Spring grad symposiums showcase biological and health science research

Thursday, May 11, 2017

GradSymposium S17

At the end of April, graduate research from Biology, Pharmacy and Optometry and Vision Science was on display during the series of annual spring research symposiums held by the individual departments and schools. 

Vision Science Graduate Research Conference

Kicking off the week was the two-day Vision Science Graduate Research Conference hosted by the School of Optometry and Vision Science. Each day a series of graduate students gave 20-minute presentations about their research. Topics ranged from visual effects post-concussion, to blur detection in progressive myopic children, to temperature changes in contact lenses. The conference concluded with a talk on Vision and Medieval Magic from keynote speaker Prof. David Porreca (Faculty of Arts).

One student who attended the day’s activities commented on the impact and importance of the conference for future graduate students.

“Attending occasions like today is a great opportunity for students considering graduate school to come see what it is all about,” said Ian Erkelens, a PhD Candidate in the School of Optometry and Vision Science. “There is no other time to check out the environment and meet the people you may work with.”

The annual event provides a first-hand glance/peek into vision science graduate studies. The networking opportunities, ability to meet supervisors and chance to explore research topics is right at your fingertips.

Pharmacy Research Day

Midweek, the School of Pharmacy launched its inaugural Pharmacy Research Day. The event was organized by staff and faculty from the School’s Graduate Studies program. The day included fourteen 15-minute grad student talks and a poster presentation. Chemistry’s Prof. John Honek and Dr. Marlee Spafford from the School of Optometry and Vision Science were the keynote speakers.

The grad student talks ranged from microemulsions, to effects of diet-induced diabetes, to potential treatments for Alzheimer’s. After oral presentations concluded, there was a poster session where students were able to mingle, ask questions and visually display their work to classmates, APOTEX sponsors and the external community.

“The diversity of our graduate program is one of its greatest strengths, and the oral and poster presentations demonstrated exactly that. Since the launch of Pharmacy Research Day was a success, we are pleased to make it an annual tradition,” said Shawn Wettig, Associate Professor and Associate Director of Graduate Studies at the School of Pharmacy.

Biology Graduate Student Research Conference

To end the week was the Biology Graduate Student Research Conference, an annual event that has been organized for over 20 years by the Biology Graduate Student Association. With 27 student presentations, the event was separated into two lecture rooms in the Quantum Nano Centre (QNC).

The talks began with keynote speaker, freelance writer Jovana Drinjakovic, who discussed her journey from academia to science writing. Throughout the day, students listened to 15-minute research presentations ranging from multi-stressor impacts of fish energetics, to the mammalian skin microbiome, to identifying toxins in groundwater. Festivities ended with a celebratory post-symposium social on campus at the Grad House.

“The Biology Department is diverse so this symposium is the perfect opportunity to learn about what’s happening in the other labs and appreciate the amount of diversity found under the same roof,” said Eric Le Dreff-Kerwin, MSc Candidate in the Department of Biology and Conference Coordinator for the Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA). “It’s also great for graduate students to practice presentation skills and brainstorm with fellow colleagues.”

If you’re interested in graduate studies at Waterloo Science then please join us at our Grad Open House and Information sessions in the fall.