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PICNet’s Team Announcements

On behalf of PICNet leadership, Tara Donovan, Dr. Linda Hoang, Dr. Titus Wong, Kendra McPherson and Dr. Maureen O’Donnell, we have a number of team member changes to share with you.



We welcome back Jenn Diep, Project Manager, and Tara Donovan, Network Director, who have both returned from maternity leave.



Mahta Khoshnam Tehrani

We are thrilled to share the wonderful news that Mahta Khoshnam Tehrani has joined PICNet as our second temporary full-time Lead, Research and Knowledge Translation alongside Mahmood Rahman.

Mahta holds a BSc, MsC and PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. She has over 14 years of experience in interdisciplinary research and collaboration in both British Columbia and Ontario working on a variety of projects that required the use of engineering principles in clinical and healthcare applications. She has most recently worked as a Research Scientist at a start-up company researching and developing clinical sensors. Mahta also has experience conducting literature reviews to identify trends in clinical and healthcare technologies.

In this role, Mahta will be responsible for conducting literature reviews and critically appraising evidence to support the development of provincial IPAC guidelines and other resources.

Mahta will be a great asset to our team and we are excited to work with her.


Stephanie Burniston

We are excited to inform you that Stephanie Burniston has joined PICNet as our permanent full-time Education and Practice Coordinator. Stephanie holds a BSc in Life Science, MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases and a PhD in Biomedical Science (Global Health). She most recently worked as a Senior Policy Analyst for the IPC team in the Population and Public Health Division at the Ministry of Health (MoH). In this role, she supported the development and updates of provincial COVID-19 IPAC policies and guidelines for various sectors and professions. 

Additionally, Stephanie has worked in other areas within the MOH, including as a Research Officer for the Guidelines and Protocols Advisory Committee and as a Senior Policy Analyst for Congenital Anomaly Surveillance Planning. She has also worked as an IPAC Practitioner at Fraser Health.

In this role, Stephanie will lead the design and development of practice guidelines and education tools and programs for infection prevention and control professionals, healthcare providers, patients and families across the continuum of care. An integral part of her role will be reviewing and critically appraising current literature and research in order to develop new knowledge and/or maintain and update current guidance and education tools.

We are pleased to have Stephanie join our team and look forward to working with her.


Katherine Sunderland

We are excited to share the wonderful news that Katherine Sunderland has joined PICNet as a Senior Epidemiologist.

Katherine brings more than 15 years professional experience in research and statistical analysis in health-related studies.  She commenced her career in Manitoba working for a decade as an Epidemiologist with CancerCare Manitoba.  Following this, she has been working with the BC Cancer agency as a Senior Methodologist performing multiple methodological and analytic responsibilities for clinician-researchers; executing research projects from planning through to publication.  Katherine has co-authored 50+ publications during her career.  She has been a member of the UBC Cancer Research Ethics Board since 2018, providing critical evaluation and approval of statistical methodology and research design for various research project submissions. Katherine also has experience as a UBC adjunct professor, instructing students in Advanced Predictive Business Analytics and Forecasting and Time Series Prediction within the Master of Business Analytics program.

Katherine will act as lead Epidemiologist providing consultation and expertise in epidemiologic, scientific and technical methods for surveillance, epidemiologic investigations and research endeavours.  She will lead and manage team members while overseeing the planning, development, and implementation of a comprehensive provincial surveillance program. Katherine’s skillset lends well to performing critical appraisal and knowledge synthesis to advance knowledge in the realm of evidence-informed IPAC practices and surveillance for BC. A fundamental part of her role will be to work collaboratively with regional, provincial, and national partners to build partnerships and enhance PICNet’s surveillance and research portfolio.

Please join us in welcoming Katherine to the PICNet team!



Georgia Neindorf

We give thanks to Georgia Neindorf as Interim Project Manager with PICNet during Jennifer Diep’s maternity leave.  Georgia kept items on task for a variety of projects, moving through successes and challenges to obtain deliverables. We are grateful for her support and wish her all the best as she returns to her role as Business Analyst and Project Support, with Provincial Laboratory Medicine Services.


Ben Shaw

Ben Shaw has ended his position as Interim Education and Practice Coordinator at PICNet and has returned to Island Health in the position of Consultant, Infection Prevention & Control. We thank Ben for all of the wonderful work he has done with guideline creations and revisions of existing materials and taking the initiative on other work tasks. We wish him all the best.


Romi Ranasinghe

PICNet also bids a sad farewell to Romi Ranasinghe, Surveillance System Coordinator.  However, we are thrilled that she is pursuing an opportunity with the Public Health Agency of Canada field epidemiology program. 

Romi joined PICNet in December 2014 and quickly became a valuable asset to the team.  Romi had a robust foundation in the areas of biology and healthcare, with a particular focus in public health. Romi coordinated many aspects of PICNet’s surveillance work through the years and conducted analyses to create reports, presentations, and manuscripts. She also supported critical appraisal and synthesis of evidence to inform IPAC best practices. Her work with the Public Health Laboratory and collaboration with health authorities to conduct surveillance of carbapenemase-producing organisms as well as assist with genomics epidemiology were important pieces of work for the province.

Romi was consistently kind and supportive to her colleagues and provided wonderful insights to various avenues of work completed by PICNet.  Her sense of humor and integrity along with her gentle demeanor are greatly appreciated by those around her. 


Ka Wai Leung

It is with mixed emotions that we share the news that Ka Wai Leung  has left PICNet and PHSA on September 21 2022.  We are extremely sad to see her go, though also wish her all the best as she takes time to travel and discover her next endeavor. 

Ka Wai commenced her work with PICNet in March 2020 as an IPAC Specialist at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, assisting with various pieces of work, and quickly became a valuable asset to our team.  A year later Ka Wai became an Education and Practice Coordinator, playing an integral role in developing provincial guidance and resources for the COVID-19 pandemic response. Notably she coordinated with various IPAC and workplace health and safety (WHS) partners to create many documents generated by PICNet and the Provincial COVID-19 IPAC/WHS group. Ka Wai then transitioned to Interim Network Director in July 2021 where she expanded her work, notably acting as co-chair of the Provincial COVID-19 IPAC/WHS group facilitating discussions to gain collaboration and agreement among provincial experts. Ka Wai hired a number of new team members to support the growth and development of PICNet and led the team through many significant accomplishments.

Ka Wai is an outstanding colleague with a natural ability to lead others, communicate, and collaborate effectively with a variety of partners and colleagues. Ka Wai has made a lasting impact for PICNet from both the provision of infection prevention and control education and practice guidelines and as a thoughtful and compassionate team leader. 


To all those that have departed from our team we are grateful for their contributions and wish them all the best.