Women of Science Week – October 9th to 12th

Note that all presentations will take place in the Auditorium (A-103).

Laura Nilson, Biology Department at McGill University
Tuesday, October 9th at 2:30PM

Regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling output by antiparallel gradients of extracellular ligands drives epithelial patterning in the developing Drosophila ovary
My lab studies the molecular mechanisms that generate patterns of gene expression and cell fate in a developing tissue, using the follicular epithelium of the Drosophila ovary as a model system. We previously showed that the patterning of this tissue depends on input from three different extracellular signals. Each is localized in a different region of the tissue, and together they function as spatial cues that convey positional information to the cells in the tissue. Depending on the combination of signals a cell receives, it expresses one of two alternative target genes. These three signals function through well characterized signal transduction pathways – the EGFR, JAK/STAT, and BMP pathways – and we are interested in how cells integrate these pathways to control this binary choice of target gene expression. Although integration could occur at multiple levels, we are currently approaching this question by identifying the relevant cis regulatory modules (CRMs) within these two target genes that respond to these three upstream inputs.


Tami Pereg-Barnea, Physics Department at McGill University
Wednesday, October 10th at 11AM

The amazing microscopic world – how quantum mechanics determines properties of materials
In this talk we will survey some of the fundamental principles of of quantum mechanics. We’ll see how the microscopic world of the tiny particles which make up everything in our world is governed by the laws of quantum physics rather than by the laws of classical physics. This has far reaching consequences that can be seen in specialized experiments such as in large particle colliders. However, one does not need to go far or dig deep in order to see effects related to quantum mechanics – many common materials display effects that can only be explained through quantum mechanics. We will look particularly on one such effect – superconductivity.


Panel Discussion
Wednesday, October 10th at 12:30PM to 2PM



  • aria C. Gentile, currently working towards a Bachelor of Science – Specialization in Biology at Concordia University
  • Chrystelle El-khoury, in Doctorat de premier cycle en medicine at Université de Montréal
  • Celeste Ferrus, Physics undergraduate at Concordia University
  • Dulce Cayetano, in Génie en technologies de l’information à l’École de technologie supérieure
  • Raghdah Bollok, Master’s candidate in the Department of Physical Therapy at McGill University




Alina Stancu, Department of Math and Statistics at Concordia University
Wednesday, October 10th at 2PM

Math in Perspective: Anamorphosis
The most common anamorphoses are traffic markings on pavements, of which the stretched bicycle is a classic example. In art, anamorphosis makes it possible to use certain geometric tools to distort reality, the viewer being forced to make an effort to find meaning in the image he has in front of him. We will talk about the geometric transformations that produce the anamorphoses and we will experiment with hidden images using a curved mirror.


Brigitte Pientka, School of Computer Science, McGill University
Thursday, October 11th at 10AM

Decoding the Gender Gap in Computer Science
Despite the phenomenal rise in computing over the last 40 years, the participation of women in computer science has been steadily declining since the 1980s. While in 1984 over 37% computer science degrees in North America were awarded to women, the current portion lies at only 17.9%. At McGill, we have been able to reverse this trend, in part by opening new pathways into computer science and by changing the computing culture. Today, we have one of the highest enrolments of women in computer science in Canada. In this talk, I highlight some strategies that worked to counter the general trend and discuss more broadly why we should care about diversity in computer science. In particular, we will look at the moral, economic, and technological arguments in favour of why diversity matters and how a cultural change can benefit everyone.


Sonia V. del Rincon, PhD, Department of Oncology at McGill University
Thursday, October 11th at 1PM

Identifying novel druggable targets in metastatic disease
Dr. Sonia del Rincon completed her postdoctoral training focused on identifying novel druggable targets in breast cancer at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, California. Dr. del Rincon was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Oncology at McGill University in 2018. Dr. del Rincon’s research interests include pregnancy associated breast cancer and melanoma, both highly metastatic diseases. She helped to initiate the realization of a first ever Melanoma Research Network in Montreal, which promotes collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians throughout the network. Dr. del Rincon is also a volunteer at the Melanoma Network of Canada since 2017.


Lisa-Marie Munter, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University
Friday, October 12th at 10AM

Lipid metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease
There is no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease to date. In part, this is due because the underlying molecular pathways remain unclear. My laboratory is investigating a protein that transports cholesterol, a lipid associated with several diseases, in the context of Alzheimer’s disease. We are using cell culture and mouse models to determine its mechanism and how it may impact on the functioning of the brain.

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