CANSSI Ontario STAGE Welcomes PhD Trainee Alicia Grima

Alicia Grima, recipient of CANSSI Ontario STAGE Trainee Program.

CANSSI Ontario STAGE is pleased to announce Alicia Grima as one of two selected CANSSI Ontario STAGE Trainees.

Alicia is a PhD candidate in the Division of Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, mentored by Jennifer Brooks, Linda Hiraki, and Andrew Paterson. Her work is centered on identifying genetic variants that contribute to the risk of autoimmune diseases post-SARS-CoV-2 infection in Ontario adults.

She has contributed to research on vaccine efficacy against hospitalization, the impact of Coronavirus infection during pregnancy, and the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for opioid misuse. Alicia earned her Master’s of Public Health at the University of Toronto before embarking on her doctoral journey. She is also a recipient of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship conferred to some of Ontario’s best graduate students. This prestigious scholarship is jointly funded by the province of Ontario and the University of Toronto.

Alicia’s project has three objectives: 1) To determine the incidence of new onset AD following a SARS-CoV-2 infection among adults in Ontario; 2) To investigate the impact of genetic variants associated with SARS-CoV-2 severity on the risk of new onset AD following a SARS-CoV-2 infection among adults in Ontario; 3) To identify genetic variants associated with AD following a SARS-CoV-2 infection among adults in Ontario. The proposed research will incorporate knowledge and techniques from all three of the STAGE program’s disciplines (epidemiological, statistical, and biomedical genetics) and spans the intersection between epidemiology, infectious disease, and genetics.


CANSSI Ontario STAGE (Strategic Training for Advanced Genetic Epidemiology) is a formal and comprehensive training program in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics, the first of its kind in Canada and one of few in the world.  The program offers training and career development opportunities designed to cross-train individuals at the interface of genetics and population health sciences in genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics—two disciplines currently facing a massive shortage of qualified individuals in Canada and elsewhere.  The overall goal is to improve prevention and management of complex diseases by increasing capacity in genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics research.  CANSSI Ontario is the Ontario Regional Centre of the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI). Its goal is to strengthen and enhance research and training in data science by developing programs that promote interdisciplinary research and enable multidisciplinary collaborations. 

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