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Ontario Biology Day 2014

OBD student group

On March 22, a contingent of 28 students, one faculty member, and two graduate students landed at the Instructional Centre at the University of Toronto Mississauga for the 27th Annual Ontario Biology Day. The conference was opened with words from Dr. Roberta Bondar (via Skype) and a talk given by Dr. Patrick Gunning of UTM. The afternoon was filled with two sets of concurrent sessions in six separate rooms. Two hour-long poster sessions followed and then the day ended with a banquet and a talk by David Evans, curator of the ROM

The following morning was again filled with two sets of concurrent sessions followed by the presentation of awards and a talk by Dan Riskin of the Discovery Channel. Principal of UTM, Deep Saini closed the conference and announced the award winners.

All our Western students gave outstanding talks and posters summarizing their research and future directions, and two of our students were awarded a first prize for best presentation in their stream. Congratulations to Margaret Sawatzky (Botany) for her talk on “Looking past the trees: Microbial carbon and nitrogen dynamics in the boreal bryosphere under climate change": and also to Ratna Varma (Cell and Molecular Biology) for her talk on Investigating Nodal expression in mouse models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The weekend afforded students a wonderful opportunity to present their own research and network with faculty and students from Ontario universities. Guest speakers were excellent, providing much food for thought as our students contemplate their futures. Many thanks to the organizers at UTM and our own Christie Stewart for organizing the day. A special thanks, too, to Madga Konopka and Golnaz Salehipour for their support throughout the weekend.