When Nish Hiteshkumar Patel first heard the word ‘electrophoresis,’ he wasn’t quite sure what the process involved.
But it wasn’t long before the second-year Brock Biology student, who was eager to learn about laboratory techniques and conduct hands-on research, found out first-hand.
Just a few months after first hearing the term, Patel found himself conducting electrophoresis, a method of separating large molecules, such as proteins, DNA and RNA, by running an electrical current through a gel. This allows the molecules to be examined more easily.
Patel learned these and other techniques through the Match of Minds program, a Brock University initiative designed to provide research employment opportunities for students.
Now accepting applications for 2022, Match of Minds encourages the development of skills and abilities of students for future employment and improves the quality of research assistants available to faculty researchers at the graduate level. The program offers up to $5,000 for student employment.
“The Match of Minds program has proved itself an important opportunity for collaboration between students and experienced researchers,” says Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon.
“It greatly enhances students’ future research careers, enabling them to develop skills and understanding from excellent mentors,” he says.
In Patel’s case, his mentor and supervisor was Professor of Biology Michael Bidochka. Patel spent last summer in Bidochka’s lab researching a cellulose binding protein in the interaction between the Metarhizium robertsii fungi and plants.
Applications for this year’s Match of Minds are now being accepted through an online portal accessible to students’ supervisors. The deadline is Friday, April 1 at noon.
The application is in two parts. When supervisors submit their portion, students will receive an e-mail notification to complete their portion. The Office of Research Services recommends that the applicant and the student review the 2022 Program Guidelines before beginning the application.
Funding is open for students across all Faculties and non-Faculty units.
Social Justice and Equity Studies graduate student Julia Jarvis was able to use her Match of Minds grant to learn research concepts from Psychology Lecturer Scott Neufeld.
As part of her research, she created an archive of organizations’ videos, posters and other materials that challenge the stigma against people who use drugs. The collection is available for researchers studying the topic.
Jarvis analyzed the effectiveness of these materials from a gender-based perspective, noting examples of positive messages and those that perpetuate stereotypes.
“Organizations that are coming up with new campaigns can see this archive of all of the existing campaigns and know what’s been done and what they can do differently for a new campaign that would be more effective,” she says of what her research for her master’s degree has accomplished.
Jarvis says her work will be featured at an upcoming conference.
“It was really valuable to have one-on-one meetings and instruction with someone who has more experience than I do with research,” she says of her Match of Minds experience.
For more information on the Match of Minds program, please contact Research Officer Monika Ovsonka at firstname.lastname@example.org