GradLife Team 2018-2019

GradLife Bloggers

Fannie Dionne 


Joyeuse historienne montréalaise mère de deux jeunes garçons (et étant de ce fait abonnée au café).

J’ai entrepris un doctorat sur les relations entre Jésuites et autochtones en Nouvelle-France au XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles à partir de dictionnaires manuscrits.

Avant d’étudier en histoire à McGill, j’ai fais une maîtrise en Littérature de langue française, un bac en Études classiques et un programme court en communication.

J’aime le monde académique, enseigner, faire de la recherche… mais aussi le monde fou des médias sociaux. J’essaie de concilier ces passions de mon mieux!

Mon mantra: tout est une phase.

Fannie is also a GradLife McGill Instagrammer and blogger team lead

Alice DamianoAlice

Program: I am a PhD student in Renewable Resources, and a fellow of the Economics for the Anthropocene project (check out our blog at! 😊).

Research Interests: I am doing research on the human-Earth relationships, and in particular I am interested in the reasons of our behavior towards the environment, the idea of homo oeconomicus, climate change and natural catastrophes. Interdisciplinarity is one of my favourite keywords, indeed my background encompasses Environmental Studies, Social Sciences, Information Technology and Humanities, and I have put my soul in all of them over the years, letting these disciplines change and enrich my way of thinking.

In alphabetical order…

I am: Emotional, Italian, marching at the rhythm of a different drum.

I did: Attend a scout group, grow up in a village named Pinasca, play in a theatre company.

I do: Collect pens and pencils every time I visit a new place, overthink, write poems in Italian and English.

I try to be: Bearable, open-minded, respectful.

I wish to say: Have a nice day, Nice to meet you, Peace & Love.

GradLife community!

Sophie CousineauSophie

Hometown: I was born and raised in Ottawa, where I completed my B.Sc. at the University of Ottawa. During my undergraduate years, I had the opportunity to work in research labs that studied viruses or used them as research tools, and I quickly realized that viruses are fascinating. These minuscule pathogens are able to take over the molecular machinery of cells and repurpose it to make more viruses – how cool is that?!

Program/Research Interests: I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Microbiology and Immunology department, where I am working to figure out how the hepatitis C virus interacts with specific cellular RNA-binding proteins.

About me: Outside of the lab, I often spend my free time running up Mont Royal, reading for fun in cafés, or knitting while watching something on Netflix. I am always looking for new experiences or challenges!

Meet bloggers from previous years


GradLife Instagrammers

Christina Katsari


Hometown: Athens, Greece

Current status: Newbie at McGill, I am starting my PhD in Mining and Materials Engineering Department.

Hobbies: I’m passionate about dance. I have tried many styles and since 2014 I am a licensed Zumba® Fitness Instructor. What I love most about Zumba® is that it is like a party, you don’t realize you are working out, you always have a big smile on your face. Also, I like reading novels that make my mind travel and cooking for my favorite people.

As it is my first year in Montreal, I will be sharing my experience of exploring this city through my Instagram posts with you!

 My inspirational motto: “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

Christina is also an Instagrammer team lead

Saima AhmedVersion 2

Program: MSc, Experimental Medicine

Research Interest: I am interested in the role of patient-centered care within the field of medicine.  My research is focused specifically on patient empowerment and satisfaction throughout their health care journey. I am the coordinator of a study that aims to examine the impact of eHealth and mobile health tools from the perspective of both health care providers and patients.

Hometown: Montreal, Canada

About me: I have a BSc in Exercise Science with a specialization in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Concordia University. In my last year as an undergrad, I worked as a teaching assistant. I took some time off before going to graduate school, working in a clinical hospital setting and that is where I gained an a interest in patient experience.

In my free time, I do free-lance photography. I think the power of a good photo is truly incredible, it can repeatedly connect, resonate and stay with an individual. The reason I love photography is the feeling of pure excitement and pleasure it gives me.

I try my best to keep an active lifestyle by participating in yoga, Pilates and jogging. My other interests include fashion, art, movies, music, food, travel and comedy, yes comedy! I can regularly be seen catching various comedy shows across the city, whether it be improv, stand-up or sketch.

Saima is also a GradLife Coordinator and blogger

Chrisanne Dsouza

Program : MSc Applied BiotechnologyChrisanne.JPG

Hometown: Mumbai, India

About me: I did my Bachelor’s of Science in Biotechnology from Mumbai. I am currently working at the Research Center at the Shriners Hospital for Children. My area of research is in musculoskeletal biology.

Outside the lab: I like playing the piano (not a professional though). I also love learning new languages.


Sam LeeSam pic

Program: PhD, Biochemistry

Research Interests: I work on proteins called chaperones and co-chaperones, mainly DNAJB1. The network of chaperones maintains the protein balance in the cells, which is critical for the survival of the cell. I hope to elucidate the specific role of DNAJB1 in this chaperone network.

About me: I am an international student from South Korea. Before coming to Montreal, I use to live in Toronto. I love reading, eating, chatting, listening to the music, and traveling. And I love to take pictures of what I do and what I see. I enjoy sharing my photos on Instagram and I am excited to share my life as a grad student at McGill through GradLife. My personal Instagram accounts are: @kipunsam.daily @spring_of_joy

Madhura Chatterjee


Hey, I’m a newbie graduate student at the Masters in Architectural History and Theoryprogram at the Peter Guo-Hua Fu School of Architecture. Just arrived in Montréal from the city of joy- Kolkata, India. My research hopes to establish the connections between experiences, architecture and comfort. My obsession with heritage buildings and a passion for traveling got me into photography. When not slogging on assignments , I hope to be found at a cozy nook with a book or on the streets with my camera, exploring new places.

Falling in love with McGill and Montréal one photo at a time.  Come follow my journey on Instagram @blueskybeyond_.

Ainur Artay

I am an international graduate student from Kazakhstan, starting my MA in Economics here at McGill (which I am really excited about!). My specific fields of research interest are Development Economics, Game Theory and Behavioural Economics. I received my BA degree in Economics at UBC in beautiful Van city, after which I returned to Astana, Kazakhstan, and started working at EY as an auditor andIMG_20180621_202833_2.jpg switched to management consulting later.

List of the things I am passionate about (besides Economics) include travelling, practicing yoga, experimenting bio-hacks, reading and photography.Languages I speak – Kazakh, Russian, English and German. Languages I (desperately) want to learn – French and Python.

One of my favorite quotes is by Naval Ravikant, a brilliant mind of our time: “The most important trick to be happy is to realize that happiness is a choice that you make and a skill that you develop. You choose to be happy, and then you work at it. It’s just like building muscles.”I really enjoyed the chill and vibrant summer of 2018 in Montreal, now looking forward to a warm and colourful fall 2018, followed by snowy and fun winter.

Kaitlin Winter


Program: PhD Student in Microbiology and Immunology

Years at McGill: 5.5 (I did my undergrad at McGill)

Research Interests: I am currently working in a vaccine development lab at the Glen Site. I am developing a vaccine for Clostridium difficile.

Home Town: Metcalfe, Ontario (near Ottawa)

Fun habit: I am a total news hound and am constantly sending my friends articles.

Snapchat habits: 80% of my snapchats are of my cockatiel Roscoe or boardgames.

Volunteering: I am a Guider with Girl Guides of Canada. I work in a unit with 12-14 year olds.

Go to Party Trick: I can touch my nose with my tongue.

Favourite Season: All of them. I love the smells of Spring and Fall, camping in the Summer and snow in the Winter.

David Touchette

Program: M.Sc, Microbiology, Natural Resource Sciences.

Research Interests: My thesis is focus on microbial life detection in extreme environments, especially on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut. As a member of the McGill Space Institute, my projet is strongly related to possible life detection space mission, on Mars, Europa and Enceladus.

Hometown: I’ve been raised in Sainte-Thérèse, but now living in Montréal!

About me: Even though I’m passionate by science, you will not find me in the lab on weekends. I’m probably somewhere in the wild, hiking, canoeing or exploring Quebec province while taking some nice photos! It’s only while facing an untouched environment that it’s possible to understand the importance of the nature and the beauty of the biology. With my interests for the outdoors and exobiology don’t be surprised that I always have my head in the clouds.

Martina D’Antonio

MartinaI’m a first year PhD student in Neuroscience, trying to unravel the mystery of the cerebellum circuitry. I moved from the warm Sicily (Italy) to the cold Montreal in January 2017, so I’m relatively new to the city and McGill, but I already love them both so much.
I use electrophysiology to study the role of certain ion channels in the circuits of the cerebellum, and how they are disrupted in the context of the Fragile-X syndrome.

If I’m not in the lab, you will probably find me outdoors taking photos or in some place trying the trendiest brunch recommended by MTL Blog for the week. Yes, brunch crawl is definitely my favourite activity!

I’m looking forward to be an active member of the McGill community as a Gradlife Instagrammer and hopefully I will inspire you with some cool photos

Claudia Chan

Program: I am a first year Master of Educational Psychology student in the Inclusive Education stream.


My research interest involves people with disabilities, particularly to people with autism and down syndrome.

Hometown: Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada

About me: I originally moved to Montreal for my Bachelor’s in Art Education but ended up mistakenly residing here for the past six years. When I am not studying, I enjoy painting, doing ceramics, hiking, traveling, going to local markets, and unfortunately, binge watching Netflix. My personal Instagram handle is @claudiaachann. I’m excited to be part of this year Gradlife McGill! I hope to show you all my favourite places.


Meet Instagrammers from previous years

Meet Community Engagement Leaders from previous years

Meet Vloggers from previous years

Meet admin team members from previous years


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