Congratulations to our current Graduate Program in Neuroscience (GPN) students who have received awards through the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s program from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Giulia Cocco

Giulia completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Lethbridge. She was previously supervised by Dr. Robert Sutherland, investigating the effects of serotonin receptor agonists in Alzheimer’s neuropathology in mice. She is currently in her first year of her Master’s degree in Neuroscience under the supervision of Dr. Jason Snyder, investigating the role of the hippocampus in anxiety-like behaviour in mice.

She is developing a contextual fear conditioning paradigm that will help us investigate long-term effects in infant mice that go through early life stress experiences.

Giulia asserts that, “Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses the human experience from behavior to the molecular level.” She adds, “To me, this intersectionality offered the most well-rounded education where I did not feel like I was missing out on anything!”

Outside of research, she describes herself as a “homebody at heart”, which means that in her free time, she likes to cook, do crafts and catch up with family and friends.


Isabella DiBerardino

Isabella is in her first year of the MSc Neuroscience program in Dr. Cheryl Wellington’s lab. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Her thesis project investigates neuronal activity changes and amyloid pathology in mouse brains using 3D histological approaches.

“I want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, specifically those who experience neurodegeneration as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Traumatic Brain Injury,” says Isabella. “Seeing my own grandfather struggle with dementia has made me even more passionate to pursue research in this field, so that I can help people like him overcome this illness.”

Outside of research, Isabella enjoys volunteering at her local Alzheimer’s Society and advocating for youth mental health as a Mental Health Speaker with


Brittany Docolas

Brittany received her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Saint Mary’s College of California in 2018. She is currently entering her second year of her Master’s degree in Neuroscience under the supervision of Dr. Kiran Soma. Her thesis project investigates intranasal administration as a method for brain-targeted delivery of estrogens in rats.

“Like many others, my personal experience with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease led me to study neuroscience, and motivates me to keep working through the long days and imposter syndrome,” Brittany says on her motivation to pursue neuroscience. Outside of research, she enjoys running, reading good books, and going to the movies.




Sangeetha Kasturi

Sangeetha completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at UBC in 2022. Currently, she is in the 2nd year of her Master’s degree in Neuroscience, supervised by Dr. Clare Beasley. Her thesis project focuses on uncovering the role of complement opsonin C1q in the synaptic pathology of schizophrenia by employing techniques such as qPCR, Western Blotting, and isolation of synaptosomes. When asked about why she chose to study Neuroscience, Sangeetha responds,

“The brain is such a remarkable organ and I’ve been fascinated with it for as long as I can remember. Both from a philosophical perspective and a scientific one, the mysteries of how a plethora of molecules and microscopic lightning-fast interactions become an individual — including someone’s actions, personality, and entire being — is mind-boggling to me. Being able to unravel even a small aspect of that enigma would be a dream come true!”


Christy Kwok

Christy completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a minor in Behavioural Neuroscience. She is entering her second year of the MSc in Neuroscience program at UBC, co-supervised by Dr. Timothy Murphy and Dr. Lynn Raymond. For her thesis project, Christy developed a novel, standardized social interaction arena for studying the underlying brain circuits involved with both social and prosocial interaction amongst mice. She will be using this tool to study neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and mood disorders next year.

Christy’s passion for research is evident as she explains that “you can be at the forefront of discovering something new about how the brain works and why we function the way we do.”

When discussing why she chose neuroscience, she elaborates, “The brain fascinates me. The fact that billions of individual neurons come together to create thoughts. personality, theory of mind, and a whole living being captivates me. I’m driven by my curiosity and desire to understand the complexities of the brain, from how it develops and functions to how it can be affected by diseases.”


Tatiana MacKeigan

Tatiana completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience, Honours First Class, at the University of Calgary. She is currently entering the second year of her Master’s degree in Neuroscience supervised by Dr. Mahmoud Pouladi. The title of her thesis project is “Ermin as a biomarker for tracking brain myelin integrity in biofluids of patients with multiple sclerosis”, where she is studying the effects of Ermin protein knockout on demyelination and remyelination in a mouse model of MS and using mouse blood samples to develop an assay that may track changes in myelin integrity over time.

Tatiana chose the neuroscience program because of its flexible and interdisciplinary nature. She enjoys the freedom to expand her research into other disciplines and “engage with all aspects of the MS field”. Outside of research, she likes to spend her time reading, running, traveling when she can, and drinking bubble tea.


Cal Rosete

Cal completed their Bachelor’s of science in Honours Behavioural Neuroscience at UBC in 2024. In September, they will be entering the Masters of Biochemistry program under the supervision of Dr. Annie Ciernia. Their thesis project investigates the role of microglia, the brain’s immune cells, in major depressive disorder presenting with neuroinflammation.


“Solving novel and complex problems excites me! Neuroscience is overflowing with intriguing questions and skilled scientists, making research feel like a tremendously rewarding and collaborative puzzle,” Cal enthused when asked about their favourite part of research. Outside of the lab, Cal is involved with urbanist initiatives in Vancouver, prompting them to do a lot of biking. They have also recently taken up weightlifting, painting and poetry.


Isa Samad

Isa completed his Bachelor’s of Science degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is beginning his second year as a MSc student in the UBC Neuroscience program under the supervision of Dr. Brett Hilton. His thesis project focuses on investigating how histone methylation and chromatin accessibility impact axon regeneration in a mouse model of spinal cord injury. For Isa, research is exciting because of its unpredictability and potential to directly help people during rehab after injury. He says, “I am thrilled to use my background in neurosciences with the hopes of creating new therapeutics that will promote spinal cord repair post-injury.”

In his spare time, Isa enjoys playing basketball and squash, learning new languages, and exploring new cities.


Eliana Seburn

Eliana completed her BSc at the University of Prince Edward Island and will be entering her first year in the MSc Neuroscience at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Brett Hilton. Her research in the Hilton lab focuses on how primary sensory neurons acquire axon growth competence.

Her favorite part of research is the problem-solving that comes with performing new experiments. “I enjoy working meticulously through each problem, and there is nothing like the feeling when a tough experiment works,” she says.

Outside of the lab, Eliana enjoys weightlifting, being outdoors, and gymnastics.




Harjeev Sudan

Harjeev completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Behavioural Neuroscience at UBC. Currently, she is in her first year of her Master’s degree in Neuroscience, co-supervised by Dr. Judy Illes and Dr. Myp Sekhon.

Her thesis project will examine clinical practices and ethics surrounding neurological outcome prediction after opioid overdose-related brain injury.

Outside of research, Harjeev enjoys hiking, tennis, cooking and watching football.