Graduate STudents

Puja Bagri, PhD. Graduate

In 2014, Puja enrolled in the Medical Science Graduate Program at McMaster University to complete her Masters degree under the supervision of Dr. Kaushic and transferred into the PhD stream in 2016.


Puja's graduate project involved working with the mouse model of herpes-simplex type-2 (HSV-2) infection. Puja's project aimed at underlying mechanism behind enhanced protection observed in estradiol-treated mice, more specifically, by investigating the role of IL-17 and the establishment of tissue-resident memory cells in anti-viral immune responses to HSV-2. Puja completed her Honors PHD in 2020.


Haley Dupont, M.Sc. Graduate

Haley joined the Kaushic lab in 2017 under the Medical Sciences Graduate program. Here she was looking at the microbiome and sex hormones in relation to HIV susceptibility in the female reproductive tract. Haley completed her Honours Master of Science at McMaster University in 2020.

Ramtin Ghasemi, M.Sc. Graduate

Ramtin joined the Kaushic lab in 2017 in the Medical Sciences Graduate Program. His research examined humoral immune responses against HSV-2 in the female genital tract of mice under the influence of estradiol. Ramtin completed his Master of Science at McMaster University in 2020.

Andrew Rempel, M.Sc. Candidate 

Andrew graduated from Trent University in 2018 where he majored in biochemistry & molecular biology with a specialization in health sciences. During his undergraduate studies he worked with Dr. Carolyn Kapron, looking at the effects of glutathione in cadmium induced oxidative stress in zebrafish embryos. With a passion for infectious disease, Andrew completed a summer internship at VIDO-intervac in Saskatchewan where he worked on various zika virus related projects. Continuing his interest in infectious disease Andrew joined the Kaushic lab in 2019 under the Medical Sciences Graduate program. Andrew’s project currently investigates the role of two genes and how they influence susceptibility to HIV in the lower female reproductive tract.


In his spare time Andrew enjoys a nice glass of wine, spending time outdoors, and playing piano.

Tushar Dhawan, M.Sc. Candidate 

Tushar graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree from the Biochemistry  program.

Tushar was a project student in the Kaushic lab, and decided to stay on to work on his project as a Masters student. His project investigates the influence of TRIM26, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, in negatively regulating the antiviral responses and HSV-2 infection in the vaginal epithelium through innate immunity. Research in our lab has shown that TRIM26 inhibits IRF3 activation, consequently resulting in negative regulation of IFN-β production, and thus increased viral replication. It is hypothesized that over-expression of the TRIM26 gene will increase HSV-2 infectivity and knockout of the TRIM26 gene will reduce HSV-2 infectivity.

In his available time, Tushar enjoys swimming, going to the gym, playing soccer, basketball and badminton.

Sidney Pa, M.Sc. Candidate 

Sidney graduated from McMaster University in the Honours Life Sciences Co-op program. During her undergraduate degree she completed a co-op work term in Dr. Martin Kolb’s lab, in which she helped with ongoing projects in the lab related to the lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. From this experience she developed an interest in research, specifically in immunology and disease mechanisms. Sidney joined the Kaushic lab in 2019 under the Medical Sciences graduate program to further explore the effects of DMPA and NET on the immune system and its influence on HSV-2 susceptibility. 

In her free time Sidney enjoys travelling, trying new restaurants, and going to concerts.