Current Research Opportunities
Environmental & Life Sciences
Scroll through the Research Opportunities below to see the exciting positions that are available to incoming students in the Environmental & Life Sciences Graduate Program! You are encouraged to contact the faculty member directly. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Cardwell, Program Coordinator at email@example.com or 705-748-1011 Ex 7817.
Master of Science opportunity — Conservation Value Assessment of the Boreal Forest
Supervisor: Dr. Jim Schaefer
The project: The North American boreal forest is one of the last great intact forests on the planet. The goal is to determine the conservation value of this biome for mammals, trees, and insects. The student will use GIS to determine the total range of each species, then combine this with estimates of abundance of each species. The result will be an evaluation of the conservation value and stewardship responsibility of the Boreal for each province and territory.
With whom: Under the co-supervision of Dr. James Schaefer (Trent University) and Dr. Stephen Mayor (Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources & Forestry), in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Wells (National Audubon Society).
When: Starting January 1, 2022 or May 1, 2022.
How to apply: Email Prof. James Schaefer, firstname.lastname@example.org
M.Sc. and Ph.D. Graduate Positions available for a management focused methylation study on large mammals
Supervisor Team: Dr. Aaron Shafer, Trent University and Dr. Joe Northrup, NDMNRF
The project: Successful applicants will leverage a newly developed methylation array to
build species-specific clocks and develop bio-markers linked to age and disease status.
Field work is a possibility.
Qualifications: Applicants must meet the requirements of the Environmental and Life
Sciences Graduate Program at TrentU and international students are welcomed to apply.
Please see: https://www.trentu.ca/els/
How to apply: Send cover letter (in email), CV, and contacts for two references to
email@example.com. Anticipated start date is flexible (Sept 2021, Jan 2022, May 2022).
MSc/PhD opportunities for research on the environmental impacts of Hi-tech industries,
Environmental and Life Science program (EnLS), Trent University, Peterborough, Canada.
Supervisor: Dr. Huy Dang, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
We invite qualified candidates to apply for positions at both M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels to start in September 2021. The projects aim to determine the environmental impacts of Hi-Tech industries associated with modern applications of emerging resources (e.g., rare earths, platinum group elements) and electronic waste recycling. The project(s) will involve lab experiments and field-based work (Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River and tributaries). The successful applicant(s) will work at Trent University, Ontario, under the supervision of Dr. Huy Dang.
State-of-the-art facilities (e.g. mass spectrometry, clean room, microenvironmental chambers) will be available at the Trent Water Quality Center and via the ENIGMA1 research group. Please check the websites below for more information about:
Trent Water Quality Center: https://www.trentu.ca/wqc/facilities-services/facilities
Learn more about Trent University and the School of the Environment – one of Canada's top post-secondary environmental institutions, which is the university of choice for future environmental leaders.
• A BSc or MSc degree (or equivalent) in environmental sciences or other related sciences.
• A strong background in environmental analytical science. Previous experience with trace element and/or isotope analysis is an asset.
• A strong, highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate with excellent problem-solving skills and a positive attitude.
• A "G" level driver's license (or equivalent) to complete fieldwork requirements.
• Working languages: English or French. Applicants should meet the University English Language requirements.
Starting date: September 2022 (with scope for flexibility)
Fixed terms: 2 years (MSc) and 4 years (PhD)
Financial aid: A minimum support of $19,477 (MSc) or $21,477 (PhD) will be provided to the student as Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Research fellowship and scholarship.
Trent University and the EnLS program also have specific scholarships for eligible candidates (https://www.trentu.ca/els/experience/awards-scholarships).
How to apply:
Interested candidates are invited to send the following documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
- A cover letter (one page max).
- Statement of research interests (one page max).
- Undergraduate academic transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable at this stage).
- Name and contact information of two referees.
Applications are invited continuously, and the positions are open until filled. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, and the preferred candidates sent offers as soon as possible.
1 ENvironmental Isotope Geochemistry and Mass spectrometry Applications
Credit: Asian Development Bank
Available graduate positions in the Integrative Wildlife Conservation lab at Trent University
The IWC lab conducts cutting-edge research on the conservation biology and population ecology of plant and animals, in an effort to address some of the major environmental challenges facing the world today. The lab uses state-of-the-art instruments like GPS transmitters and accelerometers to track animal states and interactions, drones and remote sensors to monitor forest health and the effects of climate change, and genomics and bioinformatics to assess cellular-level responses to stressors like disease or predation risk. We work on species ranging from Canada lynx to soil microbes and in environments as variable as the boreal forest of the Yukon to the desert of Namibia.
Graduate positions will be based at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario as part of the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program (http://www.trentu.ca/els/)
Projects available for 2022
PhD – Spatial and behavioural dynamics of Canada lynx in response to the 10-year snowshoe hare cycle
PhD – Population ecology of snowshoe hares in response to climate change
PhD – Spatio-temporal variation in habitat selection and predation risk avoidance by snowshoe hares
PhD – Climate change impacts on boreal forest health and productivity
MSc – Spatial epidemiology of invasive disease outbreaks in the boreal forest
MSc – Maternal investment in juvenile snowshoe hare protection and procurement
PhD – Population status and conservation biology of softshell turtles (pending funding)
PhD – Behavioural, physiological and genomic responses of amphibians to stressors like predators and pathogens
PhD – The role of polyploidy on salamander responses to environmental stressors
PhD – Establishing best practices for tracking decline and viability of wildlife populations
MSc – Genome assembly and phylogeny for conservation of at-risk Lithops spp. plants
PhD – Conservation biology and viability of isolated Lithops populations
*Note that some projects listed at the PhD level (preferred) could be sub-divided into components that are suitable for an M.Sc. thesis
M.Sc. or Ph.D. Opportunity in Molecular Virology and Viral Pathogenesis
Supervisor, Dr. Craig Brunetti, Professor of Biology
The study of viral immune modulation strategies has increased our understanding of the diverse array of mechanisms that viruses use to circumvent the host immune response as well as providing a greater understanding of host immune function. In particular, the large DNA viruses, such as the Herpesviridae and Poxviridae families encode an array of viral proteins that subvert immune system function at many different levels. Although many immune evasion genes have been identified, the cellular targets of these virulence factors are often specific to a particular virus or viral family. Our laboratory is using a scientifically unexploited family of large DNA viruses, the Iridoviridae, to identify new viral immune evasion strategies. Identifying viral immune evasion genes from the Iridoviridae family will help identify new cellular anti-viral pathways that are not targeted by other viral families as well as providing greater insight into the function of previously identified cellular anti-viral responses.
Graduate positions will be based at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario as part of the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program (http://www.trentu.ca/els/) and begin in Spring or Fall of 2022. Interested students should contact Dr. Craig Bruneti email@example.com with a brief statement of interests, transcripts and a recently updated resume.
Research for a PhD student to study fish behaviour, metabolism, thermal biology, and bioenergetics
Supervisor: Dr. Graham Raby
The Raby Lab at Trent University is recruiting a new PhD student. The student will lead a project on walleye (Sander vitreus) that will involve respirometry experiments, biotelemetry tracking, and bioenergetics modeling to provide insights into the drivers of fish migrations, the implications of climate change, and the mechanisms underlying sexual size dimorphism.
Trent University is located in Peterborough, a small city 90 minutes northeast of Toronto, Ontario (Canada). Start date: January or May 2022.
Visit www.rabylab.com/opportunities for more information about this opportunity.
Research on the movement patterns of Great Lakes fish using acoustic telemetry
Supervisor: Dr. Erin Dunlop, NDMNRF
An M,Sc. or Ph.D. position is available to study the movement patterns of lake whitefish in Lake Huron, where the species has undergone substantial changes in population dynamics and life history following species invasions. Acoustic telemetry involves implanting fish with tags that emit a unique ID that is detected on receivers placed in the lake as the fish swim by. The successful candidate would be working on an exciting and important project that makes use of one of the largest & newest acoustic telemetry arrays in the Great Lakes. The student will work closely with project partners, including the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resource & Forestry, Parks Canada, and Saugeen Ojibway Nation. Academic collaborators on this project will include Dr. Mike Rennie (Lakehead University) and Dr. Graham Raby (Trent University). Interested students should contact Dr. Erin Dunlop (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief statement of interests and experience, transcripts, and a recently updated resume.
Research on the ecology of Great Lakes fish populations
Supervisor: Dr. Erin Dunlop, NDMNRF
An M.Sc. position is available to investigate diets and niche space of important fish species in Lake Huron. The M.Sc. student will examine trends in diet and stable isotope patterns in lake whitefish and lake trout, two species of ecological, commercial, and cultural significance in the Great Lakes. The project involves closely collaborating with Saugeen Ojibway Nation and the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources & Forestry as part of a broader research project using a two-eyed seeing approach to study declines of lake whitefish. The broader two-eyed seeing project involves studying fish population dynamics using both quantitative “western” science approaches as well as documenting Indigenous Ecological Knowledge. This is a unique and exciting opportunity! The M.Sc. student at Trent will focus on the western science component of the project, but have the opportunity to work in a team environment with researchers conducting the Indigenous Ecological Knowledge component of the study. Interested students should contact Dr. Erin Dunlop (email@example.com) with a brief statement of interests and experience, transcripts, and a recently updated resume.
M.Sc. Opportunity for research in Microplastics
Supervisor, Dr. Julian Aherne, Trent School of the Environment
Are you a recent graduate, interested in an M.Sc. in research, and concerned about microplastic pollution?
We have a number of exciting opportunities focused on the impacts of air pollution on natural ecosystems in Ontario, northern and western Canada, and internationally. The projects cover a wide range of research topics, such as microplastics, biomonitoring, and pollution impacts in the arctic and downwind from a large-point emissions source. Project start dates range from May to September 2022. The successful candidate will be registered in the Environmental & Life Sciences Graduate Program www.trentu.ca/els at Trent University.
This M.Sc. research opportunity is funded through the Government of Canada’s zero plastic waste initiative. The successful candidate with work closely with partners at the University of Windsor and several Waste Water Treatment Plants. The goal of the project is to determine the optimum treatment for the removal of microplastics from biosolids. This project could potentially help to remove thousands of tonnes of plastic waste from the environment and move Ontario towards obtaining a zero plastic waste future.
For further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Julian Aherne, Trent School of the Environment
Ph.D. Positions - Ecology of Lake and River Ecosystems
Supervisor: Dr. Maggie Xenopoulos
Graduate Ph.D. positions are available to contribute to on-going ecological research on rivers in the Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario and as part of a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Change of Aquatic Ecosystems. Research for these positions could range from foodweb responses to environmental stress to landscape studies of carbon and nutrients. Field work for these positions could include the Great Lakes basin and central Ontario in cottage country. The graduate positions are funded at the Ph.D. level but exceptional M.Sc. candidates who are interested in transferring to a Ph.D. will be considered. Graduate positions will be based at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario as part of the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program (http://www.trentu.ca/els/) and begin in September 2022 or January 2023. Interested students should contact Dr. Maggie Xenopoulos (email@example.com) with a brief statement of interests, transcripts and a recently updated resume. Information of lab projects can be found at: www.xenopoulos.ca .
Ph.D. Graduate student opportunities in avian ecological physiology
Supervisor: Dr. Gary Burness
About the projects: We are seeking 1-2 Ph.D. students interested in avian thermal physiology. Areas of research include: the impact of temperature during development on adult physiology, climatic warming as a constraint on activity in wild birds, and the use of automated radio-telemetry to understand fine-scale movements. Specific thesis topics are flexible, and you are encouraged to contribute your ideas.
Requirements: You should have an interest in animal physiology/physiological ecology. Experience and/or interest in use of R would be an asset (although not required). Ph.D. applicants will require a completed M.Sc. or equivalent, by the start date. Positions are open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents, but strong international candidates are encouraged to apply. We seek a diversity of ideas and perspectives in the lab, so we especially welcome applicants from under-represented groups.
Funding: The minimum stipend for an M.Sc. student is $19,477.23 for each of 2 years; a PhD student is $21,477.23 for each of 4 years. Students holding external funding are particularly encouraged to apply.
Interested in applying? Send an email, with your CV and a brief statement of research interests to: Gary Burness, firstname.lastname@example.org
Start date: September, 2022. Applications will be considered until positions are filled.
M.Sc. and Ph.D. positions – Cell and molecular biology
Supervisor: Dr. Robert Huber
The Huber Lab uses the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum as a model system for studying the functions of proteins linked to human disease. Current research is focused on revealing the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), commonly known as Batten disease (the most common form of childhood neurodegeneration). For more information, please visit: http://huberlab.ca
Students will gain experience using a diversity of cellular, molecular, and biochemical approaches, including cell culture and harvest, PCR and gene cloning, gene knockout, qPCR, recombinant protein expression, immunoprecipitation, SDS-PAGE and western blotting, immunofluorescence, and epifluorescence microscopy.
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter that includes a brief summary of research experience/interests/goals (no more than a page), CV, unofficial transcript(s), and the names of 2 academic references to Dr. Robert Huber (email@example.com). The Huber Lab is currently funded by two 5-year grants from CIHR and NSERC. Full financial support is offered for qualified candidates.
The different stages of Dictyostelum development
Copyright, M.J. Grimson & R.L. Blanton, Biological Sciences Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Texas Tech University
Graduate Student Opportunities in Chemical and Biomedical Sciences
Supervisor: Dr. Sanela Martic, Dept. of Forensic Science, Trent U
Multiple student positions (M.Sc. or Ph.D.) are available in the area of analytical chemistry and biochemistry focused on molecules linked to diseases, environment, forensic science, and food safety, among other topics.
The projects will use chemical and analytical tools to design and develop new technologies for study and detection of targets of interest. Targets of interest may include chemical/biochemical reactions, disease mechanisms, organics/inorganics in the environment, compounds in forensic toxicology, and food pathogens, among others. Techniques utilized in our research group include: spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, chromatography, electrophoresis and blotting, surface plasmon resonance, electrochemistry, quartz-crystal microbalance, among others.
The student will be enrolled in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program, Trent University, and under the supervision of Dr. Sanela Martic. Students will receive financial support. The project will begin immediately.
Candidates should have a solid background in chemistry, biochemistry or biology and an aptitude for chemical, biochemical and analytical testing. Prospective student should meet the minimum requirement for admission to the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program.
Students interested should send their letter of interest, CV (resume) and unofficial transcripts to Dr. Sanela Martic, firstname.lastname@example.org. The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is selected.
Please visit the Martic lab research group webpage for more information: https://sites.google.com/trentu.ca/marticlab
M.Sc. and Ph.D. Positions studying the Evolutionary Ecology of an Invasive Hybrid Zone
Supervisors: Dr. Marcel Dorken and Dr. Joanna Freeland, Dept. of Biology; Dr. Aaron Shafer, Forensic Science Program
Plants are essential components of wetland ecosystems, but remain largely understudied; as a result, we have little insight into how environmental changes (including novel invasive species) are impacting aquatic plant communities and their associated taxa. Cattails (Typha spp.) are critical to wetlands around the world, but in North America they are being replaced with cryptic, invasive interspecific hybrids. We use a combination of experimental, field, and molecular genetic work to investigate Typha hybrid zone dynamics in the Great Lakes Region, and are looking for a graduate student to continue this work. There are several potential projects that can include local adaptation, hybrid selection, and/or competition (e.g. using bioinformatics, SNPs, growth experiments, etc). Depending on the project, this can be a collaboration with Drs. Joanna Freeland, Marcel Dorken, and Aaron Shafer.
Contact email@example.com for more information.
M.Sc. in Environmental and Life Sciences - Nutrients and ecosystem health
Supervisor: Dr. Shaun Watmough
Decades of acid rain and timber harvesting have depleted soil nutrient levels and lake chemistry is changing alarmingly. Understanding the key processes involved and mitigation options including the application of wood ash are the focus of this research project.
I am seeking two enthusiastic, motivated students with a background in biogeochemistry and/or plant ecology to investigate the biogeochemistry of essential plant nutrients and/or the impact of wood ash application on forest and aquatic ecosystems, beginning September 1st, 2022.
The students would enroll in the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program (ENLS) (https://www.trentu.ca/els/msc.php) at Trent University and will be supervised by Prof. Shaun Watmough. The students must meet the academic requirements for entrance to the ENLS Program (77% average), have a valid driver’s license and be comfortable working in the field and in a laboratory. The students would collaborate with numerous agencies and stakeholders including the Canadian Forest Service, ASH-NET study (https://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/projects/140), Friends of Muskoka Watershed and Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve. The students will join an active research lab, attend and present at conferences and make connections that may provide future exciting opportunities. Interested students should contact Dr. Shaun Watmough (firstname.lastname@example.org).
M.Sc. and Ph.D. Positions - Molecular Parasitology/Biochemistry
Supervisor: Dr. Janet Yee
We have positions for either M.Sc. or Ph.D. candidates who are interested in the study of molecular biology, biochemistry and molecular parasitology.
The research in our laboratory studies the biology of the waterborne parasite, Giardia intestinalis, by using molecular and biochemical approaches. This protist is found in freshwater lakes and streams, and it infects humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. Although giardiasis occurs worldwide, this disease is especially problematic in less-developed countries where diarrhea kills about 2.2 million people each year, with most cases involving children less than 5 years of age. Drugs currently available to treat Giardia are highly toxic especially to developing fetuses in pregnant women. The major problem in finding an effective and non-toxic drug for treatment is that Giardia and humans are both eukaryotes and thus, share many biological pathways. Consequently, any drug that would affect Giardia’s health would also affect the health of humans. One approach to developing a drug that would only affect Giardia would be to look for biological targets that are unique to this parasite. At present, we are focusing on regulators of the Giardia cell cycle, heme-binding proteins, and the identification and characterization of Giardia transcription factors. More information about our lab, projects and current students can be found on our website <http://www.jyee.ca>.
Techniques utilized in our research include: cell culturing in a biosafety cabinet, gene cloning, gel shift assays, qPCR, immunoblotting (Western blots), immunofluorescent microscopy, flow cytometry, recombinant protein purification, and UV-vis spectroscopy.
The ideal student would have completed and obtained high academic standing in the following courses: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology (or Parasitology) and Genetics. It would be helpful if the student has some experience working in a research laboratory outside of their courses such as the completion of an undergraduate research thesis project. The student should have good analytical, numeracy and problem-solving skills. Most importantly, the student must be enthusiastic and willing to learn.
Full financial support is offered for qualified applicants.
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter that includes a brief summary of your research experience/interests/goals, CV, unofficial transcripts, and names of 2 academic references to Dr. Janet Yee.
M.Sc. positions - Chemical Property and Environmental Fate Modelling
Supervisor: Dr. J. Mark Parnis
M.Sc. positions starting May 2022 are available in the Chemical Properties Research Group, a division of the Canadian Environmental Modelling Centre (CEMC) at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Research involves application of theory to prediction and modelling of chemical fate in the environment, and the estimation of physico-chemical properties from quantum chemical calculations and other approaches. Current projects include fate of BPA metabolites, properties of environmental contaminant oxidation products, and properties and fates of pharmaceutical degradation products.
A solid background in environmental chemistry is appropriate for this work, as well as ability to work comfortably with equations and spreadsheet calculations. Some knowledge of computational chemistry is an asset but not a necessity. Interested students should contact Prof. Mark Parnis, email@example.com with a brief statement of interests, transcripts, and a recently updated resume.
Ecology of Lake and River Ecosystems
Supervisors: Dr. Maggie Xenopoulos and Dr. Paul Frost
Graduate PhD positions are available in the Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario to conduct ecological research on lakes and rivers. Research for these positions could range from nutrient effects on animal nutrition and food webs to landscape studies of carbon and nutrients. Field work for these positions could include projects in the Great Lakes and their watersheds, central Ontario in cottage country and the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario. These graduate positions are funded at the PhD level but we will consider exceptional M.Sc. candidates who are interested in transferring to the PhD. Positions will be based at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario as part of the Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Program and begin in September, 2022 or January, 2023 .
M.Sc. and Ph.D. positions - CO2 mineralization within mine wastes and natural systems
Supervisor: Dr. Ian Power
Students in Dr. Ian Power’s group (PowerGeolab.com) are researching various topics, including removing CO2 from the atmosphere, stabilizing mine wastes, and preserving biosignatures with minerals. Our research has broad implications for mitigating climate change, de-risking mine sites, and searching for evidence of life on Mars! Several projects are available and may be tailored to fit a student’s knowledge, skills, and interests.
There is a vital and pressing need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) continues to rise and the impacts of climate change become more pronounced. Additionally, carbon pricing is providing financial motivation for individuals, industries, and countries to curb GHG emissions.
Prof. Ian Power’s research team aims to better understand fundamental geochemical, mineralogical, and geobiological processes that are relevant to addressing environmental challenges including carbon management and sequestration, an emerging field in geoscience that is ripe for scientific inquiry and technological advances!
Applications are invited for M.Sc. and Ph.D. positions with Prof. Ian Power, firstname.lastname@example.org (Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Environmental Geoscience) in the Environmental & Life Sciences (EnLS) Graduate Program at Trent University. Research will consist of laboratory experiments and fieldwork to study mineral-water-gas interactions and CO2 mineralization within mine wastes and natural systems. Fieldwork may include trips to Canadian and international localities. Several projects are available and may be tailored to fit a prospective student’s knowledge, skills, and interests.
Students should be motivated, preferably hold a degree in either geoscience, geography, environmental science, chemistry, or closely related field, and must meet the entry requirements for graduate research in EnLS. The ideal candidate will have a strong academic standing, field and laboratory skills, excellent communication skills, strong work ethic, and a passion for science! Research experience at any level is highly advantageous. All interested and qualified students are welcome. Visit the PowerGeoLab Website for more information.
M.Sc. & Ph.D. positions - Mercury source tracing and mercury bioaccumulation in the Wabigoon river system
Supervisor: Dr. Holger Hintelmann
Positions for graduate students (MSc and/or PhD) are available for projects assessing the extend and the magnitude of mercury contamination in the Wabigoon river system. The research aims to track legacy Hg released from an industrial facility and to distinguish the contamination from natural Hg. To this effect we will establish the isotope fingerprint of Hg from the industrial source and monitor its spread throughout the system. One project/student will examine Hg contamination in lake and river sediments and determine the proportion with which legacy Hg contributes to current Hg levels. A second project/student will assess the bioaccumulation and relationship between Hg in surface sediments and Hg in fish by determining Hg concentrations and isotope ratios in invertebrates, crayfish, perch and walleye.
Above research projects will involve field work and sample collection in Northwestern Ontario, which will be conducted in close collaboration with community groups and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
I am looking for M.Sc. and/or Ph.D. students with diverse interests to join a vibrant research team with opportunities to work in world class facilities (Trent University Water Quality Centre) and with communities and government scientists. Interested students should contact Dr. Holger Hintelmann.