Graduate Student Research

On-going research through the MSE Graduate Option Program


Drew Bush, a doctoral student in the Department of Geography and the McGill School of Environment supervised by Dr. Renee Sieber, is working to educate young students and the lay public on the fundamentals of climate change science. His research aims to overcome a phenomenon reported in literature on climate change learning whereby individuals who receive more information about climate science understand and care less about the issue. He will give students ownership of their own learning process by using a hands-on global climate model in order to break the mold of current scientific education and, in so doing, study how scientists and communicators should better teach climate change science.

Mercedes Garcia Holguera is a PhD student in the Department of Bioresource Engineering and the McGill School of Environment. She is working on biomimetics, ecological engineering and regenerative architecture under the supervision of Dr. Grant Clark (Bioresource Engineering), Prof.Susan Gaskin (Civil Engineering) and Prof.Aaron Sprecher (School of Architecture). She is assesing ecosystem patterns and developing conceptual and quantitative architectural models using ecological engineering tools. Her research will provide the scientific basis for biomimetic and regenerative architecture design.

Qi Feng Lin, a doctoral student in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences and the McGill School of Environment, is working on the concept of the person in forestry. He will be studying the intellectual and historical roots and forest and propose an alternative concept that would guide human-forest relations in the future. He would be drawing from the writing of Aldo Leopold, complex system theory, and Chinese philosophy. His research is supervised by Professors Peter Brown and Jim Fyles.

Christie Lovat is a Masters student in the Department of Plant Science and the McGill School of Environment, working under the supervision of Dr. Sylvie de Blois. Currently she is working to uncover the relationship between temperature and seed production in one of Canada's worst invasive plant species, the common reed (Phragmites australis subsp. australis). Understanding how temperature influences seed production will allow us to predict how P. australis will respond to climate change, and enable us to better control this invasive pest both at present and in the future.

Isla Milne, a PhD student in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, working under the supervision of Dr. Steve Maguire. Her current research focuses on sustainable innovation and technology substitution in the field of Green Chemistry.

Chardé Morgan is a Master’s of Public Health student in the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health. Her research interests involve relating environmental epidemiology to public health practice and policy development. Under the supervision of Dr. Stéphane Perron at the Direction de santé publique de l'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, her projects involve assessing the public’s knowledge of bed bug prevention and management practices and evaluating the environmental conditions affecting asthma exacerbation and control. She aims to use this knowledge for the development of health prevention and promotion campaigns which focus on ameliorating the environment while improving the health of the public.

Brendan Peachey is currently working with the Ecological Engineering Research Group (under the supervision of Dr. Grant Clark), and is an Option student of the McGill School of Environment. For his M.Sc project, he is using Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometry (FTIR), and other laboratory techniques, to examine the effects of amending compost with biochar. It is believed that this relationship will benefit the composting process, while helping to reduce the emission of environmentally relevant gases.

Sara K. Phillips, Esq., is a Master of Laws thesis candidate at McGill University's Faculty of Law and School of Environment. Her research focuses upon regulation of natural resources, specifically oil and gas conservation and development, land use, and property rights within common law jurisdictions. In particular, Ms. Phillips is analyzing the interplay between private property rights and oil and gas development within the United States, looking to the State of Colorado as a case study. Her research examines the social obligations of private property ownership as they relate to environmental conservation and natural resources management and regulation at the state level of governance. Ms. Phillips is supervised by Professor Jaye Ellis of McGill University's Faculty of Law and School of Environment.

Aaron Vansintjan, a master student in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences and the McGill School of Environment, working under the supervision of Dr. Nicolas Kosoy. Aaron is researching urban food security and alternative food systems through the lens of ecological economics and food sovereignty. He is interested in the benefits of community food centres in light of increasing food prices, economic instability, and the need for urban adaptation to climate change.