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Degree Division
Epidemiology Division
Program Contact
Laura Rosella

Degree Overview

This program aims to develop excellent epidemiologists, able to work, teach and conduct research on contributors to health; disease, disability and death; and effective measures of prevention.


The overall goal of the program is to enable graduates to acquire the necessary scientific knowledge and methodological skills to become independent researchers in epidemiology.  Graduates with a PhD in epidemiology are expected to have developed the skills which enable them to:

  1. evaluate the scientific literature with respect to epidemiologic concepts, theoretical hypotheses, designs, methods, analyses and interpretation;
  2. develop theoretical formulations and testable hypotheses from concepts in the literature or epidemiological observations, and propose research questions and design and write research proposals;
  3. understand the practical and scientific implications of epidemiological research designs and the associated methodological and analytical techniques;
  4. identify and evaluate available data for addressing specific research questions;
  5. evaluate strengths and weaknesses of data collection methods, develop methods appropriate for answering specific research questions, and assess the measurement properties of data collection tools;
  6. address ethical issues related to epidemiologic studies;
  7. appreciate the policy implications of epidemiologic research; and,
  8. write and defend a doctoral dissertation which makes a contribution to the scientific literature.

Click here to view PhD Competencies

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants generally are expected to hold a master’s degree in epidemiology or a master’s degree in a related field with strong course work in epidemiology and biostatistics.
  2. Applicants are expected to have prior research experience which may be demonstrated through the completion of a master’s thesis, supervised research practicum, or other research experience, and which includes independent contributions to scientific publications.
  3. Applicants should have practical experience and reasonable expertise using standard statistical software packages.
  4. Click here for information regarding the application process.

Successful applicants will have research interests congruent with those of one or more members of faculty, and may have identified a possible primary or co-supervisor, prior to admission.  Admission may otherwise be conditional upon identifying a supervisor.  Thus, applicants are strongly encouraged to seek out potential supervisors, and discuss with them the possibilities, prior to applying to the degree program.  Applicants should note that identifying a potential supervisor does not guarantee admission.

Course Requirements

Course Requirements (3.5 FCE)

Required Courses (3.0)

CHL5404H: Research Methods I 0.5
CHL5406H: Quantitative Methods for Biomedical Research 0.5
CHL5408H: Research Methods II 0.5

CHL5423H: Doctoral Seminar Series in Epidemiology

Note:  This course requires enrollment during the first 2 years of study
to achieve credit. After the second year, upper year students and faculty
supervisors are expected to attend and participate.

CHL5424H: Advanced Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology 0.5
CHL5428H: Epidemiological Methods for Causal Mediation Analysis 0.5

Elective Courses (0.5)

Students are best served if their elective courses form part of a coherent package of experience. In this light, students are encouraged to choose elective courses that relate to the theme of their dissertation. For example, advanced methodological courses might be appropriate for a dissertation which involves highly complex statistical analysis; pathology courses for a dissertation which focuses more on disease process; bioethics courses for a dissertation on genetic epidemiology. Electives also may fill gaps in overall training and experience: A student with a largely social sciences background might benefit from health professional level pathology courses; a student with substantial bench-sciences training, who is interested in disease screening, might consider courses in behavioural sciences, health economics, or health policy. Students are encouraged to discuss the selection of appropriate electives with their Supervisory Committees.

Emphasis in Artificial intelligence and Data Science

Students in the PhD program in the Epidemiology field of study have the option to complete an emphasis by completing appropriate coursework in a given area. The emphasis requirements will also count toward, but may exceed, the 4.0 full-course equivalent (FCE) field requirement.

Course Requirements: Emphasis in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (1.5 FCE)

CHL5212H: Predictive Modelling in the Health Sciences 0.5
CHL5213H: Methods for Analysis of Microbiome Data 0.25
CHL5229H: Modern Biostatistics and Statistical Learning 0.5
CHL5230H: Applied Machine Learning for Health Data 0.5
CHL5429H: Advanced Analytic Methods for Bias in Epidemiologic Studies 0.5
CHL3020H: Ethics and Artificial Intelligence for Health 0.5
HAD5306H: Introduction to Health Services Research and the Use of Health Administrative Data 0.5
MHI2012H: Introduction to Big Data for Health: Foundations and Methodologies 0.5
Other course(s) approved by the Program Director

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is an in-class written exam:

  • This examination is held June of the first academic year and details are provided to students during the first year.
  • The examination is designed to test competence in the concepts, principles, data sources, and content of epidemiology, and the ability to apply these concepts and principles critically.
  • The examination may include multiple choice and short answer questions.
  • An Examination Committee will mark the examination, blind to the identity of the student. A passing grade is 70%. Students who achieve higher percentages will be informed that they have received grades of Honours (90%+) or High Pass (80-89%).

The written qualifying can be fulfilled after the following required courses are complete:

CHL5404H: Research Methods I (0.5)
CHL5406H: Quantitative Methods for Biomedical Research (0.5)
CHL5408H: Research Methods II (0.5)
CHL5424H: Advanced Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology (0.5)

PhD Proposal Defense

The PhD proposal defense is a requirement for candidacy and should be completed by December of the second year.  The proposal defense can be done during the first year of study  with the approval of the Program Director. The purpose of the proposal defense is to:

  • Ensure that proposed research will result in a successful PhD dissertation.
  • Strengthen the thesis question, design, and methods through critical feedback.
  • Assess the students’ ability to conduct independent and original research.
  • Assess sufficient content/substantive knowledge base relevant to their thesis topic.
  • Provide a formal approval to proceed with the dissertation research.

Format: The proposal will include a brief and cogent review of the literature, justification of the research question, the objectives and hypotheses, design, data collection or data sources, proposed analysis strategies, timetable, ethics, and potential problems or issues. The proposal will conclude with references in proper bibliographic format. The proposal also will include a concise statement of the student’s role in the development and conduct of the research. A title page, with word count, will include the names of the Supervisor and other Supervisory Committee members. The proposal will be printed using a 12-point font, and limited to 10 single-spaced pages. The bibliography and title page are not included in the page or word counts. Appendices should be kept to a minimum.

Defense for approval of PhD proposal:

The proposal defense consists of a written outline of the dissertation proposal and an oral presentation. The completion of this process also counts as the protocol approval, which is required for candidacy. The following elements will be assessed:

  1. The literature review is comprehensive and specific to the content area;
  2. The proposed work demonstrates scholarly impact and innovation with respect to methods and/or substantive contribution;
  3. Quality of research approach, including:
    1. Clarity of research question/objectives
    2. Completeness and relevance to study design/research plan
    3. Rationale for approach and methodology
    4. Appropriateness of research design
    5. Appropriateness of research methods and statistical analyses
    6. Feasibility of research approach including power calculation as appropriate
    7. Requirement, timeline, preliminary data etc.
    8. Anticipation of difficulties/limitations and plans for management
    9. Ethical considerations
  4. The project is adequate and appropriate for a PhD dissertation and manageable within the time-frame and expectations of the PhD program.

The proposal presentation must be attended by the student, the Supervisory Committee and one external reviewer approved by the Program Director. The presentation will be advertised within the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences, and students and faculty are encouraged to attend.  The external reviewer must be a Full or Associate member of SGS, ideally has research supervisory experience at the doctoral level, and must have specific research expertise in the dissertation topic or methods. The reviewer should have had no previous involvement with the development of the proposal under review.

Process for evaluation:

  • The student’s Supervisory Committee approves the written proposal at least three weeks before the anticipated date of proposal defense.
  • The student contacts the Program Director, with a copy to the Administrative Assistant, to give notice that the proposal is ready for defense, together with the name, email and brief rationale for the external reviewer. As a reminder, the reviewer must have an SGS appointment at the University of Toronto. The Program Director will approve the external reviewer via email.
  • The Supervisor contacts reviewer and committee to arrange the date/time of the presentation, and informs the program Administrative Assistant of the arrangements.
  • The Administrative Assistant reserves a room and any required audiovisual equipment specified by the student, and posts notices on bulletin boards and e-mail, including a confirmatory e-mail to the reviewers and Supervisory Committee.
  • The student distributes the proposal to the external reviewer, Supervisory Committee members, and Administrative Assistant, three weeks before the date of the proposal defense.
  • The proposal defense will begin with a 20-minute presentation of the research proposal by the student, followed by a period of questions and discussion. Presentation questions are posed to the student in two rounds, with approximately 10 minutes allotted to each reviewer per round, with the reviewer taking the lead in the questions. The Supervisor will chair the proceedings and act as timekeeper. The question period will typically be expected to last 60 to 80 minutes. The Supervisor will take notes of all issues raised.
  • At the end of formal questioning, the student and other attendees not part of the review panel will leave the room, and the reviewer and Supervisory Committee will have a general discussion of four elements (I – IV) outlined above. The reviewers will rate the performance of the student using a standardized form and an Accept/Provisional Acceptance/Not Accepted decision will be reached. The Supervisor and external reviewer will take note of the feedback and prepare a summary of the recommendations to share with the student.  Typically, the Supervisor will take notes, on the form during the defense, and email to the external reviewer for final review before sending to the student.

The following outline the implications for the evaluation:

Approval: The student may proceed with dissertation work and remaining program progression, taking note of all feedback received during the protocol defense and in consultation with the Supervisor considering minor amendments to their doctoral research accordingly. This candidacy requirement has been met.

Provisional Approval: The student must create a point-by-point response to the concerns/issues raised and make changes to the proposal within 60 days of the proposal defense. Once the Supervisory committee has approved the revisions, the proposal must be submitted to the Program Director and Administrative Assistant as a final record. An approval will then be recorded for candidacy.

Not approved: Non-approval indicates that the performance was inadequate and/or the protocol has major deficiencies according to the IV domains. In the event that the student is not approved on the first attempt, the student will be permitted one more attempt. Failure of the second attempt will result in a recommendation for program termination.

  • At the conclusion of the discussion, the student will be invited into the room to learn the general outline of the committee’s decision. The decision and the completed form must be conveyed to the Program Director and Administrative Assistant within 1 week of the defense.


Click here to view the SGS Supervision Guidelines for Students.

Beginning prior to admission, and with the assistance of the Program Director, the applicant will explore supervisory possibilities: a faculty member with an appointment in the Division of Epidemiology who has a Full appointment in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), and who conducts epidemiological research. In some instances, the student and the Program Director will identify both a primary and a co-supervisor. The co-supervisor generally will be a faculty member with an Associate appointment in the SGS. The faculty supervisor may be confirmed prior to beginning the program, and generally will be in place by the end of the first year.  students are encouraged to explore broadly and have wide-ranging discussions with potential supervisors.  The Program Director must approve the selection of the primary supervisor and the co-supervisor.

Role and Responsibilities

The Supervisor is responsible for providing mentorship to the student through all phases of the PhD program. Thus; to the extent possible, the Supervisor will guide the selection of courses, dissertation topic, supervisory committee membership, and supervisory committee meetings; will assist with applications for funding; will make every effort to provide funding to the student directly; and will provide references for the student on a timely basis. The Supervisor also will comment on the student’s plan for preparation for the comprehensive examination. The Supervisor will guide the development of the student’s research proposal, and the implementation and conduct of all aspects of the research; advise on writing the dissertation; correct drafts and approve the final dissertation; and attend the defense.

Supervisory Committee

With the assistance of the Supervisor, and with the approval of the Program Director, the student will assemble a Supervisory Committee within the first year of study.

Role and Responsibilities

The Supervisory Committee, chaired by the Supervisor, will contribute advice regarding course selection; preparation for the comprehensive examination; selection of the dissertation topic; preparation and defense of the proposal; and implementation of the research plan. The Supervisory Committee also will provide timely and constructive criticism and guidance regarding data analysis, writing the dissertation, and preparing for its defense.


The Supervisory Committee generally will comprise the Supervisor and at least two members who hold either Full or Associate appointments in the SGS and may or may not hold a primary appointment in Epidemiology. Between these individuals and the Supervisor, there should be expertise in all content and methodological areas relevant to the student’s research focus and dissertation proposal. At times, when the student’s Supervisory Committee extends beyond the requisite Supervisor plus two SGS-qualified members, additional members may not necessarily hold SGS appointments (e.g., community members).  Non-SGS members, however, may participate only as non-voting qualified observers at the SGS Final Oral Examination (i.e., observer who has been approved by the student, the Supervisor, and the SGS Vice-Dean, Programs).


Supervisory Committee meetings will be held at least every six (6) months throughout the student’s PhD program. Under certain circumstances (e.g., during times of very rapid progress), the student and the Supervisory Committee may decide there is a need for more frequent meetings.


At the end of every meeting of the Supervisory Committee, the student and the Committee will complete the Supervisory Committee Meeting Report. All present must sign the report, which will be delivered to the Program Director and filed in the student’s progress file in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences.

The Report of the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences Oral Defense Committee Meeting will be completed at the end of the Departmental Defense during which the Oral Defense Committee makes the recommendation for the student to proceed to the SGS Final Oral Examination (FOE).  The Report will also be signed and delivered to the Program Director and filed in the student’s progress file in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences.

Progress Through the PhD

The phases of the PhD program are identified by a set of accomplishments which the student generally will attain in order, and within a satisfactory time. These phases, which will be monitored by the Program Director of the PhD program, are the identification of the Supervisor and the Supervisory Committee, completion of required and elective course work, completion of the comprehensive examination, defense of the research proposal, and defense of the dissertation (both Departmental and SGS ). Full-time students are expected to complete the PhD within four (4) years. Flex-time students may take longer, but not more than eight (8) years; they must submit a revised list of milestones, for approval by the Supervisor and the Program Director.  Click here to view the PhD Epidemiology Timeline.

Research Ethics Board Approval

All research projects in which University of Toronto students are involved at any stage must have approval from the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board (REB). This includes ongoing research projects of the Supervisor which has previously received REB approval and where REB approval is already held from a University affiliated hospital or research institute. Preliminary work necessary to prepare the proposal may also require an original REB application or amendment to the original study. 
See details of the REB application and review process at Office of Research Ethics (

The dissertation proposal, as approved by the Program Director, must have University of Toronto Research Ethics Board approval as a supervised research study. An application for initial REB approval (or amendment to approval for an ongoing study), will therefore follow the approval of the dissertation proposal.


A dissertation in epidemiology must have relevance to the health of human populations. Within that broad framework, the dissertation may deal with any topic in the areas of medicine, public health and, health care services; and the research designs and statistical methods used in these fields. A doctoral dissertation in epidemiology may involve new data, collected for the purpose of the study, or the use of data previously collected. In the latter case, the analysis must be suitably complex, and must be driven by theoretical considerations and a specific research or methodological question. The dissertation result should be new knowledge and should include findings suitable for publication in peer-reviewed epidemiology journals. It may include both methodological and substantive advances in knowledge.

The dissertation topic must include clearly posed research questions amenable to study by appropriate epidemiologic methods. The student must have contributed substantially to the identification of the research question and must have played an integral part in the planning of the investigation. Wherever appropriate, the student will also be expected to participate directly in the collection of the data. Students will be expected to analyze their own data using appropriate analytic approaches.

Format Options for Dissertation

Students may choose one of two options for preparation of the dissertation: a monograph or a series of journal articles. The monograph is the default option. It is a single report, divided into chapters: introduction, literature review, methods, results, and discussion. A reference list would be followed by various appended material, which might include data collection instruments, additional related findings, and the like.

The journal article option varies from the monograph in that the main body of the dissertation comprises approximately three (3) complete, stand-alone manuscripts; these may already have been published, or may be ready to submit for peer-review. The manuscripts should be preceded and followed by material that unites them. So, for instance, an introduction and literature review, and possibly methods, more global in scope than those included in the manuscripts themselves, would precede the manuscripts; likewise, a discussion would follow, and would tie the manuscripts together, describing how they – as a group – make a contribution to the literature. Appended material might include the methodological details that would not be present in the methods sections of the manuscripts.

Regardless of format, the student should identify and follow appropriate style guides for the preparation of the dissertation.

Dissertation Defense

The student should aim to defend the dissertation within four years of entry into the PhD program. The defense of the dissertation will take place in two stages: first, a Departmental defense, second, a formal defense (the Final Oral Examination) before a University committee according to procedures established by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). The two defenses generally are separated by about eight weeks.

Departmental Defense

The Departmental defense will be held after the completed dissertation has been approved by all members of the student’s Supervisory Committee, and the completion of the final Supervisory Committee meeting report. The purpose of this defense is to rehearse the oral presentation for the SGS defense and to determine whether the student is ready for the SGS defense.

The student should expect constructive criticism about the clarity and length of the presentation and the quality of visual materials, as well as about the dissertation itself. In particular, the Departmental defense will confirm that:

  1. The student has adequately met the requirements for a dissertation; and,
  2. The student has the required level of understanding of the scientific issues involved in the dissertation work.

The Departmental defense is attended by the student, the Supervisor and other members of the Supervisory Committee, and two reviewers with full SGS appointments. At least one reviewer should have supervisory experience in epidemiology at the doctoral level. The second reviewer may be a substantive expert from another discipline. Eligible reviewers will have had no prior involvement with the design or conduct of the research, with the exception of providing references or other background material, and generally will not be the faculty who served as reviewers at the proposal defense. The presentation will be advertised within the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences, and other students and faculty are encouraged to attend.


  1. The Supervisory Committee approves the dissertation, at least four (4) weeks before the anticipated date of the defense.
  2. The Supervisory Committee identifies at least two potential reviewers.
  3. The student contacts the Program Director (copy to the Administrative Assistant) to give notice that the dissertation is ready for defense, together with the names and email addresses of potential reviewers. If necessary, the Program Director suggests alternative reviewers. The Program Director approves the reviewers, and will nominate one of them to be the Program Director’s representative.
  4. The Supervisor contacts reviewers and arranges the date/time of the defense, and informs the Administrative Assistant of the arrangements.
  5. The Administrative Assistant reserves a room and any required audiovisual equipment, as specified by the student, and posts notices on bulletin boards and e-mail, including a confirmatory e-mail to the Supervisory Committee and reviewers.
  6. The student distributes a copy of the dissertation to reviewers and to Supervisory Committee members four (4) weeks before the date of the defense, with an extra copy to the Supervisor (or designate) which may be made available to other faculty or students who may wish to read it.
  7. The Oral Defense Committee comprises the external reviewers, the Supervisor and the other Supervisory Committee members.
  8. Before the Oral Defense Committee convenes, the student and non-committee attendees may be asked to leave the room to permit discussion of the defense process among the Oral Defense Committee members.
  9. The defense will begin with a 20-minute presentation by the student of the research findings, followed by a period of questions and discussion among those present, with the two reviewers taking the lead in the questions. The Supervisor will chair the proceedings and act as timekeeper. The question period will typically be expected to last 60 to 80 minutes. The Supervisor will take notes of all issues raised.
  10. At the end of formal questioning, the student and other attendees will generally be asked to leave the room, and the Oral Defense Committee will discuss any issues of concern, to provide focused, constructive, and detailed feedback to the student, Supervisor, and other members of the Supervisory Committee on the dissertation and its oral defense. The Program Director’s Representative will take note of the feedback with respect to whether the dissertation work is generally adequate for the Final Oral Examination (FOE); changes that should be made to the dissertation prior to arranging for the FOE, and improvements that could be made to the oral presentation and defense; and will prepare a summary of the recommendations. If revisions to the text of the dissertation are recommended, there will also be discussion of the timing of the FOE. The student may be invited to be present at these discussions at the discretion of the Oral Defense Committee.
  11. At the end of the Departmental Defense, the Oral Defense Committee  will complete the Report of the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences Oral Defense Committee Meeting. The options for proceedings are:

a) Dissertation is acceptable:
____    as is
____    with corrections/modifications as described in report to be prepared by the Program Director’s Representative

b) Another Supervisory Committee meeting required to see final dissertation: ____ Yes ____ No

c) If no, Committee member to see that changes are made: __________________________

d) Dissertation recommended for examination in: ______ months.

The Report will be delivered to the Program Director and filed in the student’s file in the Graduate office of Public Health Sciences.

School of Graduate Studies Final Oral Examination (FOE)

Current Student Profiles

 Name  Supervisor(s) Research Interests and Dissertation Topic

Pranamika Khayargoli

Ann Burchell Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, sexually transmitted infections, HPV, HPV-related cancers, HIV, sexual health

Alicia Grima

Jennifer Brooks

Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, genetic epidemiology

Dissertation Topic:“Genetic variants associated with new onset autoimmune disease following SARS-CoV-2 infection”

Saeedeh Moayedi-Nia

Ann Burchell

Research interests: Communicable disease epidemiology, HIV/AIDS

Dissertation Topic: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare engagement among People Living with HIV in Ontario”

Stephanie McConkey

Janet Smylie

Research interests: Indigenous health, Indigenous research methodologies, substance use, homelessness

Dissertation Topic: “Using Indigenous worldviews and understandings of homelessness to develop and validate a new population-level assessment tool that measures chronic and episodic homelessness among First Nations, Inuit and Metis living in Toronto, Ontario”

Sabrina Chiodo

Laura Rosella

Research interests: Perinatal epidemiology, environmental epidemiology, social determinants of health, predictive modelling, epidemiologic methods

Dissertation Topic:  “Predicting and Preventing Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Canada”


Kiera Murison

Rayjean Hung

Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, Cancer epidemiology, Cancer survival and prognosis

Dissertation Topic: “An examination of the impact of infection on survival and prognosis in cancer populations”

Nicholas Grubic

Katerina Maximova Research interests: Cardiovascular epidemiology, sports medicine, mental health, cardiac arrest, health services research, social determinants of health

Chantelle Lin

Andy Kin On Wong

Research interests: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Modelling, Imaging and Big Data.

Dissertation Topic: “High-Dimensional Analysis to Pinpoint the Origin of Pain Among Postmenopausal Women with Knee Osteoarthritis Using Convolved Features from Knee MRI Scans”


Claire Cook

Hailey Banack

Research interests: Women’s health, reproductive health, chronic disease, aging, lifecourse epidemiology

Dissertation Topic: “Reproductive health and chronic disease across the lifecourse among postmenopausal women”

Oliver Gatalo

Sharmistha Mishra and Rafal Kustra

Research interests: Infectious disease modelling, emerging infectious diseases, mpox, real-world vaccine effectiveness

Dissertation Topic: “Limiting biases in measures of vaccine effectiveness from real-world data during the evolving mpox outbreak in Canada and Internationally”


Carmela Melina Albanese

Hilary K. Brown

Research interests: Chronic disease epidemiology, women’s health, children’s and adolescent’s health, social determinants of health, knowledge synthesis

Dissertation Topic: “Impact of migraine and migraine-related comorbidity on perinatal outcomes”

Nancy Tahmo

Sharmistha Mishra

Research interests: Emerging infectious diseases, HIV/STI epidemiology, community-based participatory research, mathematical modelling, global health security

Dissertation Topic: “Community-based participatory modeling of HIV transmission: Assessing the influence of sexual networks on HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men in Kenya”  

Mary Aglipay

Jonathon Maguire and Jeff Kwong Research interests: COVID-19, pediatric epidemiology, machine learning, predictive modelling, pediatric interventions

Afia Amoako


David Fisman

Research interests: Intersection of social demographic factors and infectious disease epidemiology.

Dissertation Topic: The Unequal Landscape of COVID-19 in Toronto

Sonali Amarasekera

Prabhat Jha Research interests: Global mental health, psychiatric epidemiology, excess mortality due to suicide

Alessandra Andreacchi

Brendan Smith and Arjumand Siddiqi

Research interests: Chronic disease epidemiology, population health intervention research, social epidemiology, health equity, public health policy

Dissertation title: “The alcohol-harm paradox and health equity impacts of alcohol policy in Canada: Evidence to inform the complex relationships across alcohol policy, consumption, and harms” (Working title)

Dorothy Apedaile

Susan Bondy Research interests: Global health, HIV/AIDS, implementation science, social epidemiology, housing and homelessness

Archchun Ariyarajah


Shelly Bolotin & Jeff Kwong

Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, vaccine-preventable diseases, global health

Dissertation title: “Waning measles immunity in Ontario: A population-based cohort study”

Vajini Atukorale

Shelly Bolotin and Sarah Buchan

Dissertation topic: Measuring the burden of respiratory syncytial virus among older adults living in Ontario

Research interests: Infectious diseases; vaccine policy, effectiveness, and communication; health equity research

Adele Carty


Howard Hu & John McLaughlin

Research interests: Environmental toxicants, neurocognitive development, fetal exposures, child health, global health

Dissertation title: “The role of environmental toxicant exposure on neurodevelopment in children: examining cognitive and behavioural symptoms among mother-child pairs from two environmental birth cohort studies.”

Chris Dharma

Photo of Chris Dharma

Dionne Gesink Research interests: Mental health, sexuality, health services research, predictive modelling, machine learning, psychometric evaluation

Russell Forrest

Susan Bondy and Erjia Ge Research interests: Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Spatial Epidemiology, Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analytics

Shuang Di

Photo of Shuang Di

Laura Rosella Research interests: Health services research, remote patient monitoring, population health, modifiable risk factors, molecular epidemiology, machine learning

Abby Emdin

Photo of Abby Emdin

Susan Bronskill Research interests: Polypharmacy, pharmacoepidemiology, health administrative data

Cassandra Freitas

Ann Burchell Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, sexual health research, community-based research

Ingrid Giesinger

Photo of Ingrid Giesinger

Laura Rosella

Research interests: Social conditions and health, methods for population-based health research, life course epidemiology, chronic disease epidemiology

Dissertation title: “Addressing the single-risk factor framework through deep learning methods: applications in multimorbidity”

Zoë Greenwald

Photo of Zoë Greenwald


Jeff Kwong

Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, hepatitis C, HIV, and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, harm reduction, and health disparities research

Dissertation title: “Measuring uptake and effectiveness of direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C among key populations in Ontario: a population-based retrospective cohort study.”

Emily Ha

Jennifer Brooks


Andy Kin On Wong

Dissertation title: Understanding the mechanisms of how estradiol loss at menopause leads to knee pain: A population-based longitudinal study of postmenopausal women

Research interests: Chronic disease epidemiology, causal inference, aging, and women’s health

Ijeoma Itanyi


Karen Tu and Laura Rosella Research interests: Non-communicable disease epidemiology, Multimorbidity, Population health, Electronic Medical Records, Machine learning

Lidija Latifovic

Photo of Lidija Latifovic

Geoffrey Liu

Research interests: Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers, pharmacoepidemiology

Dissertation title: “Improving the safety and efficacy of treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer by understanding the genetic influences on the mechanism of action of the epidermal growth factor receptor targeting monoclonal antibody drug cetuximab using data from the Canadian Cancer Trials Group CO.17 and CO.20 randomized controlled trials.”

Miranda Loutet

Daniel Roth & Diego Bassani

Research interests: Maternal and child health, global health, methodology – observational cohort studies, infectious disease epidemiology

Dissertation title: Measurement of breastfeeding practices and infant intake of breast milk components in epidemiological research

Stephanie McConkey

Photo of Stephanie McConkey

Janet Smylie

Research interests: Indigenous health, Indigenous research methodologies

Dissertation title: “Using an Indigenous theoretical framework to measure Indigenous Homelessness and its’ impacts of Indigeneity and substance use among Indigenous Peoples living in urban and related homelands.”

Ioana Nicolau

Ann Burchell Dissertation title:“The burden of cancer among people living with HIV in Ontario and the effect of immune function and engagement in HIV care on cancer risk.”

Fareha Nishat

Hilary Brown Research interests: chronic disease epidemiology, disability studies, child health, health services research

Christa Orchard

Photo of Christa Orchard

Peter Smith

Research interests: Mental health, social epidemiology, occupational health, machine learning

Dissertation title: “Using unsupervised machine learning methods to identify service use patterns and gendered care pathways in the publicly funded mental healthcare system in Ontario.”

Sumit Raybardhan

Kevin Brown Research interests: Antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial utilization, big data

Lief Pagalan

Photo of Lief Pagalan

Laura Rosella

Research interests: Prediction Modelling, Machine Learning, Environmental Health, Health Services Research, Premature Mortality

Dissertation title: “Developing Population-Based Risk Tools to Predict and Reduce Premature Mortality in Canadian Cities.”

Andrea Portt

Peter Smith

Research interests: Environmental epidemiology, neurologic outcomes, methods & app data

Dissertation title: “Estimating associations between air pollution and migraine using smartphone app data”

Liane Steiner

Alison Simmons

David Fisman

Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, mathematical modelling, substance use epidemiology

Dissertation title: “Leveraging population-based modelling approaches to inform respiratory disease prevention”


Cameron Thompson Laura Rosella Research interests: Population health, emergency medicine, health services

Mercedes Sobers

Photo of Mercedes Sobers

Dionne Gesink Research interests: Social epidemiology, mental health for racialized populations, health equity, mixed methods methodology, evaluation

Jean-Paul R. Soucy

Twitter: @JPSoucy

Photo of Jean-Paul Soucy

Kevin Brown and David Fisman

Dissertation title: Infectious disease surveillance using emerging data sources: Applications to antimicrobial resistance and COVID-19

Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial stewardship, infectious disease surveillance

Catherine Stratton


Andrea Tricco Research interests: Rare disease, knowledge translation, evidence synthesis, patient-engagement in research

Kate St. Cyr

Photo of Kate St. Cyr

Paul Kurdyak and Alyson Mahar

Research interests: Veteran and military mental health; psychiatric epidemiology; social epidemiology

Dissertation title: “Sex-specific differences in mental health service utilization amongst Canadian Armed Forces Veterans: a population-based study.”

Shelby Sturrock

Twitter: @ShelbySturrock

Photo of Shelby Sturrock

Dionne Gesink

Dissertation title: Participant-owned wearables for evaluating longitudinal trends in physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participate in this research by downloading the COVFIT Study App. More information here:

Research interests: Behavioural epidemiology, mobile health data, physical activity

Lauren Tailor

Sonia Grandi and Hilary Brown

Research interests: Pharmacoepidemiology, perinatal epidemiology, pediatric health, global health, women’s health

Dissertation title: “Examining the association between prenatal antidepressant exposure and maternal and child/adolescent cardiometabolic outcomes”

Tristan Watson

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Arjumand Siddiqi

Dissertation title: Longitudinal approaches to the epidemiology of total knee arthroplasty: Trends, determinants, and postoperative outcomes

Research interests: Arthritis, musculoskeletal health, chronic disease epidemiology, clinical epidemiology, social determinants of health,  correlated/longitudinal data analysis, complex survey and health administrative data analysis, causal inference from observational data.

Min Xi


Andy Kin On Wong Research interests: health services research, health technology assessment, healthcare access

Calvin Yip

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Arjumand Siddiqi

Research interests: Social epidemiology, population health, premature mortality, predictive modeling, machine learning

Dissertation title: “Understanding, predicting, and preventing mortality from deaths of despair: a population-based approach to addressing stagnating life expectancy in Canada.”

Alumni Profiles

 Name  Supervisor(s) Research Interests and Dissertation Topic

Isha Berry

David Fisman

Dissertation title:“Transmission dynamics of influenza and avian influenza in urban Bangladesh: live poultry exposure, seasonality, and pandemic risk at the human-poultry interface”

Research interests: Infectious disease epidemiology, global health, mathematical modelling, one health, emerging infectious diseases, influenzas


Andi Camden

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Astrid Guttmann & Teresa To

Research interests: Maternal and infant health, Maternal illicit drug use, child health, health equity, public health policy

Title: “Health and Developmental Outcomes Associated with Prenatal Opioid Exposure: A Population-based Retrospective Cohort Study in Ontario.”

Daniel Harris

Twitter: @EpiHarris


Susan Bronskill

Title: “Antipsychotic reduction efforts in long-term care: Examining the extent and potential impact of medication substitution.”

Research interests: Pharmacoepidemiology, neurodegenerative diseases, aging, artificial intelligence and data science

Shilo McBurney

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Jeff Kwong

IResearch interests: nfectious diseases, pertussis, immunization research, public health policy, and applied machine-learning

Dissertation title: “The problem with pertussis: Finding uncaptured pertussis cases in the Electronic Medical Record Primary Care (EMRPC) to improve estimates of burden and vaccine effectiveness.”

André McDonald Robert Mann Research interests: Cannabis legalization, alcohol policy interventions, addiction and mental health, Indigenous health
Matt Warkentin Rayjean Hung Research interests: Molecular and genetic epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, risk-prediction, cancer prevention and early detection methods, machine learning, deep learning, Bayesian methods

Jessica Wong

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Laura Rosella

Research interests: Chronic disease epidemiology, health services research, musculoskeletal health, clinical epidemiology, knowledge synthesis

Dissertation title: “Examining the effects of low back pain and mental health symptoms on health care utilization and costs.”