Established in 2011 by Margaret A. Gilliam, BSc'59.
Awarded to an outstanding graduate student working in an area of research that falls under the mandate of the Institute for Global Food Security at Macdonald campus. Awarded based on the Director of the Institute's recommendation to the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Scholarship Committee.
2021 award winner: Dongyun Jung
Field of Study and the degree (Program): PhD in Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry (Microbiology)
Research title: Characterization of genomics and environmental microbiology of mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli
Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Ronholm
Dongyun completed his B.Sc. in Food Science and Technology at Chungnam National University in South Korea in 2016. He became interested in foodborne bacteria and their antimicrobial resistance (AMR) during his B.Sc. program. This led him to pursue his M.Sc in the department of Veterinary Microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan. His M.Sc. research project focused on AMR bacteria from imported vegetables and spices purchased from niche markets in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan under the supervision of Dr. Joe Rubin. When he completed his M.Sc. in the Winter of 2019, he became interested in next-generation sequencing to understand the bacteria from food sources at the genomic level. He started his PhD program in the Fall of 2019 under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Ronholm at the department of Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry.
As a PhD candidate now, he has been focusing on defining the genomic differences between mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli (MPEC) and bovine commensal E. coli, as well as developing CRISPR-Cas9 based MPEC prophylactic system that targets the unique genes of MPEC. His research project also focuses on tracking the differences in the microbiome between healthy and MPEC-infected bovine udders during lactation which defines the microbial community as a defense line against MPEC in the udders. He hopes that the CRISPR-Cas9 based MPEC prophylactic system and potential probiotics against MPEC will be the novel strategy to prevent bovine clinical mastitis by MPEC without the conventional use of antibiotics and overall improves the sustainability of the dairy industry and food security.
Previous award winners
Field of Study and the degree (Program): Food Science, PhD candidate
Research title: Formation, resuscitation and prevention of viable but non-culturable Campylobacter jejuni in agri-food industry
Supervisor: Xiaonan Lu
Kaidi completed her BSc in Food Science and Engineering at Zhejiang University (China) in 2017. She then obtained her MSc in Food Science at the University of British Columbia in 2019, where she worked on the rapid detection of foodborne pathogens under the supervision of Dr. Xiaonan Lu. Upon graduation, Kaidi continued her PhD study in the same lab and transferred to McGill University in July 2020 due to lab relocation. Her current research is focusing on developing innovative sensing systems to better understand the formation and resuscitation of Campylobacter, a major foodborne pathogen, in dormancy state and to reduce its prevalence in agri-foods. Hopefully this work can provide new insights to improve food safety, reduce food loss and waste, and contribute to global food security.
Field of Study and the degree (Program): MSc candidate, Animal Science
Research title: Role of animal- and plant-based foods in sustainable diets in Canada
Supervisor: Professor Sergio Burgos
Olivia completed her BSc in Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Environment from McGill University in 2018. Her MSc in Animal Science, which she obtained from McGill in 2019, utilized data from the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition to assess the consumption and contribution of milk and alternatives (as per the 2007 Canada’s Food Guide) to nutrient intakes by Canadian adults. Olivia commenced her PhD studies in Animal Science at McGill in 2020. Having always been passionate about the intertwined complexities of human and planetary health, her graduate studies will focus on the environmental impact of consumer food choices and more specifically, the role of animal- and plant-based foods in sustainable diets in Canada. She is hopeful that her research will provide a tangible and practical means for individuals to deploy immediate and autonomous action as per the global climate crisis, empowering Canadians to make informed decisions regarding the nutritional, economic, cultural, and environmental aspects of their dietary choices beyond health alone.
Field of Study and the degree (Program): PhD candidate, Plant Science (Bioinformatics)
Research title: Genome assembly and structural variation analyses of complex plant genomes
Supervisor: Professor Martina Strömvik
Maria Kyriakidou did her BSc in Plant Science and Biotechnology at Cyprus University of Technology (Limassol, Cyprus) where she studied post-harvest drug resistance in citrus fruits. She then earned her MSc in Bioinformatics at the University of Leicester (Leicester, England), where she studied allele specific expression and methylation in the bumble bee. Maria's current research interests include the design and application of bioinformatics approaches for genomic and transcriptomic data to aid the understanding of plant problems. She is conducting research on potato DNA to find genetic diversity that can help make potatoes more resilient to the threats of climate change. She is working with the International Potato Research Centre in Lima, Peru, who has selected 12 cultivated potato lines that are very different from ours. Maria's part in this is to study the whole genome sequence and identify the differences in how the plant fights diseases and harsh climate events. Once her research is completed, Maria will have identified disease resistance genes and other important pieces of DNA that plant breeders, such as collaborators in Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, can use to make better lines to ensure that we can rely on potato being part of global food security in the future.
Field of Study and the degree (Program): PhD candidate Human Nutrition
Research title: Gender equity and food security in Ghana
Supervisor: Professor Grace Marquis
Diana Dallmann is a PhD candidate in the School of Human Nutrition at McGill University. Her research aims to assess the delivery and utilization of an integrated agriculture and nutrition education, which took place in Ghana.
Diana is a Nutritionist (BSc) and graduated from the National University of Asuncion in Paraguay with a thesis focused on a policy regulating school cafeterias. In 2014 she received a Master degree on Public Health Nutrition with a research study validating a food security measurement tool in Paraguay. Before moving to Canada, she worked as the head of Monitoring and Evaluation at the National Institute for Food and Nutrition, and as a consultant in food security for the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Paraguay.
Field of Study and the degree (Program): PhD candidate Food Science & Agricultural Chemistry
Anna Colavecchio completed her B.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology at Université de Montréal in 2013 and during this time became very interested in Food Microbiology. Upon graduation, she pursued a M.Sc. in the Non-thesis Food Science and Food Safety Program at McGill University. During the course of this degree, she was introduced to Dr. Lawrence Goodridge, the Director of the Food Safety and Quality program at McGill University, and became very interested in his research. In 2015, Anna decided to pursue a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Goodridge and her research focus was characterising a novel class of bacteriophages, called phage-like plasmids, which harbour antimicrobial and heavy metal resistance genes and determining their potential to transfer these resistance genes to foodborne pathogens. Anna is currently writing her thesis and intends on working as a Food Microbiologist or Food Safety specialist in the Québec food industry.
Field of Study and the degree (Program): PhD’17 (Renewable Resources)
Research title: Understanding the relationships between women's access to land resources and household food security in Eastern Kenya
Supervisor: Professor Gordon Hickey
Currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Université Laval
“I am exploring some of the potential mechanisms enabling women to access land resources within the context of severe environmental constraints, historical colonization, customary values, rules and practices around gender roles and resource management in semi-arid regions of Kenya.”
Field of Study and the degree (Program): MSc’15
Research title: Food security & social support: exploring relationships between social resources & access to adequate food
Currently working at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Designated by FAO as the liaison person between the Voices of the Hungry initiative at FAO and McGill.
Field of Study and the degree (Program): MSc’10, PhD’15 (Bioresource Engineering)
Research title: Use of Millets for Partial Wheat Replacement in Bakery Products
Supervisor: Professor Valérie Orsat
Currently Director of Process Development, Inocucor Technologies Inc.