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Banting-Vanier Lecture Series


Red Carpet Research Preview
Coming soon to a lecture theatre near you!
​Starring Queen's Banting and Vanier scholars.

Saturday, October 14, 2017
10:00 am - 11:30am
School of Medicine
15 Arch Street
Room 032A

Hear some of Queen's finest share their discoveries and passion for research! The inaugural Banting-Vanier Lecture Series will feature six 10-minute lectures by three post-docs and three graduate students who have been awarded Canada's top scholarships. Light refreshments will be served after the presentations.

Nicolle DomnikWhile you were sleeping:  breathing mechanics during sleep in health and respiratory disease
Nicolle Domnik, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow

We know little about how or why our breathing changes between wakefulness and sleep. Even less is known about how these patterns are altered in respiratory disease, and whether this contributes to the nighttime breathlessness reported by individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Dr. Nicolle Domnik is applying her background in comparative models of respiratory physiology to address these questions under the supervision of Dr. Denis O’Donnell. Nicolle’s interest in research was first piqued by her work at the Royal Ontario Museum and University of Heidelberg. She completed her BScH and PhD at Queen’s (lab of Dr. John Fisher; NSERC support via Alexander Graham Bell MSc, Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, CGS PhD awards), and was fortunate to pursue projects at the University of Tasmania and Hospital for Sick Children in that time. The first in her family to be born in Canada, Nicolle grew up in Maple but has called Kingston “home” for eleven years and appreciates the limestone city’s close proximity to ample outdoor adventure. When not occupied by the workings of the respiratory system, Nicolle loves cooking, gardening, and making music. She eagerly looks forward to continuing down a path of discovery with direct clinical applications with support of this Banting fellowship.  

Emma PeacockeWhen the Professor is Literally the Prince of Darkness - University Pedagogy in Lord Byron's Cain
Emma Peacocke, Banting Post-doctoral Fellow

Emma first came to the English Department at Queen's with a Bader Fellowship, and is delighted to continue working with Professor Shelley King. Emma's bachelor's degree is in animal biology from the University of Toronto, and her MA and PhD are in English Literature from Carleton. The Huntington Library, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the Keats-Shelley Association of America have all generously funded her in archival work. Emma's first monograph is Romanticism and the Museum (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and she is working on a second on Romanticism and the university. In February, Emma was adopted by a ginger tom named Cosimo, and is delighted to report that he shares her love of Handel's music and of Lord Byron, although not her vegetarianism.

Sarah YakimowskiDoes ‘best of both worlds’ reproduction promote the evolution of herbicide resistance?
Sarah Yakimowski, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow

Growing up in Regina, SK Sarah discovered her love of research and travel through five-time participation in Canada’s National Science Fair for elementary and high-school students. Her research training began in the Biology Department at Queen’s where she investigated weedy invaders (B.Sc. in Biology and Computing) and the genetics of threatened species (M.Sc.). She sought further training in evolutionary genetics at the University of Toronto (Ph.D., Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), followed by a postdoc at the University of British Columbia studying adaptation to stress. Sarah has come full-circle, returning to Kingston and Queen’s to work with the Colautti-Eckert Rapid Evolution group (Department of Biology). Her current research applies Sarah’s expertise in the genetics of reproductive strategy to understand the dynamics of herbicide resistance in crop weed Amaranthus palmeri (Palmer’s Amaranth), which has had devastating effects on agriculture in the USA. This weed continues to spread into the northern states encroaching on Canada’s border as the climate warms. Since returning to Kingston and Queen’s Sarah is enjoying exploring the area with her young family. When the opportunity to combine work and family-travel arises, Sarah loves to schlep her two kids along for an adventure.

Taha AzadHow Fireflies could be the key to fighting cancer?
Taha Azad, Vanier Scholar

This year Taha’s application was ranked 1st out of 190 applications considered by the CIHR Vanier CGS selection committee this year. His PhD research project in Dr. Xiaolong Yang's lab explores novel connections between the Hippo pathway and members of the protein kinase superfamily in breast and lung cancer. Taha is from Tehran, Iran. He received his undergraduate degree from Tehran University, the best and highest ranked university in Iran. At the end of his B.Sc. study in Tehran, he won the Gold medal in National Biology Olympiad among the Iranian universities which was the most important competition for the B.Sc. Also, during his undergraduate study he wrote several biology books for high school students and taught more than 3000 hours in more than ten different cities in Iran. He has been working on cancer research areas for 5 years and has published more than 15 articles in national and international journals.

Elina CookGame of clones - A new public health matter of mutated blood cells and aging
Elina Cook, Vanier Scholar

After attending the University of Toronto to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and a Master’s degree in Medical Biophysics, Elina Cook is now an MD-PhD student in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Queen’s University. She has received numerous scholarships and awards, including the Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Master’s Award (CIHR CGSM). Under the supervision of Dr. Michael Rauh, she is now researching the effects of dominating mutations in the blood that are linked with blood cancers and other comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease. Having been born and raised mostly in Finland, she enjoys Finnish cooking and cross-country skiing. She is wildly passionate about organizing scientific conferences and meetings for all ages. In the future, Elina plans to pursue training in oncology and to continue researching cancer to improve outcomes for patients.

Jacob BonafigliaExercise is an individualized medicine: One size does not fit all
Jacob Bonafiglia, Vanier Scholar

Jacob Bonafiglia grew up in Grimsby Ontario; a small town located in West Niagara. Jacob traveled to Queen’s University to complete his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and now his PhD in Kinesiology. During his undergraduate degree in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Jacob developed a strong interest in skeletal muscle physiology; a branch of exercise physiology that investigates skeletal muscle molecular responses to exercise. Jacob is particularly interested in conducting molecular work that translates into meaningful discoveries for exercise and health research. For instance, although regularly completing exercise improves skeletal muscle, metabolic, and overall health for the majority of individuals, Jacob’s recent research has demonstrated that a subset of individuals do not receive benefit following a given exercise training program. Jacob, and his supervisor Dr. Brendon Gurd, are currently interested in understanding the mechanisms that explain individual differences in responses to exercise. Understanding these mechanisms can contribute to individualizing exercise prescriptions to optimize individual health.

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