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NSERC Poster Session

e-dition - Sept. 22, 2006

NSERC-sponsored Science Poster Session competition winners(left to right): Yonas Negasi, Jonathan Thiessen, Peter Winslow, Gina Passante, Carmen Edmundson, and Blair Cardigan Smith.

Undergrad Scientists in NSERC Competition

By Dr. Melanie Martin, UWinnipeg Physics Professor

University of Winnipeg undergraduate Science students were recently given a unique opportunity to showcase their research at a Poster Session, a privilege normally reserved for graduate students.

“At The University of Winnipeg, we have an unusually large number of undergrads who can participate in complex research projects and have the chance to present their findings,” said Dr. Melanie Martin, the main organizer of the September 11 competition and an assistant professor of Physics.

Sponsored by UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Science and Research Office and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)–Prairies, the Undergraduate Science Poster Session featured 23 posters representing the work of 25 UWinnipeg undergraduate students.

Posters highlighted projects in five academic departments (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, and Psychology) and reflected a cross-section of undergrad research.

World-Class Research

“The University of Winnipeg prides itself in the fact that our undergraduates can participate in world-class research. Within the last decade, over 300 different students have produced more than 600 publications involving in excess of 70 faculty members,” said Dr. Ken Friesen, Associate Dean of Science.

“Much of the work detailed in the poster competition will also be published in leading scientific journals,” added Dr. Martin.

John Graham of IBM Canada Ltd, one of the competition’s judges, said he was overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of the work accomplished by UWinnipeg students. All of the judges remarked that the extremely high calibre of projects made it very difficult to select the winners. The distinguished panel of judges included representatives from NSERC, The University of Manitoba, National Research Council Canada, and private industry.

Dr. Gabor Kunstatter, UWinnipeg Dean of Science, said the Undergraduate Science Poster Session, a great success this year, is destined to become an annual event. “I congratulate the students, not only on the excellence of their poster presentations, but also on the high quality of the research that the posters represent.”

Students Honoured

Winners of the NSERC-Prairies Undergraduate Science Poster Session:

  • Physics students Gina Passante and Dave Ostapchuk were awarded first place for their research on entanglement – a peculiar property of quantum mechanics which is useful in areas of cryptography, computation and teleportation.
  • Physics student Jonathan Thiessen received second-place for his project examining Alzheimer’s disease in mice.
  • Physics student Blair Cardigan Smith placed third for her project using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to study Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the brain.
  • Chemistry student Carmen Edmundson received an honourable mention for her study of MS in the spine.
  • Chemistry student Yonas Negasi received an honourable mention for his study which identified and isolated medicinal compounds in plants.
  • Physics student Peter Winslow received an honourable mention for his work at TRIUMF, Canada’s National Laboratory for Nuclear and Particle Physics.

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