Inspiring Future Scientists
Dean Maureen MacDonald celebrated her birthday last month by being an honorary volunteer with Let’s Talk Science. Maureen helped Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior graduate student Portia Kalun and Arts & Science undergraduate student Meena Alnajar deliver a workshop to Grade 2 students at RA Riddell Elementary on Hamilton Mountain. The class learned about wheels and axels, levers and inclined planes by building miniature playgrounds. More than 200 McMaster students deliver free workshops to over 15,000 elementary and secondary school students throughout the Golden Horseshoe each year. McMaster was among the first universities to partner with Let's Talk Science, a national non-profit focused on education and skills development for Canadian children and youth through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based programs.
Jenasee Mynerich is among the more than 400 students in the Faculty of Science who complete co-op work terms in their programs. Jenasee is in her fourth year of the Honours Medical and Biological Physics Co-op Program. As part of her program, Jenasse has completed co-ops with TRIUMF in Vancouver and the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, Germany.
“The co-op program has had a huge impact on my personal and professional development. I’ve developed a wide range of technical skills in multiple fields as well as invaluable skills like time management, problem-solving, communication, and networking. It’s also kick-started my career as a researcher.
"During my first year in the Chemical and Physical Sciences Gateway Program, I took the introductory medical physics course taught by Dr. Michael Farquharson. I loved the course and was immediately interested in the field of medical physics and all of its applications. After completing the course, I started working with Dr. Farquharson’s lab group in the summer and that was the beginning of my passion for research.
"Over the course of my undergraduate degree, I’ve gained a wealth of research experience both on campus as well as in Vancouver and Germany. I love working in an interdisciplinary environment where I can challenge myself and develop new skills and I’m excited to pursue an international career in cancer research.
"For the first eight months of 2018, I worked as a Nuclear Medicine Research Assistant in the Life Sciences Division at TRIUMF in Vancouver. I really enjoyed moving to a new city and meeting new people. After working in Vancouver, I wanted to go overseas and establish myself as an international researcher.
"A search of cancer centers and universities led me to Dr. Andreas Fischer’s Vascular Signalling and Cancer group at the DKFZ (Deutsches Krebsforschungzentrum), the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, Germany. I worked as a Research Intern in a position funded by the Mitacs Globalink Research Award and the McMaster Global Experience Award. I learned so much about the tumour microenvironment, immune system and cellular interactions and gained firsthand experience of all of the components that biological research entails.
"Heidelberg was a reat city to live in and is surrounded by hills with hiking paths and great views of the city. It’s a very international city and while many people spoke English, I made an effort to learn some German through a few lessons offered by the DKFZ as well as through day-to-day interactions. I travelled quite a bit within Germany, visiting Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt, and Berlin along with some other small cities and villages. I also had the opportunity to travel to a few different countries including England, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
"I’d encourage future students in the co-op program to challenge themselves and make the most of their work terms. Don’t limit yourself to positions you already have experience in. Sometimes employers are willing to take you on and train you if you show the commitment and initiative. I would also advise students to take advantage of all the opportunities available during their work terms, whether it’s a workshop, conference, social event or networking opportunity. These will help you develop as a person and as a professional. I would also encourage students to be social and make connections. You are likely going to work with experts in your field who are great resources for knowledge and career advice. I met some really amazing people on each of my work terms and have developed long-lasting personal and professional relationships”.
Giuseppe Melacini has been awarded the Canadian Society for Chemistry’s 2020 Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Lectureship Award.
The annual award is presented to a scientist who has made a distinguished contribution to the field of biological or medicinal chemistry while working in Canada.
Giuseppe, a professor with the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, will deliver his lecture at the 103rd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition this May in Winnipeg.
Giuseppe earned his BSc and PhD in biophysical chemistry from the University of Milan. He joined McMaster in 2003, was promoted to professor in 2014 and has served as Director of the Chemical Biology Graduate Program since 2019.
The lectureship award is the latest honour for Giuseppe, who has also received the Premier Research Excellence Award and the Alzheimer Society of Canada Young Investigator Award in 2005, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada New Investigator Award and the Maureen Andrew Award in 2006, the CIHR Maud Menten Finalist Prize in 2007, the McMaster Student Union Teaching Award for Faculty of Science in 2012, an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement in 2014, and the HSGSF Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision Award in 2019.
Research in the Melacini Lab focuses on the molecular pharmacology of allosteric modulators and amyloid inhibitors. Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy integrated with other biophysical and biochemical assays, the Melacini group has elucidated the mechanism of inhibition for several cyclic nucleotide-dependent signaling proteins and amyloidogenic peptides linked to cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, respectively.