Photo of Lucia Chehade.


Year of Entry: 2017

PhD Supervisor: Dr. Rashmi Kothary

Personal Background:

I grew up in Ottawa and completed my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ottawa. I then became involved in research at CHEO where I investigated the regulation of tumour suppressor genes in the context of cancer. As a result of this enriching experience, I sought to complete an honours project in the study of pathologies linked to metabolism at the Montfort Institut du Savoir, where I also completed a year of masters studies. It was through these experiences that I chose to pursue the MD/PhD Program to become a clinician-scientist. Ultimately, I chose the University of Ottawa due to the institution’s commitment to excellence in education, cutting edge research and exceptional clinical training.

Research Focus:

Understanding Immune Dysfunction and Neuroinflammation in Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is a devastating neuromuscular disease characterised by motor neuron loss, leading to muscle weakness and decreased mobility. The disease is caused by mutations in the Survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, which leads to a depletion of the SMN protein. Despite SMA being traditionally considered as a motor neuron disorder immune organ abnormalities have been observed. My research focus is to understand the effects of SMN depletion on immune organs and the extent of this deficit. Understanding the functional consequences will offer guidance in the development combinatorial therapies and highlight new important considerations to be taken in SMA patient care.

Scholarship Support:

2020 – Vanier Graduate Scholarship
2019 – Ontario Graduate Scholarship
2019 – Doctoral Excellence Scholarship
2017 – Doctoral Admission Scholarship
2017 – MD/PhD Program Grant
2016 – Master’s Excellent Scholarship
2016 – CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship – Masters

Fields of Interest

  • Neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Immunology
  • inflammation
  • genetics
  • musculoskeletal health
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