Graduate Students

Maisha Islam

MSc Candidate (September 2022 – Present)
OMNI Supervisors: Dr. Darine El-Chaâr, Dr. Steven Hawken

Maisha Islam is an MSc Epidemiology student at the University of Ottawa working under the supervision of Dr. Darine El-Chaâr and Dr. Steven Hawken. She graduated from the Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences program at the University of Ottawa and also completed her honour’s thesis with the OMNI Research Group. Her thesis (The FEED Study) was a clinical quality improvement study investigating decision-making around use of human milk substitutes in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and how the department can reduce non-medically indicated use of substitutes. For her Masters, she will be working on the CONNECT project (Connection to perinatal care for the management of maternal non-communicable diseases). Through this project, she aims to identify a cohort of women with non-communicable diseases in Ontario and describe the current access to routine prenatal care and specialist care at different critical time points of pregnancy.

Romina Fakhraei

PhD Candidate (Sept 2021 – Present)
OMNI Co-Supervisor: Dr. Darine El-Chaâr

Romina Fakhraei is an Epidemiology PhD candidate under the supervision of Drs. Deshayne Fell and Darine El-Chaâr. She has been working with the OMNI Group since 2014 and most recently was the lead coordinator for The COPE Network study and the UNIVERSE-OB study. Ms. Fakhraei’s research primarily focuses on infection and immunization during pregnancy. As part of her Master’s thesis, she established a large provincial investigation of over 600,000 births in Ontario to investigate the safety of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy. She was the recipient of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine’s “Epidemiology Program Award of Excellence” acknowledging exceptional performance as an MSc candidate, and “Best Thesis Award” for the most outstanding thesis in the Epidemiology program.  The overarching aim of her doctoral thesis is to determine the optimal strategy for preventing Group B Streptococcus (GBS) disease in Ontario infants. Specifically, she will be evaluating the extent of infant GBS disease in Ontario and the likely benefits of maternal vaccination over the current strategy of screening and intrapartum antibiotics to prevent infant infection.

Rong (Rita) Luo

PhD Candidate (May 2019 – Present)
OMNI Supervisors: Dr. Mark Walker, Dr. Shi Wu Wen

Rita Luo is originally from China and obtained Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Public Health. She is currently in her third year of her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa’s School of Epidemiology and Public Health where she is supervised by Dr. Mark Walker and Dr. Shi Wu Wen. Her research interests centre around maternal and perinatal outcomes, particularly investigating adverse outcomes related to exposure in pregnancy to gestational diabetes, obesity, and gestational weight change. Her thesis work focuses on delivery time and potential consequences for women with diabetes during pregnancy.  

Na Zeng

PhD Candidate (Sept 2019 – Present)
OMNI Co-Supervisor: Dr. Shi Wu Wen; Dr. Daniel Corsi

Na Zeng is a PhD student in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa supervised by Drs. Shi Wu Wen and Daniel Corsi and research assistant in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. She used to be a nurse educator and nurse anesthesiologist in Shanghai Renji Hospital in Shanghai, China. Her research interests are in the long-term maternal outcomes relative to gestational diabetes as well as other perinatal exposures.