2019 Undergraduate Winners

Charles Yin

Charles Yin is a fifth-year MD/PhD student at Western University where he is currently completing his PhD in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. His graduate thesis work has focused on unraveling the complex role of macrophages in the development of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Prior to his time at Western, Charles completed a BSc in Integrated Science at McMaster University.

Throughout his medical studies, Charles has had a special interest in the social determinants of health and how healthcare providers can address the systematic injustices in our society that lead to disparities in health status. To this end, Charles help found the Alliance of Students Providing Interprofessional Resources and Education (ASPIRE), an organization that seeks to build a student-led primary care clinic in London, Ontario that would provide health services to marginalized populations who lack access to care. Working with the dedicated board of directors and the passionate student volunteers that make up ASPIRE has been a highlight of Charles’s medical school experience.

Charles has also been heavily involved in youth science outreach as a site coordinate for Let’s Talk Science and as a board member of the Thames Valley Science and Engineering Fair. He has also been involved in health and science policy work through the Canadian Federation of Medical Students and the Clinician-Investigator Trainee Association of Canada.

Charles has been fortunate to be supported in his studies by several scholarships and awards, including the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, CIHR MD/PhD Studentship and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology John A. Thomas Award.

Mohammad Asadi-Lari

Mohammad is a first year MD/PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. Mohammad has been constantly moving around the world: born in Iran, spending around 7 years of his childhood in the UK, his teenage years back in Tehran, and settled in Canada in 2013, where he completed school, followed by undergraduate studies in physiology at UBC.

His fascination for science and innovation started to blossom when he was in grade 9, back in his Iranian high school’s chemistry lab, and thanks to some incredible teacher-mentors. Since then, he’s explored (and published) in nano chemistry, cancer immunology, neurosurgery and neuroscience.

Four years ago, Mohammad co-founded STEM Fellowship – a national student network that creates opportunities for fellow students in big data education and scholarly communication. SF is now one of Canada’s largest and most well-known grass-roots STEM initiatives, with 300+ volunteers and a presence on 20 campuses in almost every province.

Mohammad has led and/or advised initiatives within the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Canadian Red Cross, CIHR and multiple start-ups within the health and education spaces. He’s a Board Director at Apathy is Boring, Pre-Health Science Curriculum director at NextGenU.org, VP Global Health jr. at U of T’s Medical Society, and World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shapers community member.

Mohammad is a TEDx speaker, and recipient of a 3M National Student Fellow, UBC Faces of Today Leadership awardee, Society for Scholarly Publishing fellow, 2018 RBC Top 75 Immigrant and recipient of the Governor General and Science Olympiad medals.

2019 Postgraduate Winner

Dr. Yassen Tcholakov

Yassen Tcholakov is a fourth-year Public Health resident at McGill University. He has completed medical training at the University of Montreal, he holds master’s degrees from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as well as from the University of Copenhagen.

Yassen currently serves as the deputy chair of the Junior Doctors’ Network (JDN) of the World Medical Association (WMA). He has previously served on the board of several international organizations including as Chair of the Trainee Advisory Committee of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) and as council member of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).

Global health diplomacy, the interface of international trade and health, and environmental protection are among his many interests. He has varied advocacy experience in representing organizations like the World Health Organization, the World Medical Association, and the International Federation of Medical Students Associations in front of the United Nations.

Yassen’s dedication to education has been constant alongside his effort to translate personal experiences into opportunities to share with colleagues. As a medical student he was involved in peer education on medical ethics and pre-departure training for students doing electives abroad. He also contributed to the creation of a global health course at the University of Montreal which he is still delivering to this day. As a resident, he pursued involvement in capacity building by organising local and international training events students and young professionals.

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