MEet the Team
Meet our 2023 McGill RareDIG team!
Gregory is a third year medical student at McGill. His clinical and research interests lie in understanding the mechanisms underlying various neurodegenerative disorders. Notably, he has a particular interest in Parkinson's and Huntington's Disease. Through his research experience, he discovered the unique characteristics of other rare diseases, the variable patient presentations, and the particularities associated with assigning a rare disease diagnosis. He hopes to, as president of the initiative, raise awareness for the increasing need of medical awareness and research efforts in the field of rare diseases.
Vice President of Professional Development
Santina is a third year medical student at McGill University. She completed the Med-P program at McGill before entering medical school. RareDIG caught Santina's attention because she believes that everyone should have access to quality healthcare. She strives to raise awareness about the need to explore rare diseases, which, although individually uncommon, are frequently observed in the clinical setting. As VP of Professional Development, Santina will work with Valeria to establish the year's mentorship and shadowing branches, which will allow students to explore such an interesting subspecialty of medicine.
Head of Research Branch
Alex is a PhD student in Neuroscience at McGill University. Having grown up in a family affected by a rare neurodegenerative disease, Alex knows first-hand of the struggle patients and their loved ones face. She has been involved with various PAGs over the years, most notably, the United Leukodystrophy Foundation since 2008. Alex also spent 3 summers working for Easter Seals as a supervisor at their overnight camp for children with physical disabilities, helping her campers achieve greater independence, accessibility and integration. Her experiences have driven Alex to pursue a career in rare disease research which she is currently fulfilling in the laboratory of Dr. Bernard. Alex is one of the students spearheading the creation of a rareDIG research chapter in order to better bridge the fundamental “bench to bedside” link in patient care and advocate the importance and value of researching orphan disorders.
Hongda is a second year medical student at McGill University. He completed the Med-p program prior to entering medical school. According to him, patients with rare disease often receive a sub-optimal quality of healthcare, and it is importance to raise awareness for those individuals. He joined the rareDIG group at the beginning of his Med-p program as VP junior. His current works consist of organizing events and running the rareDIG website.
Elie is a Med-1 at McGill University and this year's VP Communications for RareDIG. Elie decided to join RareDIG because of the very honorable mission of this initiative. When thinking about rare diseases individually, they do indeed seem very infrequent in the population. However, importantly, when looked at collectively, these diseases are not as rare as one may think. Thus, Elie is very honored to be part of an initiative that puts rare diseases at its core, and is always happy to contribute to the team!
Miriam is a Neuroscience master student at McGill University. She completed her HBSc at the University of Toronto, double majoring in neuroscience and psychology. She currently researches the relationship between preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease and neuromodulatory inputs in the hopes to identify early biomarkers for disease prevention. Through her involvement in several research projects and speaking directly with people living with different types of dementias, she felt inspired by the patients strength and felt motivated to learn more about rare diseases by joining RareDIG. By being part of RareDIG, Miriam hopes to increase awareness and expand research efforts of rare disease to improve the lives of patients.
Amanda Morrone is a 2nd-year medical student; prior to medical school, she completed the Med-P program and attended Marianopolis College. Amanda is very passionate about the field of Medical Genetics, music and student government; she is excited to share her logistical skills in the planning of RareDig Day!
Siavash Kermani Koosheh
Sia is a second-year medical student at McGill University. He completed his bachelors in Neuroscience at the University of Winnipeg and is currently finishing a Master's degree at the Integrated program in Neuroscience. During his time in graduate school, Sia first became aware of the collective high prevalence of rare diseases and the lack of resources and support offered to patients and their loved ones. After hearing about RareDIG in his first-year medical class, Sia decided to join the newly formed research branch. With the advent of molecular genetic sequencing, rare diseases are being discovered and diagnosed at an unprecedented rate. Improving awareness of current rare disease science is pivotal to being able to provide accurate and timely diagnoses as well as propel the field forward with increased interest in rare research.
Past President & Senior Advisor
Émilie is a medical student at McGill University. She completed the Med-P program at McGill before entering medical school. She joined RareDIG early on during her first year of medical school, where she learned about the gaps in healthcare surrounding rare disorders, in the clinical as well as academic setting. As past president and senior advisor, she is motivated to raise awareness among medical students and other healthcare learners, as well as taking steps to improve patients' experiences within the healthcare system and offering the best care possible to all.
Past President & Senior Advisor
Michael is a medical student at McGill University. He completed his BSc in Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto before entering medical school. Upon conducting basic science, clinical, and translational medicine research, it became clear that patients with rare diseases require a voice. This motivated him to lead and expand McGill’s Rare Disease Interest Group across North-America, initiating chapters in medical schools like Perelman, Johns Hopkins, and more. He aims to continuously nurture the rareDIG tradition to help clinicians and researchers see the world through the patients' lenses, and echo their voices and rich perspective to the world.