I completed my B.Sc at the University of Lethbridge, where I had several amazing opportunities to get involved with research. I spent summers observing hummingbird foraging behaviours in Westcastle, collecting arthropods to assess the impact of logging, road, and pipeline disturbances in the Kananaskis, and recording the salacious interactions between hermaphroditic snails.
I continued my studies at the University of Lethbridge, completing an M.Sc in evolutionary parasitology. The U of L alumni magazine put together a nice write-up of my experiences here.
For my M.Sc, I studied two species of parasite in the fathead minnow. Although related, these two parasites have very specific preferences as to where they migrate, and eventually stay within the host. My research established that the parasite Ornithodiplostomum ptychocheilus migrates along the nervous system of fish, eventually making its way to the outer layers of the minnow's brain. In response, some very curious looking cells appear in the brain tissue, surrounding the parasite infection. These cells only exist in teleost fish, and their specific function remains unknown. The parasite's close relative, Ornithodiplostomum spp., uses the circulatory system as a migration route, travelling along blood vessels to access the liver.
Subsequently I spent some time working with the Canadian Water Network. I researched (exhaustively!) the agricultural threats to source waters in Southern Alberta, Canada, and source water protection through regulation and governance.
I also spent some time working at the University of Alberta on a project that examined how we can better diagnose malaria in Canadian refugees, using highly sensitive PCR techniques.
I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Calgary, in the faculty of Medicine, in the department of Pharmacology and Physiology. I study the way a parasite can be used as a potential therapy in the treatment of disease. Sounds counterintuitive? I'll be writing an article about it soon enough!
I took a short leave of absence from my PhD to intern for CBC radio, through an incredible opportunity made possible by Alberta's health research funding agency, AIHS.
My interest in a variety of topics of science research has brought me to developing this website, which serves as forum to share my science writings. I hope you enjoy them.