Spotlight on scholars

Vanier scholar wants to improve social support for transgender youth
Transgender (or trans) people are those who feel the need to move away from their assigned sex at birth, in order to express who they are. Jake Pyne, a PhD candidate in Social Work and Gender Studies at McMaster University, is researching how transgender youth can receive support instead of rejection from other society members. This will help the youth medically transition to another gender and also avoid mental health issues.
February 5, 2016

Vanier scholar studies whether socialism can still exist in Cuba through its ongoing movement towards the private sector
Cuba has increased its involvement in the private sector and allowed residents to travel and work abroad. Daniel Salas-Gonzalez, a Cuban native and a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University, is studying whether these changes could trigger public debates that inspire democratic reform. He will analyze whether it’s possible for the current Cuban government to prevent this kind of free speech.
February 5, 2016

Vanier scholar seeks new ways to measure fetal heartbeats
The power of the mother’s heart and other electrical noises within her body can distort the heart waves of a fetus, which makes it difficult to record a fetal ECG. Kathryn Marcynuk, a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Manitoba, is trying to resolve this problem by improving Independent Component Analysis (ICA).
January 21, 2016

Vanier scholar explores the impact of head injury on the brain's ability to function
What really happens to our brains after a concussion? Alexander 'Sandy' Wright is trying to find out with the Integrative Sports Concussion Research Group at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. While concussions have received a lot of press coverage, it's still an area that isn't quite understood by medical professionals.
March 30, 2015

Vanier scholar studies how organic transistors can send, receive and store electrical signals
Zhihui Yi likes to explore new scientific territory. This desire can sometimes lead to failed experiments. But that doesn't stop her persistent motivation as a researcher. If anything, it motivates her.
March 30, 2015

Vanier scholar analyzes the factors that impact immigrant/refugee women's health and employment
Growing up in India, Bharati Sethi found great power in education. It motivated her to find answers to scientific questions that were on her mind.
March 30, 2015

Vanier Scholar studies the effect of migration and family separation on youth
Vanier Scholar Jennifer Shaw, a PhD student in anthropology at Simon Fraser University, is studying the ways in which families are reconfigured through migration and specifically how it affects the sense of kinship and belonging among youth.
October 20, 2014

Vanier Scholar Renee Willmon analyzes the evolutionary impact of tuberculosis (TB) using 3D investigation
Renee Willmon, an accomplished Vanier Scholar at the University of Western Ontario, aims to use modern genetic and clinical understanding of TB to determine the ways this disease has impacted the evolution and development of societies through space and time.
April 16, 2014

Vanier Scholar Discovers a Potential New Target for Cancer and Diabetes Treatment
Vanier Scholar Mohamed Soliman at Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto has discovered that a protein, known until recently as part of a complex communication network within the cell, also plays a critical role in regulating glucose metabolism and cell growth.
April 4, 2014

Vanier scholar sheds light on the role of leptin in the regulation of glucose production
Vanier Scholar Brittany Rasmussen at the University of Toronto has shed light on the role of the hormone leptin in the regulation of glucose production...
March 12, 2014

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