Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
Faculty of Mathematics and Science
PhD Biological Sciences (Cell and Molecular)
In one word, Ellen Robb is a pathfinder — that is, she is someone who goes ahead and shows others the way.
As she prepares for her own new path in taking up a post-doctoral position at the University of Cambridge in England, Ellen leaves Brock with an impressive trail of accomplishments.
In her research life, Ellen explores the health benefits of resveratrol, an active ingredient found in red wine. Resveratrol has been shown to have beneficial effects in cancer prevention and in maintaining cardiovascular health.
Ellen already demonstrated the skills and traits of a gifted researcher as an undergraduate student at Brock. Not only was her fourth-year thesis published as a peer-reviewed journal article but it went on to be one of the top-cited articles in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications in 2008.
Ellen began her doctoral degree with the distinction of being Brock’s first recipient of a prestigious Vanier Scholarship. The award placed Ellen among Canada’s best and brightest doctoral students and provided funding to support her work up to the recent completion of her PhD.
Professor Jeff Stuart, Ellen’s graduate supervisor, says Ellen has one of the most impressive research profiles of any graduate student in Biology over the past eight years. She has presented at leading international conferences around the world with audiences as large as 1,000 people. In all cases, Ellen received praise from world-renown researchers for the calibre and significance of her work.
Despite a demanding research schedule, Ellen somehow managed to find ample time to make extensive contributions to the daily running of her lab group and the research training of undergraduate students. Her research skills and her guidance have helped many students to find their paths for moving forward into their own graduate degrees, medical school and other professional programs.
The contributions that Ellen has made as a researcher are equaled by the contributions she has made as a student leader, specifically her work with the Graduate Students’ Association.
Ellen became involved with the GSA in 2008 as its Vice-President, External. The following year, with a full-time graduate research career under way, Ellen took on the responsibilities of President of the association. That meant a time commitment of more than 30 hours a week to work on behalf of the interests of approximately 1,200 graduate students at Brock.
Under Ellen’s leadership, the GSA strengthened its administrative operations by establishing a business office with regular hours to better serve graduate students.
She also led the GSA executive in addressing important financial concerns for graduate students. Through Ellen’s negotiation skills, the GSA prevented an increase in the health and dental plan fees. The GSA also made access to the University’s fitness facilities more affordable for graduate student by negotiating a universal zone pass.
In championing the graduate student experience at Brock, Ellen worked tirelessly to promote research and scholarship excellence through her involvement, for four years, on the organizing committee for the Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference.
Ellen has developed a truly stellar research record and she has worked at the highest levels on behalf of the graduate student body at Brock.
Ellen should be very proud of marking out new pathways from which a vibrant graduate student culture has emerged at Brock and will continue to flourish.