2020 Dr. Malle Jurima-Romet Award Recipents

Kassandra Zachos

Kassandra Zachos (Recipient)

Kassandra Zachos is in her first year of the thesis-based M.Sc. program, but intends to transfer into the Ph.D. stream in the near future.  Her research focuses on better understanding the cross-talk between the mitochondria and the microbiome and how different diets affect mitochondrial disease. While it is not the most traditional project within the department, Kassandra appreciates the diversity of ongoing research within the divison of Pharmacology and Toxicology. She also chose to pursue her graduate studies in PharmTox because of the community and support from many knowledgeable mentors and peers.

Outside of PharmTox, Kassandra is passionate about dance ranging in styles from jazz, tap to hip hop, contemporary and ballet. She has been dancing for over 20 years, 10 of which she performed competitively and she has also completed all examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance . During her undergrad at U of T, she danced with Silhouettes Dance Company, which allows experienced dancers to maintain their abilities with a flexible, student-friendly schedule. Currently, Kassandra is also a member of Duet Dance Company, a charity that provides pro bono entertainment at fundraising events throughout Toronto. The Romet Award will go a long way to help offset the many costs that come with dance, especially company membership fees and costumes for performances. It will also allow Kassandra to build on her skills even further and take more freelance dance classes throughout the city (COVID permitting, of course). In addition to this, some of the proceeds from this Award will be donated on behalf of Duet Dance Company. 

Claire McDonald

Claire McDonald (Honourable Mention)

By day (and night), Claire McDonald is a first year PhD student in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, studying the effect of brain metabolism on the neurotoxicology of Methamphetamine. By even-later night, Claire is a comic artist and illustrator that creates stories focusing on personal experience and interpersonal relationships. She is passionate about harm reduction in drug abuse, and pursuing further knowledge in the field of neurotoxicology. In the future, Claire aims to use comics and illustration as an approachable medium to communicate science, and inspire interest in STEM. The Romet award will help support Claire's passion in the arts alongside her academic achievements. You can check out her work at @cmcdonaldart on instagram and twitter.