Meet the Team

lab_photo_banner

Leadership and lab management

Hanns Lochmüller

Professor Hanns Lochmüller is a neurologist and clinical academic specializing in genetic neuromuscular disorders and rare disease. He is Senior Scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and Professor of Neurology in the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology at The Ottawa Hospital.

Read More
Dr. Hugh McMillan profile picture.

Hugh McMillan

Dr. McMillan is a Pediatric Neurologist with specialization in Clinical Neurophysiology and Neuromuscular medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.  He is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Read More
Sally Spendiff

Sally Spendiff

Sally is a Research Associate in the Lochmüller lab, where she leads the basic research team. A senior postdoctoral researcher with experience in Canada and the UK, Sally joined Hanns soon after his appointment in Ottawa and is overseeing the lab setup and expansion.

Read More
Heather Howley profile picture

Heather Howley

Heather is the Director of Precision Health Analytics, advising Hanns and the broader team on funding avenues, research development, academic writing, and grantsmanship. She completed her MS in 2000 and since 2018, has helped secure $8M in peer-reviewed funding for the Lochmüller Lab.

Read More

Daniel O’Neil

Daniel holds a BSc in Biochemistry and a MSc in Neuroscience from the University of Ottawa. He joined the Lochmüller Lab as Research Technician in February 2021.

Read More

Jarred Lau

Jarred is a Research Assistant in the Lochmuller Lab, developing optogenetic zebrafish models for GNE myopathy and CMS. Jarred is also working to streamline a high throughput workflow using zebrafish for the validation of novel genes and therapeutics for neuromuscular disorders.

Read More
Research technician Ricardo Carmona

Ricardo Carmona

Ricardo successfully completed his MSc in Biomedical Sciences within the Cancer & Development program at Memorial University, and holds experience in animal handling, and protocol & force script optimization. As a research technician, he is thrilled to be a part of the lab and helping to conduct research on rare neuromuscular disorders

Read More

Postdoctoral fellows

Emily Freeman profile picture

Emily Freeman

Emily is a Post-Doctoral fellow in the Lochmüller Lab, where she hopes to use patient-derived stem cells to discover new drug therapies for myotonic dystrophy. Emily completed her PhD from the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Dr. Kyle Cowan at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Here she discovered a sex-dependant role for the small molecule channel Pannexin 1 in healthy skeletal muscle and found it to be a novel therapeutic target for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Read More
Dr. Romane Idoux's profile picture.

Romane Idoux

Romane Idoux completed her PhD in 2022 at the NeuroMyoGene Institute in Lyon (France). Romane is interested in fundamental research on rare neuromuscular disorders, and has joined the Lochmüller Lab to start a new research project.

Read More

Kiran Polavarapu

Kiran completed his PhD in 2019 at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in India. His PhD work involved developing next generation sequencing (NGS)-based tests for detection of both copy number variations and point mutations in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He recently joined the Lochmüller Lab as a postdoctoral fellow.

Read More
Rachel

Rachel Thompson

Rachel completed her PhD at Newcastle University in the UK, where she was involved in the coordination of the RD-Connect data sharing and analysis platform. She is a postdoctoral fellow in the Lochmüller Lab with a research interest in the use of data integration methods for medical genomics and precision medicine in neuromuscular diseases.

Read More

Students

Master's student Ofosu Adjei-Afriyie

Ofosu Adjei-Afriyie

Ofosu Adjei-Afriyie is a Master’s student in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Ofosu’s research is focused on insulin resistance in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1).

Read More
Catherine Choueiri

Catherine Choueiri

Catherine began her Master’s program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine with a specialization in Human and Molecular Genetics. She is working under the supervision of Dr. Lochmüller to create a zebrafish model for riboflavin transporter deficiency to be used in therapeutic screening.

Read More
Alexa Derksen - MD/PhD student at the Lochmüller Lab

Alexa Derksen

Alexa is an MD/PhD student at the University of Ottawa who will be completing the  PhD portion of her degree in the Lochmüller lab, investigating GNE myopathy where she hopes to incorporate both clinical and basic science approaches in her project.

Read More

Kelly Ho

Kelly is a PhD student in Cellular and Molecular Medicine to develop and validate treatments to stabilize the neuromuscular junction in a mouse model of ColQ congenital myasthenic syndrome (ColQ-CMS). She joined the Lochmüller team as a Master’s student in September 2021.

Read More

Stephen Holland

Stephen has joined the Lochmüller Lab for his PhD, having completed an MSc degree looking at post-translational modifications affecting pannexin 1 protein channels in neuroblastoma.

Read More
Kaela O'Connor

Kaela O’Connor

Kaela, a recent MSc graduate, is a PhD student in the Lochmüller lab investigating novel causative genes in congenital myasthenic syndromes. She looks forward to blending bioinformatic and wet lab techniques to identify causative mutations and determine their pathomechanism.

Read More

Malaichamy Sivasankar

Malaichamy Sivasankar is enrolled as a PhD student in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Dr. Lochmüller, where he is elated to research on exploring novel genes and mechanisms implicated in undiagnosed neuromuscular disorders.

Read More

Clinical research

Ozge Aksel-Kilicarslan's profile picture.

Ozge Aksel-Kilicarslan

Ozge earned her MD degree from Ege University in 2011 and completed her Medical Genetics residency in 2016 at Dokuz Eylul University. After working as a staff clinical geneticist in Turkey, she joined Dr. Lochmuller’s team as a research associate in October 2022. 

Read More
Dr. Alberto Aleman profile picture

Alberto Aleman

Dr. Alberto Aleman is a neurologist at The Ottawa Hospital.

Read More
Tamara Burgess

Tamara Burgess

Tamara is a clinical research coordinator at CHEO RI and OHRI and currently coordinates academic studies for Dr. Lochmüller, including patient registries and natural history studies.

Read More
Marc-Olivier Deguise

Marc-Olivier Deguise

Marc-Olivier Deguise is currently a pediatric resident physician at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and has been involved with the SMA community through a research lens for the past eight years. He recently joined Dr. Lochmüller’s Lab to contribute to the clinical research aspect of the research program.

Read More
Liz Duff profile picture

Liz Duff

Liz is a clinical research coordinator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute – Neuromuscular Department supporting multiple phase II-IV clinical studies on rare neuromuscular diseases with Dr. Lochmuller.

Read More
Astrid Eisenkolbl profile picture

Astrid Eisenkölbl

Dr. Astrid Eisenkölbl is a pediatric neurologist with specialization in neuromuscular medicine at the Department for Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the Kepler University Hospital in Linz, Austria.

Read More
Profile picture of clinical administrator Jenna Gurniak.

Jenna Gurniak

Jenna Gurniak is a Clinical Administrative Assistant for the division of Neurology at The Ottawa Hospital, managing Dr. Lochmüller’s adult neuromuscular clinic at the Civic Hospital.

Read More

Emilie Hill-Smith

Emilie is a Research Coordinator at the CHEO RI. She currently coordinates various neuromuscular disease trials for Dr. Lochmüller.

Read More
Lola Lessard

Lola Lessard

Dr Lola Lessard is currently finishing her residency training at the Neuromuscular Center of Ottawa. Lola is interested in fundamental, translational and clinical research on rare neuromuscular disorders, and has joined the Lochmüller Lab to contribute to the clinical research aspect of the research program. 

Read More

Jessica MacGregor

Jessica MacGregor is a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) and works as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) in Ottawa, ON.

Read More

Laura Thompson

In September 2020 Laura joined the CHEO RI as a research coordinator in Neurology. She currently coordinates neuromuscular disease trials with Dr. Hugh McMillan and Dr. Hanns Lochmuller.

Read More
Dr Amanda Yaworski

Amanda Yaworski

Dr. Yaworski is a pediatric neurologist with specialization in clinical neurophysiology and neuromuscular medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Read More
Research Assistant Sydney Zakutney

Sydney Zakutney

Sydney is a research assistant with the Lochmüller Lab’s clinical research team. Prior to this role she completed a summer internship at the Ottawa Neuromuscular Center in 2023.

Read More

Networking

Erin Beattie

Erin is the Network Manager for NMD4C, the neuromuscular disease network for Canada. She graduated with a BSc in microbiology & immunology and an MSc in pharmacology from Dalhousie University, and a PhD in laboratory medicine & pathobiology from the University of Toronto.

Read More

James Davis

James Davis is the Communications Coordinator for the Neuromuscular Disease Network for Canada (NMD4C) led by Dr. Lochmüller. James holds a Masters Degree in Human Kinetics, and brings experience in network creation from his past work building and facilitating a sport safety network across Canada.

Read More

Associated/visiting scientists

Cynthia Gagnon

Cynthia Gagnon is a professor at the School of Rehabilitation at the University of Sherbrooke and a researcher at the Centre de recherche Charles-Le Moyne-Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean sur les innovations en santé. For 2020 she holds a visiting professorship with the University of Ottawa. Her work aims at improving clinical care and speeding up trial readiness in the most prevalent neuromuscular diseases in Canada.

Read More

Andreas Roos

Andreas Roos is Scientific Officer in the Department of Neuropediatrics of University Hospital Essen in Germany. Thanks to his longstanding collaboration with Hanns and the Lochmüller Lab team, he now holds an adjunct professorship at the University of Ottawa and is a visiting member of the lab.

Read More