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EPIC Lab | Our Team

Meet our team of scientists, research staff, trainees, and alumni.

Scientist

Tim Ross, PhD, RPP, MCIP
Dr. Tim Ross is the Principal Investigator and Director of the EPIC Lab. See Dr. Ross’ full scientist profile.

EPIC Lab Staff

A person with glasses and long brown hair stands smiling in an outdoor setting.Clarissa Yu
Clarissa is a Research Assistant and former Ward Summer Student (2022) for the EPIC Lab. She is currently pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Science in Health & Disease, Physiology, and Economics at the Unviersity of Toronto. Her current research explores how paediatric healthcare built environments are experienced by children with disabilities and their families. She is also contributing to other projects focusing on paediatric healthcare within the Lab.
Meaghan Walker

Meaghan Walker
Meaghan is a Research Coordinator for the EPIC Lab. In completing a Master of Science degree in rehabilitation sciences at the University of Toronto, she researched the healthcare experiences of children with autism and obesity. Meaghan has also completed a Master of Science in occupational therapy at the University of Toronto and is a registered Occupational Therapist working in acute care. Meaghan has a vested interest in health promotion, disability, and inclusion. She contributes to many of the Lab’s research projects concerning inclusion, accessibility, and children’s healthcare. 

Zehra Kamani
Zehra is a Research Coordinator who works with both the EPIC Lab and Dr. Fiona Moola’s HEART Lab. Prior to joining the EPIC Lab, she completed a Master of Arts degree in psychology at York University and worked on numerous clinical research projects in pediatric health care settings. Zehra is playing a key role in the SANI research project, which aims to understand how racialized youth with disabilities and their families experience health care. She is also a freelance writer who writes passionately about topics such as mental health and disability awareness. She has been published by CBC and Today’s Parent magazine.

Doctoral Trainees

Elyse Comeau

Élyse Comeau, MPl
Élyse is an urban planning PhD Student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the PhD program, she completed a Master of Planning degree at Ryerson University and gained invaluable private sector work experience as an urban planner. Her doctoral research explores how families living with childhood disability experience and navigate public transit stations in Toronto. She is also contributing to EPIC Lab research on accessible air travel and accessible taxi transport. 

Javaneh Abbaspourasadolah

Javaneh Abbaspourasadolah
Javaneh is an urban planning PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. She has a background in architecture with experience in biophilic architectural design for children. She obtained a Master’s degree in architecture from Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Tehran, Iran.  She is passionate about designing child-friendly cities, inclusive playgrounds, and sustainable transportation in cities. Javaneh’s doctoral research will look at the experiences and designs of inclusively designed playgrounds. 
 

Yixue Zhang

Yixue Zhang
Yixue is an urban planning PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. She previously obtained a Master’s degree in urban planning from Peking University in Beijing, China. Her research interests include emerging transportation technology and its social impacts. Yixue has participated in several research projects concerning transport equity and travel behavior, and has extensive experience in data management, including data cleaning, data mining, and modeling. Yixue holds a Connaught International Scholarship. Her doctoral research explores the equity of accessible taxi travel patterns and experiences. 

Masters Trainees

Anna P

Anna Pyrtchenkov
Anna is a graduate student researcher at the EPIC lab. She is currently a Master’s student in the Occupational Therapy program at the University of Toronto. Prior to her current studies, she completed a Bachelor’s degree in exceptionality in human learning and linguistics, also at the University of Toronto. Her current research interests are in exploring barriers that children with disabilities face in the air transport industry in order to create more accessible travel. 

Antonia

Antonia Bellefleur
Antonia is Master’s student at the University of Toronto in Occupational Therapy. Antonia previously completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of British Columbia. Currently, her research interests include enabling occupational participation across various environments and the roles occupations play in peoples' sense of self. 

Lauren Foote

Lauren Foote 
Lauren is an urban planning Master’s student at the University of Toronto. She endeavours to advance disability rights in the areas of transport planning and environmental planning. Lauren previously earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical geography at Simon Fraser University. Her personal, academic, and professional experiences with disability rights have contributed to her interest in understanding how natural disasters and climate change disproportionately affect people with disabilities. Lauren previously worked with the Disability Foundation, where she worked with input from ConnecTra, Lyft, TransLink, and the public to identify transport barriers and to create of plans to advance transport accessibility. 

Marjan Fadaei

Marjan Fadaei
Marjan is an urban planning Master’s student at the University of Toronto. Prior to these studies, she completed a Bachelor’s degree in urban planning and design from the University of Guilan. She practiced as an Urban Designer for seven years during which she worked on various projects at different scales. Her research interests include inclusive planning for enhanced mobility (especially for children with disabilities) and the roles that neighborhoods and streets can play in promoting children’s play. 

Shalaine Sedres

Shalaine Sedres
Shalaine is a Master’s student in the Rehabilitation Science program at the University of Toronto. Prior to her current studies, she completed a Bachelor’s degree in community rehabilitation and disability studies at the University of Calgary. She is committed toward identifying, removing, and preventing barriers that marginalize or exclude people with disabilities through her research. Her current research engages questions about programming for accessible playgrounds. 

Volunteers

Amanda Chan
Amanda is a Master of Arts student in Child Study and Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto where she is pursuing her Ontario College of Teachers designation. She has also completed a Master of Arts in Critical Disability Studies from York University where her research explored the inclusive education experience for autistic students in the Toronto District School Board. Her volunteer work with the EPIC Lab focuses on the use of qualitative research methods with people with developmental disabilities. 

Amanda Mac
Amanda is a first-year medical student at the University of Toronto. Amanda is currently supporting numerous projects within the lab, including a scoping review on disability and race within healthcare and a scoping review on access to play spaces for children in hospital. Having family members who live with chronic illness and disability, she is passionate about supporting research on transitional care, accessible and inclusive spaces and enhancing community resilience among marginalized populations.

Emi Wong
Emi is completing a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. She completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. Emi's current research interests include inclusive pediatric healthcare environments, health promotion, and enabling engagement in meaningful activities. Emi's volunteer work with the EPIC Lab explores the experiences of children in pediatric healthcare environments. 

Julia Hess
Julia is a summer volunteer in the EPIC Lab. She is a Concurrent education student at Queen’s University, completing her Bachelor of Education, as well as her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Julia is currently supporting two projects in the lab, including a social media scan of EDI content with a focus on autism, and a scoping review looking at play spaces in health care settings. 

Juliana Gignac
Juliana is a recent graduate from the University of Guelph with a major in Psychology and a minor in Child, Youth and Family studies. Her volunteer work with the EPIC Lab focuses on children's experiences in pediatric healthcare environments. She is also supporting a study on inclusive playground programming. Juliana is looking to pursue a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy in the coming years. 

Maddy DeWelles
Maddy DeWelles is a PhD Candidate in the Social Justice Education Department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto where she conducts research that intersects disability and childhood studies. Maddy’s dissertation research explores how Down syndrome is represented to children and adults before, at, and following the birth of a baby with Down syndrome. Maddy also loves teaching and interacting with children. Maddy’s current volunteer work with the EPIC Lab focuses on experiences of inclusive playgrounds and their surroundings.

Nicole Sin
Nicole is a fourth-year undergraduate student completing her Honour's Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Statistics at the University of Toronto. She is interested in exploring ways to build a safe and inclusive environment for people with disabilities and hopes to pursue a career in Occupational therapy in the future. Nicole is currently supporting a study that explores the housing experiences of people with developmental disabilities in intentional community residences, with hopes of creating better housing designs that accommodate their needs. 

Roshan Sivarajah
Roshan is a third-year undergraduate student completing his Bachelor of Medical Science degree at Western University. As a volunteer research student in the EPIC Lab, he is contributing to research on the air travel experiences for children with disabilities and their families, as well as a scoping review on how children experience play in the pedestrian realm.

Lab Alumni

Past Staff

  • Catherine Stratton, Research Assistant
  • Emily Buliung, Research Assistant
  • Téa Christopoulos, Research Assistant


Past Ward Summer Students

  • Clarissa Yu, Summer 2022
  • Danielle Nicolardi, Summer 2021
  • Iqra Mahmood, Summer 2020
  • Madalyn Murray, Summer 2021
  • Sarah Qureshi, Summer 2021
  • Sophie Weaver, Summer 2021


Past Trainees

  • Bianca Serapiglia, MSc. OT, University of Toronto
  • Emma Melo, MSc. OT, University of Toronto
  • Melissa Ngo, MDes, OCAD University
  • Yuelin Ge, MSc. Planning, University of Toronto