Previous Members

Chelsea Jackson (PhD Candidate) completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in the Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op program. Currently, She is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology at the University of Manitoba. She previously worked in a molecular plant pathology lab at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada developing multiplex PCR assays for the detection of soil-borne fungal pathogens. Chelsea also worked as a co-op student in the Berman Lab (Fall of 2015) assisting in projects developing novel biomarker assays for prostate cancer. She returned as an MSc student in the Berman Lab to continue her love for molecular research, and soon converted to PhD studies. Chelsea has a keen interest in unraveling the molecular diversity of bladder cancers and has been remarkably successful in making sense of this complex disease. She loves experimenting to create all sorts of decadent desserts, as well as running the lakefront (mostly to burn off the baking calories).
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Tamara Jamaspishvili (Post-doctoral fellow) hails from Tbilisi, Georgia, where she obtained an MD as well as graduate and postgraduate training in diagnostic pathology and cytogenetics. She subsequently completed a dissertation research in prostate cancer biomarkers, and earned her PhD in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic.  In 2012, Tamara came to Canada as a CIHR molecular pathology training fellow, a program for clinician-scientists funded by the TFF (Terry Fox Foundation) and the OICR. After working with Drs. Jeremy Squire and Victor Tron, Tamara moved to the Berman Lab, where she was responsible for fine mapping the number, size, and physical and molecular arrangement of millions of prostate cancer cells in surgical samples from 100s of men.  From these billions and billions of data points, we have developed powerful biomarkers to guide therapeutic decision making in men at various stages of their prostate cancer journey. While molecular pathology of prostate cancer and translational medicine are her favorite research fields, Tamara has two wonderful kids, and enjoys traveling and exploring the world with her family. Currently, Tamara is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at SUNY Upstate Medical Center.
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Rachael Iseman finished a Bachelor of Science (Honours) as a fourth-year Life Science student at Queen’s University, and she is currently a medical student at the University of Ottawa. She had been working with Berman lab since the second year of her undergraduate degree. Fresh out of first-year – she was admittingly terrified to involve herself in research alongside professionals with several degrees each! Luckily, everyone in the Berman Lab was more than willing to help her find her footing. For two years, she volunteered in the lab, focusing mainly on projects involving prostate cancer. In the summer of 2020, she was able to work full-time and get involved in prostate cancer, breast cancer, and bladder cancer research. She was working on an Independent Study in carcinoma in situ of the bladder. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, doing spin classes, travelling, and annotating cancer slides – let’s be realistic, she doesn’t have much free time.
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Céline Hardy Was an MSc. Candidate in the Berman Lab and is now pursuing MD-PhD training at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY. She completed her undergraduate degree in the Life Sciences Specialization program at Queen’s, where she did her fourth-year thesis in the Berman lab as part of the combined BSc/MSc program and then completed her Master’s degree. Céline started in the lab after her second year of undergrad working in tissue microarray and cohort construction where she quickly fell in love with lab work, cancer research, and all things pathology. Céline’s work investigated the predictive and prognostic ability of immunohistochemistry-based molecular subtyping in muscle-invasive bladder cancer. She enjoys employing image analysis and bioinformatics approaches to identify meaningful clinical associations of tumour biology. In her free time, Céline loves drawing, painting, and playing piano -if she’s not in the lab, you can probably find her tapping into her artistic side or with her horse, Chanelle!
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Jenny Wang (PhD Candidate) joined the Queen’s Berman Lab following a long stay at the University of Toronto for both her bachelor’s and master’s degree. She graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering and one in clinical engineering working with the clinical implementation of an imaging device for real-time intra-operative breast cancer imaging. She was looking to translate her engineering skills into Dr. Berman’s prostate cancer projects, where she would be working with the application of desorptive electrospray spectral ionization (DESI) technology in mass spectrometry imaging for rapid diagnosis of prostate cancer in biopsy samples. When Jenny is not wearing her engineering cap, she does freelance artwork commissions for otakus of Japanese manga and anime.
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Palak Patel (Postdoctoral Fellow) did his undergrad work at the University of Toronto. Then, he moved to Winnipeg for his MSc degree at the University of Manitoba where he helped work out the molecular basis of Legionella pneumophila pathogenesis. After experiencing two long years of cold weather in Winnipeg, he moved back to Ontario. Here at Queen’s Berman Lab, Palak earned his PhD deriving novel biomarker assays for prostate cancer. He is a big fan of genetics and loves planning and carrying out experiments. Chocolates and movies are his two weaknesses but try not to exploit them.
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Isabelle Caven was a Life Sciences student at Queen’s University. With a passion for cancer research, Isabelle excitedly joined the Berman Lab as a volunteer, and was learning new skills in analyzing cancer pathology images, statistics, and computational biology. When not at the lab or the library, Isabelle can be found playing Rockband or crossing the street to pet a dog. Isabelle was also a coordinator with the Queen’s University Blood Team, and enjoys volunteering with the Campus Observation Room.
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Joh BA Okello (Research Associate) earned his PhD from Makerere University and the University of Copenhagen. His graduate work focused on molecular population and evolutionary genetics. He then completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University researching the origins and evolution of HIV-1 using archival pathological samples. John is currently works as a Research Associate at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research Cardiac Genome Clinic, Clinical & Metabolic Genetics service at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
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Nicole Morse completed her undergraduate Life Science degree program at Queen’s University. In the Berman Lab, Nicole completed an undergraduate research thesis and MSc degree applying desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) mass spectrometry on clinical frozen sections with malignant and benign tissue to identify unique lipid profiles between these tissue types. Her work was published in 2019 in Laboratory Investigation. Nicole currently works as an HTA and Clinical Evaluation Analyst at PDCI Market Access Ottawa She enjoys playing basketball, volleyball, exploring the outdoors and experimenting with new recipes.
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Nathan Fergusson Nathan joined the lab in 2017 under a Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) contract, and is continued on to perform a 499 special research project in the lab focusing on novel epigenetic biomarkers for early prostate cancer biomarkers. He has a passion for all things science and enjoys learning about new discoveries. On the weekends Nathan likes barbequing and watching his favorite sports teams. He is currently a medical student at Western University.

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Rachel Livergant worked in the Berman lab as an undergraduate SWEP and independent study student in Life Sciences program at Queen’s University. Her work focused on correlates of outcome in men treated with radiation for prostate cancer. She is currently a medical student at the University of Calgary in Alberta. Her home town. Rachel and has a great love for the Canadian Rockies and also enjoys yoga, running, badminton and soccer.
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