All courses for every first-year Science student will be delivered online this fall. A limited number of students in their second, third and fourth years will return to campus for part of the semester.

The Stars Of Astrobiology Lecture

Four young scientists in the Astrobiology program run by McMaster's Origins Institute will showcase their research at a public lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the David Braley Health Sciences Centre in downtown Hamilton.

Renee Sian Ben and AndrewThe lecture will feature (from left) Biophysics undergraduate student Renee-Claude Bider together with Ph.D. students Sian Ford from Earth Sciences, Ben Pearce in Astrophysics and Andrew Tupper from Biochemistry. Renee-Claude is working on the prebiotic chemistry of RNA and lipid membranes using the institute's planet simulator. Sian is exploring microorganisms in extreme environments and how they might survive on other planets. Ben is studying the formation of organic molecules on Earth and in Titan's atmosphere while Ben is working on computer simulations of replicating RNA sequences and the origin of life.

The lecture will be moderated by Origins Institute Director and Physics and Astronomy professor Paul Higgs.

Dean On A Faculty-wide Research Roadshow

Paul Ayers Maureen and studentsPaul Ayers (centre), Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Chemistry, invited Dean Maureen MacDonald to join a lab meeting with his graduate and undergraduate students earlier this month.

Last semester, Maureen attended lab meetings hosted by professors Mike Waddington, Matheus Grasselli, Jim Lyons and Jonathan Stone.

Maureen is dropping in on lab meetings to learn more about the research happening across the Faculty of Science and to ask faculty and students if there are additional resources and supports they could use to carry out their work.

To invite Maureen to an upcoming lab meeting, please contact Executive Assistant Jacob Brodka at

New Funding For International Research

The Faculty of Science has launched a new initiative to support researchers who collaborate with international partners to address global challenges.

The Global Science Initiative will provide a maximum of $200,000 over two years to fund up to three unique projects that can have a global impact. Each project must involve and have support from at least one international partner institution, such as matching funds, in-kind support or graduate student support.

Projects will be evaluated based on global importance of the issue, strength of the research team, merit of the research proposal, nature of the commitments from partner institutions and diversity of the team and its approach to problem-solving.

The Global Science Initiative is the latest in a series of investments being made to support researchers in the Faculty of Science. A Life Events Supports Program, Research Infrastructure Renewal Fund and Science Research Chairs were introduced last year.

Applications for the Global Science Initiative are due to the Office of the Associate Dean, Research & External Relations, by Friday, March 6 at 4 p.m. For more information, contact Katelyn McKay at

iSci Students Conquer In The Capital

Frances Lorenz Alun Stokes Geetha Jeyapragasan and Katarina SackaThird-year Integrated Science students Frances Lorenz, Alun Stokes, Geetha Jeyapragasan and Katarina Sacka (from left to right) beat out 88 teams of engineering students from across Canada to win the CANDEV Data Challenge in Ottawa earlier this month.

The team of Integrated Science students proposed a solution to reorganize the Canadian School of Public Service course catalogue using data analytics and machine learning. The students presented to a pair of judges, won their category and then competed in round two against the top teams from the challenge's other categories.

It was the first time the students competed in the challenge. "We thought it would be a great opportunity to try out data science," says Katarina. "We all have some background in math and statistics and while data science is different from math, it's in a related field."

Associate professor Chad Harvey says he's proud yet not surprised by what Frances, Alun, Geetha, and Katarina accomplished at the national challenge. "All four students showed an affinity for data and analysis since their early days in the iSci program. They excelled on a second-year research project on plant-animal interactions where they stepped up to my challenge of using statistical analysis on their ecological data."

The CANDEV Data Challenge presented by Statistics Canada brings together teams of university and college students for 24 hours of intensive problem-solving. Students tackle data challenges involving business cases put forward by government departments related to data management. The challenge gives students opportunities to network and make connections with the Government of Canada staff.
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