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Vanier Celebrates Women in Science

2013 Speakers

Yogita Chudasama
DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, MCGILL

The Chudasama Laboratory of Brain and Behaviour studies brain mechanisms that control goal-directed behaviour. The focus is on executive function, a term used to describe the organization of several cognitive capacities such as attention, memory, and inhibitory control, into coherent actions that are crucial for survival in both animals and humans. Impairments in executive function plague patients with neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease) and chronic mental illnesses (e.g. schizophrenia), often even after their acute symptoms have subsided. The associated complex pattern of behavioural deficits in planning, organising and problem solving can severely compromise quality of life for many years. Since current pharmacotherapies fail to improve these symptoms, understanding the underlying circuits, and ultimately developing molecular and genetic strategies to restore normal function, is an important goal for behavioural neuroscience. The Chudasama lab is affiliated with the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology (CSBN).

You can watch Dr. Chudasama talk about undergraduate teaching, learning and research in the documentary series "Sowing the seeds of inquiry."

Alanna J. Watt
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY, MCGILL

Dr. Watt studies brain development and is fascinated by the question of how something as complex as the brain can assemble itself. By learning how the brain develops normally, she hopes to also unravel what goes wrong with this process in developmental disorders,and ultimately how to prevent or treat them. She says that she started volunteering in a lab as an undergraduate student, and got hooked on the scientific life. "Science is an adventure; you never know where your research will lead you. This makes it an exciting career."

Marianna Newkirk
ASSOCIATE DEAN (RESEARCH), FACULTY OF MEDICINE, MCGILL

Dr. Newkirk did her PhD in Immunology at the University of Toronto, and then post-doctoral studies at the University of Texas Health Sciences Centre in Dallas. Dr. Newkirk was instrumental in attracting and organizing the highly successful International Congress of Immunology held in Montreal in 2004. As Associate Dean, a position she has held since 2008, Dr. Newkirk is involved in many different activities that help promote Research excellence at McGill. She is also President of Immunology Montreal (since 2007) which brings together Immunologists from several universities in the greater Montreal area in order to promote collaboration and education about Immunology which extends to the community at large.

Brigitte Vachon
CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR IN PARTICLE PHYSICS, PHYSICS, MCGILL

Dr. Vachon is one of several McGill researchers who are members of the ATLAS international collaboration one of two multi-purpose CERN experiments (the other is known as CMS) involved in the search for the Higgs boson. Read how she contributed to a sighting of what could be the elusive Higgs boson in 2012. She has been an Assistant Professor at McGill since 2004.

Roberta Palmour
DEPARTMENTS OF PSYCHIATRY AND HUMAN GENETICS, MCGILL

Dr. Palmour studies how behavioural traits such as alcoholism and addiction are influenced by genes. She explores the evidence that personality is heritable, and how specific genes might or might not contribute to the behavioural traits that make up personality, both in humans and in other vertebrate species.

Dr. Palmour has been studying the monkeys in St. Kitts for 25 years in order to try to understand if personality traits are genetically predetermined. You can watch one of her 2013 Cutting Edge presentations on Canal Savoir: Nature or Nurture Do genes actually determine your personality? Lundi 14 octobre 2013 at 09:00, Mercredi 16 octobre 2013 at 02:00, Jeudi 17 octobre 2013 at 17:00, Dimanche 20 octobre 2013 at 23:00.

Emily Bamforth
PALEOECOLOGY AND PALEOBIODIVERSITY, REDPATH MUSEUM, MCGILL

Dr. Bamforth's work focuses on determining climatic drivers of vertebrate paleobiodiversity in the latest Cretaceous (65Ma) of central Canada. Her study sites are situated in southeastern Saskatchewan, located in the badlands of Grasslands National Park and the Frenchman River Valley. In the study locality, paleobidiversity is established through the collection and analysis of vertebrate microsites, while paleoclimate data is derived from stable isotope (oxygen-18) analysis and fossil leaf margin analysis. The relationships between paleobiodiversity and paleoclimate in the same locality yields important insights into the drivers of terrestrial biodiversity leading up the second largest terrestrial mass extinction in earth's history.

Audrey Moores
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, CHEMISTRY, MCGILL

Graduated with the "Best Ph.D. Thesis Award" in 2005 from the Ecole Polytechnique (France), Dr. Moores has worked at McGill since 2008. Her research group focuses on synthesising, characterizing and studying novel, and simple catalysts, based on metal nanoparticles, ionic liquids and/or cellulose nanocrystals in order to propose innovative and recyclable catalysts for organic reactions. In 2011 she was awarded a Science Communication Fellowship for Green Chemistry by Environmental Health News.

Monica Nevins
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA

Monica Nevins earned her PhD in pure mathematics from MIT in 1998. She has been at the University of Ottawa since 2000, where she is also currently serving as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Her research interests lie in algebra and its applications: from representation theory to coding theory and cryptography. Dr. Nevins is also an enthusiastic teacher, and the recipient of the 2011 University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Teaching.