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Two New Canada Research Chairs in Science

Katrina Choe and Sarah Styler are the newest Canada Research Chairs in the Faculty of Science.

Katrina and Sarah were among 10 McMaster researchers awarded Canada Research Chairs earlier this month. Sarah and Katrina joined the Faculty of Science in 2020.

Katrina, an Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology of Social Behaviour

"During my graduate and postdoctoral training, I had unique opportunities to learn and apply a variety of both established and cutting-edge techniques for neuroscience research," says Katrina. "By combining multiple techniques, I've uncovered new aspects of how the brain coordinates social behaviour and how oxytocin influences it. I'm excited to continue making new discoveries in this research area using integrative approaches with the support of the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Katrina thanks her graduate mentor Dr. Charles Bourque (McGill) and postdoctoral mentors Dr. Tom Otis (formerly UCLA, now Sainsbury Wellcome Centre) and Dr. Daniel Geschwind (UCLA). "They were always been so supportive of every ambitious experiment I wanted to do, and they provided essential career advice wherever I needed it. I feel extremely privileged to have received mentorship from these brilliant scientists who really care for their trainees.

Sarah, an Assistant Professor with the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry. "I always tell students that the arc of my academic career in environmental and atmospheric chemistry began somewhat inauspiciously. In the summer before my second year of my undergraduate degree, I made a split-second decision between environmental chemistry and evolutionary biology. At the same time, I embrace the role that luck and chance have played in determining my academic interests, and the breadth of topics that I and my research team can explore as atmospheric chemists. For example, at the moment, students in my research group are studying the chemistry occurring in urban road dust, wildfire smoke and ash, and museum storage environments."

Sarah says she's been fortunate to have had so many mentors and teachers throughout her career. "There were the supportive faculty in Environmental Chemistry at the University of Toronto where I completed all of my training; my excellent colleagues at the University of Alberta, my former institution; my inspiring network of peers in Atmospheric Chemistry at Canadian and international institutions; my first group of graduate students, who I often think taught me more than I taught them. My first mentor, best teacher, and all-around inspiration, though, has always been my brilliant and creative mom, who took me on nature walks, helped me to design science experiments, and encouraged my learning in all areas, and who is still my first point of contact for all trials and tribulations."

With Katrina and Sarah's appointments, there are now 19 Canada Research Chairs in the Faculty of Science: Congratulate Katrina at choek@mcmaster.ca and Sarah at stylers@mcmaster.ca.
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