matt mccannMatt McCann
:  During my undergraduate years, I did my degree in Honours Biology in the Faculty of Science at Western. This education provided me with an understanding of a broad spectrum of biological processes ranging from animals interacting in the wild to proteins interacting within the cell. During my 4th year, I completed an honours thesis project in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Leask that involved analysis of scar tissue formation and the overall fibrotic response using knock-out mouse models. It was this opportunity that stimulated my interest in research and led me down the path to graduate school. A paragraph describing your research and lab.

I entered the M.Sc. program to pursue my interests in skeletal development and stem cell research in the laboratory of Dr. Cheryle Séguin. I have since transferred into my Ph.D. and my thesis looks at the role of the notochord at specific stages of intervertebral disc development and determining if notochord cells act as progenitor cells in the nucleus pulposus. To trace these notochord cells in the embryo and isolate them from distinct stages of spine development, we have generated a genetically engineered mouse in which notochord cells are can be marked by crossing this mouse to a reporter mouse.

matt mccannThis is important because if we can decipher the factors that control intervertebral disc development, it may suggest strategies for the tissue engineering of these structures, including the differentiation of human stem cells towards a disc phenotype. These studies will hopefully lead us to greater insights in spine development, disc degeneration and ultimately treating lower back pain. 3) Answer the following skill testing questions:

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Scarborough, Ontario; for those that know the area, between Rouge Hill and Malvern. Growing up, I was always getting dirty, experimenting and taking things apart to see how they worked (unappreciated by my farther, as he had to put it all back together again). I moved to Pickering to attend high school, where I was still interested in how things work and wanted to be a mechanic, I was already to go to college, but realize I loved science courses too. I stuck around another year, then and actually applied to Kinesiology at all schools, it was only Western where I applied to general sciences. I was luckily to get into Western, and was really excited moved to London in September 2005, and lived in Saugeen-Maitland Hall. I got immersed in the residence life program as a Residence Don and ended up living in residence for all four years of undergrad.

Do you have any hobbies?

matt mccann

I am an avid movie watcher and collector. I am currently trying to work my way through The Internet Movie Database's top 250 movies of all time as well as all the Academy Award’s Best Pictures. When I'm not relaxing with a movie, I can be found playing any of several sports ranging from hockey, volleyball and football and curling. I’m also into reading epics (HP, LOTR, The Dark Tower) and watching the Leafs. 

What was the last movie you saw?

matt mccaan

This ties in nicely with the last question. The last movie I watched was Howl’s Moving Castle. It is currently #207 on the list, although that was an impromptu selection that I just wanted to watch.

Where would you like your next vacation to be?

Grad school has been pretty good to me in terms of traveling. I have been all over North America in the past 2 years.  My favourite city is Vancouver, B.C. I really enjoyed the laid back culture, the fact that you could ski over the looking the city and in the summer you could go surfing. I would like to go further west to Australia, more specifically the Gold Coast where I can swim the Great Barrier Reef and surf some really big waves.

What is your idea of the perfect lazy day?

matt mccann

A good lazy day would be to hang out until 2 or 3pm, then maybe do some shopping, come home, make some food on the BBQ, watch a movie with friends. I not so lazy day, but still fun would be to go the beach, get a tan, swim and surf, a dinner while hanging with friends over looking the beach, then come home, have a shower and go downtown for some fun.

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