HSGSA 2017-2018 Executive Team

The Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association (HSGSA) is a sub-organization of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) with the primary directive of representing the interest of health sciences graduate students of the Bannatyne and St. Boniface campuses. To further enhance the graduate community, the HSGSA organizes a multitude of events, academic programs, and student socials throughout the year, including: orientation, curling, paintball, dragonboating, holiday socials, visiting speakers, and research days. We encourage all graduate students to visit our office in room 114 Brodie Centre (behind Tim Horton’s) in the Bannatyne campus, and we look forward to working with you in the upcoming year. For more information please browse this website or call the office at 1 (204) 480-1313 and leave us a message. Alternatively you can check us out on Facebook here.

Andrew Plesniarski, HSGSA President
Andrew Plesniarski
Hello! It is my pleasure to be elected your 2017-2018 HSGSA President. I am currently doing a PhD in the Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases department on Bannatyne campus. My research focuses around studying the effects of oxytocin on HIV susceptibility, and how the endocrine system is able to modulate cellular immunity. I have extensive experience leading student groups, starting in high school, and I want to bring that experience and enthusiasm to the HSGSA this year. I am always free for questions or suggestions, and look forward to getting to know all of you this year. Drop by my office anytime, and look forward to the socials and improvements we will be putting forward this year as HSGSA. With your help we’ll make this a memorable year for Health Science students!


Rahmat Rahman, HSGSA Vice-President Internal

Rahmat N. Rahman

My name is Rahmat. I am currently a Master’s Student at the Department of Immunology. I am an international student coming all the way from Bangladesh and have been a part of University of Manitoba for almost a year. Back home during my undergrad I ran for 2 years as Vice President Logistic for my department. Since I joined here, I have recently attended the annual student council meeting held by HSGSA.
My experience as a student attending the events organized by HSGSA was always exciting. HSGSA incorporates research and social networking between graduate students from all backgrounds of health sciences.  As an international student it takes a while to settle in a new environment, but being a part of the events just made it so much easier to meet new people and feel home away from home.
As the VP Internal for HSGSA, I would carry out my duties at the best of my abilities and maintain teamwork with my fellow executives. Keeping the student’s interest in mind, I will maximize my efforts to implement our needed requirements as a part of The University of Manitoba.

Danielle Lee, HSGSA Vice-President Saint Boniface
Danielle Lee
I have been conducting research out of the St. Boniface Albrechtsen Research Centre for 3 years now and have been a student of the University of Manitoba since 2009. I am currently a MSc student in the College of Pharmacy. My MSc research investigated the in vivo effects of stilbenoid polyphenols on small resistance arteries in a hypertensive animal model. I am very excited to advocate on behalf of all graduate students who share St. Boniface as their research base.



Colin Graydon, HSGSA Vice-President Academic

I am a PhD student in Medical Microbiology. I moved to Winnipeg in 2014 after getting my BSc from UBC. My research is focussed on determining the mechanism of a protein that suppresses immune function in chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. I have served as HSGSA President and more recently as VP Academic. I am pleased to continue serving for a third straight year, trying to help grad students get the most out of their time here at the U of M.



Crystal Acosta, Vice-President Marketing and Events

I hold a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Manitoba.  I am currently a doctoral student with a focus in neurovascular biology in the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.  I conduct my academic research at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre and the Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine.  Previously, I served as the HSGSA VP for St. Boniface (2015-2016) and VP Marketing and Events (VPME; 2016-2017).  As the re-elected VPME, I want to continue to promote professional and personal networking through academic programs and networking events while continuing to build the public identity and online presence of our student organization through the promotion of HSGSA activities.



Allison Balasko, HSGSA Vice-President External

Allison Balasko

I received my undergraduate degree in the Microbiology program at U of M, and am currently a Masters student in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. I am also an alumna of the women’s Basketball team and the Track and Field team. I understand the value of teamwork! Throughout my university experience, I have been extremely involved in student advocacy. I was elected Marketing and Communications co-chair of the U of M Athletic Council (UMAC), and served four consecutive years in this position. I represented my fellow teammates and led many initiatives, the most popular being “Bison Pride Fridays”, working collaboratively with the Student Life office to promote student involvement on campus. I was also a board member of the University of Manitoba Student’s Union (UMSU) in 2014, where I represented UMAC as an advocate for student athletes on campus. As VP External of HSGSA, I will be proactive, seek collaboration, work hard to connect with student associations and the university at large, and represent HSGSA proudly. I also believe that it is vital to extend meaningful relationships and communication among the HSGSA family, establishing an inclusive and inviting environment.

Nour Eissa, Senator

I am a veterinarian with a doctorate in veterinary medicine and Master’s degree in veterinary medical sciences. I have research experience in microbiology and functional genomics from Ohio State University, USA. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Immunology, University of Manitoba. I have been influenced by how different student associations shape individuals and facilitate the development of leadership skills. Therefore, since high school, I have participated as an active member in many student associations in various positions. I have gained knowledge of student organizations and their processes through these experiences. This has given me the critical skills necessary to execute crucial roles in an effective and efficient manner. Previously, I served as the HSGSA VP Internal (VPI). Due to the positive energy surrounding the HSGSA Executives and members, I have decided to continue serving on the HSGSA and am representing you as HSGSA Senator. My primary goal as the HSGSA Senator is to continue bringing dedication and creativity in this position. I will ensure that I will represent your interest during my term.