A diverse group of young research trainees present their summer projects
There’s no time like the summer to explore scientific research! Welcoming undergraduate students to train in our top-flight research labs is a summer tradition at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). At the end of the season, Summer Student Research Day offers these young research trainees yet another valuable experience: the chance to present their project work to an audience of their peers and other members of the RI-MUHC research community. This event aims to create an inclusive and stimulating learning environment to exchange new ideas and make new connections.
“It’s so encouraging to see the diversity of research presented by our summer students,” said Dr. Rhian Touyz, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the RI-MUHC. Summer Student Research Day 2022 included 16 in-person oral presentations in the Cruess Auditorium at the Glen site, followed by 72 poster presentations in an online session.
Dr. Touyz opened the event before an eager audience that met the maximum capacity accommodated by infection control guidelines. “We are honoured that you have chosen to spend your summer contributing to research,” she told the students. “We hope to share with you the excitement that we as researchers have in doing science here at the RI-MUHC.”
The morning presentations covered a wide range of projects in biomedical research, with work from each of the RI-MUHC’s eight research programs. The first speaker, Zhao Wan Er Jin from Dr. Don Sheppard’s laboratory, presented her work on two exopolysaccharides and their role in the formation of the biofilms that can negatively impact cystic fibrosis patients. David Derish, a second year McGill medical student, shared his part in the “Heart in a Dish” project supervised by Dr. Renzo Cecere. Armen Erzingatzian spoke about his work with Julia Burnier, PhD, to encapsulate lipid nanoparticles using micro-fluidics, a process that could help improve drug delivery.
Joyce Li, who worked with researcher Noemi Dahan-Oliel, OT, PhD, focused on a standard data collection framework to assist patients and clinicians in dealing with a rare musculoskeletal disease. Zian Lamlili El Mazoui Nadori, from the lab of Alexandre Reynaud, PhD, spoke about his work on amblyopia and the impact of this eye condition on patients’ reactions in common “prediction motion” tasks, such as catching a baseball. Liam Roberts, a UBC co-op student, had worked with Dr. Nada Jabado’s team to understand the role of the oncohistone mimic EZHIP in osteosarcoma, a difficult to treat cancer of children and young adults.
Cyril Kazan, working with Tomoko Takano, MD, PhD, and her team, studied Rho-GTPase regulators, the molecular switches that regulate the function of highly specialized kidney cells known as podocytes. Evelyn Chan, from Dr. Marta Kaminska’s lab, spoke about her project to understand adherence to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, with the aim of managing sleep apnea in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Abstracts of all the oral presentations are available in the Summer Student Research Day 2022 Program.
“It is so important to invest in our summer students by offering stimulating activities such as the Summer Student Research Day,” said Emily Bell, PhD, manager of the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training at the RI-MUHC and one of the organizers of the event. Added Lindsay Naef, PhD, program manager in the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience Program, “Some of the summer students presenting here today could become research trainees of the RI-MUHC. Summer Student Research Day helps them understand what it means to pursue further studies in research, and how gratifying it can be to share your research work with an audience of your peers.”
Congratulations to the summer students who participated in this event and to their supervisors and colleagues who provided such valuable support and training throughout the summer. This event was possible thanks to the tremendous efforts of the 2022 Organizing Committee: Emily Bell, Ariel de Roo, Marie-Claude Gingras, Inga Murawski and Lindsay Naef.