial dysfunction and thus obesity related chronic diseases (type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, NAFLD).

Previous Education: PhD. Biochemistry. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; M.Sc. Physiology and Biophysics. Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada; B.Sc. Biochemistry (Hons) Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada



Latest Achievements: 

1. Gold Oral Presentation Award, 5th Annual Dream Symposium, Winnipeg, Canada, 2016

2. Post-Doctoral Fellow Poster Competition Bronze Award, 12th Annual Child Health Research Day, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 2016

3. Canadian Institute for Health Research Fellowship (CIHR)    

4. CIHR Integrated and Mentored Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Training

(IMPACT) Award

5. Manitoba Health Research Council (MHRC)/Manitoba Institute of Child Health

(MICH) Post-doctoral Fellowship Award                                                                        



- Publication in Biochimica Biophysica Acta (2016)

- First author of publication in Diabetes (2016)

PI - Dr. Grant Hatch

Kozeta Miliku

Project Title: Human milk oligosaccharides, infant growth and cardiometabolic health

Research Focus: The impact of maternal factors on human milk oligosaccharides and subsequently on obesity and cardiovascular health in children.

Previous Education: MD, Medical University of Tirana in Albania, PhD, MSc, DSc Erasmus University, Netherlands

PI - Dr. Meghan Azad

Mohammad Golam Sabbir

Project Title: Role of Muscarinic acetylcholine type 1  receptor in neurodegeneration

Research Focus: Dissecting the molecular network/pathway/mechanism of action of Muscarinic acetylcholine type 1 receptor in neuronal cells.

Previous Education: PhD, University of Jadavpur, India

PI - Dr. Paul Fernyhough

Subir Roy Chowdhury

Project Title: Importance of mitochondrial function in diabetic neuropathy.

Research Focus:  To investigate the role of mitochondrial dysfunction and bioenergetics, ROS generation, AMPK/SIRT/PGC-1a signalling pathway in diabetic neuropathy.

Previous Education: MD, PhD, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic


PI - Dr. Paul Fernyhough

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PhD Students

Taylor Morriseau

Program of Study: PhD Candidate, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Project Title: Investigating the Role of the HNF-1αG319S Polymorphism in Early-Onset Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) in Manitoban Indigenous Youth

Research Focus: Youth-onset T2D is the fastest growing disease among Indigenous children of Central Canada, the majority being of Oji-Cree heritage. The combination of a change in the DNA of the HNF-1α gene (HNF-1αG319S) and dramatic dietary changes likely contribute to the recent appearance and immense increase in T2D observed among Oji-Cree youth. My research focuses on deciphering how these environmental and genetic factors interact to affect the development of T2D.

Previous Education: BSc Microbiology and Genetics, University of Manitoba


LinkedIn profile

PIs - Drs. Vern Dolinsky and Christine Doucette

MohamadReza Aghanoori

Program of Study: PhD student, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders at St-Boniface Research Centre

Project Title: IGF-1 regulation of mitochondrial function and dynamics in sensory neurons

Research Focus: There is impaired growth factor signaling allied with down-regulation of AMPK activity and mitochondrial function in DRG neurons in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes exhibiting peripheral neuropathy. We are investigating the role of MAPK and Akt pathways through which IGF-1 acts to regulate AMPK activity and mitochondrial function in DRG neurons in vitro and in vivo. We hope to dissect these pathways to develop our understanding of the pathogenesis and therapeutic options in diabetic neuropathy.

Previous education: MSc. Human Genetics, Shiraz Universtiy of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Email: &

Social media:



- First author of manuscript in Experimental Neurology (2017)

PI - Dr. Paul Fernyhough

Simone da Silva Rosa

Program of Study: PhD student, Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science

Project Title: Therapeutic targeting of skeletal muscle Nix in early-onset insulin resistance

Research Focus: Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes have increased dramatically among youths over the past two decades.  My research focuses on how skeletal muscle becomes resistant to insulin, which is an important mechanism of type 2 diabetes. We have identified a potential drug target in skeletal muscle called Nix, which is a cell death gene protein, and have come up with a way to neutralize it’s detrimental effects in cultured muscle cells. Therefore my research will test these potential therapeutic approaches to reduce Nix-induced insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction. This knowledge will enable the development of new therapeutic approaches to treat early-onset type 2 diabetes and minimize the burden of diabetes-related complications in Manitoba. 

Previous Education: Bachelor of Nursing Science, Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro (Brazil)


LinkedIn profile

Research Gate profile


Latest Achievements: 

1. Dean of Medicine Travel Award

2. Keystone Symposia Scholarship
3. "Gold Award" Poster Competition - 6th DREAM Diabetes Symposium

4. Ralph A. Mann Memorial Scholarship Award, (HACS Department)

5. "Gold Award" International Conference Primum Non Nocere (Brazil)
6. University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship - UMGF
7. "Bronze Award" HACS Department Research Day Poster Competition

8. Anatomical Research Fund Graduate Scholarship

9. DEVOTION Travel Award

10. Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) Travel Award

11. International Graduate Student Scholarship (IGSS)

PI - Dr. Joseph Gordon

Stephanie Kereliuk

Program of Study: PhD Candidate, Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Project Title: Developmental origins of cardiovascular disease: how does gestational diabetes induce cardiac dysfunction in the rat offspring?

Research Focus: My research interests include understanding the developmental orgins of cardiovascular disease and the molecular mechanisms responsible for mitochondrial dysfunction. My specific research focus is on how early life exposure to diabetes during pregnancy may predispose children to heart failure later in life. 

Previous Education: BSc. Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba


LinkedIn profile


Latest Achievements: 

1. Research Manitoba Scholarship 



First author of article in the International Journal of Molecular Science (2017)

- Article in Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences Journal (2018)

- Article accepted in Cell Death and Differentiation (January 2018)

- Article in the Journal of Neuroinflammation (2017)

PI - Dr. Vern Dolinsky

Matthew Martens

Program of Study: PhD Student, Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science

Project Title: The Protective Role of Prostaglandin Signalling During Neonatal Hypoxia

Research Focus: My research is focused on making sure that the heart works properly at the cellular level during neonatal hypoxia in order to prevent later diseases of prematurity. Specifically, I am looking at the role of already existing signals in the body, known as prostaglandins, and if we can therapeutically boost them to prevent newborn heart injury and ultimately improve the infant’s quality of life.

Previous education: B.Sc.(Hons). Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba


Latest Achievements: 

1. DREAM Symposium (2018): Trainee Poster Competition Silver Award

2. Child Health Research Days (2018): Trainee Poster Competition Bronze Award

3. DEVOTION Travel Award 



Co-First author of article in Cell Death Discovery (2018)

Second author of article in Cell Death and Differentiation (2018)

PI - Dr. Joseph Gordon

Nivedita Seshadri

Program of Study: Phd student, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology

Project Title: Investigating the role of circadian clock in regulating insulin secretion capacities over 24 hours

Research Focus: Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is triggered by β cell failure. We do not completely understand mechanisms protecting β cell function in “healthy” versus people with T2D. Our recent study shows that glucose homeostasis over 24 hours is maintained by diurnal cycles of insulin secretion and a mitochondrial inner membrane protein within the β cell called Uncoupling Protein 2 (UCP2) is its regulating switch. While our primary focus is in defining the molecular mechanism by which the clock dictates and regulates insulin secretion via UCP2 over 24 hours,  my PHD work focuses on understanding the different mechanisms that contribute to the fine regulation of insulin secreting capacities in the beta cells.

Previous Education: MSc. Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, University of Manitoba



Latest Achievements: 

1. 2018 3MT finalist 

2. CSHRF - Mitacs poster award (Gold)

3. CSHRF - CIHR poster award (Silver) 

4. Research Manitoba award



- Article accepted in Transgenic Research 27(8)

- First author of article in Molecular Metabolism Journal (2017)

PI - Dr. Christine Doucette

Brittany Moyce

Project Title: Adiponectin Deficiency Contributes to the Development of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Mice

Research Focus: Gestational Diabetes, Hepatic and mitochondrial metabolism and hepatic steatosis (or non alcoholic fatty liver disease) in pregnancy, characterizing the role of adiponectin in the development of GDM and metabolic syndrome. Pancreatic beta cell dysfunction in GDM and the impact of adiponectin deficiency on beta cell function.

Previous Education: BSc. Honours Co-op in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry, University of Manitoba

PI - Dr. Vern Dolinsky

Hana Zegallai

Program of Study: PhD student, Pharmacology and Therapeutics Department

Research Focus: Bacterial infection modulates Barth Syndrome lymphoblast function

Previous Education: MSc. Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Tripoli (Libya)


PI - Dr. Grant Hatch

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MSc. Students

Manuel Sebastian

Program of Study: M.Sc. Student, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology

Research Focus: The prevalence of youth-onset T2D is disproportionately affecting the Indigenous children of Central Canada, the majority being of Oji-Cree heritage. My research will focus on the change in the DNA of the HNF-1α gene (HNF-1αG319S) which is likely to contribute to the development of T2D observed among the Oji-Cree youth. 

Previous Education: Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Biological Science at the University of Guelph 


LinkedIn Profile

PI - Dr. Christine Doucette

Gabriel Brawerman

Research Focus: Does Resveratrol protect against gestational diabetes and the programming of heart disease in the offspring

Previous education: BSc Genetics, University of Manitoba


Latest Achievements: 

1. DEVOTION Travel Award

2. Research Manitoba Studentship (Fall 2017)

3. Gold Award at CHRD Poster Competition

4. Silver Award at 2017 DREAM Symposium Poster Competition

5. The Clive Greenway Award (Pharmacology and Therapeutics Departmental Award)

6. Caminetsky Prize in Pharmacology and Therapeutics



- Article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IJMS) (2017)

- First author of a review accepted in Pharmacological Research (2018)

PI - Dr. Vern Dolinsky

Nika Korpesho

Program of Study: M.Sc. Candidate, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management

Project Title: Nothing About Us Without Us: Understand Patient Perspectives in Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes

Research Focus: Physical activity can be a strong supporter of a long, healthy life with type 1 diabetes by promoting positive health benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity, decreased insulin requirement and decreased risk of developing complications or early mortality. Unfortunately, individuals living with type 1 diabetes also face many challenges and barriers to increasing their activity levels, and research in exercise science has not been conducted to address questions that are important to the patient population. My research focus is to begin identifying the important research questions that patients have with relevance to type 1 diabetes and exercise by following a patient-engaged approach.

Previous Education: Bachelor of Kinesiology (B.Kin), University of Manitoba


Lab phone: 204-789-3591

LinkedIn profile

Latest Achievements:

1. University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship Award

2. FKRM Graduate Scholarship Award

3. Travel Award – Health, Leisure and Human Performance Research Institute



- Minimal effect of walking on glycemic responses in type 2 diabetes: The multi-site E-PAraDiGM Protocol (Submitted Work In Progress)

- Physical Activity and Type 1 Diabetes: Gaps in Knowledge and The Need for Patient-Partners (Submitted Work In Progress)

PI - Dr. Jonathan McGavock and Dr. Todd Duhamel

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Trainee Executive Committee

The DREAM Trainees are committed to representing DREAM, increasing academic and research collaborations within the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM), enhance career development opportunities for trainees, and to promote understanding and reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Manitoba by providing educational opportunities for trainees and striving for community and patient-oriented research. Please see the links below to learn more about this group. 

October 2018 Election positions

Description of executive positions

DREAM Trainee constitution

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Laetitia Guillemette

Project Title: Impact of Exposure to Diabetes during Pregnancy and Social Determinants of Health on Future Cardiovascular Outcomes in Offspring.

Research Focus: My research interests lie in understanding the impact of maternal diabetes in pregnancy and social determinants of health on the childs risk of cardiometabolic complications in adolescence and early adulthood. I will investigate this question through the use of clinical data, meta analyses, and province-wide health and education registries. 


PI - Dr. Jonathan McGavock (Co-PI Dr. Todd Duhamel)

Wajihah Mughal

Project Title: A Myocardin-regulated genetic pathway that modulates mitochondrial function to prevent cell death during cardiac development.

Research Focus: Exposure to gestational diabetes mellitus increases the risk of offspring developing diabetic cardiomyopathy, often associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death. Myocardin is an essential regulator of cardiac development and prevents cell death in the heart. We are currently investigating a pathway where Myocardin activates miR-133a to repress Nix, a pro-death protein, to maintain mitochondrial function and inhibit cardiomyopathy.

Previous Education: MSc. Physiology, University of Manitoba


PI - Dr. Joseph Gordon

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Yash Rawal

Project: NextGen

PI: Dr. Wicklow

Project Coordinator

Tamara Beardy

Project: AYMP (local)

PI: Dr. McGavock

Project Coordinator

Marylin Carino

Project: iCARE

PIs: Drs. Dart & Wicklow

Research Assistant

Melissa Gabbs

Project: iCARE 

PIs: Drs. Dart & Wicklow

Project Coordinator

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