Spence Lab
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About Us

Principal Investigator

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Dr. Kelsey Spence, BSc, PhD

Dr. Kelsey Spence is an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology and One Health at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She received her BSc in Forensic Science and Biology from Trent University (2014) and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Guelph (2017). Prior to returning to the University of Guelph in 2021, she held positions as a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Veterinary College in London, England, and as a scientific evaluator at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Kelsey’s research explores the use of biosecurity and infection control practices among animal and human populations. She is particularly interested in how decision-making about animal care is influenced by human socio-cultural factors. In addition to her research, Kelsey has a strong interest in pedagogy and teaches epidemiology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In 2023, she was awarded the University of Guelph Faculty Association Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Current Students

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Juliet Germann, BSc, MSc – PhD Student

Juliet is currently a first-year PhD student in the Department of Population Medicine at OVC, specializing in Epidemiology and One Health. She is under the joint supervision of Drs. Kelsey Spence and Charlotte Winder. Prior to her doctoral studies, Juliet successfully completed her MSc in Epidemiology, supervised by Drs. Kelsey Spence and Terri O’Sullivan. In 2020, Juliet graduated with her BSc (Honours) from the University of Toronto Mississauga, where she did a specialization in Biological Anthropology and a minor in Biology. Juliet has a variety of hobbies and interests, primarily to do with her dogs Paddington and Sandwich. Other than that, she enjoys knitting (not very well) and snow sports.

Connect with Juliet on LinkedIn.

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Peggy Pritchard, BA/BPHE, MLIS – PhD Student

Peggy began her doctoral studies in Population Medicine (Epidemiology) in September 2022 after a very full and rewarding braided career.  She is a dedicated therapy dog volunteer with over 1,000 hours of direct therapy dog support of vulnerable people at end of life (weekly visits to residential hospice), university students (exam stress-busting events), and children (COVID mass vaccination clinics).  She was the Principal Investigator on the University of Guelph’s Animal Utilization Protocol that paved the way for therapy dog visits to campus, and she collaborated with Hospice Wellington’s Integrated Wellness Coordinator on the development of standard operating procedures for their therapy dog visitation program.  She provides leadership and mentoring support to fellow therapy dog volunteers.  Her contributions have been recognized by awards from the St. John Ambulance Ontario Council, and the Rotary Club of Guelph-Trillium.

View Peggy’s research contributions here.

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Sarah Makepeace, BSc – MSc Student

Sarah Makepeace is currently in the second year of her master’s with the supervision of Dr. Kelsey Spence and Dr. Katie Clow and her work looks at pet caregivers use of tick preventative measures. Sarah completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of New Brunswick and has spent many summers working as a field technician on a variety of projects. She loves the outdoors, animals, and trivia!

Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn.

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Natassia Lambrou, BBRM – MSc Student

Natassia is a second-year MSc student in the department of Population Medicine at the OVC, specializing in Epidemiology and One Health. She is currently researching bison producers’ access to veterinary services in Ontario, and is co-advised by Drs. Kelsey Spence and Charlotte Winder. Natassia graduated from the University of Guelph in 2018 with a Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management majoring in Equine Management. As shown through her academic journey, she has a passion for animals and plans to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine after the completion of her MSc. In her downtime she enjoys horseback riding, travelling, baking, snowboarding and wakesurfing.

Connect with Natassia on LinkedIn.

Breanne Murray, BSc – MSc Student

I graduated with my BSc in 2023 at the University of Guelph majoring in Biomedical Science. The experience and knowledge I gained from my BSc led me to develop a strong interest in epidemiology. In 2022 I completed an undergraduate research assistantship in the Spence lab where I investigated the language around the term “biosecurity” within the equine industry. I thoroughly enjoyed this project, and in 2023 I was lucky enough to return to the Spence lab in pursuit of a master’s degree. I am currently completing a MSc in Population Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Kelsey Spence and co-advised by Dr. Amy Greer. Throughout my degree, I strive to identify gaps in disease communication within the general public and strategize ways to combat this. Outside of academia, I enjoy simple activities such as reading and painting, however, I am always happy to venture into the outdoors for a good hike!

Connect with Breanne on LinkedIn.

Karli Chalmers – Undergraduate Research Assistant

Karli Chalmers is a fourth-year Bio-Medical Science student, interested in disease transmission, health outcomes, and health policy, particularly involving geriatric health systems. Currently, she is researching core competencies for epidemiologists and contributing to a national project on patient engagement in transitional care decision-making in Canada. Karli’s interest in qualitative research will be further pursued in her upcoming Master’s degree. Karli has received multiple scholarships throughout her undergraduate degree and was most recently awarded with the Hagen Undergraduate Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to the top two students with the highest cumulative averages in any major in the College of Biological Science. Beyond her academic pursuits, Karli has dedicated over 200 hours to volunteering with older adults. During the pandemic, she led virtual recreational programming for long-term care residents across Canada to mitigate isolation. Her commitment to community service was recognized with the Ontario Volunteer Service Award.

Connect with Karli on LinkedIn.