McMaster University Menu Search
McMaster University Faculty of Science
McMaster University

Faculty of Science

News from the Faculty of Science

Remembering former Dean Robert McNutt

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Robert (Bob) McNutt, Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography & Earth Sciences. He will be remembered as a dedicated leader, researcher and professor, as well as an honoured colleague. 

Dr. McNutt received his Bachelor of Science at the University of New Brunswick and his PhD in Geochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He came to McMaster in 1965, joining the then Department of Geology. A respected isotopic geochemist, his most recent research explored the use of strontium (Sr) isotopes as a tracer in water/rock systems from surface water to brines.

Over his career at McMaster, he also served in many crucial administrative roles, including acting provost, dean of the Faculty of Science, interim dean of the DeGroote School of Business and acting dean of Humanities. He was also Principal at Erindale College, today known as the University of Toronto Mississauga, from 1995 to 2003. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by McMaster.

He is fondly remembered by his colleagues at the University and elsewhere. For more information on Dr. McNutt’s life, please see The Daily News. Updates about a memorial will be provided as more is known.

Science Co-op Student of the Year Winners Recognized

The Science Career and Cooperative Education (SCCE) office proudly announces the winners of the 2017 Science Co-op Student of the Year Awards. 

Top awards were presented to Rahul Sharma, Biochemistry Co-op – Year 3 winner; Jacob Pierscianowski, Chemical Biology Co-op – Year 4 winner; and Victoria Marando, Chemical Biology Co-op – Year 5 winner.  

The SCCE invited Science Co-op employers to nominate students who had gone above and beyond during their work terms over the past year. Winners were chosen based on academic achievement, the strength of their employer nomination letter, the student’s personal statement, and contributions to cooperative education and extracurricular activity at McMaster or in the community.

Nominees and award winners were recognized at a reception at the Skylight Room in March 2018. There, the Acting Associate Dean of Science, Robin Cameron, SCCE representatives, employer supervisors, and guests of nominees, gathered to celebrate the achievements of the winners and nominees. 

In addition to the award winners, the following students were nominated for their excellent work by their co-op employers:

    • Year 3 nominees: Christine Pham (Molecular Biology & Genetics), Mina Sadeghi (Biology & Pharmacology), Mehreen Tariq (Mathematics & Statistics), Shira Weiss (Life Sciences) and Angeli Li (Life Sciences).
    • Years 4 and 5 nominees: Danielle Cimino (Life Sciences), Briony Lago (Chemical Biology), Natalia Ogrodnik (Chemical Biology), Ana Portillo Martinez (Biochemistry), Achini Da Silvi (Life Sciences), Michelle Wiskar (Actuarial and Financial Mathematics), Megan Hartwell (Mathematics & Statistics), Jordan Thiessen (Actuarial and Financial Mathematics) and Laila Omar Nazir (Medical and Health Physics).

Winner Profiles:

Rahul Sharma (Year 3 Recipient) completed his first co-op work term in the Animal BioSciences Department at the University of Guelph, under the supervision of Drs. Alexandra Harlander and Audrey Elias. Sharma studied biomechanic perturbations in poultry, and the ability of domestic birds to be trained to self-medicate for injuries incurred while in captivity. Dr. Elias stated: “We completed more work, and with a healthier attitude, in those three months than I have ever seen in any other lab. Rahul is an exemplar of the best the Science Career and Cooperative Education program has to offer.” Along with maintaining a very high GPA, he is also community minded. He has volunteered with both the Canadian Blood Services and St. Josephs Healthcare. Within co-op, Sharma has provided support and guidance to new co-op students at the annual Gathering of the Minds event.

Jacob Pierscianowski (Year 4 Recipient) spent eight months working with Dr. Tatiana Koutchma at Agriculture and Agri Food Canada. During his work term, Pierscianowski led a scientific project that investigated the effects of ultraviolet light processing on quality parameters of green juices. His immediate supervisor, Vladimir Popovic, wrote: “Jacob displayed a remarkable sense of independence, self-motivation, maturity and professionalism which is uncommon for undergraduate level co-op students. Further, his theoretical knowledge and practical skills were very impressive.” His strong work ethic is also apparent outside of his work term; he holds an 11.5 cGPA, and since 2016, has been an active member on the Science Co-op Advisory Committee. In addition, Pierscianowski has helped provide information and guidance to co-op applicants during co-op admission interviews and to new co-op students at the annual Gathering of the Minds event. Outside of co-op, he was an active member on the McMaster Science Society from 2015-2017 and often involved in Chemistry & Chemical Biology information sessions and presentations. 

Victoria Marando (Year 5 Recipient) completed eight months at NMX Research Solutions in Quebec, under the supervision of Dr. François Bilodeau. Marando was involved in a number of challenging NMR projects, including the development of fragment-based screening methods. She handled her projects in a “very professional manner, delivering high quality results and reports which outperform industry standards.” Her supervisor said: “What makes Victoria's achievements even more remarkable are her capacity to integrate new and complex scientific concepts and identify correlations between them.” One of her accomplishments during her work term was helping to create the first annual Academic-Industry Partnerships Symposium hosted by the Institute Armand Frappier. The inaugural event was a huge success.

At McMaster University, Marando has been an advocate for international co-op work terms (her first eight months were spent at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden) and she has always made herself available to any student interested in working abroad. Since first year, she has been an active member in the McMaster Science Society, and helped to develop and organize the first two Ontario Science Students Association Leadership Conferences. In addition to winning the Year 5 award, she was selected as McMaster University’s nominee for the Cooperative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) and EWO (Education Work Ontario) Co-op Student of the Year competitions. In both the CEWIL and EWO competitions, Marando was recognized with an honorary mention, an outstanding accomplishment and placing her among the top co-op students in Canada and the province.

Marando’s work at the Karolinska Institute was featured in a recent McMaster Daily News article. This fall, she begins graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees!

The SCCE manages 13 unique cooperative education programs for the Faculty of Science. Each year they help students secure over 400 work terms across a variety of sectors. All programs start in year 3 and follow CEWIL accreditation standards and guidelines. More information about the Science Co-op program at McMaster can be found at science.mcmaster.ca/scce or by emailing scce@mcmaster.ca. The SCCE is also thrilled to support the new Hire McMaster initiative, hire.mcmaster.ca.

 

Faculty’s Newest CRC, José Moran-Mirabal

The Faculty of Science congratulates its newest Canada Research Chair, José Moran-Mirabal, Chemistry & Chemical Biology. Moran-Mirabal was recently awarded Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Micro- and Nanostructured Materials. His research focuses on developing new, more efficient methods for patterning and structuring thin films used in everything from electronics to biosensors. We also congratulate Carmel Mothersill, Biology, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Radiobiology and Aimee Nelson, Kinesiology, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Sensorimotor Neurosciencerecent CRC whose CRCs were renewed.

Read about other McMaster CRCs in The Daily News.

PNB PhD Student Wins Provincial 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Matt Berry 3MT winnerThe Faculty of Science applauds Matthew Berry, graduate student in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, for winning top prize in the Ontario 3 Minute Thesis Competition. On April 19, he beat students from 20 other universities in Ontario to advance to the national round of the contest.

Berry's research takes advantage of McMaster’s interdisciplinary strengths by blending psychology and theatre to measure whether acting is an art or science. Berry’s winning presentation, Scientifically Quantifying the Craft of Acting, can be seen on YouTube.

Faculty of Science celebrates career milestones of Philip White

The Faculty of Science celebrates the career contributions of Philip White, Kinesiology, who gave his final two lectures on April 5, 2018. We recognize for White for reaching this career milestone, and thank him for his considerable contributions to the McMaster University community.

White completed his M.Sc. (Kinesiology) and Ph.D. (Sociology) at the University of Waterloo. In 1978, he began teaching at the University of Waterloo, and in 1986, he joined Kinesiology at McMaster as a lecturer. A full professor at McMaster since 1998, he received multiple nominations for McMaster Students Union (MSU) teaching awards. This year he received the MSU Teaching Excellence Award for the Faculty of Science. The award is a testament to the quality of his teaching and interaction with students over the years.

In addition to his achievements as a researcher and instructor, White was a key contributor to athletics at McMaster, including a storied 25-year career as head coach of the men’s rugby team. For more about White’s coaching career, watch this interview from 2013.

White Kin last lecture group photo

Welcome to McMaster’s Canada 150 Research Chair

The Faculty is pleased to welcome Jonathan Pruitt, McMaster’s Canada 150 Research Chair in Biological Dystopias. Pruitt, an internationally recognized evolutionary ecologist, will be joining McMaster University on July 1 as a member of the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour. He comes to McMaster from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Jonathan Pruitt photo

The Canada 150 Research Chair program is designed to help Canadian universities attract the world’s top researchers and scholars to Canada. In total, 24 Canada 150 Research Chairs were appointed across Canada. Pruitt’s appointment was announced by the Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Kirsty Duncan at a ceremony in Ottawa in March. 

His research program focuses on how the collective traits of different animal societies – including those of ants, wasps and spiders – affect their survival. “My research explores what it takes for animal societies to succeed and why it is that so many societies wither and die,” says Pruitt who creates experimental social groups made up of contrasting organizations, compositions, architectures and collective attributes, and then subjects them to a range of ecological challenges.

He monitors their performance to observe what traits enable some societies to proliferate and take over a landscape, and what doesn’t. Working with McMaster researchers, he plans to expand his studies of societal collapse in invertebrates to studies on vertebrate social groups, including humans.

Maureen MacDonald, Dean of the Faculty of Science, says Pruitt’s work will have a significant impact in the field of animal behaviour and will build on the Faculty’s already defined strengths in this area.

“Jonathan is recognized as an international leader in his field and his work complements so much of the leading-edge work coming out of the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour,” she said. “We’re excited for him to bring his robust research program to McMaster, develop interdisciplinary research initiatives with colleagues across the Faculty and University, and expand the scope of our animal and human behaviour research.”

MORE

McMaster University - Faculty of Science

Mailing Address

Office of the Dean of Science
McMaster University
Burke Science Building (BSB), Room 102
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
L8S 4K1

Contact Information

Business Hours:
8:30AM - 12:00PM + 1:00PM - 4:30PM
Telephone Inquiries:
+1 (905) 525-9140 ext.22616
Fax:
(905) 546-9995
Student Inquiries:
science@mcmaster.ca

McMaster University - Faculty of Science

Mailing Address

Office of the Dean of Science
McMaster University
Burke Science Building (BSB), Room 102
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
L8S 4K1

Contact Information

Business Hours:
8:30AM - 12:00PM + 1:00PM - 4:30PM
Telephone Inquiries:
+1 (905) 525-9140 ext.22616
Fax:
(905) 546-9995
Student Inquiries:
science@mcmaster.ca