Aaron Phillips, MSc, PhD, CSEP-CEP

Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Physiology & Pharmacology

My research combines integrated physiology and neuroscience in order to understand cardiovascular function. Currently, the laboratory has two primary foci: the first is to understand the mechanisms underlying neurovascular regulation in the human brain; the second is to develop a neurostimulation therapy for restoring cardiovascular health in those with autonomic dysfunction.

I am currently collaborating with labs in Switzerland and Croatia as well as with clinicians in Minnesota to deeply understand the capacity of electrical stimulation of the spinal cord to control autonomic function. These studies are using murine models, as well as non-human primates and humans.



Rejitha Suraj, PhD (Pharmacy) RPh

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I received my PhD in Pharmacy from LaTrobe Univesirty, Australia in 2016. My PhD focused on targeting DNA damage and repair pathway in colon cancer cells. In particular, my work involved target-based drug design and elucidating the molecular pathways by which novel DNA-PK inhibitors imparts chemo sensitization. I joined Dr. Aaron Phillips' Lab as a postdoctoral research fellow in March 2018. My current work focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurovascular regulation in the human brain and to develop a neurostimulation therapy for restoring cardiovascular health in those with spinal cord injury.


Bita Vaseghi, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am a postdoctoral neuroscientist with physical therapy training background. I obtained my PhD in Monash University- Australia. I am experienced in investigating neuroplasticity induced by non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, including transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as well as looking at pain-induced neuroplasticity. I also have extensive experience with clinical trials in patients suffering from pain and other neurological disorders. I am passionate about implementing new treatment strategies to induce neuroplasticity and stabilize autonomic and cardiovascular function for people with spinal cord injury. My current research involves transcutaneous electrical stimulation of spinal cord to evaluate autonomic responses in people with spinal cord injury.


Elaine Soriano

MD-NS Program, MSc Candidate

I have recently completed my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Health Sciences and a minor in Chemistry at Mount Royal University. During the last year of my undergraduate degree, my research involvement consisted of 1) a cerebrovascular physiology research focusing on neurovascular coupling response and 2) studying the biophysical mechanisms of the cardiovascular system. Beginning this fall of 2018, I will be starting my Master's in the Neuroscience program at the Phillips Lab. My project will involve elucidating the mechanisms underlying the neurovascular coupling response in humans using pharmacological interventions.


Ryan Rosentreter

MD-NS Program, MSc Candidate

I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo, and am excited to be joining the Phillips Lab as a graduate student in the Neuroscience program in Fall 2018. During my undergraduate career, through various avenues of volunteering, I developed a passion for working with vulnerable populations and exploring physiology with a more clinical focus; specifically, neuro/cardiovascular function. My research will focus on understanding the role of nitric oxide synthase to further delineate the neurovascular coupling mechanism in humans.


Berkeley Scott

MD-CV Program, MSc Candidate

In the spring of 2018, I completed my BScH with a major in Life Sciences at Queen’s University. With this degree and my past cardiac MRI research experience at the Stephenson Cardiac Imaging Centre, I have developed a passion for the field of cardiology and am driven to pursue a career in Medicine with active involvement in research. I am thrilled to start my Master’s in the Cardiovascular and Respiratory program at the Phillips Lab. My project will be a human-based 4D Flow and Strain investigation of cardiac function in patients with cervical spinal cord injuries. I hope to gain a further understanding of translational research practices working alongside the other talented professionals in the Phillips Lab.


Emma Spence

Undergraduate Student

In June of 2018 I will have completed my first year in the Queen’s School of Medicine. My passions for people and medicine paired with my interest in research has me truly excited to be engaged in the translational research conducted by the Phillips lab. My studies in human anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and medicine will serve me well as I work on two projects during the summer of 2018. The first project will examine the neurovascular coupling responses of spinal cord injured patients compared to uninjured participants. The second project will use an animal model to investigate the effects of orthostatic hypotension on individuals with spinal cord injury.


Sarah Hodge

Undergraduate Student

In September of 2018, I will be entering my final year of undergraduate studies at Queen’s University, obtaining a degree in Life Sciences with a specialization in biomedicine. In my introductory and upper-year level coursework I have developed a passion for the medical world and am extremely excited to pursue research within the Philips Lab. Within the past three years, I have acquired an extensive background in mammalian physiology, human anatomy and pharmacology, all of which will complement my summer project involving the neurovascular coupling response in both healthy participants and those with spinal cord injuries.


Delaney Bradley

Undergraduate Student

I have recently completed my second year of an undergraduate degree majoring in Pure Mathematics at the University of Calgary. Through this, I have become interested in the application and interdisciplinary aspect of my field, and I hope to learn more through being involved with research. Currently, I am developing cutting-edge software aimed at understanding neurovascular coupling. I enjoy using math as a tool to solve complex biological questions, and I look forward to continuing this work in the future.


Elin Sõber-Williams

Undergraduate Student

For the past three years I have pursued a multidisciplinary undergraduate experience from Quest University which has supplied a broad knowledge base in the liberal arts and sciences, but also a focused study of physiology. My research interests lie in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular physiology, and I am excited to learn more about the neurovascular coupling response in patients with spinal cord injury. My honours thesis will be focused on these subjects.