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Team MitoMetabLab

~ FALL 2022 ~

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Kimberly Dunham-Snary, MPS, PhD

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Dr. Kimberly Dunham-Snary received her PhD in Molecular & Cellular Pathology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Scott Ballinger, where elucidated the connections between mitochondrial genetics and body composition. In 2015, she joined Dr. Stephen Archer's laboratory in the Department of Medicine at Queen's University for her postdoctoral fellowship. There, she identified the mitochondrial pulmonary vascular oxygen sensor, and discovered a novel role for mitochondria in neutrophil function. In 2020, she accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Departments of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, and Medicine at Queen's and is currently a Tier II Canada Research Chair. Her research interests remain in the field of mitochondrial biology – how genetic and structural changes to mitochondria alter cell function in both physiology and pathology, specifically the interplay between mitochondrial dynamics, mitochondrial genetics and proliferative signalling in cardiometabolic diseases. Her goal is to understand how these processes intersect in the context of disease and to develop a 'mitochondrial-metabolomic fingerprint' of cardiometabolic diseases. An avid motorsports and canine enthusiast, when not in the lab, she can be found exploring with her loyal companion, Steve McQueen, or catching the latest Grand Prix or Motor Speedway event.

Graduate Students

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Justin Paynter

Justin is an Experimental Medicine MSc student who is furthering his education with MitoMetabLab after completing his undergraduate degree in Genetics & Biology from The University of Western Ontario. From Whitby, ON, he is passionate about all things genetics, with a keen interest in the role mitochondrial genetics play in the progression of cardiometabolic disease. His MSc project will investigate skeletal muscle and platelet mitochondrial function in humans, the changes that occur during acute bedrest, and how mtDNA signature modulates these changes. Outside of the lab, he enjoys dogs, a good Guinness, horror movies, most sports, and cold weather!

MitoMetabLab History Note: He's the only person who likes cold weather, but we don't hold it against him 😉

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Abhishek Shastry

Abhishek is a Translational Medicine MSc student who is continuing his studies with MitoMetabLab after completing his fourth year Life Sciences Honours Thesis. He identified changes in key metabolic pathways in the skeletal muscle between strains of laboratory mouse and the implications for type II diabetes treatment. Abhi hails from Ajax, Ontario and his MSc project will explore links between the circulating metabolome and mitochondrial structure in preclinical cardiometabolic disease. Outside of the lab, he is an Academic Coordinator with Queen's Tamil Students' Association.

Mia Wilkinson


Mia is a Translational Medicine MSc student who is continuing her studies with MitoMetabLab after completing her fourth year Life Sciences Honours Thesis. She determined tissue-specific changes in gene expression between white adipose tissue depots, and examined the complicated matrix of mitochondrial genetics, white adipose tissue location, and diet. From Vancouver Island, BC, she is passionate about investigating the role mitochondrial genetics plays in the aetiology and pathology of cardiometabolic diseases. Her MSc project will develop and optimize a method for assessing murine skeletal muscle health using circulating platelets. Outside of the lab, she is an Events Coodinator for Operation Smile Queen’s Chapter and the Fundraising Chair for Queen’s Lyme Disease Coalition – Madoc Chapter.

Undergraduate Students

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Cassandra Braccio

Cassandra is a fourth year Life Sciences student from Grimsby, Ontario, pursuing her fourth-year research project in MitoMetabLab. Having always had a love for science and a passion for caring for others, Cassandra found the field of medicine the perfect fit. She is excited to learn more about mitochondrial genetics and cardiometabolic diseases to apply throughout her cardiorespiratory specialization and future career. Outside of lab, she is a volunteer coordinator for Queens Habitat for Humanity, an executive member of Queens OXFAM team - advocating and fundraising to bring awareness to social justice issues - and works with dementia patients as a PSW at a long-term care home in the Kingston community.

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Samsara Boots

Samsara is a fifth year Biology student from Kingston, Ontario, working as a student research technician for MitoMetabLab. Through her studies at university, as well as prior experiences working in patient care, she developed a strong passion for molecular genetics and medicine. She is an integral team member, helping manage the lab's resources, and collaborates on every ongoing project in the lab - stay tuned for details on her project! Outside of the lab she is an artist and a musician, as well as an executive member of the Queens’ Trivia team.


Dalia Miller

Dalia is a fourth year Life Science student from Ottawa, Ontario who is completing a Mitochondrial Biology Independent Project Course in MitoMetabLab after working as a student research technician since Spring of 2021. She has always been passionate about medicine, specifically paediatrics, from a young age. She has already learned so much from her experience working in the lab and can’t wait to learn more! Outside of the lab, she is a member of the Queen’s University Dance Marathon (QUDM) Sponsorship committee - fundraising for Children’s Miracle Network - and works part-time as a clerk for Queen’s Department of Family Medicine.

MitoMetabLab History Note: Dalia was the lab's first employee!

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Raymond Popescu

Raymond is a third year Health Sciences student pursuing his third- and fourth-year research projects in MitoMetabLab. Raymond’s interest in both oxygen sensing mechanisms in vasculature and applied immunology have drawn his focus to the mitochondrion and its extensive role in metabolic pathologies. Outside of the lab, he’s a host at the QueensU radio station, CFRC 101.9, researcher at KHSC and an avid cyclist


Jennifer Veeneman

Jennifer is a fourth year Life Sciences student currently completing her fourth-year Life Sciences project with MitoMetabLab. She was excited to find a lab that aligned so closely with her interests in metabolic processes and disease pathology. She is looking forward to gaining more laboratory experience and meeting senior academics to learn more about scientific research. Outside of the lab, you can find Jennifer rock climbing, trying to improve her chess game or coaching gymnastics! 

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