Research Team

We have a highly productive, multi-disciplinary team that includes maternal-fetal medicine specialists, biostatisticians, epidemiologists and data analysts, project managers, and research coordinators. 

Team members currently supervising or seeking graduate students are noted. 

Brett Aston, RN, MScN

Clinical Research Nurse

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Brett Aston is originally from Southwestern Ontario. However, she received her Master’s of Science in Nursing at the University of Ottawa in 2021. During graduate school, she studied substance use in pregnancy and nurse-patient therapeutic relationships. Brett has also worked as a Registered Nurse since 2017. She has practiced in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in both London and Ottawa, Ontario.

Brett joined the OMNI team as a Clinical Research Nurse. Within this role, she assists in participant recruitment, research coordination, and sample collection. Brett is excited to use her clinical experience to facilitate Maternal/Newborn research and advance her career within the OMNI research group. 

Faith Izevbizua, MEM

Administrative Coordinator

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital research Institute

Faith is from Nigeria and has a master’s degree in Environmental Management and a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She is fluent in English and has vast experience in Environmental Project Management. She has led several multi-dimensional international projects on environmental pollution abatement in Nigeria. 

With a drive to develop and improve processes to be more efficient and a keen interest in details, Faith joined the OMNI Research Group in 2023 as a Research Administrative Assistant. 

Heather Walker, MSc

Clinical Research Associate

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

After completing her degree at McGill University, Heather Walker started her career as a labor and delivery nurse, providing care to families during childbirth. She also worked as a community nurse, supporting postpartum mothers.

With an interest in data-driven solutions, Heather completed her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Montreal, focusing on programming and data analysis. Here Heather also gained valuable experience as a Clinical Research Coordinator, where she organized team meetings and contributed her writing expertise to Dr. Kate Zinszer’s research projects.

After her time at the University of Montreal, Heather was hired as a statistical programmer, where she contributed to data analysis in pharmaceutical research.

Now Heather is happy to be with the OMNI group, contributing to clinical research in the field of maternal-child health.

Karishma Tailor, BSc

Clinical Research Assistant

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Karishma graduated from the University of Ottawa with Honors Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences. During her studies, Karishma was involved in various research projects focused on renal health and COVID-19, while also holding previous employment and volunteer work in maternal and fetal health.

With a background in communications and interest in medicine, Karishma joined the OMNI team upon graduation. At OMNI, Karishma is involved in the Substance Use in Pregnancy research program and contributes heavily to knowledge translation initiatives. Karishma is excited to be at OMNI, and the opportunities for growth and learning. 

Kimberly Grattan, MA

Clinical Research Coordinator

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Kimberly holds a Master of Arts in Applied Health Science (Brock University 2009) and Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology (Brock University 2007). Kimberly has extensive experience in the research environment working as a clinical research coordinator (University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Science), and a research coordinator and research assistant (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in the Healthy Active Living and Obesity research group). Ms. Grattan’s most recent role was at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as a project manager in the Department of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation, Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation. 

Notable projects that Kimberly managed prior to joining the OMNI group, was SmartMoms-Canada (PHAC), an app-based pregnancy intervention aimed at improving the health of both mother and baby by adhering to recommended gestational weight gain guidelines and the Activity Begins in Childhood trial (CIHR), a RCT examining the role of a physical activity daycare intervention on health outcomes in preschool-aged children.  

Kimberly is passionate about health promotion and motivation for healthy lifestyle behaviours. She is mother to Alice, her active toddler and is proudly contributing to the health and wellness of women and children through coordinating various research projects for OMNI.  

Malia Murphy, PhD

Senior Clinical Research Associate

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Malia has a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology from Queen’s University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Kingston Health Science Research Centre. Her graduate and post-doctoral research focused on hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and women’s cardiovascular health, and involved supporting research initiatives conducted through the Postpartum Maternal Health Clinic; a clinic designed to support cardiovascular screening and education of women who have experienced hypertensive or metabolic complications in pregnancy. 

Before joining the OMNI team in April 2019, Malia was the Academic Program Lead for The Ottawa Hospital mHealth Lab where she managed several maternal-child big data and global health innovation projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At OMNI, Malia is heavily involved in the Substance use, COVID-19, and C-section research portfolios among others. In her role, she contributes to study conceptualization and development, scientific writing of manuscripts and research funding applications, and overseeing the patient partner program. 

Maryam Ghiasi, DDS, MSc

Clinical Research Associate

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Maryam holds a Doctorate in Dentistry from Tehran University and completed her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa in January 2022. After graduation, she has been working as a Senior Clinical Research Assistant in the Blueprint team at OHRI coordinating several Systematic Review projects and developing expertise in various analytic methods in epidemiology. She joined OMNI as a Clinical Research Associate in 2023. She is excited to be a part of OMNI and actively contributes to various projects, helping her enhance her research skills.

Before starting her MSc Epidemiology degree, Maryam has been working clinically and also as an educator at Community Oral Health Department at Tehran University.

Robin Ducharme, MSc

Senior Clinical Research Associate

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital research Institute

Robin received her Master of Science (MSc) in Epidemiology from the University of Ottawa in 2014. She garnered several years of research coordination experience both before and after her graduate studies. After the completion her graduate studies, Robin worked as a Methodologist at the Ottawa satellite of ICES for 5 years. She has developed expertise in a broad range of analytical methods in epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as expertise in a variety of research skills ranging from project management and coordination to large data manipulation and analysis. She has a particular research interest in maternal and newborn health. 

Sandra Dunn, RN, PhD

Senior Clinical Research Associate and Adjunct Professor

BORN Ontario, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
CHEO Research Institute
School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Sandra earned her Bachelor of Nursing Science degree at Queens University, her Master of Education, and Master Science in Nursing degrees, and her Doctorate in Nursing at the University of Ottawa. In her role as Knowledge Translation Specialist for the Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN Ontario) she was involved in the development and implementation of an audit and feedback system (the Maternal Newborn Dashboard) designed to facilitate use of BORN data for quality improvement in hospitals providing maternal newborn care.  

In addition to her current role as Senior Clinical Research Associate at OMNI, Sandra works with the IKTRN group at OHRI. She is also collaborating with an international group of clinical and knowledge translation experts to develop an Implementation Toolkit to support uptake of the WHO 2018 Intrapartum Care Guidelines. Sandra has an Adjunct affiliation with the School of Nursing, University of Ottawa. She has been involved in a number of research projects and published on topics related to: interprofessional shared decision making, decision coaching, breastfeeding, newborn pain management, shared decision making during antenatal counselling for extreme preterm birth, data quality assessment, clinical dashboard development and use of audit and feedback for quality improvement in hospital settings. 

Sara C. S. Souza, MSc

Clinical Research Coordinator

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Sara has a MSc in Human Kinetics from University of Ottawa (2021). During her graduate studies, she was involved in different research projects focused on pregnancy, gestational weight gain, and women’s lifestyle. Combined, her research has contributed to identify and target potential factors associated with discordant gestational weight gain and healthy behaviours.

Prior to coming to Canada for her MSc, Sara received her Medical Degree from State University of Londrina, Brazil (2018). Sara’s role at OMNI involves engagement in different projects looking at maternal-fetal health and pregnancy outcomes. Working with the OMNI team, she has contributed to diverse stages of research from conception to implementation. Sara is passionate about transforming research into KT strategies and is always looking for opportunities to collaborate in Women’s Health Research.

Serine Ramlawi, MSc

Clinical Research Associate

Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Serine graduated from Carleton University with a Master’s degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Food Science in December 2020, where she specialized in food chemistry and microbiology research. 

Upon graduationSerine was hired at Carleton University to teach the first year course: “Introduction to Food Science”. She also recently joined the OMNI team in early 2021 and she is excited to pursue a research career in maternal and fetal health.