Event explores mathematical lessons from industry and academia

Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Office of the Dean in the Faculty of Science are hosting a special lecture on Thursday, Oct. 7 featuring Dhavide Aruliah, senior vice-president of education and inclusion at OpenTeams Inc.

Dhavide Aruliah

Aruliah will share his perspectives on building a professional career based on a mathematical education – in particular, his academic experiences both as a student and later as a university professor that prepared him in unexpected ways for his duties as a director and executive in industry. In his remarks, Aruliah will outline some of the hard lessons he has learned over the course of his career and how these lessons provided important insights into people and about organizations such as universities, corporations and startups.

Aruliah earned a PhD in computer science from the University of British Columbia following his BSc and MSc degrees in mathematics from Simon Fraser University. He was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and at Western University before joining Ontario Tech University. He worked there as a professor in the Faculty of Science for 11 years before accepting a role at Anaconda, Inc. as the director of training. Since moving to industry, Aruliah has worked as an independent contractor and is currently with OpenTeams, Inc.

This event will be presented virtually over Zoom starting at 4 p.m. on Oct. 7. The meeting identification is 925 7107 2670.

STS Seminar Series looks at social pharmaceutical innovation for rare diseases

A pile of pharmaceutical blister packs

The second talk of the 2021-22 Science and Technology Studies (STS) Research Seminar Series takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 5 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and features Conor Douglas, assistant professor in York University’s Department of Science and Technology Studies. His talk is titled “Social Pharmaceutical Innovation for Rare Diseases: Towards a Conceptual Definition and Research Program.”

According to Douglas, there is something wrong with the way the pharmaceutical industry researches and develops drugs. Of the roughly 7,000 currently identified rare diseases, he says, only about 570 treatments have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat about 11 per cent of those rare diseases. As a result, millions of patients around the world go untreated. Some of the challenges facing research and development in this space are scientific and technical; however, there are also a number of critical issues that are thwarting more rapid development of drugs that are more associated with social, economic and political factors that have come to characterize the current innovation paradigm within the pharmaceutical industry.

Headshot of Conor Douglas
Conor Douglas

This presentation will argue that the current model of pharmaceutical innovation alone will not deliver the quantity of products needed to address the unmet needs faced by rare disease patients, nor at a price point that is sustainable for health-care systems. As a consequence, radical transformations are needed across the pharmaceutical research, development and deployment life cycle that stand to offer alternative, supplementary and hopefully transformative pathways to a greater number of increasingly accessible treatments. Douglas will explain how principles of social innovation have been developed and deployed in other sectors and how those principles can be applied in the pharmaceutical sector. He will briefly introduce social innovation and its key features before demonstrating what he calls “social pharmaceutical innovation,” why it is important and how he hopes to foster it. 

Douglas’s presentation is part of a larger international collaborative project called “Social Pharmaceutical Innovation for Unmet Medical Needs,” with partners from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), Mines ParisTech at the Université PSL (France) and Utrecht University (Netherlands). The Canadian component of the study is funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and more information about the project can be found at SocialPharmaceuticalInnovation.org.

Now in its 28th year, the STS Research Seminar Series features seminars on a wide range of STS-related topics. Sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology Studies and co-ordinated by its members, the series has hosted over 500 speakers from Canada and around the world.

All events in the series will run on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. They are all free and open to the public, with no registration required. They will be delivered via Zoom in the fall term, with the winter term to be determined. To receive a Zoom link for this event and others in the series, contact Conor Douglas, seminar series co-ordinator, at cd512@yorku.ca.

International symposium on infectious diseases features York expertise

Visualization of the COVID-19 virus. Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

The Canadian Centre for Disease Modelling (CCDM) based at York University was one of the co-organizers of a virtual symposium on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases that took place Sept. 14 to 18. The event drew an international cohort of more than 300 researchers, public health experts and students.

The CCDM 2021 China-Canada Symposium on Modelling, Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases was hosted by Northeast Normal University and co-organized by the Center for Mathematical Bioscience and the Chinese Society of Mathematical Biology.

The goal of the event was to understand worldwide challenges and cutting-edge developments related to mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, and to share the timely research findings and experiences. It also provided an excellent experiential education opportunity for young researchers and students from China and Canada to interact with leading modellers and get hands-on research experience.

Huaiping Zhu
Huaiping Zhu

“Mathematical models have played an important role in understanding disease transmission and informing policy-making for public health,” said Faculty of Science Professor Huaiping Zhu, who directs CCDM and served as the scientific co-chair for the symposium. “The symposium this year looked at how non-pharmaceutical interventions, vaccination strategies, and social and environmental determinants affect transmission, and how data-driven mathematical modelling contributes to the prevention, mitigation and control of COVID-19. It was another successful international collaboration of CDM during the pandemic.”

A big focus of the symposium was on modelling COVID-19 infection and immunity, transmission, vaccination and other public health strategies; however, mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus and dengue fever, and other infectious diseases like HIV and tuberculosis, were also discussed. Distinguished lectures on the first two days of the symposium were organized for young researchers and graduate students and focused on reflections and lessons related to COVID-19. The other invited talks were presentations of recent research findings.

The York University faculty involved in the symposium were: CCDM Communications Director and Professor Jane Heffernan of the Faculty of Science; and CCDM members and professors Marina Freire-Gormaly from the Lassonde School of Engineering, and Jude Dzevela Kong, Iain Moyles and Carly Rozins, all from the Faculty of Science, with each presenting talks at the event. Additionally, York postdoctoral Fellow Juan Li, also from CCDM, participated in a panel discussion. York postdoctoral Fellows and CCDM members Elena Aruffo and PhD student Pei Yuan served on the supporting committee. Twelve other CCDM Canadian network members also presented at the meeting.

Stellar first-year students get feet wet as summer researchers

Faculty of Science Observatory and Life Sciences Buildings FEATURED image for new YFile

Supported by a York Science Scholars Award (YSSA), 19 top first-year students participated in their first summer research experience as university students this year.

The YSSA program provides awards of $10,000 to high-achieving, passionate science students entering the Faculty of Science. Half of the award is an entrance scholarship and the other half pays for a summer research position following the first year of study. The research opportunity has proven to be a positive experience for everyone involved, supervisors and students alike.

“I consider training them an investment for the future,” said chemistry Professor Sergey Krylov, who accepted three YSSA students into his lab this past summer. “Not only did these students learn a lot, but they also contributed significantly to the research projects in which they were involved. I’d be happy to take new students through this program next summer. I’d be even more happy to have the same students return to the lab and apply their knowledge from their first summer. That would be a ‘return on investment.’”

Ailiya Rizwan
Ailiya Rizwan

One of the students in Krylov’s lab was Ailiya Rizwan, who went on to receive second prize for her oral presentation, “Single-cell analysis of cell population heterogeneity using CRRC for the development of chemoresistance biomarkers,” at the Faculty of Science’s NSERC Summer Research Conference.

YSSA recipients Ethan Sooklal, Claire Del Zotto and Elizaveta Yakubovskaya also swept up half of the awards for poster presentations at the NSERC Summer Research Conference.

Sooklal’s summer research focused on using fungus to investigate the interactions and localization of three major proteins involved in driving the circadian rhythm in eukaryotes. For him, the best parts of the research position were experiencing the research process and learning new skills outside of the classroom.

“I really enjoyed the process of working on the research project, seeing its progression, gathering the results and sharing them with my peers at the end of the summer,” said Sooklal. “This experience, above all, strengthened my laboratory techniques and skills. It also gave me the opportunity to learn outside a classroom setting, which was not only refreshing, but also much more impactful.”

Ethan Sooklal
Ethan Sooklal

His supervisors, biology Professor Patricia Lakin-Thomas and PhD student Rosa Eskandari, also touted the program as an opportunity for the lab to recruit an enthusiastic and highly competent student assistant. In fact, Sooklal has been offered the opportunity to continue working with them as a Research at York (RAY) student in the fall and winter terms. 

“Ethan distinguished himself in our lab by his fantastic work, excellent laboratory style, tremendous help and neat results,” said Eskandari.

Yakubovskaya, one of the other poster presentation winners, was among three YSSA students working with Professor Andrew Skelton in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics this summer. Her research project involved creating evidence-based modules to help first-year students build their study skills – specifically time-management – to the level necessary to succeed in university math.

Elizaveta Yakubovskaya
Elizaveta Yakubovskaya

“I really enjoyed how this research project broadened my understanding of education as a field and as a science,” she said. “The experience gave me an opportunity to practise and refine skills that I had developed in first year. Specifically, this project helped me improve my research and science communication skills.”

Skelton was impressed by Yakubovskaya and the other YSSA students and he felt they made important contributions to his team’s research.

“I was continually floored by the high calibre of these students and the substantial impact they had on our project,” he said. “I strongly believe that the project would not have been successful without their contributions.”

The program is now into its fourth year with another cohort of YSSA students just beginning their studies at York Science. More information about the YSSA program is available on the Faculty of Science website.

Recipients of the Provostial Fellowships announced

A drone image of Vari Hall on the Keele campus

Professors Burkard Eberlein (Schulich), Sapna Sharma (science), Cheryl van Daalen-Smith (health, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies) and Qiang Zha (education) have been appointed York University Provostial Fellows.

Appointed for one year, each of the recipients will work to enhance collegial capacity at an institutional level to advance the priorities of the University Academic Plan (UAP) in demonstrable ways. The Provostial Fellowships also provide an opportunity for a diverse group of tenured faculty to gain hands-on experience in university leadership.

“I am thrilled to have these four faculty members dedicating some of their time and energy to help lead the implementation of our UAP. The University will benefit from their expertise and ideas, and I hope they too will find this a valuable opportunity to grow and develop as leaders and institution builders,” said Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps. “The launch of Building a Better Future: York University Academic Plan 2020-2025 established six exciting and important priorities for York University. As a community, we now look to work together in advancing these.”

Fellows will work with the provost and relevant members of the senior leadership on a project or initiative intended to advance one of the UAP priority areas at an institutional level. Each project also seeks to enhance and intersect with the University-wide challenge to elevate institutional contributions to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Burkhard Eberlein
Burkard Eberlein

Burkard Eberlein
Professor, Public Policy and Strategic Management
Schulich School of Business

Professor Eberlein’s project, “York’s Journey toward Carbon Neutrality,” seeks to identify and advance specific and impactful initiatives that the University can take to reduce its carbon emissions.

Sapna Sharma
Sapna Sharma

Sapna Sharma
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Faculty of Science

Professor Sharma’s project, “Working Towards Equitable Access to Clean Water,” looks to address the billions of people worldwide, including in Canada, who do not have access to clean freshwater. This project will seek student, faculty and staff collaborations across the University with a goal of raising awareness and identifying solutions to this critical issue, and will culminate with an event celebrating UN World Water Day.

Cheryl van Daalen-Smith
Cheryl van Daalen-Smith

Cheryl van Daalen-Smith
Associate Professor, School of Nursing
Faculty of Health
Associate Professor, School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies/Children, Childhood & Youth Studies Program.
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

Professor van Daalen-Smith’s project, “More than Bees and Trees: Seeing the SDGs in our Curriculum – A Pan-University Community Development Initiative,” seeks to track, weave, inspire and amplify curricular SDG initiatives and advance York University’s commitment to interdisciplinarity.

Qiang Zha
Qiang Zha

Qiang Zha
Associate Professor
Faculty of Education

Professor Zha’s project, “Reimagining and Transforming Liberal Arts Education with a Trans-Continental Partnership,” looks to explore a new model for practising liberal arts education in the current contexts of mass higher education, knowledge societies and globalization, including the prospects for infusing the concepts derived from the SDGs and promoting global competence.

STS Seminar Series returns with an exploration of infrastructure and ghost rivers in the urban landscape

STS Seminar Series Sept. 14 FEATURED

The the first talk of the 2021-22 Science and Technology Studies (STS) Research Seminar Series takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and features Kregg Hetherington, associate professor of anthropology at Concordia University. Hetherington’s talk is titled “Infrastructure and Ghost Rivers: Making Kin in the Urban Anthropocene.”

Kregg Hetherington

In November of this year, the city of Montreal will begin working to cover up a 200-metre creek, the last significant natural water flow within its boundaries. A group of local activists have been fighting the creek’s burial in court for years, but the city won its argument that after years of neglect, and some shenanigans in local plumbing infrastructure, the creek’s smell has become unbearable and it must go the way of all urban rivers before it – into a concrete pipe. As activists fought this, they underwent a kind of infrastructural inversion, becoming aware not only of submerged infrastructure but also the environmental, legal and historical underpinnings of urban plumbing. In so doing, they unearthed a ghost: a long-lost tributary of the St. Laurence River known as the Saint Pierre River. Following their experience and that of other ghost hunters, this talk will reflect on how entities inhabit the urban landscape, and the role that such entities might have in an Anthropocenic reimagining of urban life.

Now in its 28th year, the STS Research Seminar Series features seminars on a wide range of STS-related topics. Sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology Studies and co-ordinated by its members, the series has hosted over 500 speakers from Canada and around the world. All events in the series are free and open to the public, with no registration required.

All events in the series will run on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. They will be delivered via Zoom in the fall term, with the winter term to be determined. To receive a Zoom link for this event and others in the series, contact Conor Douglas, seminar series coordinator, at cd512@yorku.ca.

Students invited to submit to Risk and Insurance Studies Centre research competition

Photo by Deepak Gautam from Pexels

The Risk and Insurance Studies Centre (RISC) is holding a Student Research Competition (SRC) and is inviting mathematics students from across the globe, especially those at the undergraduate and master’s level, to participate.

Students interested in taking part in the competition are asked to submit solutions to their three mathematical problems by Oct. 15. The authors of the most complete solutions will be invited to present their work to the SRC organizers: professors Ed Furman in the Faculty of Science at York University, Niushan Gao of Ryerson University, Silvana Pesenti of the University of Toronto, and Ricardas Zitikis of Western University. Additionally, they will receive RISC SRC 2021 diplomas and, when appropriate, endorsements to apply to graduate programs affiliated with RISC.

To learn more, see the full details online.

RISC, led by Furman, is a national and international research hub and Organized Research Unit that pursues a holistic approach to the field of insurance and related topics.

Welcome to YFile’s New Faces Feature Issue, part two

classroom-FEATURED

Welcome to YFile’s New Faces Feature Issue 2021, part two. In this special issue, YFile introduces new faculty members joining the York University community and highlights those with new appointments.

The New Faces Feature Issue 2021 was presented in two parts: part one on Friday, Sept. 3 and part two on Friday, Sept. 10.

In this issue, YFile welcomes new faculty members in the Faculty of Education; the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies; the Faculty of ScienceOsgoode Hall Law School; and the Schulich School of Business.

Two Indigenous educators join the Faculty of Education

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies welcomes 18 new faculty members

The Faculty of Science brings seven new professors into its ranks

Osgoode Hall Law School welcomes four new faculty members

Two new professors join Schulich School of Business this fall

The Sept. 3 issue included the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design; the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change; Glendon Campus; the Faculty of Health; and the Lassonde School of Engineering.

New Faces was conceived and edited by Ashley Goodfellow Craig, YFile deputy editor; Jenny Pitt-Clark, YFile editor; and Lindsay MacAdam, communications officer

The Faculty of Science brings seven new professors into its ranks

Life Sciences Building Keele Campus

This story is published in YFile’s New Faces Feature Issue 2021, part two. Every September, YFile introduces and welcomes those joining the York University community, and those with new appointments. Part one was published on Sept. 3.

The Faculty of Science is welcoming seven new faculty members this fall. Joining the ranks are Jade Atallah, Jingyi Cao, Elizabeth Clare, Jairo Diaz-Rodriguez, Lisa Robertson, Woldegebriel Assefa Woldegerima and Jihyeon “Jessie” Yang.

“The Faculty of Science is known for leading-edge research, commitment to our students’ success through teaching excellence and pedagogical innovation, and community impact,” said Rui Wang, dean of the Faculty of Science. “These talented new faculty members represent our core strengths in these areas, and we are excited to welcome them.”

Jade Atallah
Jade Atallah
Jade Atallah

Jade Atallah joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. Atallah received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto Mississauga. She completed her doctoral and postdoctoral studies at the Levine Laboratory in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto. Her research focused on behavioural genetics, where she investigated the cell and molecular mechanisms underlying social interactions in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Throughout her research journey, Atallah was also heavily invested in biology higher education, where she pursued education training through Woodsworth College and the Association of College and University Educators. She served as an assistant professor (teaching stream) at the University of Toronto Mississauga for three years and has also taught at McMaster University. Atallah’s teaching practice places strong emphasis on higher order skills such as critical thinking and integrative problem solving. She continues to contribute to curriculum design, course development, creation of teaching tools and science education research.

Jingyi Cao
Jingyi Cao
Jingyi Cao

Jingyi Cao joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor, following a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Mathematics at Michigan University. She completed her PhD in actuarial science at the University of Waterloo, where her research focused on stochastic optimal control problems in insurance, including optimal reinsurance with contagious claims, model risks, and the demand for life insurance and annuities. During her PhD, she was recognized as a James C. Hickman Scholar by the Society of Actuaries. Cao’s postdoctoral research studied the problem of approximating the classical Cramér-Lundberg risk processes with heavy-tailed claims by a sequence of stable Lévy processes, which facilitates the computation for various problems such as the Gerber-Shiu distribution of exponential Parisian ruin and the optimal dividend problem. Her current research program focuses on the rate of convergence for such approximation, as well as optimal insurance with belief heterogeneity. Cao is also an associate of the Society of Actuaries.

Elizabeth Clare
Elizabeth Clare
Elizabeth Clare

Elizabeth Clare joins the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. She received her PhD from the University of Guelph in 2010, studying neotropical bat diversity and phylogeography. She completed a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) postdoctoral fellowship at Bristol University (2010-12), where she developed some of the first protocols for the use of metabarcoding for dietary ecology. Clare spent eight years as a faculty member at Queen Mary University of London, where her research group developed new techniques in molecular ecology. Most recently, they established a method to vacuum environmental DNA from the air to aid in global terrestrial biodiversity science. Clare is keenly interested in the biology of bats and their responses to habitat change in neotropical forests, particularly their role in seed dispersal and pollination. She supervises students working on aquatic ecology, parasitology and microbial ecology, and in field locations around the world. Her work is currently funded by NSERC and Genome Canada and she is an associate editor of the journal Biological Invasions.

Jairo Diaz-Rodriguez
Jairo Diaz-Rodriguez
Jairo Diaz-Rodriguez

Jairo Diaz-Rodriguez joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor. His research interests centre around data science, machine learning, high-dimensional statistics, optimization and big data. He received his PhD in mathematics (statistics-oriented) at University of Geneva in Switzerland under the supervision of Professor Sylvain Sardy in 2018. Subsequently, he was appointed assistant professor at Universidad del Norte in Colombia. Most of his research contains both theoretical development and practical applications, with strong interdisciplinary components, and cloud and parallel computing implementations. Diaz-Rodriguez has also worked as a data science consultant and machine learning engineer in a wide variety of fields, including information technology, public health, education, economics and marketing. He has worked on real-world data science problems and is experienced in the entirety of the data science pipeline, from data acquisition and transformation to visualization, model selection (statistics and machine-learning based), and deployment into fully functional production systems.

Lisa Robertson
Lisa Robertson
Lisa Robertson

Lisa Robertson is a new assistant professor in the Department of Biology, where she completed a postdoctoral fellowship with York Professor Andrew Donini, examining ion transport in anal papillae of chironomids and mosquitoes. Robertson received her PhD and MSc from the University of Toronto, working in the lab of Professor Angela Lange, investigating the involvement of neuropeptides in the physiological functioning of peripheral tissues in the African migratory locust. Previously, she was an instructor and course co-ordinator in the University of Guelph’s Department of Integrative Biology (2017-21) and an assistant professor (contract-limited) in the Department of Biomedical Science (2013-17). She is an award-winning instructor, passionate about teaching and learning, and committed to creating engaging learning experiences for students. Her current research interests centre around student success strategies. Robertson has been an active member of the teaching and learning community for many years. She has been a member of the Open Consortium of Undergraduate Biology Educators since graduating.

Woldegebriel Assefa Woldegerima
Woldegebriel Assefa Woldegerima
Woldegebriel Assefa Woldegerima

Woldegebriel Assefa Woldegerima joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor. Before York University, he was a postdoctoral research Fellow at the DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Mathematical Models and Methods in Biosciences and Bioengineering at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Woldegerima obtained his PhD in mathematical biology (“Modelling and Analysing of In-host Immunopathogenesis Dynamics of Parasites”) from the University of Buea in Cameroon, in a collaboration with Lehigh University in the U.S. He also earned two master’s degrees: one from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), with a master’s thesis on partial differential equations; and a second master of science degree from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, in functional analysis. Woldegerima worked as an assistant professor at Mekelle University in Ethiopia for one year; as a predoctoral research associate at Lehigh University; as an assistant lecturer at the University of Pretoria in South Africa; and as a teaching assistant at AIMS. His research interests lie broadly in mathematical biology, applied differential equations and data analysis in Python.

Jihyeon “Jessie” Yang
Jihyeon “Jessie” Yang
Jihyeon “Jessie” Yang

Jihyeon “Jessie” Yang joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor. Yang received her PhD in mathematics from the University of Toronto in 2012. She completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University, a four-year assistant professorship at Marian University in Indianapolis, and sessional lectureships at the University of Toronto in 2015 and 2020. During her PhD and postdoctoral fellowship, Yang studied two fundamental geometric objects: curves and flat spaces such as lines and planes. The former has a connection with String Theory and the latter is an important object in Representation Theory, which has rich applications in chemistry and physics. Yang learned about new branches in mathematics to solve her problems: Tropical Geometry and Newton-Okounkov Body Theory. These new fields (about 20 years old) are actively developing in diverse areas, including computer science and biology (phylogenetics). Yang is enthusiastic about exploring these topics, especially with undergraduate students. Currently, she is working on educational development programs focusing on instructional designs that promote active learning in individuals and are supported by the pedagogy of care.

Faculty of Science spotlights leading-edge student research at NSERC Undergraduate Research Conference

Faculty of Science Observatory and Life Sciences Buildings FEATURED image for new YFile

The Faculty of Science hosted its annual NSERC Summer Undergraduate Research Conference on Aug. 19, via Zoom.

Students from the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Health, and Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change participated in the event. The conference is the culmination of participants’ summer work terms, where they conduct research in labs across the University with York supervisors over the course of 16 weeks.

Most of the participants received an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (URSA), a Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award (DURA) or a York Science Scholar Award. The DURAs are funded through Bernadene Magnuson and Earle Nestmann, the Gérard Herbert Award and the Luise Herzberg Award for Women in Science.

“We would like to thank NSERC and all our generous donors who make this event possible,” said Michael Scheid, associate dean of students, Faculty of Science. “These summer placements give our talented undergraduate students an invaluable opportunity to conduct research they’re passionate about in a real-world setting and hone their future career trajectories.”

At this year’s virtual conference, 43 students showcased their research through oral and poster presentations, spanning topics such as proving dark matter with gravitational waves, cognitive and visuomotor performance in COVID-19 patients, and tracking changes in permafrost thaw on northern lakes.

Judges evaluated oral and poster presentations and selected winners for each category.

Oral presentation winners

  1. Coral Hillel
  2. Ailiya Rizwan
  3. Tamara Kostyuk 

Poster presentation winners

Breakout Room 1:    Claire Del Zotto

Breakout Room 2:    Elizaveta Yakubovskaya

Breakout Room 3:    Alex Akhundov

Breakout Room 4     Kristina Issa

Breakout Room 5     Edman Abukar

Breakout Room 6     Ethan Sooklal

The success of the program and virtual conference was also enabled by the generous contributions of time and talent by faculty members, researchers and staff.

“We are grateful to the supervisors, graduate students, postdoctoral Fellows and technicians, as well as our event judges and organizers, who helped make this year’s program a success,” Scheid said.

Since 1980, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has supported research experiences for university students early in their careers through the USRA program. The program currently provides direct support for research work terms for more than 3,000 students each year and is meant to nurture the interests of undergraduate students and fully develop their potential to pursue a research career in the natural sciences and engineering disciplines.

The full conference program, along with profiles of students’ research, can be found at yorku.ca/science/nserc2021summerundergraduateresearchconference.