Career development session

Organizers: Annie Ciernia & Anne Wheeler

The Career session will take place on Wednesday May 22nd at noon-1:30pm. Join us to meet Scientists in a variety of career tracks. There will be multiple round tables and rotations for you to learn more about their career trajectories and positions in: Start-up/Biotech, Consulting, Science communication & Medical writing, Business/Management, Medical Science Liaison, Education & Outreach. There will also be tables to discuss academic career path and running a lab as new or senior PI.

Confirmed panelists


Shelby Reid

Shelby Reid, PhD

Medical Science Liaison – Hematology Oncology Western Canada
Jazz Pharmaceuticals Canada

Dr. Reid completed her PhD in Medical Science at the University of Toronto, with a focus on Immunology. She is currently the Hematology/Oncology Medical Science Liaison for Western Canada with Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Her role involves being a scientific resource for HCPs by communicating scientific and clinical data around their products with them, as well as keeping the internal team up to date on the current therapeutic landscape of the territory.


Kelly Hrelja, PhD

Senior Associate, In Vivo Sciences
Aspect Biosystems 

Dr. Hrelja received her PhD from University of British Columbia in Neuroscience in 2024. As senior associate she performs surgical and other technical procedures associated with Aspect Biosystems’s preclinical program. Kelly also contributes to in vivo study design, study and animal use protocols, and reports, while creating SOPs and maintaining rigorous experimental records.


Louis-Philippe Bernier, PhD.

Louis-Philippe Bernier, PhD.

Chief Executive Officer
CereCura Nanotherapeutics

Louis-Philippe Bernier, PhD, is the Chief Executive Officer and a Co-Founder of CereCura Nanotherapeutics, a biotech company developing novel RNA therapeutics for brain diseases. CereCura was incorporated in 2022 as a spin-off of the University of British Columbia. At CereCura, Dr. Bernier oversees a multidisciplinary team that merges neuroscience and drug delivery expertise with business experience. The ambitious preclinical development programs at CereCura use lipid nanoparticle delivery of RNA to overcome the unique biodistribution challenges of the brain. Dr. Bernier received his BSc in Microbiology and Immunology/Pharmacology and completed his PhD in Neuroscience from McGill University. He also completed a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.


Alireza Kamyabi, MSc

Alireza Kamyabi, MSc

Policy Analyst – Healthy Public Policy Unit
Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health


As a Policy Analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer, Alireza contributes to shaping public health policies that promote health equity and well-being across the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Alireza is responsible for researching, analyzing, and recommending evidence-based policy interventions that address social determinants of health. Alireza connects public health understanding with local government policy-making, offering advice and support to governments to implement policies that improve health of the population. Alireza completed his BSc. in biology at University of British Columbia. He went on to complete his MSc. degree in neuroscience with Dr. MacVicar, investigating calcium signaling and wave propagation in astrocytes and the astrocytic syncytium.


Edie Dullaghan, PhD

Edie Dullaghan, PhD

Life Sciences Consultant and Career Coach

Dr Dullaghan recently stepped away from a full-time role as Learner Engagement Director with adMare where she was the overseer for adMare’s experiential learning programs, supporting trainees and working to place them at the center of their learning journey. In addition to designing and implementing recruitment strategies for adMare Academy Programs, Dr Dullaghan managed various stakeholder relations to ensure the programs are meeting both learner and industry needs.

Previously, Dr. Dullaghan worked at CDRD – The Centre for Drug Research and Development as the Director of Target Validation, where she spent over ten years advancing made-in-Canada innovations while also mentoring the next generation of drug developers. Prior to joining CDRD, Dr. Dullaghan served as the Pathogenomics Project Leader for Inimex Pharmaceuticals Inc., developing robust animal models of human infections with a focus toward host defense peptides and small molecules. Over the course of her career, she has managed several large-scale R&D programs, including leading a global collaboration with CDRD, LifeArc and The Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (DSTL) in the United Kingdom using a novel approach in drug target discovery that capitalises on areas of commonality across pathogens.


Ariana Cahn, MSc

Ariana Cahn, MSc

Scientific Marketing Specialist
STEMCELL Technologies

Ariana is a graduate of the BSc (Hons.) Neuroscience program at the University of Alberta, and holds a masters in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia. Her thesis work involved evaluating MRI brain scans of patients with Bipolar I Disorder. She now works in scientific marketing at STEMCELL Technologies, where her main foci are product marketing, copywriting, and science communications.


Mandi Schmidt, PhD

Mandi Schmidt, PhD

Senior Field Applications Scientist, Cell Culture
STEMCELL Technologies

Dr. Schmidt earned her PhD in Neuroscience in 2019 from the University of British Columbia, where she studied neuronal synaptic dysfunction and excitotoxicity in Huntington’s disease in the lab of Dr. Michael Hayden. From there, she joined the Education & Product and Scientific Support team at STEMCELL Technologies. In her role as Specialist (and later, Scientist), Mandi led the Scientific Support program for the Neuroscience product portfolio which included providing tailored customer support, creating new technical resources, and developing neural cell culture training programs for internal staff and customers. In mid-2023, Mandi began a new role at STEMCELL as a Senior Field Applications Scientist, which allows her to directly support researchers (virtually and on-site in their labs) with their pluripotent stem cell and neural cell culture workflows.


Tamara Franklin, PhD

Tamara Franklin, PhD

Associate Professor
Dalhousie University

Dr. Tamara Franklin obtained her Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Z) and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Monterotondo). She returned to Halifax in 2015, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. She is a member of the Program Committee for the Canadian Black Scientists Network and is also on the board of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience.


Will Panenka, MD, PhD

Will Panenka, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
University of British Columbia

Dr. Panenka is a dually certified psychiatrist and Neurologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UBC. He is the research lead of the BC Provincial Neuropsychiatry program and a researcher with the BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Institute and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. He is the medical lead at the Neuropsychiatry Concussion Clinic and Neurology consultant to the Fraser health concussion clinic.


Manu Madhav, PhD

Assistant Professor
University of British Columbia

Dr. Manu Madhav is an engineer, roboticist, and neuroscientist, whose research focuses on navigation and at the systems and circuit level. He leads the Neural Circuits for Computation, Cognition and Control (NC4) lab at UBC, which investigates cognitive representations and navigation in rodents and humans. Dr. Madhav’s research interests include neural systems and behavior, algorithms of neural computation, neural encoding, electrophysiology, virtual reality, and early detection of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.


Nick Weilinger, PhD

Nick Weilinger, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer
CereCura Nanotherapeutics

Dr. Weilinger is Chief Scientific Officer & Co-Founder at CereCura Nanotherapeutics Inc, a Vancouver-based biotech company developing lipid nanoparticle-mRNA therapeutics for the brain. His academic background is in the subcellular mechanisms of neuropathology using state of the art imaging techniques. He completed his BSc in Biology at McGill University, his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary, and his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia.


Pascal St-Pierre, PhD

Account Manager, Research Solution Microscopy (RMS)
Carl ZEISS Canada Ltd.

Pascal arrived in Vancouver in 2003 to do a grad studies in Cellular & Physiological Sciences at UBC. Upon completion of his PhD, he chose to avoid the Post-Doc route and academic track and tried to find a intellectually stimulating path outside the lab while remaining within the scientific community. This and his experience in microscopy landed him several work opportunities with microscope manufacturers and optical system integrators. In 2014 he made the decision to start his career journey with ZEISS Canada. Since then, Pascal has been involve with developing and supporting advanced microscopy projects in BC and more recently, Manitoba.


Oliver Prange, PhD

Application Specialist / Advanced Microscopy 
Carl Zeiss

Dr. Prange completed his PhD and postdoc in Neuroscience from UBC. He has been an Imaging & Application Specialist with Carl Zeiss since 2003. Dr. Prange is also the co-founder of a Canadian BioTech company using cellular imaging for Cancer Prognostics & Diagnostics.