Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX undergraduate honours research featured at international conference

May 24th, 2018
L-r, Laura Davidson, Molly Rutherford and Elizabeth Wallace

Three 2018 StFX human kinetics and biology graduates, Laura Davidson, Elizabeth Wallace, and Molly Rutherford, presented their undergraduate honours research recently at an international conference in San Diego, California, consisting mainly of graduate students, postdocs and senior scientists.

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. General fields of study include anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology, nutrition, pharmacology, and physiology.

StFX faculty Dr. Daniel Kane and Dr. Matthew Palmer were in attendance at the conference. “The students’ excitement was contagious,” says Dr. Kane. “We were able to put faces to the names of researchers whose work had formed the foundation of their StFX honours research. Observing students interact meaningfully with leaders in the field was a delight. All presenting StFX students rose to the challenge of effectively communicating their research to a diverse group of scientists on an international stage.”  

Laura Davidson, a biology graduate from Halifax, NS, presented her StFX undergraduate research entitled, “H1/H2 Histamine Receptor Blockade Lowers Substrate-Dependent Mitochondrial H2O2 Emission in Deep Gastrocnemius Muscle Following a Bout of Prolonged Exercise” in both poster and oral presentation sessions at the annual conference.

“Presenting my honours thesis research at Experimental Biology was an amazing experience and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to do so,” says Ms. Davidson, who plans to pursue a career in medicine. 

“I appreciated the opportunity to present my research in the form of an oral presentation and a poster, as this allowed me to strengthen my communication and presentation skills, as well as receive valuable feedback from various members of the scientific community. Additionally, I gained a wealth of knowledge through engaging with fellow students and experienced researchers in the field of physiology, during the poster sessions at this conference. I would like to thank my thesis supervisor, Dr. Dan Kane, for making this wonderful experience possible,” she says.

“My time at StFX greatly impacted me; I gained a wealth of knowledge, both in and outside the classroom, I met many amazing and inspiring individuals and I was given some incredible opportunities, including this one.”

Elizabeth Wallace, a human kinetics graduate from Antigonish, NS, also presented her StFX undergraduate research, entitled “Effects of H1/H2 Histamine Receptor Blockade on Mitochondrial Function in Rodent Brain Following Prolonged Exercise.”

“Presenting at an international conference was really incredible. Being able to meet some of the experts in our field and discuss our research with them was something that I never imagined being able to do at an undergraduate level,” says Ms. Wallace, who will start an MSc in global health in Hamilton, ON in the fall. 

“You learn so much in having conversations with those who have been doing research for their entire career. Being immersed in an environment where there is so much scientific discovery being shared is inspiring and exciting, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have had that experience. Without the support of our advisor, Dr. Kane, other professors, and StFX, this would not have been possible,” she says.

“I think the biggest impact that StFX has had on me is in how close I have become with my classmates and professors, and having that continuous support network to learn in.” 

Ms. Wallace and Ms. Davidson’s undergraduate honours work was supervised by human kinetics faculty member Dr. Daniel Kane, with special thanks to co-authors Dr. Karen Brebner and Mackenzie Bell for their efforts and contribution to this project.

Molly Rutherford, a human kinetics graduate from Kingston, ON, also presented her research entitled, “Effects of Caffeine and Menstrual Phase on Performance of Female Athletes During Heat Stress.” 

“Being fortunate enough to attend an international conference like Experimental Biology as an undergraduate student only exemplifies the opportunities that come along with attending St. Francis Xavier University,” says Ms. Rutherford. 

“Having the chance to present to and interact with academics of varying disciplines encouraged me to continue pursuing research going forward. Seeing the quality of research was inspiring and made all the hard work put into my thesis feel worth it! Without the support of our faculty members we would not have been able to achieve our goal of attending EB, I cannot thank everyone who was involved enough.”

Ms. Rutherford’s honours research was supervised by StFX human kinetics faculty member Dr. Matthew Palmer.

This research is, in part, made possible by the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.


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