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Dal AC students shine bright at Graduate Research Days

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on April 28, 2015 in News, Research

By: Casey Spears  

On April 23 and 24 many of Dal’s most disciplined students attended Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture Graduate Research Days event.

This event has been taking place for over a decade and like many graduate students before them, this year’s participants were nothing short of exceptional. Starting on Thursday and finishing Friday afternoon, there was a variety of both oral and poster presentations, as well as keynote speaker Angus Ells, manager of Carrot Operations at Bragg Lumber Company.

The two-day event invites current graduate students to showcase their research projects. Marie Law, graduate program assistant, says “it’s an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to network and explore the areas of research from each graduate student.” Located on campus in Cumming Hall,“Grad Research Days provides a formal setting with a friendly audience for the graduates to present their findings to,” explains Law.

It is a requirement for all students in the Masters of Science program at the Faculty of Agriculture to present at Grad Research Days. The research was broad and touched on subjects from exploration of phytochemicals of Canadian herbal plants against streptococcal pharyngitis to associations of blood plasma hormones and metabolites with age, feed efficiency and fatness in young beef bulls. Students with varying backgrounds and interests revealed their research projects to the audience and had a chance to be labelled winners.

(L toR) Aishwarya Mohan, Savannah Hatheway, Madumani Amararathna and Dr. Yuri Montanholi (Jasper Munro’s supervisor accepting certificate on his behalf).

Competing against the numerous other agricultural topics, Jasper Munro won first place for best oral presentation. Munro’s research abstract is “heart rate upon exposure to an acute stressor and additional cardiovascular parameters as indicators of feed efficient in grass-fed beef cattle.”

Runner up to Munro was Aishwarya Mohan whose abstract is “modified molecular and surface properties of casein peptide aggregates (plastein) contribute to enhanced affinity for sodium deoxycholate.”

Savannah Hatheway won first place for best poster presentation. Hatheway’s study was the analysis of plastic biodegration by aspergillus oryzae. Her abstract further says “this research has potential to facilitate biodegration of plastics and improve plastic waste management to prevent further environmental pollution.” Second place was won by Madumani Amararathna who researched chemopreventive properties of haskap polyphenols using experimental models of lung cancer.

When reading through the Graduate Research Days program, it’s easy to see the amount of hard work that each student put into his and her own presentations. Each student’s piece in the program highlights critical aspects of their research and intrigues the reader to learn more. One can only imagine what new and interesting topics will be discussed at next year’s event.