Four Science graduate students in GSPA's GRADflix finals

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Since 2018, the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) hosts a "GRADflix" competition, challenging students from across campus to communicate their research to a general audience. With only 60 seconds at their disposal, competetors create videos, moving slideshows or animation, in order to tell us why their research is important!

With a record number of entries this year, GSPA has announced their top 25 finalists, including four students from the Faculty of Science. Congratulations to Adam Grottoli (Biology), Lilian Toma (Pharmacy), Mia Stratton (Biology), and Joseph Varga (Biology) for making it to the finals! Read about their research, and the titles of their videos below.

The viewing showcase, where their entries will be streamed live will take place virtually on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 3:00 pm (EST). Details can be found on the GSPA event listing. Tune in, and pick your favourite for the People's Choice winner, every vote counts!

Adam Grottoli head shot

Name and program: Adam Grottoli, MSc student, Biology

GRADflix video title: Bats and methylmercury

Supervisor: Dr. Hugh Broders

Biography: Adam Grottoli is currently completing his MSc degree, researching the ecology and ecotoxicology of bats. Before coming to Waterloo, Adam graduated with a HBSc in Biology and Environmental Science from McMaster University. He has also spent time in New Zealand, where he helped conduct avian research on the ecology of the Pukeko bird. In his spare time, you might catch Adam on the ski slopes, rock climbing, knitting, camping, or listening to music.


Lillian Toma - head shotName and program: Lilian Toma, MSc student, School of Pharmacy

GRADflix video title: Novel molecules to treat COVID-19

Supervisor: Dr. Praveen Nekkar Rao

Biography: Lilian Toma is a Master of Science in Pharmacy candidate at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. Her fascination with drug development led her to the Nekkar lab where she is currently investigating new COVID-19 treatments. She completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Waterloo in the Biomedical Sciences program. Lilian works part-time as a personal support worker and loves to spend her spare time volunteering and hanging out with her puppy, Cece. Her experiences have shown her that she feels best when supporting others, whether that’s directly as a caregiver, or indirectly by researching new treatments for diseases. 


Mia Stratton head shot

Name and program: Mia Stratton, MSc student, Biology

GRADflix video title: Paleolimnology and a changing delta

Supervisors: Dr. Roland Hall and Dr. Brent Wolfe

Biography: Mia Stratton is a master's student in Biology, studying the effect of climate change on water availability in northern Canada. She has been a student at the University of Waterloo for 6 years now and knows where to find the best studying and napping spots on campus. Outside of being a grad student, she likes to spend her time rock-climbing, hiking, cooking, and playing with her two kittens. 

Joseph Varga head shotName and program: Joseph Varga, PhD candidate, Biology

GRADflix video title: From farm to fork: The potential role of antimicrobial peptides in modulating fish health and disease

Supervisor: Dr. Brian Dixon

Biography: Joseph Varga is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Brian Dixon. He completed his MSc degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology and an HBSc in Biological Sciences and Neuroscience at the University of Guelph. His current research interests include antimicrobial peptides and how they modulate the immune system of animals. Joseph hopes to pursue an exciting career as a veterinary scientist in the near future. Outside the lab, he enjoys volunteering, swimming, baking, reading, learning new languages, and travelling across Europe.