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

Grad Student Recognized for Leadership Role

Shawn HerculesShawn Hercules has received the Mary Keyes Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service to McMaster. The award, named in memory of Dr. Mary Keyes, Associate Vice President (Student Affairs), acknowledges graduate students who give their time, spirit and energy to McMaster student societies, university committees and governing bodies.

Shawn, a Ph.D. candidate with the Department of Biology, has served as President of McMaster's Graduate Students Association since May 2019. The Association advocates for the needs of the collective acts as a resource and provides support and services that improve the graduate student experience at McMaster.


"The Graduate Students Association was able to quickly pivot during the pandemic and continue providing services that meet students' needs in a virtual format. Additionally, in the face of anti-Black racism, the GSA abolished its previous political neutrality policy and replaced it with an anti-oppression policy. The GSA is now positioned to be more vocal and active on issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, that are important and relevant to graduate students.


"Graduate students, with guidance from our supervisors and peers, are the ones running the research engine at Canada's most research-intensive university.


"At the beginning of the lockdown, my supervisor Dr. Juliet Daniel went above and beyond to meet with me and the other graduate students in our lab. Dr. Daniel began meeting with us on a weekly basis not only to help us transition our research to an online format but also to check in on us and our mental health. She insisted that our lab as a whole would have games nights to help us maintain social activities and overall team spirit.

LIVELab Ambassadors Make Research-Infused Playlist

LIVELab Ambassadors can help put you to sleep, work up a sweat and find your inner peace.

The 45 student volunteers have curated research-themed Spotify and YouTube music and wellness playlists for topics ranging from sleep and exercise to meditation, creativity, cognition and mood.

Before the pandemic, ambassadors helped with LIVELab's concert series, annual NeuroMusic conference and research studies with academic and industry partners. LIVELab offers year-round experiential learning opportunities for student volunteers who share a passion for music cognition and neuroscience.

"Since everything went virtual this year, we had to reimagine and restructure how our LIVELab Ambassadors could continue making important contributions to our lab," say Communications and Lab Manager Sally Stafford and Clinical Studies Coordinator and Stage Manager Susan Marsch-Rollo."Our Ambassadors put their science communication skills to work by summarizing research papers on how music affects us all. Drawing from supporting research, students then created playlists of songs that we've posted on our LIVELab Music and Mental Health webpage."

The idea for LIVELab music playlists grew out of a year-long collaboration with The Agency at Mohawk College, where students create marketing and communications solutions for real-world clients.

Oishee GhoshOishee Ghosh is one of the record number of Ambassadors volunteering with LIVELab this year. The second-year student in McMaster's Arts & Science Program (Combined Honours Biology) created a playlist showcasing music and jazz improvisation and wrote a summary of research related to music, improvisation and neuroplasticity.

"I love music and I'm interested in learning more about how it impacts the brain," says Oishee. "I joined LIVELab at the beginning of my first year at McMaster. I really enjoy the various projects we get to be involved in as well as the atmosphere of the lab. The other volunteers I have met at the lab have various backgrounds but we all share a common interest in music cognition. Being a LIVELab Ambassador has helped me learn about the types of skills I should be developing as an undergraduate student in order to pursue research into music cognition as a graduate student."

LIVELab is a 106-seat research-based performance hall and testing centre within the McMaster Institute for Music & the Mind and located in the Psychology Building. Led by Director Laurel Trainor, the McMaster Institute for Music & the Mind is one of the Faculty of Science's five research centres and institutes.

New Lab Stores 0pens its doors to Researchers

Gillian pointing at Lab Store and inventory

The fast pace of research demands reliable access to essential lab supplies, small equipment and general, high-volume chemicals. To meet the needs of researchers, a new Lab Stores has opened with support from the Faculties of Science and Engineering and the Provost’s Office.

Located in room 133 in the Arthur N. Bourns Science Building, Lab Stores stocks high volume solvents and chemicals along with lab supplies used daily in research labs. Lab Stores buys supplies in bulk quantities and passes the savings along to researchers, says Chemistry & Chemical Biology professor Alex Adronov who coordinated the project.

Research Lab Manager Darko Ljubic (pictured above), Department Manager Salina Jaffer and Department Chair Gillian Goward. While Chemistry & Chemical Biology spearheaded the project, Lab Stores is open to all researchers across McMaster.

Alex Adronov“Lab Stores is essential for researchers,” says Alex, who serves as Director of the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research. “I strongly believe that a research-intensive university and a department like Chemistry & Chemical Biology cannot properly function without an on-campus Lab Stores. When the previous version of Scientific Stores closed in 2019, researchers began stockpiling solvents and supplies in their labs, which wasn’t space-efficient or safe. The new Stores make our labs safer and our research more efficient. With Lab Stores, researchers won’t run out of critical chemicals or supplies in the middle of experiments, allowing research to progress uninterrupted.”

Part-time coordinator Eli O’Connor is currently filling online orders and making “curbside pickup” ready within hours. While customers are currently not allowed into Lab Stores, researchers will be able to enter, browse the inventory in person and perform self-checkout purchases once pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Principal investigators can set up an account with Lab Stores by emailing with the subject line “registration request”. Once an account is established, students, postdocs, and research staff can quickly join the account and start making purchases.

For more information, visit the McMaster Lab Stores, email or call 905.525.9140 ext. 23315.

McMaster Lab Store Hours
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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