The Mini Science Night Salmon Arm & Mini Med School Vernon faculty includes BC Children's Hospital researchers who are passionate about pursuing discovery and translating their research into life-saving clinical innovations in child health.

Meet the 2024 Faculty

Dr. Mark Ansermino, Investigator & Executive Medical Director – Global Health, BC Children's Hospital; Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, UBC

Mark AnserminoDr. Mark Ansermino is a Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is also the Executive Medical Director for Global Health at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, Canada. Mark was a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and past winner of the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. He leads an interdisciplinary research team of engineers, researchers, and clinicians who are developing and evaluating novel digital health applications to improve the health outcomes of women and children worldwide. As a team, they combine science and engineering to create cutting-edge technology that uses clinical data, automation, and smart physical sensors to extract important data features. By using predictive models based on large population datasets, they also provide accessible decision-making support to ensure the safety and quality of health care.

Dr. Yi-Chun Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Verchere Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital; Department of Surgery, UBC

Yi-Chun ChenDr. Yi-Chun Chen is originally from Taiwan. She received a MSc in Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Cellular and Integrative Physiology from Indiana University School of Medicine. She moved to Canada and joined Dr. Bruce Verchere's research team as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of British Columbia. Yi-Chun's research interests focus on endocrinology and diabetes. During her spare time, she enjoys going outdoors with her dog, Golgi. 

Dustin Dunsmuir, Global Health Technical Lead, Institute for Global Health, BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre

Dustin DunsmuirDustin grew up in north-eastern BC before moving down south to complete his MSc degree at Simon Fraser University in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, with a specialization in Visual Analytics. He has worked at the BC Children’s Hospital since 2006 on digital health projects and he is currently the Global Health Technical Lead at the Institute for Global Health at BC Children’s & Women’s Hospitals (IGH-BCCWH). Dustin supports the institute’s sepsis research by creating and managing digital health solutions such as data collection and risk prediction mobile applications. He has developed digital tools with pulse oximetry connected to a smartphone and patient and treatment tracking using Bluetooth. His current focus is on the sustainability of the Smart Triage project, a pediatric triage and patient prioritization platform in use at 7 hospitals in Africa.

Hannah Illing, Master’s Student, Robinson, Brown, and Taubert Research Teams, BC Children’s Hospital; Department of Medical Genetics, UBC

Hannah IllingHannah is a graduate student in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. She grew up in Calgary, AB and did her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Forensic Science at UBC Vancouver. She is a medical genetics rotation student working under the supervision of Dr. Robinson, Dr. Brown, and Dr. Taubert at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and UBC Life Sciences Institute. She is working on a variety of projects including studying maternal age and birth order influences on DNA methylation in the placenta, and exploring the functions of different parts of the XIST RNA in maintaining X chromosome inactivation in female cells. Outside the lab, Hannah loves listening to podcasts, dancing, baking, and watching movies.

Abisola Kehinde, Doctoral Student, Parker Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital; Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, UBC

Abisola KehindeAbisola is a PhD candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Parker Lab (BC Children's Hospital Research Institute and UBC). She obtained her BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and her MSc in Biochemistry at UBC, Canada. With over 6 years of laboratory experience, she possesses expertise in cutting-edge cellular and molecular techniques, including cell/organoid culturing, microscopy, mass spectrometry, immunoblot, CRISPR, flow cytometry, spectrophotometry, lentiviral transduction, genetic engineering, qPCR, and statistical analysis. Her academic journey reflects a commitment to understanding how nutrients and their transporters can be leveraged to mitigate or treat metabolic diseases. Recently awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, she is focused on researching the metabolic consequences of systemic alanine depletion in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Additionally, Abisola serves as the chair of the Trainee Omics Group, providing invaluable support to fellow scientists in handling their research data. Beyond her academic pursuits, she finds joy in mentoring, cooking, and exploring beautiful locations.

Emily Mason, Doctoral Student, Sadarangani Research Team, Vaccine Evaluation Center & BC Children’s Hospital; Department of Medicine, UBC

Emily MasonEmily is a PhD student studying at the University of British Columbia. Originally from Vancouver, Emily attended Queen's University for her BSc. She has been involved in pediatric research since 2019 and currently focuses on pediatric infectious disease. After completing her Biochemistry degree in 2022, Emily transitioned to the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, where she has since been working on pre-clinical vaccine development for highly resistant bacterial infections.

Dr. Garth Meckler, Division Head, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine & Investigator, BC Children's Hospital; Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, UBC

Garth MecklerDr. Garth Meckler is a pediatrician and pediatric emergency physician at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. He was born and raised in the United States but moved to Canada 10 years ago and is grateful to live and work (and occasionally play) on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples. Garth has had a diverse career in medicine, starting as a pediatrician interested in working with teens, and in particular queer youth, before working briefly in primary care pediatrics, then training in emergency medicine and research. He currently works in the BCCH Emergency Department, teaches medical students, residents, and other physicians, and does research related to pre-hospital (ambulance) care of children, access to healthcare, and headache treatment. He is most excited about the future of medicine and the prospect of a more diverse and inclusive generation of new doctors who can help imagine a new way of delivering healthcare. In his spare time, he loves photography and hiking and camping in the backcountry with his partner, Steve, and their two dogs.

Dr. Mandy Meijer, Postdoctoral Fellow, Kobor Research Team, BC Children’s Hospital; Department of Medical Genetics, UBC

Mandy MeijerDr. Mandy Meijer is a postdoctoral researcher at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute who is aiming to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying brain development and psychiatric disorders. 

Mandy received both her BSc and MSc in Biomedical Sciences in the Netherlands, followed by a PhD in Medical Sciences in the Netherlands. Her doctoral thesis focused on externalizing behaviours and associated neurodevelopmental disorders. She did this by studying epigenetic mechanisms, as a link between the genome and environment, across species. During her PhD trajectory, Mandy spent two years in Switzerland to perform research. As a postdoctoral researcher, she is extending on her previous research by aiming to better understand which genetic and environmental factors contribute to early brain development, and how epigenetics could inform us on the molecular mechanisms in the brain underlying neurodevelopment and psychiatric disorders.

When she is not working on exciting science, you can find Mandy dancing (swing, ballet, jazz) or baking cookies and cakes (and sharing them with friends)!

Bianca Vizcaino, Clinical Research Coordinator, Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team, BC Children's Hospital and UBC

Bianca VizcainoBianca completed her Bachelor of Science degree in General Studies with an emphasis in biology and psychology at UBC-O and is now working with the Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team at BC Children’s Hospital. Her team focuses on clinical research aimed at improving pediatric anesthesia and pain management. Some of their studies involve their active participation in the operating room to communicate with the care team, set-up equipment and collect data. In her free time, Bianca enjoys dancing, hiking, and volunteering in the local community. 

Dr. Wyeth W. Wasserman, Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital; Senior Scientist, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics; Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, UBC

Wyeth WassermanA Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and based at BC Children’s Hospital, Dr. Wyeth Wasserman’s computational biology research focuses on the analysis of the human genome. After undergraduate studies in mathematics and cell biology, Wyeth completed a PhD in cancer research at the University of Wisconsin with a focus on the regulation of gene expression related to cancer prevention. He subsequently trained in the field of bioinformatics and worked in the pharmaceutical industry. His research laboratory at BC Children’s conducts research in two overlapping domains: the control of gene activity and the identification of the causes of rare genetic disorders. His lab created the JASPAR database and a wide range of software which are used globally to identify the “on/off” switches in genes. Since low-cost DNA sequencing became accessible for patients, his team works closely with clinicians at BC Children’s Hospital to discover the genetic causes impacting patients and families. He is a co-lead for the Silent Genomes Project and the lead for Activity 3, the Development of an Indigenous Background Variant Library.

Local Career Panelists

Explore a variety of career opportunities and interact with local health science experts. This discussion will be driven by participants, so get your questions ready! This section will continue to be updated. 

Jenna Hunter, Interim Regional Knowledge Coordinator/Internationally Educated Nurses – Clinical Education

Jenna HunterBorn in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital (VJH), Jenna Hunter’s career and life have come full circle. After becoming a registered nurse (RN), Jenna would spend her time caring for patients in the same hospital that she was born, before becoming a clinical educator. When she’s not at work, you can find her spending time with her family, travelling and enjoying the fresh air with a book in hand. She also adds that she’s always up for anything as long as it’s an adventure.

Aryn Murray, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Aryn Murray Aryn's professional journey began as a rehabilitation assistant, where she developed a passion for helping others navigate their paths to recovery. However in 2017, after being inspired by the life-saving work and advocacy provided by respiratory therapists, she went back to school. Graduating at the peak of the pandemic, Aryn wasted no time in putting her skills to use, immediately joining the frontline efforts at the two largest hospitals on Vancouver Island, driven by her commitment to making a difference in the lives of patients and their families. In March 2023, seeking new opportunities to contribute to the healthcare community, Aryn made the decision to relocate to Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Here, she continues to advocate for the well-being of her patients as the Respiratory Liaison, ensuring all patients receive the highest standard of care.

Marie Skura, Accession Supervisor, Medical Lab, Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Marie SkuraMarie Skura chose to be a Medical Lab Assistant after a health scare. In June 2014, Marie ended up in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital after suffering from Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken heart syndrome, which caused her to have a massive heart attack. Marie spent 3 weeks in Cardiac Critical Care and, as you can imagine, had a lot of blood taken. After being a patient at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Marie felt a draw to be a part of that environment. After going back to school, she got her MLA (Medical Lab Assistant) certification and is now the Accession Supervisor of the Lab at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital.