Back:  Laura Lafantaisie, Kate Dickinson, Andrew Wight, Katherine Baxter, Connie Son
Front: Casey Lansdell

We’re Ottawa RIOT: the Research Information Outreach Team, a branch of the Canadian Cancer Society made up of researchers and students involved in cancer research. In no particular order, here is a bit about us and our specific research interests:

Casey Lansdell


Research technician working in Dr. Manoj Lalu’s laboratory at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.


Casey is a graduate from Trent University (Peterborough, ON) with a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science (Honours) and a Master of Science from Drs. Auer and Bell at the OHRI, studying the use of pre-clinical models to better understand the antigen-specific T-cell response following cancer surgery.

Current Projects

Currently working in the Regenerative Medicine program with a focus on using adult stem cell therapy in pre-clinical (mouse) disease models of sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Andrew Wight


Ph.D. candidate (microbiology & immunology) in the Makrigiannis & Sad labs.


Andrew completed his B.Sc. honours in Microbiology & Immunology at the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University in 2012.

Current Projects

Andrew is currently investigating the mechanisms behind adaptive natural killer cell responses, and their applicability in treating viral infections and cancer.

Andrew lives in Ottawa with his wife Irenee, and enjoys choral singing, knitting and spinning, and boardgames of any sort.

Hwan Hee ‘Connie’ Son


MSc. Student in Dr. Diallo’s lab


Connie is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at University of Ottawa. Her passion for research sparked when she first participated in a school science fair during her secondary education in Saint John, New Brunswick. In the summer prior to starting her BSc, she started her research career in an immunology lab, and she immediately fell in love with lab work.

Current Projects

Connie’s research project involves screening different types of tumors to find the correlation between in vivo and ex vivo infectivity of tumors with oncolytic rhabdovirus MG1. Ultimately, she hopes to find a biomarker that helps select the appropriate patients for clinical trials of an oncolytic virotherapy.

Katherine Baxter


Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Auer’s lab, enrolled in the Microbiology and Immunology program at the University of Ottawa.


Katherine is a graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Science (honours) in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, specialization in Genomics

Current Projects

Her current research project is investigating the use of oncolytic vaccines during the perioperative treatment of pancreatic cancer.


Kate Dickinson

Kate co-chairs the Ottawa RIOT, helping with the team’s administration. She has volunteered with the Canadian Cancer Society since 2014. Her science background is in Physics – unrelated to anything medical – but she’s become interested in the amazing work being done in cancer research today.


Past Members

Dr. Lee-Hwa Tai


Post-doctoral Fellow in Dr. Auer’s lab.


Dr. Tai’s expertise in basic immunology comes from her doctoral studies (McGill University 2005-2010), which studied how the immune system ‘sees’ viruses.

Current Projects

Her current postdoctoral work is in the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy and consists of using animal tumor models and cancer patient samples to study the effects of standard-of-care and experimental therapies in the treatment of postoperative metastatic disease.

In her spare time, Lee chases after her two sons, ages five years and five months.

Megan Tu


Ph. D. candidate (microbiology & immunology) in the Makrigiannis lab.

Current Projects

Megan studies the role of class I MHC receptors in protection from cancer.



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