Faculty of Science's Fall Term Update on courses, labs, tutorials, exams, research and fieldwork

Three Students Receive Co-op Awards

Richa Alvares Alyssa Burrows and Miranda Zary Richa Alvares, Alyssa Burrows and Miranda Zary are the Faculty of Science's 2020 Co-op Students of the Year.

The employer-nominated awards are presented annually by Science Career & Cooperative Education Department to recognize students who excelled during their co-op work terms while also making significant contributions to their fellow students and McMaster.

Richa, a Life Sciences student who has served as a McMaster tour guide, peer mentor and ambassador on the Firsthand online platform, completed her co-op at Alaya Care. "Along with Richa's initiative, attention to detail and organization, she brought a positive attitude and great energy to any project that she was working on, no matter how challenging," wrote her supervisor Rojin Karimi. Richa was also chosen as McMaster's nominee for Ontario's Work-Integrated Learning Co-op Student of the Year Award.

Alyssa, a Biology & Pharmacology student who served as co-president of the McMaster Biology & Pharmacology Society and McMaster Food Allergy Club and was the mentorship coordinator for the McMaster Science Society, worked for Kingston Allergy Research. "Alyssa went above and beyond expectations," wrote her supervisor Anne Ellis. "Alyssa tackled each task given to her with great care and attention to detail while always considering the privacy of our participants and their confidentiality."

Miranda, a Biochemistry student who served as co-president and a peer mentor with the Biochemistry and Biomedical Society, worked in Professor Eric Brown's lab at McMaster University. "Miranda immediately distinguished herself as a bright student with a genuine interest in the field and a contagious enthusiasm for science," Eric wrote in his nomination letter. "Miranda is a positive role model for new trainees in the lab."

Receiving honourable mentions were Manjot Grewal who worked as a laboratory assistant with Professor Jose Moran Mirabel, Alessandra Scalisi who worked with the Corporate Actuarial Life and Health Production Team at TD Insurance and Larissa Turco who was a junior policy analyst with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Reviewing employer nominations and selecting the co-op students of the year were faculty member Anas Abdullah, alumnae Laura Morrison and Alice O'Carroll, Director of Science Career Development and Cooperative Education.

Students are available for summer co-ops within the Faculty of Science. For more information, email

Honorary Doctorate for Juliet Daniel

Juliet Daniel april newsletterCongratulations to Juliet Daniel on receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Science from The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.

Juliet, who is serving as Acting Associate Dean of Research & External Relations, was recognized for her work in medicine and cancer research.

Honorary Doctorates were also conferred on University of Miami President Julio Frenk and journalist Sonita Alleyne during a virtual Convocation ceremony.

The University of the West Indies recognizes Caribbean excellence through the conferral of honorary degrees on individuals who have distinguished themselves by making substantial contributions towards the development of the region and the advancement of The University of the West Indies (UWI).

Times Higher Education ranks UWI among the top 20 universities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The regional university educates nearly 50,000 students at five campuses and offers more than 800 certificates, diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Foundation Honours Distinguished University Professor

Mike Brook april newletterCongratulations to Chemistry & Chemical Biology professor Mike Brook on receiving a D'Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation.

The fellowship connects Irish and Canadian academics, researchers and thinkers online to nurture and develop collaborations. Beacon fellows deliver an online lecture that is recorded and posted on the Ireland Canada University Foundation and also gives a series of smaller online events.

Mike, who is the Faculty of Science Chair in Sustainable Silicone Polymers, was made a Distinguished University Professor in 2017 and has been a visiting professor at six universities in Ireland, Australia, France and the Netherlands.

National Research Award for Kinesiology Undergrad

National research award for Kinesiology undergrad 1Christina Pizzola pivoted her way to a national award with an assist from Zoom and Amazon and encouragement from a past award recipient.

Christina, a fourth-year Kinesiology student, received an Outstanding Research Award at the 21st Annual Bertha Rosenstadt National Undergraduate Research Conference in Kinesiology and Physical Education. Hosted by the University of Toronto, the multidisciplinary conference gives undergraduate students the opportunity to present literature reviews, critiques, term papers and findings from research projects. Students submit an abstract and have 10 minutes to present their papers to peers and faculty members.

Christina presented findings from her research into the effects of four weeks of lower limb heating therapy on cardiorespiratory fitness in young, healthy and recreationally active women and men.
Christina Pizzola

"My original plan was to focus on arterial stiffness as my main outcome measure," says Christina. "But the pandemic forced me to pivot my thesis to a measure that could be determined from home instead of in a lab. So we measured cardiorespiratory fitness at home using the modified Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test. We used Zoom to facilitate the submaximal exercise test. Participants in our research study performed heat therapy three times a week from the comfort of their own homes using a commercial foot bath I ordered from Amazon. Although running the study remotely was challenging, I was delighted to see there was 100 percent adherence to the intervention."

Presenting at the conference was a race to the finish. Christina and her graduate supervisor Jem Cheng were still collecting data the week of the conference and even running sessions the day before the presentation to build the largest possible data set.

Christina submitted her abstract to the conference on the recommendation of her graduate supervisor Jem Cheng. "I'm just so proud of Christina and everything she's accomplished this year in spite of the situation we're all in," says Jem, who won the same award at the 2015 conference. "It was definitely a proud 'research mom' moment. I had this pang of nostalgia and just a sense that my research journey was coming full circle"

Christina will be working in the Vascular Dynamics Lab this summer to assist with Jem's research.
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