Graduate student research

Graduate student research


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.”

Read the full story.

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.

Read the full story.


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.

Read the full story.


Three Minute Thesis finalist looking at oils and fats

September 30, 2015

Hasam Madarati has an encouraging message to help ease pangs of guilt for those diet-conscious individuals who hanker for a burger and fries.

Madarati is a MSc student in Biotechnology and he competed as one of five finalists in Brock’s 2015 Three Minute Thesis® (3MT®) Contest held in April. As Madarati finished his 3MT® research presentation — with a few seconds to spare — he says: “Now, I know I probably shouldn’t be saying this but between you and I — you know that last burger or french fry you avoided the last time you were on a diet? Well, my research may take you a step closer to allowing you to have that without any worry.”

Madarati’s presentation offers a quick science lesson to explain how our body processes all the oils and fats it produces. His research examines the transfer of cholesterol within compartments of wet cells — cells filled with water. He focuses specifically on the behaviour of a particular protein — the oxysterol binding protein or OSBP for short — and its important role within a wet cell to move greasy fats at a sub-cellular level to help the body remain healthy.


Read the full story.

GSA president prioritizing space and services for graduate students

September 23, 2015

Aidan Smyth is looking at pushing forward some proverbial yardsticks as the 2015-16 President of Brock’s Graduate Students’ Association (GSA).

Smyth will focus on continuing to champion initiatives that his GSA council predecessors have set in motion on behalf of approximately 1,700 Brock graduate students. Chief among those priorities are securing additional physical space and developing services that are central to enhancing the graduate student experience here.

Already, with the fall academic term just beginning, Smyth and his executive team have progress to report on both fronts.

Read the full story.