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Kalina Kamenova, PhD - Director, Research & Experiential Learning

Dr. Kamenova's research interests are broadly interdisciplinary and include: science and health policy; bioethics; science communication; diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM; public health innovation; deliberative democracy, the practice of public engagement; and community-based participatory research. She is an engaged scholar, who founded the Canadian Institute for Genomics and Society to advance public knowledge of ethical and policy dilemmas arising from the emerging genomic, stem cell and assisted reproductive technologies and increase social responsibility in biomedical research and innovation. Dr. Kamenova has previously held an Assistant Professor appointment in the Bachelor of Arts and Science Program at Trent University, where she developed an integrated curriculum in the area of science, technology and society bridging the divide between the humanities/social sciences and the sciences. Prior to this faculty position, she contributed to large-scale multidisciplinary projects in the health sciences, focusing on the emerging biotechnologies, as an Academic Research Associate in the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Dr. Kamenova has also served as the Inaugural Research Director of the Center for Public Involvement at the University of Alberta - a community-university partnership for excellence in the scholarship and practice of public involvement, and was appointed as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Extension. In this role, she led multiple participatory research projects and collaborated with the City of Edmonton on public engagement initiatives on municipal policy issues such as Internet voting, climate change, urban food, and youth civic participation. Dr. Kamenova received her PhD in Social and Political Thought from York University in Toronto in 2012, with a dissertation on the public communication and bio-politics of human embryonic stem cell research in the United States and the European Union. Her research has received international recognition through numerous publications in high-impact journals and speaking engagements. She has developed and taught courses in bioethics, science and technology studies, science communication, sociology of scientific controversies, and scientific and technical writing at McMaster University, Trent University, York University, and Ontario Tech University.

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Shashank Tiwari, PhD - Research Fellow

Dr. Tiwari's research focuses on the social studies of life sciences, biomedicine and emerging biomedical technologies. He completed an MPhil in Science Policy Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in India and a PhD in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. His dissertation, supported with a Wellcome Trust Fellowship, examined the nature of stem cell activities in India, focusing on how key stakeholders generate expectations around stem cell therapies and frame key ethical concerns, and why the biomedical governance system fails to regulate these emerging practices. It used qualitative methodologies such as surveys, document and policy analysis, and interviews with key scientists, clinicians, industry representatives and policymakers. Dr. Tiwari has published a significant numbers of journal articles and book chapters on the governance of stem cell research and therapy in India, including research papers in prestigious journals such as New Genetics and Society and Regenerative Medicine that were recognized as important contributions by leading scholars in the field.

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Dr. Li Du, External Collaborator

Dr. Li Du is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Macau. His teaching and research interests include international law, health law, biotechnology law and policy. Before joining the University of Macau, he worked as a Research Associate in the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada, where he contributed to national research projects in health law and science policy. Dr. Du graduated from Wuhan University, China with a dual Bachelor's degree in Law and Clinic Medicine in 2005 and received his Doctorate in Law from the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta in 2014. Dr. Du was a Fellow in the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Health Law and Policy Program and a Visiting Scholar in the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland. He has published peer-reviewed articles in leading academic journals and presented his research at international conferences. Dr. Du's current research explores the regulation of direct-to-consumer genetic testing for non-disease purposes in China.


Dr. Sanya Samac, Scientific Advisor

Dr. Sanya Samac was born in Croatia and grew up a polyglot in Greece, Cyprus, Syria and Italy, fluent in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian. She earned her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana working in a laboratory dedicated to the exploration of DNA methylation. Dr. Samac completed her postdoctoral studies on mouse models of metabolic diseases at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City and has previously worked as a research associate at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto. Her career in scientific research is enriched with substantial experience in technical writing, scientific communication, and reviewing scientific literature. At Genomics4S, she advises on scientific issues relevant to a range of consulting and educational projects in genomic research and innovation. 


Dr. Lyuba Encheva, Communications Manager

Dr. Lyuba Encheva is a digital communications expert, with interests that span a wide range of topics in the algorithmic representation of emotion, persuasive technologies, human-computer interaction, gamification, digital humanities and public communication. Her research examines the impact of the ongoing digital technological restructuring of communication processes on social relations, practices and societal hierarchies. Lyuba holds a PhD in Communication Studies from the Toronto Metropolitan University and has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Decimal Lab at the Ontario Tech University in Oshawa. She is an experienced communication strategist with a knack for words and building strong relationships, who will find a myriad creative ways to tell a story. At Genomics4S, she develops and implements communication campaigns and educational strategies to increase public engagement with emerging technologies and biomedical innovation. 

Experiential Learning Placements 2020

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Justine Bejohr

Science Writer

Justine received an Honours Bachelor of Science with High Distinction in Neuroscience, with a minor in Bioethics, from the University of Toronto in 2018. Currently, she is completing her Master’s degree at the University of Toronto in cellular reprogramming. Her research  explores the use of direct lineage reprogramming of astrocytes to oligodendrocytes as a novel therapy for neurological diseases. Justine is a strong advocate for knowledge translation and science communication and has served as a coordinator and volunteer for StemCellTalks Toronto. When she is not in the lab, she is trying out new recipes or exploring the city on hikes and bike rides.

Experiential Learning Placements 2019

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Hannah Horvath

Science Writer

Hannah is currently completing her final year of undergraduate studies at McMaster University in Hamilton with a specialization in Life Sciences. She is planning to pursue a career in biotechnology research and compliment her Masters education with a degree in ethics. Her previous research at the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto has explored prophylactic surgery uptakes in Canada and European countries and increased awareness about the impact of cross-cultural differences. Building on this, she hopes to further investigate social and cultural factors involved in health care and science policy.

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Anand Rai

Science Writer

Anand is completing the Honours Life Science program at McMaster University. He has a
passion for sports and is a Basketball Game Official at McMaster. Anand combines this interest with his love for science by learning more about sports medicine. He is currently conducting a systematic review on Platelet Rich Plasma injections on Osteochondritis Dissecans patients with the MacSports Research Program. He mentors first-year science students and strives to increase science literacy by using his knowledge translational skills to reach out to others that may not have a strong understanding of science. He plans to pursue a career in medicine.


Nikkita Mistry

Science Writer

Nikkita is completing her final year at McMaster University in the Honours Life Sciences program. She is passionate about science and knowledge translation. During her undergraduate studies, Nikkita has tailored her courses to enhance her skills of relaying complex scientific information to the general public. She is currently working on a research project on Supracondylar humerus fractures with MacSports. This ties into her passion for health care and clinical application of scientific research. She is committed to community service and has participated in a medical brigade to Nicaragua with Global Brigades. This experience has expanded her perspective on global health and the importance of a holistic approach in providing sustainable health care. She plans to pursue a career in medicine.

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Barkhaa Talat

Science Writer

Barkhaa is in her final year of undergraduate degree in Life Sciences at McMaster University. She is passionate about science literacy, civic engagement and research on the impact of innovation in healthcare on diverse populations. Barkhaa plans to embark on a career in science communication and applied health science, and is currently completing a thesis evaluating women's health workshops for marginalized populations residing in Hamiltonian shelters. She serves as President of She's the First McMaster, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to first generation female students from low income countries and President of McMaster Pre-Pharmacy Society, an organization providing mentorship and support to undergraduate applying to Doctorate in Pharmacy Programs in Ontario, Canada.

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Aaron Hayat

Social Media Coordinator

Aaron is currently completing his Bachelor of Science studies in the Life Sciences Program in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University. He is passionate about science communication and strives to explore effective methods for knowledge translation to make scientific research more understandable for the general public. A dynamic learner, Aaron shares a great interest in and enthusiasm towards experiential learning. He is currently involved in fibrosis research at St. Joseph's Hospital in Toronto and intends to pursue a career in the field of medicine.

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Oushna Rab

Social Media Coordinator

Oushna is in her final year of undergraduate studies in the Honours Life Sciences program at McMaster University. She understands the necessity for knowledge translation and is dedicated to increasing the public understanding of science. Oushna enjoys applying and enhancing her science communication skills and has made science communication education integral to her undergraduate degree. She currently leads tutorials as a Peer Mentor for second year Life Sciences students and has experience with science writing for the general population, as well as writing scientific papers. Oushna is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in the field of healthcare.

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