SFU Undergrad Researcher: Yasmin Khalili

Introducing Yasmin Khalili of the Department of Biology!


Name: Yasmin Khalili
Faculty: Health Sciences major, Biological Sciences minor
Year of Study: 3rd
Supervisor: Dr. Allison Cornell and Dr. Tony Williams from the Department of Biology at SFU (former), Dr. Lindsay Rite and Dr. Brenda Lau at CHANGEpain Clinic (current)

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: I have always been fascinated by the health care field, the more I learn the more questions I have and the more I want to know! I hope to be in a profession where I can combine my passion for health care, academia, and helping others. I enjoy working with patients, doing hands on work, and teaching so hopefully I will be in a position that combines all those things!

Q: How did you get involved in research?
A: I first got involved in research when I was taking BISC 102 through my amazing TA for the course, the then-PhD-candidate-now-professor Dr. Allison Cornell! We documented avian song, nest building, and pre-copulatory behaviours through binoculars to assess how breeding times were affected by weather changes. In other words, we would head to our research site in Langley at 6am to spy and take data on birds to see if we could cause fluctuations in the pre-copulatory behaviours (sex) that the birds were having. Super cool!
I am now working as a Research Assistant at CHANGEpain Clinic. Our team consists of anesthesiologists, a doctor of chiropractic, UBC medical school students, and other staff members at the clinic like myself who are passionate about chronic pain and hope to improve care for patients.

Q: What have you been working on this summer?
A: This summer our primary focus for the research team has been working on several case study papers that we have submitted for publication to the CME Journal. The most recent one focused on different modulators for chronic pain was just recently submitted for publication. Through it we hope to educate family physicians on how they can best help their patients who present with complex chronic pain cases. The authors included the witty UBC medical student Curtis May, our incredible Chiropractor and Research Team Lead Dr. Lindsay Rite, the absolute genius and UBC Medical School Pain Medicine Residency program Medical Director Dr. Branda Lau, and… me! . We will be working on another paper to be sent for publication later in the year soon, as well as starting several QI projects at the clinic.

Q: What have you been working on in your research so far?
A: At CHANGEpain Clinic we have two main focuses with our research: 1. to provide family physicians with information and the most up to date knowledge when dealing with patients who present with chronic pain as their first line investigators. Chronic pain can be very complex and unfortunately it is not a topic that all GP’s have a great understanding of how to deal with. And 2. to teach other health care providers about the multidisciplinary approach we have at our clinic, with an emphasis on patient empowerment and not just treatment. Soon we will be implementing QI research as well.

Q: What’s your favourite course that you have taken so far in your degree?
A: I have had many courses that I have loved during my time at SFU (BISC 102 with Dr. Isabelle Cote, HSCI 130 with Dr. Rochelle Tucker, BISC 202 with Dr. Mike Hart, just to name a few!) but one that stood out to me more than any other was HSCI 214 with the late Dr. Elliot Goldner. With a focus on mental health and illnesses HSCI 214 taught students the other side of mental illnesses, and how to empathize with and help those in need. To really have an impact on the students Dr. Goldner arranged for guest speakers who were dealing with mental illnesses themselves, such as Schizophrenia, to come to the lecture and talk about their experiences. This method of teaching was not only incredibly eye opening, but also a learning experience that I will never forget.

Q: If you were a scientific lab instrument, which one would you be?
A: A curvilinear probe on an ultrasound machine!


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