Graduate STudents

Tushar Dhawan, MSc 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 continue 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, MSc 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.


Amanda Bakke MSc Candidate

Amanda graduated from the University of Guelph in 2019 where she majored in Biochemistry. During her undergraduate research project she worked with Dr. Rod Merrill, looking at plant tinctures as antimicrobials for the treatment of Streptomyces scabies, a pathogenic bacteria and causative agent of common scab disease in tuberous crops. Amanda joined the Kaushic lab in 2020 under the Medical Sciences Graduate Program. Using her Microbiology background, Amanda’s project will investigate biofilm formation among bacteria commonly associated with Bacterial Vaginosis, an infection which increases susceptibility to HIV in the female reproductive tract.


In her free time Amanda enjoys reading, music and travel.


Nuzhat Rahman, MSc Candidate 

Nuzhat graduated from the University of Alberta in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science with Specialization in Immunology and Infection. During her degree, she completed an undergraduate project in Dr. David Evans' lab looking at the role of the H3L protein in poxvirus plaque size and infectivity. Nuzhat joined the Kaushic lab in Fall 2020 under the Medical Sciences graduate program. Her project will investigate the mechanism of effect of the vaginal microbiome on HSV-2 susceptibility.


In her free time, Nuzhat enjoys trying new recipes, reading, and going on road-trips.