Davide Cina grew up in Toronto, and completed his undergraduate studies at McMaster University with an Honors Bachelor of Arts and Science in interdisciplinary studies. While he got the chance to try many different disciplines during this time he became really hooked on the kidney and kidney research, and decided to pursue an MD-PhD at the University of Toronto. There, under the supervision of Dr. Sue Quaggin he studied the genes that regulate how the kidney filtration system works . When Dr. Quaggin was recruited to Northwestern University in Chicago to chair their department of nephrology, he decided to follow her there to complete both my PhD work and the remainder of my MD.
While the kidney was his first love, during clerkship he was completely taken in by the excitement and pace of surgical specialties and Urology was the perfect way to bring both these interests together! Of course he wanted to come back home to Canada, and when it came time for choosing where to go, the program here at UBC seemed to be a perfect fit with a strong emphasis on excellent surgical training backed up by a world renowned research center. Outside of work he enjoys distance paddle board racing, hiking, making sourdough bread, brewing beer and of course going on adventures with his dog Finnegan! Davide is very excited to be here in Vancouver for the next stage of his training!
Cyrus Chehroudi was born and raised in Vancouver and did his undergraduate studies at UBC prior to moving to Ottawa for medical school. He gained a keen interest in Urology through shadowing and by getting involved in Pediatric Urology and Urologic Oncology research. He was drawn towards the wide variety of surgery Urologists perform and ability to use these different approaches to individualize patient care. Cyrus is beyond excited continue the next phase of his journey here in Vancouver with the opportunity to train alongside world experts and to give back to his community. Outside of work, he enjoy playing tennis, cooking, and is an amateur runner with the hopes of doing the Sun Run this year.
Mark Dawidek was born and raised in London, Ontario, where he completed an undergraduate in electrical engineering and medical school at Western University. He was introduced to urology early during medical school and was initially captured by the technical aspect of the specialty. He is grateful to wonderful mentors at Western who further developed and encouraged my interest. He had an excellent experience during my elective at VGH and was impressed with the residents’ proficiency and teamwork. He was thrilled to have matched here and am excited to begin my training and contribute to the team. When outside the hospital, he enjoy rowing, cycling, and hiking and am keen to explore the unparalleled British Columbia outdoors.
Dr. Phyllis Kisa was born and raised in Uganda (East Africa). She completed medical school at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She then worked as an intern doctor and as a medical officer (general doctor) in the surgical department at St. Mary’s Hospital in Lacor, Uganda. Phyllis had always intended to become a pediatrician, but along the way, her interest switched to surgery. She worked with several great surgeons during this time and they were a great support for her in the pursuit of this new path. She was always inclined towards pediatrics and reconstructive surgery of some kind.
Following this, Phyllis got her MMED in General surgery from Makerere University and soon after started a pediatric surgical fellowship with the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). As part of this training, she spent 18 months (2014-mid-2015) at the BC Children’s Hospital in general surgery and pediatric urology.
Phyllis returned home to Uganda where she has been working as a pediatric surgeon and urologist for the last three years. She has returned to the BC Children’s Hospital as a pediatric urology fellow for more training after an initial six months back home in Uganda.
Dr. Simon Ouellet was born and raised in Rimouski, in the eastern part of Québec. He attended medical school at University of Sherbrooke, where he developed a strong interest in urology and research. Dr. Ouellet started his residency program in urology in Sherbrooke and completed his training at McGill University, in Montréal, where he also gained further research and clinical experience in urology oncology, convincing him to pursue a career in this subspecialty.
Dr. Ouellet is excited about the opportunity to be working with, and learning from, a great team at the Department of Urologic Sciences at UBC and the Vancouver Prostate Centre. Upon completion of his fellowship in uro-oncology, he will return home to Québec , but in the meantime, he is looking to make the most of this beautiful city of Vancouver.
Bhavish B. Kowlessur was born on the beautiful paradise Island of Mauritius where he also spent his formative years. He subsequently moved to South Africa where he started training in General Surgery at the University of Natal in Durban but soon developed a keen interest in Urology which led him to migrate to the University of Cape Town which is the premier training institution in the country to pursue his residency in Urology. During residency, he developed a particular interest in Urologic Oncology which led him to look for fellowship training positions in this subspeciality. The Department of Urologic Sciences at UBC is world renowned in this field and he is excited about the opportunity to be working with and learning from great mentors and world leaders.
Alistair Davies grew up in Calgary, and completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Calgary. Through his summer research he developed a strong interest in stem cell biology and knew he wanted to pursue a career in research to unlock the potential of these enigmatic cells. So, he traded his winter jacket for yoga pants and moved to Vancouver to begin his PhD at the University of British Columbia studying how breast cancer cells hijack stem cell processes to evade targeted therapy. Now, as a post-doctoral fellow in the Zoubeidi lab at the Vancouver Prostate Centre, he has led the charge on understanding how prostate cancer cells “change their identity” to mask themselves from treatment. Alistair has had the honour to be selected as an AACR Scholar-in-Training and was invited to deliver a podium presentation at the AACR Annual Meeting in both 2017 and 2018, as well as the 2017 AACR Prostate Meeting. His forward-thinking research, which is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator award, is leading to more and better weapons to outwit cancer and defeat it at last.
Outside of the lab, you will find Alistair exploring the many great restaurants and breweries that Vancouver has to offer. He is also an avid traveler with the goal of visiting every country in the world (only 155 more to go!).
Gillian Vandekerkhove is a PhD student in Dr. Alexander Wyatt’s laboratory at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. She was raised on Vancouver Island, where she completed my BSc in biology at the University of Victoria before attending the University of Toronto to study human evolutionary genetics during her MSc. Missing the West Coast, Gillian returned to BC after completion of her MSc and joined Dr. Wyatt’s laboratory as a research assistant. Her role in the laboratory evolved as my interest in cancer genomics grew, providing a perfect transition into a PhD. Gillian applied to the Experimental Medicine program at UBC, and began as a PhD student in September 2017. Her research focuses on the genomics of advanced genitourinary cancers, and utilizing standard blood draws to profile patient’s circulating tumor DNA. In May 2018, Gillian was awarded a CIHR Doctoral Research Award to continue her investigation of circulating tumor DNA as a predictive biomarker in metastatic bladder cancer. She has also been funded through a four year fellowship from UBC, a Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute Rising Star Travel Award and a UBC Faculty of Medicine Graduate Award.
Morgan Roberts is a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Drs. Peter Black and Mads Daugaard at the Vancouver Prostate Centre. She is originally from Montreal, Canada and completed her undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. After spending a year in Seoul, South Korea teaching English to kindergarten students, she moved to Vancouver to purse a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology. During her PhD she investigated how regulating signalling thresholds in innate immune cells affects intestinal immune responses and host-microbiota interactions. As a graduate student, Morgan was awarded a CIHR Master’s Award and a CIHR Training Program in Transplantation Award.
Looking to gain expertise in urologic oncology and industry experience, Morgan joined the Vancouver Prostate Centre in early 2016 as a Mitacs Elevate Fellow shared by Dr. Peter Black and iProgen Biotech. During this fellowship she investigated the efficacy of improved antibody-drug conjugates in models of bladder cancer. Her passion for immunology and basic science led her to change her research focus, and in July 2017 Morgan started a full-time academic position as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Black’s lab, shared with Dr. Mads Daugaard. She now investigates mechanisms of immune evasion in muscle-invasive bladder cancer, through projects that include the characterization of immune cells in muscle-invasive bladder tumours by mass cytometry, and through a supporting role in immuno-oncology projects in both labs.