Graduate student research

Graduate student research


Three minute thesis explores the delivery of Vitamin E

December 9, 2015

Mikel Ghelfi takes you on a science travelogue to explain parts of his doctoral research in chemistry.

Ghelfi studies the molecular pathways and actions in the body of Vitamin E — one of the key molecules that acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells.

His research is set on a course to provide further insight into how Vitamin E protects our brain by understanding the forces that guide the specific delivery of Vitamin E. His study is another piece of the puzzle toward the science being dedicated around the world to stopping neurodegenerative processes and diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

Ghelfi, who is from Trimbach, Switzerland, was a finalist in last year’s Three Minute Thesis® (3MT®) contest at Brock. The 2016 Call for 3MT® Proposals is now open to Brock graduate students who want to have a fun and challenging way to talk about their research and, in the process, expand their research communications skills.

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Research Café to focus on Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being

November 12, 2015

Scott Donia understands how much it means for people to maintain and, in some cases regain, a healthy and independent lifestyle.

The master’s student in Applied Health Sciences has witnessed the impact the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being has had on a growing number of community members since he began volunteering at the Centre during his undergraduate degree.

The Centre currently offers four programs that provide a holistic approach to health and well-being. The programs include Heart Strong, Power Cord, Brock TEAM (Therapeutic Exercise for Amputees in Motion), and SeniorFit. These programs support individuals living with cardiovascular disease, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis or the loss of a limb, and healthy Niagara seniors looking to stay fit in a welcoming social environment.

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Brock graduate students receive SSHRC awards

November 5, 2015


Programs to help those living with autism or Asperger’s often end in late childhood, leaving teens and young adults to struggle with these conditions on their own. But Master’s student Jeffrey Esteves is aiming to change that.

With his Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Applied Disabilities Studies student is analyzing the issue through his thesis titled My Life as an Epic Win: Providing transitional support to adolescents and young adults with a high function Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Created four years ago by Rebecca Ward, assistant professor in the Centre for Applied Disability Studies, My Life as an Epic Win works with 16 to 25-year-olds to develop goals and a wide array of skills in four areas of their lives: career/work; education; independence; and relationships.

“They do have the skills and tools necessary to be successful in life, however, they’re not really coached through and they’re not provided with that support,” says Esteves. “Autism support really drops off after childhood. We’re trying to fill that gap right now.”

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Research looks at fungi that kills bugs and helps plants

October 21, 2015

It’s a mouthful for most of us to say “entomopathogenic fungi” out loud. But not for Larissa Barelli, a doctoral student in Brock’s Biotechnology program and recipient of a prestigious 2015 Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Her scientific vocabulary rolls out with enthusiasm — and passion — along with a knack for explaining the complexities of her research interest and what motivates her as a researcher.

“I believe that some of us are born to ask the question why, to question the mechanics of life and how we can improve upon them, and solve the problems that affect the world around us,” she says. “Every researcher has their niche that they carve out for themselves, and I want the opportunity to contribute my piece to the larger puzzle.”

Barelli has found her piece of the puzzle working with her supervisor, Professor Michael Bidochka, and his world-renowned research team. The group studies entomopathogenic fungal species that not only kill insects but are also plant symbionts — meaning they have an association with plants that contribute to the health of the plant.

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Grad student studying fandom in youth

October 8, 2015

Emily Thomas completely understands the euphoria that the Toronto Blue Jays are creating with baseball fans.

As a hockey fan, she’s come off a winning NHL season with her beloved Chicago Blackhawks crowned 2015 Stanley Cup champions.

More than that, she’s a Brock MBA student who has a research interest in the how being a fan contributes to childhood development.

The 26-year-old St. Catharines resident was recently awarded a prestigious Ontario Graduate Scholarship to support her study titled, “The development of a fan: Examining the value of sports engagement in diverse contexts.”

Thomas, who graduated from Brock with an honours bachelor degree in psychology, is looking at how children, as young as four years old, start showing signs of affiliation with a team, and what that fan loyalty means as they get older. She’ll be conducting her study with assistance from Psychology Professor Linda Rose-Krasnor.

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