Grad­u­ate stud­ies in Sci­ence at Mount Al­li­son

Sackville Tribune - - COMMUNITY -

Mount Al­li­son is pri­mar­ily un­der­grad­u­ate, but the univer­sity does have an in­ti­mate-scale Mas­ter of Sci­ence pro­gram with an av­er­age of 15 grad­u­ate stu­dents per year. The univer­sity of­fers mas­ter of sci­ence de­grees in bi­ol­ogy, chem­istry, and bio­chem­istry, and spe­cially-ap­proved mas­ter’s pro­grams are pos­si­ble in other dis­ci­plines of sci­ence, such as en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence, math, and physics.

Tyson MacCor­mack, chem­istry and bio­chem­istry pro­fes­sor and chair of the grad­u­ate stud­ies com­mit­tee, has men­tored 10 hon­ours stu­dents and is cur­rently su­per­vis­ing his first grad­u­ate stu­dent, Neal Cal­laghan (BSc ‘14), and co-su­per­vis­ing an­other grad­u­ate stu­dent with Prof. Suzie Cur­rie in bi­ol­ogy. Al­though some grad­u­ate stu­dents come to Mount Al­li­son from other un­der­grad­u­ate pro­grams both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, most Mount Al­li­son mas­ter of sci­ence stu­dents ob­tained their un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree from Mount Al­li­son.

“The grad­u­ate stud­ies pro­gram at Mount Al­li­son is re­search based and stu­dents fre­quently play a ma­jor role in defin­ing the broader re­search ques­tion and dis­sem­i­nat­ing the re­sults of their work,” MacCor­mack says. “This re­ally en­cour­ages stu­dents to de­velop a sense of own­er­ship over their re­search and they clearly take pride in pro­duc­ing high qual­ity, high-im­pact re­sults.”

Michelle McLauch­lan, a sec­ond year mas­ter’s in bi­ol­ogy stu­dent, grad­u­ated from Mount Al­li­son in 2013. She chose the univer­sity for grad­u­ate stud­ies be­cause of her pos­i­tive un­der­grad­u­ate ex­pe­ri­ence.

“In my un­der­grad, I was able to com­plete an hon­ours the­sis in bio­chem­istry,” she says. “I re­ally en­joyed the lab work and when the op­por­tu­nity came to con­tinue the re­search, I de­cided to stay.”

MacCor­mack says that stu­dents in the mas- ter’s pro­gram en­joy all the ben­e­fits of Mount Al­li­son’s close-knit com­mu­nity with op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­act and col­lab­o­rate with other grad­u­ate stu­dents and labs across cam­pus. Many fac­ulty mem­bers also have re­search col­lab­o­ra­tions, both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, and grad­u­ate stu­dents of­ten get the chance to travel to other labs to learn new tech­niques or to ac­cess fa­cil­i­ties. Stu­dents have trav­elled to labs in Aus­tralia, Ja­pan, Ger­many, and South Amer­ica, just to name a few.

MacCor­mack’s mas­ter’s stu­dent Neal Cal­laghan just re­turned from a one-month re­search trip to Por­tu­gal. He says the trip helped him gain ex­po­sure to new tech­niques, many of which he will use over the next two year’s of his grad­u­ate de­gree, and also ex­pe­ri­ence in plan­ning time- and re­source-ef­fi­cient ex­per­i­ments.

Cal­laghan’s re­search is look­ing at how sal­mon reg­u­late their metabolism dur­ing nor­mal daily tem­per­a­ture changes and the bio­chem­i­cal path­ways re­spon­si­ble for this reg­u­la­tion. He ex­plains that al­though the most di­rect ap­pli­ca­tions of this re­search are for aqua­cul­ture and con­ser­va­tion, there can also be par­al­lels drawn to the health sec­tor, such as di­a­betes, can­cer and meta­bolic syn­drome.

“My su­per­vi­sor, Dr. MacCor­mack, is big on us choos­ing our own re­search goals to suit our in­ter­ests,” he says. “This gives me a lot of free­dom, but also means I have to be or­ga­nized and plan in ad­vance.”

Cal­laghan will travel to the At­lantic Re­gional Com­par­a­tive Phys­i­ol­ogy Con­fer­ence in St. An­drews, N.B., and will also at­tend the Aquatic Tox­i­c­ity Work­shop in Ottawa, where he will be pre­sent­ing re­sults from his the­sis and an­other group pub­li­ca­tion.

To learn more about the mas­ter of sci­ence pro­gram at Mount Al­li­son, visit mta.ca/de­grees/masters/

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED

Grad­u­ate stu­dent Michelle McLauch­lan is shown in her bi­ol­ogy lab.

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