Seeds of Science Podcast

800 400 Office of Research Trainees

Seeds of Science: A new podcast exploring the experiences of UHN Research trainees and postdoctoral researchers

Season 2 - New episodes every two weeks!

The Seeds of Science Team is excited to share more stories of UHN graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the Second Season, which launched September 28, 2023!

New episodes will be released every two weeks. Listen now!

Podcast Summary:

UHN has over 1300 trainees and postdoctoral researchers performing research in seven different research institutes, at sites all across Toronto. However, trainees and postdocs often only get to know fellow trainees and postdocs in their labs or nearby labs. The Seeds of Science podcast was launched to connect more trainees and postdocs and to learn about their diverse experiences, backgrounds, research, and stories to share. As they grow & flourish in their respective scientific fields, they are the seeds of science.

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Seeds of Science Podcast poster, Emma Bell

Season 2, Episode 1

Bioinformatics to improve female health care – A chat with Dr. Emma Bell.

Learn more and listen here.

Seeds of Science Podcast: Season 1

Season 1 of the Seeds of Science podcast featured 6 UHN graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, who shared their research, experiences and advice for new trainees!

Meet the Podcast Team:


Dr. Emily Mills

Dr. Emily Mills is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Karen Davis’ lab at Krembil Research Institute. Her research aims to use a variety of neuroimaging technologies, including MRI and magnetoencephalography, to explore underlying structural and functional neural connections that may help predict treatment outcomes in patients with chronic neuropathic pain.

Emily completed her undergraduate and PhD training at the University of Sydney, Australia. She loves all outdoor activities including hiking & rock climbing.

A photo of Rima El-Sayed

Rima El-Sayed

Rima El-Sayed is a graduate PhD student in Dr. Karen Davis’ lab at Krembil Research Institute, in the Institute of Medical Sciences. She has always been passionate about a career in neuroscience research and during her PhD she has collected various psychophysical and neuroimaging data from healthy individuals and those with chronic pain. Her research focus is on analyzing conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) collected before spinal cord stimulation treatment to discover predictors of treatment outcome.

Outside of the lab, Rima loves playing table tennis and creating colorful and sparkly nail art!

Behind the Scenes:

A photo of Ariana Besik

Ariana Besik - Editor

Ariana Besik is the Clinical Research Coordinator for Karen Davis’ lab at Krembil Research Institute. She is responsible for managing lab operations and is currently learning about techniques to study differences in white matter structure between healthy controls and patients with chronic pain using diffusion weighted imaging. Ariana completed her Masters degree in Plant Physiology at the University of Toronto.

Outside of work, Ariana is an avid camper and general outdoor activity enthusiast. She also loves food and playing almost any sport.

Dr. Leonardo Massignan - Editor

Dr. Leonardo Massignan is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Mark Reed’s lab. He is an organic chemist and develops new therapeutics for the treatment of different diseases in collaboration with groups inside UHN. Leonardo completed his undergraduate in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Milan (Italy) and PhD in organic chemistry at the Göttingen Universität (Germany).

Besides chemistry, Leonardo enjoys outdoor activities, movies, and exploring digital communication.

Hilary Milne - Social Media

Hilary Milne is a Research Analyst with the Steele Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Lab (SRRL). SRRL consists of a multidisciplinary group of individuals including speech-language pathologists, PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and clinical engineers who are interested in exploring the mechanisms underlying swallowing impairment and finding ways to improve clinical practice and treatment outcomes. Hilary is passionate about science and strives for a future with better treatment options for dysphagia.

Photo of Maryam Naimi

Maryam Naimi - Head of Outreach

Maryam Naimi is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Science. She is a research student at the DaCosta Lab in the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower, where she has contributed to a leukemia research program. She is passionate about the field of science and values giving back to her community through volunteer and leadership positions.

Photo of Atoosa

Atoosa Ziyaeyan - Outreach

Atoosa Ziyaeyan is a graduate Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Sowmya Viswanathan at the Krembil research institute in the Schroeder arthritis institute. Her project investigates the link between the changes in the gut microbiome and osteoarthritis phenotypes. She’s also involved in using various cell therapies for osteoarthritis.

Atoosa loves listening to music, watching stand-up comedies, and learning new languages.

A photo of Dr. Olivia Mekhael

Dr. Olivia Mekhael - Outreach

Dr. Olivia Mekhael is a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of Dr. Tereza Martinu and Dr. Stephen Juvet at Toronto Lung Transplant Program, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. Her research investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms driving graft rejection in lung transplants. In particular, Olivia focuses on exploring the role of the airway epithelium in graft rejection, injury, and scarring.

Olivia is passionate about serving and mentoring youth in her community. In her spare time, she enjoys playing guitar and listening to alternative rock music.

Disclaimer: The Seeds of Science podcast is supported by UHN’s Office of Research Trainees (ORT). The views expressed in the podcast episodes are not necessarily those of UHN or ORT.