McGill Dentistry Graduate Student Society (MDGSS)

McGill Dentistry Graduate Student Society Committee, 2021-2022

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President, Mehak Khanna

Hi everyone,

I’m a second-year thesis student under the supervision of Dr. Sreenath Madathil. I received my Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree in the year 2015 from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences in India. McGill university plays a major role in helping me make the shift from clinical to research in health care, with my speciality being oral epidemiology and data analysis.

My first year at McGill was during the global pandemic therefore for me university experience was in the form on zoom classes, online workshops, seminars, and social event. At present with the positively changing situation which has enabled students to return to in-person classes, I hope to return to the pre-pandemic university experience as much as the public health guidelines allow us. As a PGSS representative from MDGSS over the course of last year, I became well versed with the rules, regulations and running of the graduate student society. Moreover, I have always been an active listener to student grievances and helped them to the best of my potential.

On a personal level I have a strong affinity to the outdoors with regular runs and walks to explore this beautiful city of Montreal. A gourmet by heart, I enjoy exploring new restaurants and tiny cafes. I keep myself entertained by watching all the latest movies, so much so that my friends call me a movie buff.

My passion to promote students’ experience through student activities is driving me and I’m prepared to take on the role of the president and steer the growth of our student body through an enriching experience at McGill. I will adhere to all the responsibilities and work as a team with the other members.

Please feel free to reach out to me if there is any specific issue you want us to address or if you want to simply chat!

VP academic, Janaki Iyer

Hello! This is Janaki, a second year PhD student at the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Simon Tran. I work at the McGill Laboratory of Craniofacial Stem cells and Tissue Engineering at Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry building. I have completed my Bachelor in Dentistry and Master in Dentistry (in the discipline of Oral Pathology and Microbiology) from Mumbai, India. As I have served as faculty at a dental school, back home, I pursue my PhD with a passion for continuing in academia. So yes, here I am, overseas, with a long way to go and loads to gather through the journey ahead!

I also hold a post of an executive member (Finance Officer) of the Graduate Students’ Forum, a well-known interactive platform to exchange research ideas and network with peer and faculty alike. My past experiences have instilled in me, a perspective to gauge a given situation from across both sides of the table. I understand academia is strenuous, overwhelming, and highly competitive. As your VP-Academics, I am confident that we can foster a climate that encourages faculty and students to pursue innovative activities! Our team is dedicated towards ‘listening’ and ‘assisting’ Please feel free to find me at janaki.iyer [at], with questions, feedbacks or better still just meet on campus to chat!

VP social, Akanksha Cambala

Hi everyone! My name is Akanksha D Cambala, and I’m a second-year master’s Student in the Thesis based Program of Dental Sciences. I work at the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Department, under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Zimmermann. I’ve always loved Biology and Life Sciences since my early schooling days and eventually graduated to become a Dentist from India. Since I have a background in dentistry and prior research experience, I am collaborating with my supervisor to better understand the muscles and bones in the jaws of individuals with cerebral palsy. We are also working towards learning different imagining techniques to better understand jaw kinematics.

Besides my academic Interests, I absolutely enjoy outdoor activities, long walks and you can always find me on the dance floor if there is an upbeat dance number. I also love organising random meet ups my friends to explore the city and try different cuisines, and I strongly believe in the statement/question- “Did it even happen if you didn’t gram it?”

The past year has made me realise the gravity that social interaction holds and the consequences that it faces at the precipice of major events like the ongoing covid pandemic. As much as I enjoyed meeting all my colleagues online, I’ve also realised that “in-person” social interactions and orientations, makes a world of difference to understand different people their cultures.

As your VP Social, I want to create opportunities for our fellow graduate students, to get involved in more social activities and events (of course with appropriate safety measures) and get to know one another not just at a professional level but also personally. Along with my teammates at the MDGSS, I plan to integrate having a better social life, keeping in mind academic responsibilities to ensure a healthy social-work life balance

If you ever want to explore the city of Montreal or grab a coffee at a cute cafe, you know whom to call!

Please also feel free to get in touch with me via email if you need any help or would like to contribute with your suggestions with any events.

Do follow our Instagram: @themdgss and Facebook: MDGSS-McGill Dentistry graduate Students’ Society, for more updates! Cheers!

VP finance, Ajinkya Lavekar

Namaste Everyone,

My name is Ajinkya. I’m born and raised in Mumbai, India. I’m a second-year master's student in a non-thesis track. I graduated with a dental degree in 2015 from the Maharashtra University of Health Science and an MBA with a major in International Business in 2019 from Trinity Western University, Vancouver.

My academic research interest is in ‘Artificial Intelligence in Dentistry’. Outside academics I keep myself busy reading self-learning books and Japanese manga. I like reading autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. I also enjoy walking alongside English bay, solo-travelling and exploring new places. Surrounded by mountains and rainforests, Vancouver is a go-to place for Hiking lovers.

As a VP-Finance, my first role is to manage the MDGSS’s annual budget for the current academic year. I keep track of the expenses for the various events held by MDGSS. I invite all graduate students and my committee members to support me in this role.

Best wishes and looking forward to meeting you all.

VP communications, Ekisha Rajendran

Hi all, my name is Ekisha Rajendran, and I am a recent Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.D.S) graduate from Chennai, India. I am currently in the second year of my master’s non-thesis program. I am extremely happy to be re-elected as your VP Communications for the year 2021-22. Over the last two years, we have lost our indispensable social interaction and communication that comes along with in person get- togethers.

As Montreal is slowly returning to a green zone and with an accompanied sense of normalcy, our team wishes to bridge the gap experienced last year with various exciting but safe in-person and online activities. Besides preparing for my numerous courses and writing assignments, I find myself in the kitchen experimenting with plant-based alternatives and grooving to music almost all the time. I would describe myself as a very animated, enthusiastic, and passionate person, who puts her whole-heart and effort into everything she does.

Do follow MDGSS on our various social media pages (Instagram and Facebook) for updates on all the fun academic and social activities that we have planned for the upcoming year! Reach out to me on my personal e-mail (ekisha.rajendran [at] if you have any queries, suggestions or even if you want to vent! Hope to talk to you soon. Au revoir!

PGSS representative, Dana Jafarpour

Hi everyone! My name is Dana, and I am currently a second year PhD student at the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Raphael de Souza. I previously obtained my Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in 2018. Upon graduation from dental school, I worked as a research assistant at Shiraz School of Dentistry before joining the McGill community. The relevant course work during my studies, and later my dental practice, made me realize that as our elderly population is growing, so is the need to focus on the accessibility and longevity of dental treatments provided to this community. Therefore, my research interest mainly focuses on the oral rehabilitation of the edentulous senior population using 3D printed dental prosthesis.

On the non-academic side, I enjoy spending time with friends, playing piano, and going to the gym. I also love learning new skills, travelling places, and exploring new adventures.

I am extremely pleased to be elected as your PGSS representative for the year 2021-22. As your representative, I will remain committed to all my responsibilities, including but not limited to hearing and reflecting the needs of our graduate students, and facilitating collaboration among MDGSS and other PGSS members. Your constructive feedback is always welcome. So, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding a specific issue at the faculty.

PGSS representative, Srimathi Iyer

Hello! I am Srimathi Iyer, a first-year Thesis Masters student at the faculty. I am a recent dental school graduate from India, and I am working in the field of Population Oral Health under the supervision of Dr. Paul Allison. I am keen to understand and learn dental sciences beyond the confines of books by honing my research skills through which I strive to achieve global oral health.

Apart from my academic interests, I enjoy going on long walks while sipping a hot coffee, learning about new cultures, painting, and listening to songs. From a clinical and a non-clinical perspective, I believe in extending warmth and a helping hand to make anyone comfortable.

I am happy to be your PGSS representative for the year 2021-22. I’ll be the voice of our MDGSS across the University platform, putting forth our ideas, wants, and wishes to get the best for our members.

Feel free to reach out to me at srimathi.iyer [at] for any queries. I am always happy to help!

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