Past GradLife McGill Instagrammers


Yogita Patel Yogita

Program: Ph.D. Candidate in Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests: I do basic research on proteins called molecular chaperones – Hsp70 and Hsp110 – that help other proteins fold into functional units, untangle misfolded proteins or send them for degradation. One of my aims is to understand how novel, small molecule inhibitors of Hsp70 work so we can use them as tools for research and potentially treat diseases like cancer.

Hometown: Born and raised in Montreal

About me: Outside of the lab, I like reading, running, hiking, spending time with family and friends, drinking ridiculous amounts of masala chai and doodling with henna @mehndipetals. I also enjoy taking up challenges and stepping out of my comfort-zone. For example, I have been a co-host for a Montreal South Asian wedding show for the last two years.

This is my second year as part of the GradLife team. I’m returning as an Instagrammer and I aim to capture my final year of grad studies through photos and short videos (or Boomerangs!). I’m also excited to be contributing to the blog, where I’ll be describing my experiences and reflections as a teaching assistant for the undergraduate Biochemistry teaching lab.

Yogita is also a GradLife McGill blogger and Coordinator

Melissa Enns

Melissa Enns picHi! I am a first year MA student in Second Language Education. Unsuprisingly, I love everything about language, from morphology, phonology, and syntax to sociolinguistics and teaching. My love of language learning led me to major in linguistics and Spanish in my undergraduate studies, and I soon discovered that I also have a passion for teaching. After graduating, I spent two years teaching ESL and conversational Spanish in a high school in Regina, and my interests further extended to curriculum design. Now my passion for continuned growth has brought me to McGill, where I plan to improve my French, start learning Mandarin (hopefully), and gain knowledge to help with my career goals of designing language curricula and/or doing language school startups.

Some other tidbits about me: I’m a prairie girl from rural Saskatchewan. Glorious sunsets and grain waving in the wind run deep in my veins, and, yes, I do wear bunnyhugs. I love adventure and would say I’ve been on a few. I’ve lived in three cities, travelled in five countries (Canada absolutely counts!), and am always looking for my next opportunity to travel. I don’t just enjoy the “big” events, though; I love to find adventure in day-to-day life as well. It’s there in things like training for a half marathon or exploring a new neighbourhood or stopping to appreciate a bit of colour, or a leaf, or some music. I even get a thrill from crocheting and creating things. There is always something to be joyful about, and I look forward to sharing some of those things with you!

Dominic XavierDominic Xavier

Program: Bonjour! I am Dominic, a second year MBA student at McGill University, Desautels Faculty of Management.

About me: A mechanical engineer at heart, I worked for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, building some cool toys for them, including a nuclear sub. I play all kinds of sport but not the best in any. I have special inclination towards strategy games such as chess. I grew up in India and have travelled the length and breadth of the flavour rich nation. An extrovert and a Leo at heart, I am passionate about public speaking and was active in Toastmasters International. I enjoy driving cars and will any day be up for a road trip with a nice group.

I want to fly, I want to run , I even want to fall, but I just don’t want to stop. Someone who dint know the A,B,C of cooking, I am really passionate about cooking now and enjoy spending quality time with friends over dinner. I am excited to keep exploring Montreal and Canada this year – always on the hunt to find some artistic murals, meet new people and make new friends, or visit the must visit places of this beautiful country – and to share my graduate experience with the GradLife McGill community. Canada and McGill never cease to amaze me and being a McGill MBA ambassador, I am always happy to help.

Xingyu (Gabriella) PengGabriella

Program/Research: I am a Master’s student student in Bioresource Engineering, and my research interests focus on integrated system dynamic modelling and model calibration testing.

Hometown: I’m originally from China, I completed my BSc at Dalhousie University and I have moved to Montreal a few months ago. Taking my time to enjoy this amazing new city, and missing the quietness of Halifax.

About me: I have a huge love of travel and food as I believe that both encapsulate what it means to be from wherever you are from, I have always explored some stunning travel photo during my journey. As a graduate student, hitting the gym is the best way for me to release stress, my idea of the perfect day would start with a spinning class at the gym and finish off by a nice supper. I would love to meet new friends with the same passion and share the multicultural background.

Kristin DavisKristin

Program/Research Interests: I’m currently a Master’s candidate in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. I’ve always found viruses very intriguing because of their ability to evade human defences so naturally I found myself studying the human immunodeficiency virus, a.k.a. HIV, the causative agent of AIDS. More specifically I study the ability of the virus to remain latent and hidden from the immune system.

Hometown: I’m originally from Mississauga, ON and did my undergrad in Biochemistry at the the University of Guelph, but decided to switch provinces for my Master’s.

About me: Outside of school my passions include yoga, running, and painting, which is where you will find me when I’m not hauled up in the lab! I’ve fallen head over heels for this beautiful city, from the never ending festivals to the artistic vibe the city holds, and I’m excited to spend the next two years of my life here. I have an ever-growing “Montreal Bucket List” and I can’t wait to share my Montreal and Grad school experience with you, every step of the way!

Roxane JaffrayROxane

Program: M.Sc. in Renewable Resources, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Research Interests: I do fundamental research on silicon (Si) dynamics in hardwood and conifer trees in temperate forests with a focus on lignin and tannin metabolism. Si is present practically everywhere in natural systems (i.e. ROCKS) and is shown to provide physical and biological advantages to plants. One of my aims is to understand the role of Si nutrition amongst a diverse forest, for example key forest players – sugar maple and american beech – can accumulate large amounts of Si so we can use this knowledge in further research regarding climate change adaptation strategies.
Hometown: Born in Gatineau, raised in Virginia, and now here!

About me: I love being able to work outdoors for my thesis, minus the mosquitoes and black flies, sampling in the forest is really a perk! Before McGill, I lived in downtown Toronto where I got to explore and simutaneously complete my bachelors at UofT in environmental sciences and genetics/biotech.  And before Toronto I was a little further south in the US.

Outside of the lab I’ve recently started to play softball over the summer, which has now transitioned into a rugby team with some grad students at Mac campus. (shameless plug- grads on mac contact me!). Otherwise, I’m not much of an athlete but can be pretty competitive. I enjoy practicing yoga and just spending time with friends and family, and making the most of my time here 😊.


Stephan Pigeon

Stephan Pigeon  

I am a PhD candidate in History studying the history of the book and culture of the printed word in the nineteenth century Anglo-American world. While a native of Kingsville, Ontario—Canada’s southernmost town—I have lived in Montreal for the past three years. My research at McGill asks questions about the circulation of ideas and information in the Victorian periodical press, the development of international copyright agreements, and the role of specialized editors who regularly borrowed, modified, and re-deployed old texts as ‘new’ in the periodical marketplace.

As a GradLife Instagramer, my posts will highlight my enthusiasm for all things ‘book history’. I am also passionate about good food and drink shared with friends and look for any excuse to explore a new enchanting location. For the 2016-2017 academic calendar, I am taking a research year abroad in the United Kingdom. Stationed primarily at Mecklenburg Square in London, look for my posts capturing time spent inside and outside the archive!

Follow my Tweets and Instagram posts @digitalpigeons!


Stephanie Anne Nairn Stephanie

I am currently a doctoral candidate in Sociology and Social Studies of Medicine at McGill – My research involves a qualitative exploration of the revival of Immunotherapy for food allergies. In addition to my doctoral research, I have other research interests that lie at the intersection(s) of health and society, including the interactions between biology and society, and most recently on a project that will investigate the culture of ‘pick-up artists’ in North America.

I’m passionate about teaching, learning and developing unique pedagogical tools to help students learn about Sociology and about life. I love to dance and am a part-time teacher of the GROOVE dance method – I am keen on integrating the GROOVE dance with other instructional methods at McGill!

I’m curious and adventurous and love experimenting with all creative arts – singing, dancing, yoga, writing, cooking, music, comedy… I’m looking forward to contributing to the GradLife McGill project through Instagram, as I believe it will bring graduate students together to share in and empathize with the great journey and adventure of grad studies! Peace, Love & DANCE!!!


Connie LuuConnie Luu

Program: MSc, Occupational Therapy

Research Interests: As OT is a course-based program, I do not have a thesis, however there is a Master’s research project which starts in the fall. My project will be looking at brain mechanisms underlying motor learning using transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

About Me: Prior to coming to Montreal, I did my BSc in Neuroscience at the University of Alberta. As much as I loved it there, it has been such a valuable life experience so far getting to know a new campus and new city. Instagram has been my way of sharing my adventures with friends and family back home, as well as finding new places to visit. I think it’s fascinating how social media can be used to engage and connect with people, and I look forward to sharing my experiences as a graduate student through GradLife McGill. In addition to spending way too much time on Instagram, I also enjoy photography, running, lettering, playing the piano, and checking out local coffee shops and parks.


Toluwanimi Fagorusi tolu

Program: PhD Electrical Engineering (Telecommunications)

Research Interests: Faster-than-Nyquist signaling, Coding theory, Telecoms Network Optimization, and MIMO Systems.

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria.

About me: I am a curious and simple person who loves to meet and interact with people a lot with the aim of building a long lasting connection and relationship with them. I love spending time with family and friends, my most priced Jewels. Even though, am an Engineer by profession, yet I appreciate music and arts. I love portraits and street photography. I play video games a lot, especially FIFA because it is just so awesome, cool and relaxing. One of my favourite quotes is this: All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough – Art Williams.


Falisha KarpatiFalisha

Program: PhD, Integrated Program in Neuroscience

Research interests: My PhD work focuses on the neural correlates of music and dance, such as examining brain structure in dancers and musicians as well as correlating brain structure to performance on dance- and music-related tasks.

Hometown: Toronto

About me: In addition to neuroscience, I enjoy travel and photography. I am also a Graduate Education Assistant at SKILLSETS and am passionate about leadership development. I’m excited to share my adventures at McGill, in Montreal and beyond with you through the GradLife Instagram (you can also check out my personal Instagram @falisha.k)!


Lyssa ManningLyssa

Program: MSc, Neuroscience

Research interests: I use neuroimaging (specifically fMRI and MRI) to study risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease at mid-life. My research involves looking at the effects of genetic risk factors and familial history of Alzheimer’s Disease, both individually and in concert, on brain structure and function and overall memory performance.

Hometown: Born in London, England and raised in Philadelphia.

About Me: When I’m not looking at brains, I like eating and running and taking photos. Not necessarily in that order and very rarely all at the same time. I am fluently sarcastic and enjoy terrible puns, climbing tall things, and sitting in the grass. I’m passionate about mental health and fiercely believe that existing as a human being outside of the lab or the office is an essential part of that. Everything in life has a balance and the graduate school experience is no exception.


Subhobrata DasSubhobrata Das  

Program – M Eng. Environmental Engineering

Department – Civil Engineering

Hometown – Jamshedpur, India

Subho (Shoe-bow) is someone who would describe himself as ‘fun-loving’. He is presently enrolled in the Environmental Engineering program at McGill. On a sunny weekend, you’ll find him playing the guitar in one of the fields in campus. Give him food and, on his face, you will see the widest smile that is humanly possible! A cyanophile at heart, Subho loves dogs alot. Probably as much as he loves travelling. When he’s not saving the environment, he is found composing picture stories for his next shoot.

Get to know Subho here Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – WordPress 


Jennifer ChenJennifer Chen pic

If anyone asked me what my dream profession would be, I would answer, without hesitation, superhero or vigilante. I have a wide imagination about all the possibilities and the desire to live out these visions in my life. Documenting different aspects of your life through words or pictures really allows you to reflect and remember the many many things that you encounter and experience.

(After that slightly deep introduction…) I am currently a first year Masters student in Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University. My passions involve music, photography, cinematography, dance, and the list is constantly growing. I’m also an avid superhero movie watcher and as weird as it may, I love reading spoilers. I have been at McGill for quite a few years now since I did my undergraduate studies here too, but there are still so many aspects of Montreal I have yet to discover. I was born and raised in Vancouver so I’m a big Vancouver Canucks fan. (Sorry to Canadians’ fans!) Starting during my university years, I have started to travel a lot more and it’s a goal of mine in life to visit every single country in the world someday (if only plane tickets weren’t so expensive…). But regardless of where I am, I look forward to showing the world just who I am.

Heather RogersHeather Rogers pic

MISt Information Studies, Faculty of Arts

I am a New York native and first year Master’s student in Information Studies. As a future librarian, it makes sense
that you can probably find me somewhere in McLennan reading (and drinking a lot of coffee).

I’ve bounced around cities for the past couple of years but am happy to call Montreal my home now. In my spare time when I’m not up in the stacks, I love bouldering and cooking.

I’m excited to share my journey as a Master’s student at McGill discovering Montreal (and probably some library pictures) as a GradLife instagrammer.