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Tomlinson Scholars

The Richard H. Tomlinson Fellowship aims to attract high-caliber doctoral students in any discipline at McGill. The Tomlinson Doctoral Fellowships are worth $35,000/year for up to 3 years, making this one of the most prestigious fellowships programs in Canada and a significant contribution to recruiting and supporting exceptional graduate students at McGill. Find out here what it means to be a Tomlinson Scholar. More information about the fellowships are available here.

2020-2021 Scholars

Adam Groh, Integrated Program in Neuroscience

Tomlinson Scholar-Groh Adam Groh is a first year PhD student working in the lab of Dr. Jo Anne Stratton within the Faculty of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital. His research focuses primarily on ependymal cells, a ciliated epithelium that lines the cerebral ventricles. Ependymal cells are vital regulators of cerebrospinal fluid flow, and interestingly, are also disrupted in diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Despite this, these cells have remained critically understudied compared to others in the brain. Adam’s research will investigate the influence of ependymal cell disruption on wider brain health using a novel transgenic model, while also assessing human brain tissues collected in collaboration with the Douglas Bell Canada Brain Bank. His project employs a variety of techniques, such as in vivo magnetic resonance imaging, single cell RNA sequencing, and immunohistochemistry. The Tomlinson Doctoral Fellowship has given Adam the financial stability necessary to focus entirely on his research and to grow as a leader and educator in neuroscience. Overall, Adam is excited to be a part of the Tomlinson community, to disseminate his research widely, and to further our understanding of ependymal cells as key support cells within the brain.


Alberto Acquilino, Music

Tomlinson Scholar-AquilinoAlberto Acquilino is a first-year PhD student at the Computational Acoustic Modeling Laboratory in the Music Technology Area and active member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology. He combines his master’s degrees in Musical Performance and Mechanical Engineering with the aim of developing new technologies in support of music pedagogy. Learning to master a musical instrument involves different technical features that still have to be addressed by music technologies, such as facility with timbre, dynamics, steadiness of tone, attack and release precision and refinement, embouchure configuration and variation, finger position and movement, posture and breathing, other than intonation and rhythm. Alberto’s research, funded by the Tomlinson Scholarship, intends to apply novel signal processing and feature extraction techniques, together with intuitive and user-friendly software interfaces, to create new tools that can help instrumentalists and teachers in becoming more efficient and effective with their practice and instruction time.


Amanda Doucette, Linguistics 

Tomlinson Scholar-DoucetteI am a first-year PhD student in the Department of Linguistics. My research examines how language is represented in the human brain. Specifically, I am looking at how phonology - the organization of speech sounds in a language - is learned and represented. By using machine learning techniques to model human behavior, I believe we can begin to understand what the structure of linguistic knowledge looks like. How much of our linguistic ability is innate, and how much is learned? The Tomlinson Fellowship has made it possible for me to pursue these questions as a PhD student at McGill, and I am excited to continue my research as a part of the McGill community.


Anna Halepaska, Architecture


Dennis Ohm, Anthropology

Tomlinson Scholar-OhmAfter studying Politics, Gender Studies, and Economics in Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Berlin and New York, I joined the PhD program in Anthropology in 2020. My research interests include queer archives, affect theory, ethnographic fiction, anarchism, and the anthropology of epidemics. In my PhD project, I investigate the politics of intimacy, love, and relationality through the lens of architecture, social movements, and temporality. I hope that my research will contribute not only to an understanding of how the spaces that are considered most intimate are actually political sites that consolidate and sustain capitalist, hetero-patriarchal, and racist structures of domination, but also how resistance in the past, present, and future undermine and re-configure these structures as well as the affective grammars that underwrite them.


Eleftherios Samartzis, Experimental Surgery

Tomlinson Scholar-SamartzisAs a trained gynecologist from Switzerland pursuing subspeciality training in Gynecologic Oncology at McGill University, the Tomlinson Fellowship has made it possible for me to pursue a PhD program in Experimental Surgery at McGill during my Clinical Fellowship. My PhD project assesses the acceptance and clinical performance of a novel intrauterine molecular screening test – DOvEEgene – to detect ovarian and endometrial cancer early. DOvEEgene is as an acronym for Detecting Ovarian and Endometrial cancer Early using genomics. This innovative screening test aims at improving prognosis of these cancers, which are currently within the top 4causes of cancer-deaths in Canadian women, by increasing early detection. I am deeply honored to be a Tomlinson Fellowship recipient and grateful to Richard H. Tomlinson for his extraordinary legacy.


Emma McKay, Integrated Studies in Education


Maggie Chang, Biology


Marjolaine Lamontagne, Political Science

Tomlinson Scholar-Lamontagne Who speaks on behalf of citizens internationally? If the coronavirus pandemic has shown us anything, it is that regional and federated governments are constitutionally responsible for, and hold distinctive views on, a great number of global issues, including healthcare, environmental politics, and the protection of cultural diversity. Yet, international law excludes them from multilateral organizations where global debates are held, and national and multilateral officials are reluctant to acknowledge their growing participation in international politics.

I am honored to be a recipient of the Richard H. Tomlinson Doctoral Fellowship, which allows me to fully dedicate myself to the pursuit of my Ph.D. in International Relations and Comparative Politics. My thesis research will investigate the transformation of diplomatic practices in multilateral organizations and forums where substate actors increasingly assume a formal and informal presence. Among other methods, I will interview diplomatic representatives from substate and national governments to apprehend the informal “ways of doing things” and “background assumptions” that contribute to the reproduction of state sovereignty beyond institutions and political discourse. The goal will be to examine if and how the balance of political legitimacy and the distribution of diplomatic tasks between central and substate governments are changing in the era of globalization, and what are the effects of this transition on global and national governance.


Mathis Messager, Geography 

Tomlinson Scholar-MessagerMy research seeks to inform the management and conservation of freshwater ecosystems and, in turn, support human cultures and livelihoods that depend on these ecosystems. I take a multidisciplinary approach, leveraging ecology and geosciences, together with the most recent advances in statistics and computing, to promote freshwater sustainability.

My doctoral research, made possible by the Tomlinson doctoral fellowship, will focus on improving our understanding and promote the conservation of rivers that flow only part of the year. From Himalayan snow-fed creeks and Saharan wadis, to small streams in British Columbian rainforests, most rivers and streams on Earth flow only part of the year, yet we know very little about them. This oversight contributes to the degradation of these ecosystems, the main source of water and livelihood for millions of people. Through my thesis, I intend to correct this oversight and enable their conservation.


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Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, McGill University.

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