Graduate Students 

Oluwadara Elebute

B.Sc. Carleton University

Research interests: Computational biology and bioinformatics, genetics.

Likes: The 90s, music, action movies.

Dislikes: Canadian winter, anything smaller than a tennis ball that flies. 

Sachi Villanueva

Lab Manager

B.Sc. Brandon University

Research interests: Through my summer research and undergraduate courses, I was able to work with nucleic acids and proteins in terms of isolation, purification, identification, and amplification. I enjoyed learning these techniques and I find molecular biology very interesting. One day, I would love to do research on viral RNAs and human diseases caused by defective genes and proteins! 

Likes: Things that make me happy, like dogs and comedy shows on Netflix, and things that keep me organized and motivated, like making lists or schedules for myself. 

Dislikes: Coffee, winter, and bugs (thanks Adam for your daily help with my beetles!).

Cody Koloski

B.Sc. Brandon University

Research interests: I am interested in the tick populations here in Manitoba. I am currently researching the molecular effects that DEET repellents have on the dog tick. I will also be researching the pathogen presence in that tick species here in Manitoba. More broadly, I am interested in anything tick/mosquito related.  

Likes: Avid music fan/collector (records), being outdoors, antiques, sports fan (Winnipeg Jets), volunteering, going to the gym.

Dislikes: Winter, ideologues, pineapple on my pizza.

Harald Grove

B.Sc. Brandon University

Research interests: I'm interested in how metabolic changes emerge from a cellular and sub-cellular level, how they interact, and how they are regulated. These consequences are interesting at a particular stage of development or when perturbed by an environmental influence. Finally, I am interested in comparing these metabolic processes across various domains of life. 

Likes: Outdoor recreation like hiking, biking, and camping. Music and cooking. 

Dislikes: Decaffeinated Coffee. 

Ivan Drahun

B.Sc. University of Winnipeg

Research interests: I am passionate about research on the vector competence of arthropod vectors of pathogens that cause diseases in humans. Currently I am expanding my expertise beyond medical entomology and tackling the agricultural side of entomology by studying wireworm populations throughout Canada in hopes of evaluating the risks associated with wireworms to soybean production. In the future I’d like to study the interactions between arthropod-borne pathogens (e.g., viruses, bacteria and parasites) and their arthropod hosts (e.g., mosquitoes, ticks and black flies).

Likes: Spending time with my family and friends; sci-fi and fantasy movies and shows (I am a huge Marvel and Game of Thrones fan); documentaries; music; cycling; falling asleep during thunderstorms; learning new skills; and making the people around me smile!

Dislikes: People who are disrespectful, unkind or not accepting of others; being stuck in traffic; movie trailers that spoil the best parts of the movie; insects that do not respect my personal space (I know, ironic that I aspire to be a medical entomologist).

Research Assistants

Kiana Wiebe

B.Sc. University of Manitoba

Research interests: My research background is eclectic; ranging from social psychology to plant pathology to insect genomics. My interest lies in pathological mechanisms of disease and their enabling vectors.

Likes: Anything related to medicine or the Canadian North, camping, tea, thunderstorms, road trips, tutoring and my husband.

Dislikes: When drivers don't use turn signals, really fast bugs, eating cows, ticks and failure.


Patrick Gohl

Research interests: Right now I am mainly interested in gaining general research experience and learning new lab techniques. I do hope, however, that working in the lab here will guide me towards a field of research that suits me. 

Likes: I enjoy Reading (Tolstoy, Goethe, Tolkien...), scuba diving, hiking, and when my bees/insectoid slaves make tons of honey 

Dislikes: I hate having to wear shoes, winter, and CS tear gas.

Jessica Sparrow


Research interests: I generally enjoy field work that keeps me moving. However, I am currently focused on learning laboratory skills and figuring out what types of research I would like to pursue in the future. 

Likes: Hiking, CrossFit, most animals, warm weather, and helping out.

Dislikes: Littering, people getting sick, spiders, and eating meat. 

Carlyn Duncan

Research interests: In general I am interested in human health and disease. Dr. Cassone’s insect vector lab offers the perfect environment to learn about an array of important species which impact human health as viral vectors and as agricultural pests. Over the summer and coming year I look forward to developing my biochemical and behavioral assay skills.

Likes: My favourite things in life are chocolate, dogs and art. I enjoy music, movies and spending time at Clear Lake, preferably with friends and family!

Dislikes: The state of our world.

Contact us

Brandon University

Department of Biology

270 - 18th Street
Brandon, Manitoba, R7A 6A9