John Abbott Sustainability Through Science Symposium

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Held in partnership with John Abbott College and the Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative, the John Abbott Sustainability Through Science Symposium features three Macdonald Campus graduate students giving an engaging 10-minute talk about how their research contributes to a more sustainable future. The talks will be followed by a panel discussion on their student experience in university and the career path they have chosen.



Friday, April 19


John Abbott College Library, Herzberg Building

Contact: ingrid.chiraz [at]


Order of proceedings

13h00 – Welcome and Introductions
13h05 – Student Presentations
13h35 – Panel Discussion 
13h55 – Thanks
14h00 – End of Event

Sean Hughes
Sean Hughes
Panel Moderator

Science Program Coordinator
Department of Chemistry, John Abbott College



Aylish Marshall

Aylish Marshall, MSc student, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University

How Hidden Chemicals in River Water Can Change Genetic Expressions in Wild and Laboratory Fish

At any given moment, low concentrations of hundreds of different chemicals are present in our rivers, mostly from industrial and agricultural runoff. As fish breed and develop in these waters, the mixture of chemicals can have long-term consequences on their health and survival. However, long-term studies of fish in contaminated waters are difficult and costly. My research aims to use molecular tools to estimate long-term impacts through short-term exposures, which can be used to set pollution guidelines and help protect the health of wild fish.

Jasmine Muszik, PhD candidate, Department of Animal Science, McGill University

Holy Cow... Just Let Me Go Outside! An Insight into Animal Welfare

With growing public concern on the treatment of farm animals, more efforts have been made to improve welfare practices and increase sustainability efforts, both in research and on farm. Understanding what leads to frustration in dairy cattle, can help farmers gain insight into the mental state of their herd. My work aims to understand how going outside impacts the emotional state of cows, to highlight the significance of considering animals' preferences when making management and legislative decisions.

Jasmine Muszik


Mehtab Singh

Mehtab Singh, PhD candidate, Department of Plant Science, McGill University

Harnessing Gene Editing to Develop Climate-Responsive Oat

Oat is an emerging cereal for healthy lives rich in antioxidants and dietary fibre ‘beta-glucan’ with immense health benefits. Climate change is influencing Canada's agricultural season, which normally runs from May to October. Each degree of rise in temperature affects this window ultimately reducing the yield by impacting the plant’s reproduction. Hence we aim to understand the molecular mechanism of the flowering and fine-tune them to develop sustainable oat crops with improved adaptivity to changing climate using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology.

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