Our faculty are a fun, fabulous and fierce crew of academics.  With backgrounds in anthropology, political science, natural science (botany and biology), medical science (pathology) and planning, they have a wide range of experience and skills to support our SING Canada participants.

Warren Cardinal-McTeague
University of British Columbia

Jessica Kolopenuk
University of Alberta

Laurie Montour
Silent Genomes, University of Victoria

Elizabeth Nelson
Pasteur Institute

Rick Smith
George Mason University

Kim TallBear
University of Alberta

Current Cohort

Our 2022 program saw participants travel to Edmonton, Alberta from across Canada and the US.  From undergraduate to postdoc, Alaska to New Orleans to Ontario and BC, we had 9 participants with us with a variety of experiences, interests and backgrounds.  The group bonded almost instantly and some even discovered that they were related!  It was a great program and a fantastic group.  Get to know the SING 2022 participants a little more…

Chantel Akinneah
Chantel AkinneahUniversity of Alberta, Undergraduate BSc - 3rd year
My name is Chantel Akinneah, and I identify with the pronouns she/her and am a Dene Tha First Nation member from Meander River, situated in Treaty Eight Territory. I am pursuing a BSc Specialization in Psychology at the University of Alberta and a Research Certificate in Science. My interest in science stems from my observations of the natural world and its intricate designs and systems developed by Mother Nature over generations. I aim to delve into the ontological natural laws and principles that govern our world, exploring their application in biology and psychology.
Emily Bayha
Emily BayhaUniversity of British Columbia, Undergraduate BSc - 4th year
Emily is from the small community Délįnę on the shores of Great Bear Lake in the Sahtu region of the Northwest Territories. Emily is currently a student attending the University of British Columbia, majoring in Biochemistry. Emily is a Sahtúot’įne Dene who is passionate about building bridges between western and traditional knowledge. Emily is hoping to further her passions in building a career in the healthcare system.
Mackenzie Burnstick
Mackenzie BurnstickUniversity of Alberta, Undergraduate BSc - 4th year
My name is Mackenzie Burnstick, I am Cree from Alexander First Nation but grew up in Edmonton my entire life. I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree this upcoming semester in biological sciences and psychology at the University of Alberta and am passionate about working towards a degree in research in medicine in the future. While not studying or working, I also volunteer at the hospital with stroke patients or spend time with my partner and dog.
Sarah Chapman
Sarah ChapmanQueen's University, 3rd year BSc Student
My name is Sarah Chapman, I am a proud member of the Fond du Lac band and from Yellowknife, NWT. I am currently a third-year biology student at Queen’s University, and I’m passionate about blending Indigenous knowledge with western medicine, specifically focusing on the field of genetics. Throughout the summer, I work as a water quality intern for the Government of the Northwest Territories, collecting water samples of NWT waters and engaging with community members, highlighting the importance of water in indigenous communities. When I’m not working, I enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, and shopping at thrift stores.
Kali Dale
Kali DalePostdoctoral researcher at Native BioData Consortium
Kali Dale was born and raised in Bemidji, MN with her parents, brothers, aunties, uncles, and many cousins. She is a member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe Indians. She earned her doctorate in Oncological Sciences from the University of Utah in 2022 researching transcriptional regulation in cell growth signaling that is often mutated in several cancer types. Dr. Dale is a postdoctoral researcher at the Native BioData Consortium where she manages the laboratory with the first next generation sequencer on a Tribal reservation. Her current areas of research are COVID-19 testing and sequencing, spatial transcriptomics, and Indigenous Data Sovereignty.
Kathy Green
Kathy GreenRetired Medical Laboratory Scientist
Hi, my name is Kathy Green, a proud member of the Northern Secwepemc Community of Esk’etemc which is southwest of Williams Lake, British Columbia. I reside close to T’exelc (Williams Lake First Nation). I was born in Victoria, British Columbia on the unceded territory of the Lkwungen People. I was raised in Central Vancouver Island within the traditional territories of the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations. I am part of the Sixties Scoop, as was most of my family. I am a retired Medical Laboratory Scientist and have retained my BCSLS / CSMLS Certifications. My career allowed me to live and work within varying First Nation Communities and see the commonalities of the struggle for health, wellness, traditional foods, economic sustainability and access to water and land. Knowledge sharing in a good way moves us forward.
Keara Lightening
Keara LighteningUniversity of Alberta, MA candidate
My name is Keara Lightning and I’m a member of Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. I’m currently finishing my MA in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, working on a thesis exploring how scientific constructions of the landscape have worked to obscure Indigenous presence. I am moving into PhD research focusing on wildfire management with Indigenous communities, with a particular interest in revitalization of cultural burning practices. I’ve previously worked in landscaping, farm work, and environmental education. Outside of the university, I also write and program interactive stories and have co-directed an animated short film.
Alma Linke Nilsen
Alma Linke NilsenPre-medical Student
My name is Alma Linke Nilsen and I am Sami from the Swedish and Norwegian side of Sábme. I grew up in Sweden and primarily in the lule sami-area of Sábme. I used to be a student at Luleå technical university where I studied history and music until I decided to switch directions completely. I am currently working on finishing the Swedish equivalent of a pre-medical, although I remain undecided about my future. I am interested in a lot of different subjects, amongst others, the historical effects of western medicine on modern society and how different indigenous groups can support each other globally.
Teassa MacMartin
Teassa MacMartinUniversity of Manitoba, PhD candidate
Teassa MacMartin (she/her) was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and raised by her endlessly supportive mother. She is now a proud mother to her 11 year-old son, and as her father and grandmother preceding her, she is a member of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. Teassa completed her BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba in 2020 and is currently working towards her PhD in Microbiology under supervision of Dr. Karen Brassinga. Her work focuses on lesser studied species of the respiratory bacterial pathogen, Legionella, and its persistence in potable water storage systems. She prioritizes Indigenous student mentoring and outreach in support of increased representation of Indigenous scholars in research.


Our alumni are the heart of our program and the future of Indigenous genomics research in Canada (and globally). After hosting our 5th workshop, SING Canada’s alumni count is now over 60! Some of our program participants have gone on to complete their PhDs and are working in their communities, for provincial governments and in research labs across North America.  Others are still on their academic journey, and others have used the skills gained at the workshop and applied them to their workout outside of the field of genomics. 

In 2024, we will add an Alumni Hub to our website that will allow alumni to connect, access job postings and share updates. We also hope to begin publishing about the program and will be looking for more ways for SING Canada participants to benefit from the program long after the week-long workshop.

Loved the experience in the lab! Makes me want to go back to school and learn more about DNA and everything else we did in the labs! Rick’s presentation was amazing, talking about transgenerational inheritance of stress can affect the mother, fetus, and fetus’ ovum was something my mom always said but never in a scientific view. Deborah’s research is very intriguing and coming from the interest of the people, makes it that more special and genuine. Will be looking out for the paper to come!

2018 Participant

Genomics 101, DNA Extraction 101, Sequencing 101 — how all the above apply to law, policy and ethics is better understood given the hands-on training and wet lab experience, this was truly invaluable learning. I am also honoured and privileged to meet the Indigenous Scientists of tomorrow! I am impressed by their motivation, energy and ethical considerations to genetics, genomics and all of Mother Earth as interconnected, regardless of the participant’s place of origin. Great work to the SING team for a conference well done: )

2018 Participant