Quick Links

2013 Undergraduate Research Conference

Blair Jia presents his poster to Joel Spratt.

Photo gallery

Ioan Tiberiu Mahu and Saskia Ferrar, URC participants

Photo gallery

Rachel Suliono, Sheng-Ting Lin, and Daegan Sit, URC participants

Photo gallery

Joseph Yang presents his research poster to Professor James Coulton

Photo gallery

Hayeden Bye presents his research poster to keynote speaker Dr. John Smol

Photo gallery

Mark Saffran presents his poster to Doran Satanove

Photo gallery

Doran Satanove presents his poster to Mark Saffran

Photo gallery

Shih-Ping (Peter) Hung, URC participant

Photo gallery

Matthew Stevenson, URC participant

Photo gallery

Martin Grant, Dean of Science, hosted the awards reception

Photo gallery

Victoria Kaspi, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Education), announced the prizewinners

Photo gallery

Congratulations to the prizewinners!

Photo gallery

Keynote speaker Dr. John Smol, O.C., B.Sc. '77

Photo gallery

On Thursday, October 10, 2013, students from across the Faculty of Science presented their research projects at the ninth annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC).

This year, sixty-four students from across the Faculty of Science participated. They showed their results to fellow students, alumni, and members of the public. Once again this year, the spectrum of students' research projects was very broad, including topics such as:

  • Examining the impact of dental caries in early childhood;
  • Curious robot exploration: A Review and Action Plan;
  • The role of fibrillin-1 in skeletal muscle differentiation; and
  • Pharmaceutical applications of solvent-free chemistry: a route to greener chemical synthesis and characterization

McGill judges had the arduous task of choosing the victors (see below). The prize ceremony took place in McGill's elegant Moyse Hall, and was followed by a very special keynote address (see also below). The day culminated with a reception for students, friends, and alumni, where everyone celebrated the accomplishments of McGill Science students.

John Smol
John Smol. Photo by Owen Egan.

Webcast of Keynote address:

Advice to Young Scientists on Thriving in a Complex World

The Faculty of Science was honoured to welcome distinguished alumnus Dr. John Smol (O.C., B.Sc. '77) who delivered the keynote address at the ninth annual Undergraduate Research Conference.

Science continues to play an increasingly important role in peoples’ lives. Furthermore, to be a scientist is an opportunity to lead an exciting, influential and fulfilling life. However, just as it is a career with many opportunities, it is also a life with many challenges. Dr. Smol’s presentation provided some personal perspectives on possible ways to maximize your opportunities whilst living in an increasingly complex world.

Dr. John Smol is a noted paleolimnologist who holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University, where he co-directs PEARL, the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory. Professor Smol is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a 3M Teaching Fellow, the Editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Reviews, and a frequent commentator on environmental issues for radio, television, and the print media.

The webcast is also available in other formats (.mp3, .wmv, .mp4) via this link.



First and second prizes were awarded in seven categories as follows:

Cellular and Molecular Biology

First prize:
Avital Horowitz
"Bax-suppressor human Septin7 and its yeast orthologue CDC10 are capable of resisting copper-mediated cell death in yeast"
Supervisors: Prof. Craig A. Mandato, Dr. Michael T. Greenwood
Nominated by: Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Second prize:
Daegan Sit
"Development of a High-Throughput, Genome-Wide Screen of Virulence-Related Genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa using a Caenorhabditis elegans Liquid Killing Model"
Supervisors: Prof. Fred Ausubel and Dr. Natalia Kirienko (Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School)
Nominated by: Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Earth System Science

First prize:
Caroline Aubry-Wake
"Response of glacier mass balance and discharge to future climate change, upper Susitna basin, Alaska"
Supervisor: Prof. Regine Hock (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
Nominated by: Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Second prize:
Mathis Messager
"Development of a method to estimate lake volumes from surrounding topographic information at a global scale"
Supervisor: Prof. Bernhard Lehner
Nominated by: Department of Geography

Health & Social Science

First prize:
Mark Saffran
"Fear of Missing Out: Prevalence, Dynamics and Consequences of FOMO"
Supervisor: Prof. Richard Koestner
Nominated by: Department of Psychology

Second prize:
Saskia Ferrar
"Psychosocial predictors of quality of life and dyadic adjustment in men with Peyronie's Disease"
Supervisor: Prof. Irving Binik
Nominated by: Department of Psychology

Mathematical & Computational Sciences

First prize:
Mathilde Gerbelli-Gauthier and Olivier Martin
"Two Perspectives on mod p and p-adic Galois Representations"
Supervisor: Prof. Henri Darmon
Nominated by: Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Second prize:
Adam Bene Watts
"Benefits of Random Copying in a Network of n-armed Bandits"
Supervisor: Prof. Doina Precup
Nominated by: School of Computer Science

Adam Bene Watts with Dr. John Smol and Dean Martin Grant.
Click to view full image
Medical Sciences

First prize:
Doran Satanove
"Pharmacological Characterization of a Reinforcer Enhancing Effect of Nicotine"
Supervisor: Prof. Paul Clarke
Nominated by: Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Second prize:
Joseph Yang
"Knee Deep in Water: Aquaporin 9 and Cartilage Damage"
Supervisor: Dr. Benjamin Alman (Hospital for Sick Children)
Nominated by: Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Organismal and Biological Sciences

First prize:
Bojing Jia
"CLIC Imaging of Cells: Pressing Cells into Focus"
Supervisors: Prof. Claire Brown, Prof. Sabrina Leslie
Nominated by: Department of Physiology

Second prize:
Lou Beaulieu-Laroche
"Reduced B16 melanoma cells growth upon circadian rhythm induction in vitro"
Supervisor: Prof. Nicolas Cermakian
Nominated by: Department of Physiology

Physical Sciences

First prize:
Daniel Berard
"Convex Lens-Induced Nanochannel Templating (CLINT)"
Supervisors: Prof. Sabrina Leslie and Prof. Walter Reisner
Nominated by: Department of Physics

Second prize:
Laura Swayne
"Pneumatically Controlled Single Use Valve on a Centrifugal Microfluidic Disk Device"
Supervisor: Prof. Eric Salin
Nominated by: Department of Chemistry


Download the following slides to announce the Undergraduate Research Conference in your class or elsewhere:


Victor Chisholm, Undergraduate Research Officer, 514-398-5964