PEAK Champions

We are actively listening and engaging with patients of all ages, lived-experience champions, researchers, students, partner organizations and collaborators around the world to create better solutions.

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PEAK Team

A rainbow of ideas, perspectives and backgrounds creates a stronger, more creative, and more supportive environment. Our lab is committed to enhancing and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrate this commitment in our academic work, clinical training, and research. It is pride in our work, passion and a shared commitment to good work that binds us together.  

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Dr. Melanie Noel

Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Team Lead PEAK Research Lab

Melanie Noel, PhD, RPsych is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary and a Full Member of the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. She directs the PEAK (Pain Education, Advocacy, Knowledge) Research Lab within the Vi Riddell Pain & Rehabilitation Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada.

Five of Melanie's PEAK Interests:
1. Bike rides along the river
2. Culinary adventures
3. Global travel
4. Getting lost in farmers markets
5. Forest, Mountain, Ocean Trifectas

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Elias Abou-Assaly

Research Coordinator

Elias grew up in Ontario, completed his Bachelor’s in Psychology, and is now Research Coordinator at the PEAK Research Lab. He has combined his dedication to enriching his experience in research with his passion for paediatric psychology in pursuit of his career goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist. Elias intends to bring his positivity and enthusiasm to his position, his team, and to all the families he works with.

Five of Elias' PEAK Interests:
1. Trying new foods and new experiences
2. Horror movies, rom coms, and everything in between
3. Going on adventures with my dog, Tank
4. Road trips to small towns
5. LGBTQ2S+ advocacy

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Kendra Mueri

Research Coordinator

Kendra grew up in Nova Scotia and completed her Honours thesis in the PEAK Research Lab. Her research focused on how pain is portrayed and gendered in children’s popular media. Kendra loves working with children, and looks forward to pursuing a career in child psychology.

Five of Kendra’s PEAK Interests:
1. Sunny days by the ocean
2. Running outdoors
3. Baking
4. Cuddles with my dog
5. Spending time with family & friends

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Dr. Samantha Noyek

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sam is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology Department. She is passionate about exploring research related to the emotional well-being of children and youth with complex health care and communication needs.

Five of Sam's PEAK Interests:
1. Running long distances, hiking, and cycling
2. Camping and jumping in the lake!
3. Playing Bananagrams
4. Meeting friendly dogs and good people
5. Exploring new places and foods

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Maria Pavlova

PhD Student

Maria came to Calgary from Russia to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a Psychologist. She is fascinated by the relationship between mind and body, psychopathology and physical health, and by therapeutic approaches that tackle that relationship.

Five of Maria’s PEAK Interests:
1. Doing Yoga with Adrienne
2. Trail running
3. Practicing mindfulness
4. Reading all day long
5. Creating connections

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Tatiana Lund

PhD Student

Tatiana is a PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary. Tatiana’s research interests surround how chronic and acute pain narratives are co-constructed between parents and children across early childhood and into adolescence. Tatiana is passionate about pediatric psychology and investigating ways to promote children’s physical and mental health. Her previous research experience explored children’s cognitive and language development. Tatiana remains interested in cognitive factors involved in children’s development and how shared language regarding painful experiences can serve as a context within which to study children’s broader social and emotional development.

Five of Tatiana’s PEAK Interests:
1. Hiking in the mountains
2. Dogs and puppies
3. Bike rides
4. Trying new food
5. Travelling to new places

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Merek Zimmerman

Honours Student

As a recipient of the PURE Summer Studentship, Merek will examine how parental disturbed sleep and protective parenting behaviours are related to pediatric chronic pain, and will complete his Honours thesis with Dr. Noel in the upcoming year.

Five of Merek’s PEAK Interests:
1. Watching movies from around the world
2. Cooking for my family
3. Camping, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors
4. Watching bad reality TV
5. All things basketball

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Jamie Kaufhold

Honours Student

In his third year, at the University of Calgary, Jamie is majoring in Psychology, and intends to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology. He is excited to continue to learn and gain experience through the mentorship of Dr. Melanie Noel, Dr. Katie Birnie, and the ABC Pain Research Lab. Jamie is interested in how trauma, pain, and mental health disorders relate to ideological belief systems/narrative structures that influence behavior, memory, and metaphysics.

Five of Jamie’s PEAK Interests:
1. Trail Running
2. Hiking
3. Long Distance Trekking
4. Reading
5. Global Travel

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Charles Mabutas

Volunteer

Charles is currently in his third year of undergraduate psychology studies. He aspires to either be a future counselling psychologist or psychiatrist. His interests include, but are not limited to the following: paediatrics, psychosis, and child and adolescent psychiatry. 

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Glorianna Sin

Volunteer

Glorianna grew up in Calgary and is currently in her fourth year at the University of Calgary, majoring in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology. She is applying for an After-Degree in Psychology and intends to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology.

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Emily Bernier

Clinical Research Coordinator

Emily grew up in a small rural town outside of Montreal, Quebec, and completed her Bachelor’s in Psychology at the University of Calgary in 2020. She has since worked as a research coordinator in the field which has emphasized her desire to pursue the field of clinical psychology. Emily prides herself on ensuring that participants engaging with her research feel included, safe, and heard and strives to create an environment that is conducive to these tenets.

Five of Emily’s PEAK Interests:
1. Experiencing new cultures through travel
2. Her dog Rosie
3. Trying different restaurants in Calgary
4. Movies in the theatres
5. Deep, real, conversations with friends

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Queenie Li

Clinical Research Coordinator

Queenie is passionate about finding ways that we can live better together. She believes a key to achieving thriving communities is to support those in the most vulnerable positions, including children and marginalized individuals. As such, her breadth of research experience in psychology, public health, and education is connected by a focus on advocacy and justice.

Five of Queenie's PEAK Interests:
1. Creative non-fiction
2. Broadway HIIT workouts
3. Wednesday crosswords
4. Thrifting
5. Reality TV recaps

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Dr. Sabine Soltani

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sabine is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology Department. Her research focuses on cognitive-affective and dispositional factors implicated in pediatric chronic pain and mental health.

Five of Sabine's PEAK Interests:
1. Riding my bicycle
2. Being in the mountains
3. Strong coffee
4 .Spending time with friends, family, and my two adorable cats
5. Trying to keep my houseplants alive

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Alex Neville

PhD Student

Alex Neville is a PhD candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Calgary. Alex has a particular interest in understanding the individual perspectives and experiences of children living with chronic pain and is committed to including the voices of patients and families in research.

Five of Alex’s PEAK Interests:
1. Travelling with friends
2. Yoga in the sunshine
3. Wandering through farmers markets
4. Reading stories
5. Any and all dogs

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Jaimie Beveridge

PhD Student

Jaimie is a PhD Candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Calgary. Her research examines the connections between adversity, chronic pain, and mental health in parents and their children. She hopes to identify both risk and resiliency factors that can be addressed in interventions to improve the outcomes of families living with chronic pain

Five of Jaimie’s PEAK Interests:
1. Catching up with friends over delicious food and drinks
2. Biking the river pathway
3. Plants, plants, and more plants
4. Visiting family (+ the ocean) in Victoria
5. Watching baseball - go Blue Jays!

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Atiqa Pirwani

MSc Student

Atiqa moved to Calgary to pursue graduate school in Clinical Psychology, under the supervision of Dr. Noel. Atiqa is interested in understanding the relationship between mild traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and mental health. She is particularly interested in examining how different moderators affect the transition from acute to chronic pain in mTBI.

Five of Atiqa’s PEAK Interests:
1. Hiking
2. Going on an adventure with a good book
3. Traveling
4. Spending quality time with friends and family
5. Exploring bookstores

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Valeria Robles Vera

Honours Student

Valeria is currently in her 4th year of her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of Calgary and will be an Honours student next year under Dr. Melanie Noel’s supervision. She has always been interested in developmental psychology, but particularly in how pain influences children’s memories and the relationship between pain and psychopathology. 

Five of Valeria’s PEAK Interests:
1. Summer road trips
2. Travelling around the world
3. Painting with acrylics
4. Sketching portraits
5. Caring for all kinds of animals

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Allison Cormier

Summer Student & Incoming Honours Student

Allison was born in New Brunswick and moved to Calgary shortly thereafter. She is the recipient of an Alberta Children's Hospital summer studentship award, and will complete her Honours thesis in Psychology at the University of Calgary in the Fall.

Five of Allison's PEAK Interests:
1. Reading as many books as possible (and watching their movie adaptations!)
2. Spending quality time with family and friends
3. Hiking through the Rocky Mountains
4. Figure skating
5. Going to the gym

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Sergio Murillo

Volunteer

Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Psychology degree, Sergio intends to pursue an Honours thesis as a steppingstone to graduate studies in Clinical Psychology.
 
Having secondhand experience with chronic pain, Sergio is curious about how parent/child dialogue regarding pain can shape appraisals, and thereby influence a youth’s belief in adaptive or maladaptive ways.

Everyone is welcome — regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, size, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.