Current Lab Members

Dr Nitika Pant Pai

Principal Investigator

Melisa Eraslan

Clinical Research Coordinator

As the clinical research coordinator, Melisa contributes to the ongoing research projects within Dr. Pant Pai’s lab and provides administrative support. She graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy & Cell Biology major and Biotechnology minor, and has explored many multidisciplinary research avenues throughout her studies. Melisa is passionate about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), especially among marginalized populations, as well as the opportunities that digital health innovations and strategies offer to advance health equity.

Current Students and Trainees


MSc Epidemiology Candidate

Fio recently graduated from the Microbiology and Immunology Master’s program at McGill University and has a BSc. Honours in Animal Biology. Their master’s thesis investigating the mouse model of malaria disease has instilled them with a passion for infectious diseases, particularly those that affect low and middle income countries. Since high-school, Fio has been involved in community organizing, advocacy and is currently a member of the SAFE (Student Advocating for Equity) committee for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science. They strongly believe in health equity for members of marginalised communities and hope to pursue their academic career in this field.


MSc Experimental Medicine Candidate

Ashlyn completed her B.Sc. in Honours Life Sciences, with a minor in Health, Aging, and Society, from McMaster University. She is currently working on her M.Sc. of Experimental Medicine at McGill University and hopes to pursue a career within the medical field. Her project is working on the development of HIVSmart!, with specific focus on catering the self-testing app to Indigenous communities in Canada. Ashlyn is very passionate about serving the health needs of marginalised groups and she recognizes the importance of holistic approaches to medical care and research, which she applies to her work.

olivia Vaikla

MSc Epidemiology Candidate

Olivia graduated from McGill University with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Anatomy & Cell Biology, and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Epidemiology. As the former laboratory coordinator in the Pant Pai lab, she is continuing her prior work on the AnkaSmart! project through her Master’s thesis. Olivia is passionate about the fundamental components contributing to our health, with particular interest in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and digital innovations for health service delivery and care.

Apoorva Anand

Project Manager

Apoorva completed her Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree from Manipal University, India, and MSc Public Health degree from McGill University, Canada. Currently, Apoorva is managing a COVID-19 self-testing clinical trial in South Africa. Her reviews focus on the deployment of multiplex, point-of-care diagnostic technologies for sexually transmitted infections, as well as the use of digital self-testing innovations for hepatitis C, chlamydia, and gonorrhoea. She also works in collaboration with FIND and WHO to review data on the use of rapid antigen tests for screening of COVID-19 globally. Outside of work, Apoorva volunteers with the diagnostics sub-group of INDIA COVID SOS, an NGO committed to develop evidence based solutions to fight COVID-19, and as a Community Coordinator for WeCanVax, a project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to increase COVID-19 vaccine literacy in racialized and underserved immigrant communities in Montréal.


Junior Research Assistant

Elizabeth (Liz) is a 3rd year nursing student at Dawson College. After graduation in Spring 2022, Liz plans to continue her education by getting her Bachelor of Nursing degree at McGill University. She has been working at Dr. Pant Pai’s lab since the summer of 2018 and has been researching and writing content for the AnkaSmart! App – a project aiming to help raise awareness of reproductive health in young girls and adolescents in low-and-middle-income countries. Liz is also working with other team members on a systematic review on sexual and reproductive health and digital innovations. Liz is passionate about helping people whether it be through direct bedside nursing care or innovative research work.