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News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 18:16

This position, available for a period of 1year, is to complete a research project on the effects of chiral molecules on the properties of brushite ceramic. The person accepted into this position will be expected to build upon previous work done in the lab to extend our findings that chiral molecules exert regulatory hierarchical control over the properties brushite ceramic. 

Category:  dent_fac Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 18:14

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Message from the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 18:05

Dear members of the McGill community,

Professor Andrew Potter resigned from his position as Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC). He made his letter of resignation public on social media.

I would like to acknowledge the contributions of Professor Potter and his courage in making this very difficult and painful decision.

Category:  press_releases Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 18:05

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Dr. Computer is transforming neuroscience research

McGill Reporter - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 17:16
Using thousands of images from brain scans such as MRI, computers can learn to detect signs of neurological disease, opening up new possibilities in research and diagnosis.

Using thousands of images from brain scans such as MRI, computers can learn to detect signs of neurological disease, opening up new possibilities in research and diagnosis.

By Shawn Hayward

In an article published in Nature on Feb. 15, researchers, including principal investigators from the Montreal Neurological Institute’s McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC), used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict the development of autism in babies.

It was not a neurologist or medical doctor doing the predicting, however, but a computer trained to distinguish the brains of children at risk of autism. This was an application of “deep learning,” a form of artificial intelligence that will increasingly put computers in the driver’s seat of medical diagnosis and neuroscience research.

Developed from the concept of artificial neural networks in the 1960s, in the footsteps of the pioneering work of Donald Hebb, a former McGill psychology professor, deep learning has experienced a kind of renaissance in recent years, thanks to the increasing availability of powerful computational resources and access to vast amounts of digital data.

Deep learning involves training computers to make complex calculations after analyzing enough data to “learn” or detect certain patterns of interest. They do this via relatively simple algorithms that mimic the brain’s basic mechanisms for processing information.

If you are on Facebook, you probably have already experienced AI in action. Facebook can detect where faces are in images and will ask you if you want to tag that person. The program that makes this possible is called DeepFace, a deep learning application Facebook developed by training computers to recognize faces using four million photos manually tagged and uploaded by users.

Deep learning techniques are being used in many aspects of biomedical research. One objective is to develop computer-assisted techniques to improve diagnosis and prevention, by analyzing data of various kinds to see problems before they occur. Deep learning is particularly important to neuroscience, where data types are extremely diverse. Artificial intelligence is a promising tool to help neuroscientists discover new basic principles within the vast amount of data available.

The Nature article is just an example of how deep learning and other AI techniques are rapidly becoming important to medicine and medical research, among other fields affecting our daily lives.

Several labs at the Montreal Neurological Institute are already using deep learning and related AI techniques to conduct research, and the BIC is training the next generation of neuroscientists and brain imagers to use these new methods. In January of 2017, the BIC sponsored two hands-on educational sessions focusing on deep-learning for neuroimaging. The event was attended by 80 of the centre’s students and staff scientists.

“AI techniques are changing the game of how we do science. We want our research staff and trainees to be aware of and well prepared for this revolution,” says Sylvain Baillet, a McGill professor and Director of the BIC. “We are fortunate that Montreal is emerging as an international hub for AI research and industry. To remain leaders in our field, we must embrace AI methods like deep learning together with building and using large neurodata repositories, and invest both human and technical resources to exploit the unique features of these powerful tools.”

Mac Seed Library breaks new ground

McGill Reporter - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 16:31

The new seed library at Mac has over 130 species of vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit. / Photo: Lauren Goldman

By Neale McDevitt

While these last two frigid days have proven that winter is not quite done just yet, a simple ceremony at Macdonald campus this past Monday helped plant the seeds of hope that spring is indeed just around the corner.

Not by accident, the Macdonald Campus Seed Library was launched on March 20, the first official day of spring. Housed in the Macdonald Campus Library, the Seed Library offers McGill students, staff, faculty and alumni free access to some 130 varieties of seeds – including vegetables, flowers, herbs and a few fruits. The service is free and people who are registered can even order seeds to be delivered to a downtown McGill library for their convenience, as they would with a book.

While the concept is gaining popularity in public libraries, this is the first academic seed library of its kind in Quebec and third in Canada.

Dana Ingalls, Liaison Librarian at Mac (left), and Colleen Cook, Dean of Libraries at the March 20 launch of the seed library. / Photo: Lauren Goldman

Dana Ingalls, Liaison Librarian (left), and Colleen Cook, Dean of Libraries, at the launch of the seed library. / Photo: Lauren Goldman

“The idea is to give people the opportunity to grow some of their own food and to promote local food growing and local agriculture,” says Dana Ingalls, the Liaison Librarian at Mac. “We are also trying to promote biodiversity. Large-scale farming tends to grow only a few species, so we’re trying to promote heirloom seeds, species that are a little rarer.”

Some of the collection’s local heirloom seeds, developed in the Montreal region, include three types of tomatoes (Montreal Tasty Red, Meme Beauce and Plourde) and two kinds of melons (the Montreal melon and Oka melon).

The resource also includes material on a wide array of gardening topics, from vertical gardening to growing food in a short season. Also, Ingalls will be scheduling a series of workshops throughout the year, including ones on seed starting basics, composting and how to properly can your surplus harvest so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour during the long winter months.

Because of Montreal’s shorter summer, the planting season for many of these seeds must begin indoors, usually in early to mid-April. Once the risk of frost has passed, usually sometime in mid- to late May, the shoots can be transferred to the outdoor garden.

The March 20 launch turned out to be even more popular that Ingalls had expected. The collection began with almost 450 packets of seeds (neatly filed away in recycled library card catalogues). By day’s end, only 183 packets remained. “I was pleasantly surprised by people’s enthusiasm,” says Ingalls. “But why not? For people on a tight budget, we offer free seeds and free gardening resources. And, it’s fun. It gives people something fun to do near the end of winter when everything is blah.”

Ingalls isn’t worried that the popularity of the Seed Library will be its ultimate undoing, with the collection being quickly depleted. The bulk of the original collection came from generous donations by farms and “many seed companies and local farms are happy to donate seeds to this kind of initiative.”

In an even more organic twist, a number of McGill staff have already come forward to donate seeds they have preserved. Ingalls, herself, an avid gardener, has donated her own Sugar Pod Pea seeds that she had grown back in her native Oregon.

Interestingly, people who request seeds from the collection are considered to be “borrowing” them, again, as they would with a book. Although not required, users are encouraged to preserve some seeds from their harvest at the end of the season and give them back to the collection. “Of course this is easier with some varieties than for others, like beans and peas which are very easy to save,” says Ingalls. “Other ones can be a little more difficult. So in order to encourage and support that we have seed-saving books and some online resources. We will also be offering a seed-saving workshop later in the year closer to the more harvest time in late September or early October.”

Find out more and register online with the seed library


Carbon neutrality: Join the campus-wide conversation

McGill Reporter - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 14:28

Carbon-NeutralityBy McGill Reporter Staff

It’s pretty clear that environmental awareness and responsibility are major concerns for the McGill community. McGillians are keenly aware that climate change is a serious problem, and that there is a pressing need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas.

That’s why the McGill Office of Sustainability (MOOS) has been stewarding a community consultation process leading up to the creation of the University-wide 2017-2020 Climate and Sustainability Action Plan (Vision 2020).

To ensure that all students, staff and faculty members at McGill have an opportunity to contribute to this important discussion, there will be three Community Conversations on Carbon Neutrality, on March 28 (at Macdonald campus), 29 and 30.

“This year, we have convened groups of students, staff and faculty into Vision 2020 Action Teams to discuss what we should include in the 2017-2020 Climate & Sustainability Action Plan,” says François Miller, the Sustainability Director of McGill’s Office of Sustainability (MOOS). “The Action Plan will build off of our existing Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy and put forth a number of priority actions to address climate and sustainability challenges at McGill. The Community Conversations on Carbon Neutrality are our opportunity to report back to the broader McGill community on our progress and ask them what they think of a possible carbon neutrality target. It is their energy, feedback, and ideas that will shape the future of climate action at McGill.”

Participants can express their views by attending a Community Conversation at the following times and locations:

  • March 28, 1:30 – 3 p.m. at Macdonald Campus; Macdonald-Stewart Building, Faculty Lounge (MS2-022);
  • March 29, noon – 1:30 p.m. downtown; University Centre (also known as the Shatner Building), Room 202. Bring your lunch! ;
  • March 30, 4 – 5:30 p.m. downtown; University Centre (also known as the Shatner Building), Room 2022.

Carbon neutrality means zero net carbon dioxide emissions. The idea is to reduce your carbon foot print by reducing polluting emissions. But getting rid of all carbon emissions is tough. That’s where carbon offsets come in. If you add polluting emissions to the atmosphere you can subtract them by buying what are called carbon offsets. Offsets are credits for emission reductions achieved by projects such as wind farms, solar installations, or energy efficiency retrofits. They can be purchased and added to your emissions to reduce your net climate impact. Sequestering carbon through the planting and preservation of forests can also be counted against greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon neutrality is catching on in surprising places. Some celebrities have declared themselves carbon neutral, along with the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, and the Dave Matthews Band. Major sporting events, airlines, movie studios, major international conferences, businesses such as Dell, Nike, Google, as well as entire countries such as Costa Rica, Iceland and New Zealand are aiming at carbon neutrality. Most recently Laval University in Quebec City became the first Quebec and Canadian university to become carbon neutral.

Before the Action Plan is officially adopted, members of McGill’s new Advisory Council on Sustainability, comprised of 17 internal and external members from various backgrounds, will review and validate the plan.

In addition, MOOS will convene a Task Force of Academic Experts that will provide input on the overall efficacy of the plan, especially regarding its climate-related target.

Interested members of the McGill community can express their views by contributing ideas online.

McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier is on the record as saying “Sustainability is a priority for McGill. The Sustainability Strategy reflects the progress that has already been made and addresses the challenges ahead. We have set ambitious goals and I am confident that our drive, our talent and our engagement – within the University and beyond – will allow us to succeed.”

According to the Vision 2020: A Sustainability Strategy for McGill University report in some areas McGill is leading in sustainability, for example with:

But the Vision 2020 report also outlines several areas in which McGill can improve its sustainability performance, including energy efficiency and green buildings, which stem partly from the University’s complex mandate. With 37,000 students hailing from 150 countries, administering approximately $500-million in research funding, and operating roughly 200 buildings, 82 of which were built before 1940, sustainability can be a challenge. McGill also has a working farm, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and a main campus that is located at the centre of a multicultural, multilingual metropolis with a mean temperature in July that is 35 degrees Celsius higher than the mean temperature in January.

Learn more about the Community Conversations about Carbon Neutrality



Why when we're in our 40s and 50s we get much less praise than we used to

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 13:59

“I get considerably less praise than I use to 10 years ago. I find this troubling at times, let me explain why this is a natural thing. And it shouldn't bother us - too much.”

Column by Karl Moore, professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management. 

Read more: Forbes


Category:  in_the_headlines Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 13:57

Both Sides of the Fence: Per­spec­tives from Can­cer Patients who are Can­cer Researchers

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 13:46

Please join McGill’s Ros­alind and Mor­ris Good­man Can­cer Research Cen­tre for a lec­ture series enti­tled “Both Sides of the Fence: Per­spec­tives from Can­cer Patients who are Can­cer Researchers:
Today’s Research for Tomorrow’s Cure.

For more infor­ma­tion, please email events [dot] gcrc [at] mcgill [dot] ca or con­tact Annette Novak at 514−398−4970.

Please join us for the third lec­ture of the series pre­sented by The Ros­alind and Mor­ris Good­man Can­cer Research Centre.

Category:  hlth_med Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 13:44

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Now accept­ing appli­ca­tions for 2017 Youth Edu­ca­tion Awards!

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 13:42

The Brain Tumour Foun­da­tion of Canada is now accept­ing appli­ca­tions for the 2017 Youth Edu­ca­tion Award! There are funds avail­able to the lucky win­ners. Click on link to learn more: http://www.braintumour.ca/5002/education-awards-for-brain-tumour-survivors---guidelines

Category:  hlth_med Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 13:41

Encouraging results for patients with aggressive brain cancer

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 13:33

Being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor is devastating news for patients and their loved ones. Whereas some types of tumor respond well to treatment, others such as glioblastomas – the most common and aggressive brain tumors – are known to recur and progress within short times from the diagnosis. Patients diagnosed with this type of cancer, and who undergo current standard treatment, have a median survival of 16 months.

Category:  press_releases Contact Person's Name:  Valérie Harvey Organization Name:  CUSM/MUHC Communications Email:  valerie.harvey@muhc.mcgill.ca Work Phone:  514-934-1934 ext. 71381 Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 13:26

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Conference given by Dr. Guy Boudreau about scientific research and migraines

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 13:20

Migraine Québec would like to invite you to attend a conference given by Dr. Guy Boudreau about scientific research and migraines.


Category:  hlth_med Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 13:19

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McGill researchers receive over $7M to fight brain diseases of aging

McGill Reporter - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 13:18

According to the World Health Organization, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting more than 30 million people worldwide in 2015.

By Meaghan Thurston

The Weston Brain Institute awards over $30 million nationally for high-risk, high-reward translational research projects to help speed up the development of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

Dr. Pedro Rosa-Neto, Dr. Marta Kaminska and Dr. John Breitner have each received funding promises of up to $1.7 million from the Weston Brain Institute to fight the brain diseases of aging through research. In addition, Dr. Mallar Chakravarty received seed funding of two, $200,000 grants and Dr. Howard Chertkow received a $200,000 grant for research on Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Dr. Rosa-Neto received an additional grant from the Weston Institute totalling $1.5M in October 2016.

The Weston Brain Institute is Canada’s largest privately funded national initiative aimed at accelerating breakthrough discoveries for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and frontotemporal dementia.

“This funding announcement is great news for those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases of aging,” said Dr. Rosie Goldstein, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation). “We are grateful to the Weston Brain Institute for their support of these promising and important clinical trials, and for recognizing McGill as a global hub for brain research.”

Dr. Pedro Rosa-Neto directs the Translational Neuroimaging Laboratory (TNL), a multi-site facility, which is shared between the Douglas Institute, the McGill Research Centre for Studies in Aging (MCSA) and the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI). This cross intuitional lab is the first of its kind in Quebec.

The Weston funding is supporting trials of a novel AD treatment in humans and the study of the efficacy of a new class of drug developed by National Research Council of Canada (NRC) that can efficiently crosses the blood brain barrier and promote amyloid clearance in early Alzheimer’s disease patients.

“The Weston Brain Institute is seriously committed to supporting ground-breaking research in neurodegeneration in Canada,” said Dr. Rosa-Neto. “My research in inflammatory pathways underlying AD wouldn’t be possible to conduct without their incredible support and vision.”

In her research, Dr. Marta Kaminska (Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine/ RI-MUHC) focuses on respiratory issues, particularly sleep-related breathing disorders, in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). With the funding from the Weston Institute, she will be examining the effects of long-acting levodopa (a chemical precursor of dopamine and a standard PD treatment) on obstructive sleep apnea in PD patients in a pilot proof-of-concept trial.

“Sleep problems are a major component of Parkinson’s disease and greatly impact cognitive function and quality of life,” said Dr. Kaminska. “With this study, we hope to improve the sleep quality of PD patients, and in the future we would love to explore the application of this research in other populations suffering from sleep apnea.”

Dr. John Breitner has devoted his career to investigating factors that modify an individual’s risk of developing AD and has been doing so at McGill since 2010 under the umbrella of a large McGill-sponsored initiative, the Centre for Studies on Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (StoP-AD) located at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre. The StoP-AD Centre unites investigators in the study of different biomarkers thought to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

With this funding boost, he will lead a placebo-controlled randomized phase 2a trial to test whether probucol, a retired cholesterol-lowering drug, may decrease a person’s risk of AD by increasing availability of apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a major cholesterol carrier. Genetic variation in ApoE is among the strongest known determinants for risk of AD

“In addition to providing us with money to pursue this important research, the Institute has been generous with their time and extremely collaborative with our work to prevent this horrible disease, ”said Dr. Breitner.

Drs. Mallar Chakravarty (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry/Douglas Institute) and Howard Chertkow (Associate Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery/ Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research), are each the beneficiaries of the Rapid Response Program (up to $200,000), which provides seed funding for novel projects deemed to explore high-risk, high-reward ideas and catalyze future projects.

A full listing of funded projects is available on the Weston Institute website


Data Warehouse downtime, April 2 from 9am to noon

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 11:08

The Data Warehouse will be unavailable due to an upgrade on Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 9:00 am to approximately 12:00 pm (noon).

Category:  it_services Related Links:  More information Contact Organization Name:  IST Customer Services (ICS) Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 11:04

McGill Password - reset required

News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 10:43

McGill is investigating unusual network activity. As a precautionary measure, we are requiring all system users to reset their McGill passwords. You have until March 28, 10:30AM EDT to make this change. For instructions  on how to reset your McGill password, please visit www.mcgill.ca/password.

Category:  it_services Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Thu, 2017-03-23 10:43

Course Evaluations for Winter 2017

News - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 16:13

MERCURY Course Evaluations will be available to students until April 30 for units following the default period (or until April 12 for units following the condensed period).

Category:  epidemiol_biostats_occ_hlth Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Wed, 2017-03-22 16:11

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Reaching out to instil a love of science

McGill Reporter - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 15:43

The BrainReach North team. Back row (l to r): Maria Tippler, Marie-Pier Girouard, Rixing Lin, Ian Beamish and Suna Jung. Front row (l to r): Reiko Matsushita, Malosree Maitra, Kelly Smart, Julia Zhang and Celina Cheung.

By McGill Reporter Staff

If your ideas about science comes from mainstream culture then you might think scientists are like Leonard and Sheldon on the popular television series, The Big Bang Theory – Cal Tech physics students who, smart as they may be, are hopeless in social situations.

That is clearly not the case for the three graduate students in McGill’s Program in Neuroscience (IPN) who are spearheading BrainReach North, an online outreach initiative to give teachers and students in outlying areas better access to science resources. Suna Jung is doing a PhD in vision development; Ian Beamish is doing an MA on memory formation; and Kelly Smart is doing a PhD on the effect of stimulant drugs on the brain.

BrainReach“We want students to see that scientists can be young women and men in jeans,” says Smart, President of BrainReach North. “The biggest challenge with our online programs is to overcome the indifference that many students feel about science, and make it relevant and understandable for them. We also try to establish a personal connection to the teachers and students whenever we can, so that they can see what a scientist actually looks and acts like. We’re hoping to help establish modelling so that when they think of science and scientists they know that we are not all guys with bad hair in lab coats.”

BrainReach North provides teachers in remote aboriginal communities with activities to introduce students to neuroscience. BrainReach North’s mission, as outlined on its website, is to:

  • engage youth through interactive activities to help them understand why science is fun and important in our lives.
  • connect students in remote areas of Quebec with real-life working scientists in Montreal.
  • inspire the next generation of neuroscientists, wherever they may be

The free educational materials are downloadable and digital; easy to implement in classrooms; tailored to fit into the Quebec curriculum; hypothesis driven and relevant to everyday life; and designed to encourage critical thinking through the scientific method.

Smart talks about her recent trip to Kawawachikamach, (known as “Kawa”) near Schefferville, population 586, where residents speak Naskapi, French and English. She says there is no reliable internet access, so teachers and students download and use the BrainReach North materials as needed.

Smart believes neuroscience is perfect for students who are still discovering themselves, and exploring what and who they intend to become. Having enthusiastic young neuroscientists teach students allows them to share their passion. It’s also a valuable opportunity for graduate students to learn about teaching. Student organizers hope to reach as many children as possible and educate them on how their brains function, remove the stigma of mental illness by teaching them the biological basis of mental disorders, and increase understanding of what it is to be a scientist.

BrainReach North is on off shoot of BrainReach, an award-winning, non-profit, community outreach program managed by IPN graduate students. BrainReach provides fun, interactive neuroscience-based workshops to young students at the elementary (Grade 4) and high school (Secondary 3) level in under-resourced neighbourhoods around Montreal. BrainReach has been such a success that organizers decided to extend it online to remote communities in the near and far north.

The basic BrainReach program uses materials aimed at students in grades 2-8. The program is entirely web-based and is intended to be flexible enough to accommodate a variety of classrooms and learning environments. Question-and-answer sessions or correspondence with teachers and students are set up so kids can learn what it means to be a scientist.

For six to eight months, IPN graduate students visit the same classrooms at chosen schools. They lead 45-60 minute interactive workshops, created with “brain based learning” in mind and specially designed to captivate young minds. Each month, they present a different facet of neuroscience that is relevant to the pupils.

The IPN is unique in Canada. It’s an inter-disciplinary, inter-departmental graduate program and Canada’s largest graduate neuroscience program. With more than 300 graduate students and over 240 professors, the IPN spans the full spectrum of neuroscientific fields of research, from cellular and molecular neuroscience to behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.

Learn more about BrainReach North


2017 Year End Memo and FY17 Year End Reporting and Communication Meeting Agenda

News - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 15:31

This message is sent out on behalf of Myriam Bensimon, Controller, Financial Services

Dear colleagues,

Please note that the FY17 Year-End Reporting and Communication Meeting will be held on Friday, March 24, 2017, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. in the Bronfman Building, Room 423.

The PRESENTATION, AGENDA and MEMO are available on the Financial Services website using the undernoted link:

Category:  financial_services Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Wed, 2017-03-22 15:25

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Montreal is 375 years old, but how old are its buildings?

News - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 13:04

Montreal is celebrating its 375th anniversary, but very few vestiges of its early history remain. (A multimedia piece with an interactive map showing some of Montreal’s oldest iconic buildings, including the Arts building. McGill’s Annmarie Adams provided input for the article.)

Find out more: CBC News

Category:  in_the_headlines Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Wed, 2017-03-22 13:03

Desautels MBA-Law student to spend year with Supreme Court of Canada

News - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 12:23

Aly R. Háji, a student in the joint MBA-Law program at McGill University, has been selected to fill one of twenty-seven positions as Clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada. Under this highly selective appointment, he will work under the direction of a Supreme Court Judge and will fulfill various duties, including researching points of law, preparing memoranda of law and assisting the Judge in the general work of the Court.

Category:  mgmt_fac Related Links:  Joint Program in Management & Law Related Links:  The Lawyers Weekly Source Site:  Source Site Published Date:  Wed, 2017-03-22 12:17

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