2009 Undergraduate Research Conference

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On Friday, October 16, 2009, students from across the Faculty of Science presented their research projects at the fifth annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC). The URC took place during Homecoming 2009 in the lobby of McGill's historic Arts Building.

This year, fifty-two 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: "Does neonatal immunization provide broader protection?", "Listening to black holes", and "Variation in pastoral land management strategies in response to drought and land privatization, Kenya".

Judges drawn from the McGill professoriate 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 guest lecture (see also below). The day culminated with a reception for students and alumni, where everyone celebrated the accomplishments of McGill Science students.

Keynote address: Dr Brenda Milner

Dr. Brenda Milner (C.C., F.R.S., G.O.Q., Ph.D. ’52)

The Faculty of Science was honoured to welcome distinguished neuroscientist Dr. Brenda Milner (C.C., F.R.S., G.O.Q., Ph.D. ’52). Following the awarding of URC prizes, she delivered the keynote address, entitled My life in science: the excitement of discovery. It's a curious thing! What happens when exploring basic questions leads to the development of a new branch of science? Dr. Milner participated in the founding of neuroscience at McGill with Dr. Wilder Penfield and other neuroscience pioneers. Advances in technology and the accumulation of knowledge have solved many riddles, but for an inquisitive mind, progress like this leads above all to new questions. Dr. Milner advanced the revolutionary concept of multiple memory systems within the brain. Her work has deepened our understanding of brain function and the complementary specialisations of the human cerebral hemispheres.


URC 2009 prizewinners with keynote speaker Dr. Brenda Milner - Owen Egan

First and second prizes were awarded in sixcategories as follows:

Biological Sciences

  1. Kiyoko Gotanda, B.Sc. '09 hon. Biology; M.Sc. Biology
    The effects of hypoxia on the critical swimming speed of an African cichlid
    Supervisor: Prof. Lauren J. Chapman
    Nominated by the Department of Biology
  2. Jeremy Dupaul-Chicoine, B.Sc. '09 hon. Microbiology & Immunology, min. Pharmacology; M.Sc. Biochemistry
    Control of intestinal homeostasis, colitis and colitis-associated colorectal cancer by the inflammatory caspases
    Supervisor: Prof. Maya Saleh
    Nominated by the Department of Biochemistry
  • Honorable mention:
    Katherine Velghe, B.Sc. '09 hon. Biology; M.Sc. Biology
    Long-term ecological dynamics of sockeye salmon nursery lakes Supervisor: Prof. Irene Gregory-Eaves
    Nominated by the Department of Biology

Earth System Science

  1. Olivier Shelbaya, B.Sc. Physics min. Mathematics
    Exploration of Model Error Covariance Matrices in Data Assimilation
    Supervisor: Michel Bourqui
    Nominated by the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  2. Alexandra LaRue, B.Sc. Earth & Planetary Sciences
    The Interaction of Diffusion and Bubble Growth in Rhyolitic Systems
    Supervisor: Prof. Don R. Baker
    Nominated by the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Health & Life Sciences

  1. Marnie Goodwin Wilson, B.Sc. hon. Microbiology & Immunology
    Epigenetic cancer therapeutics modulate the oncolytic activity of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) in refractory cell lines
    Supervisor: Prof. John Hiscott
    Nominated by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  2. Daniel Ting, B.Sc. hon. Microbiology & Immunology, min. Social Studies of Medicine
    The Role of Citrobacter rodentium lipopolysaccharide modifications in outer membrane permeability to hydrophobic compounds
    Supervisor: Prof. Hervé Le Moual
    Nominated by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Mathematical & Computational Sciences

  1. Gabriel Charette, B.Sc. hon. Computer Science
    State-Space Control and Python Bindings for the Amphibious AQUA Robot
    Supervisor: Prof. Gregory Dudek
    Nominated by the School of Computer Science
  2. Volodymyr Kuleshov, B.Sc. hon. Mathematics & Computer Science
    Designing efficient markets
    Supervisor: Prof. Adrian Vetta
    Nominated by the School of Computer Science

Physical Sciences

  1. Lai Chung Liu, B.Sc. hon. Physics and Chemistry
    Multislice Simulation of Debye-Scherrer Diffraction Pattern for Gold Nanoparticles
    Supervisor: Prof. Brad J. Siwick
    Nominated by the Department of Physics
  2. Erin May, B.Sc. hon. Biochemistry
    Elucidating the regio- and stereoselectivity of CYP3A4-catalyzed hydroxylations at inactivated CH-bonds
    Supervisor: Prof. Karine Auclair
    Nominated by the Department of Chemistry

Social Science & Psychology

  1. Nina McCurdy, B.A. & Sc. Cognitive Science, min. Hispanic Languages
    Asymmetrical Contingencies
    Supervisors: Prof. Andy Baker and Ms. Irina Baetu
    Nominated by the Department of Psychology
  2. Max Halparin, B.A. hon. Geography, min. Geographic Info Systems, min. Environment
    Neighbourhood Walkability and Type-2 Diabetes in Montreal
    Supervisor: Prof. Nancy Ross
    Nominated by the Department of Geography

More information

Victor Chisholm [ victor.chisholm [at] mcgill.ca (Email) ]
Undergraduate Research Officer
Office for Undergraduate Research in Science
Burnside Hall, Room 720
tel.: 514-398-5964