Current Research Opportunities
Environmental & Life Sciences
M.Sc. in Environmental Chemistry and Soil Science, Trent University
Supervisors: Dr. Huy Dang and Dr. Karen Thompson, Trent School of the Environment
We invite qualified candidates to apply for a 2-year M.Sc. position focused on environmental chemistry and soil science to start between January and May 2021. This M.Sc. project will address the risks of rare earth element (REEs) contamination in agricultural soil environments.
The successful applicant will work at Trent University, Ontario under the co-supervision of Dr. Huy Dang and Dr. Karen Thompson. The candidate will utilize biogeochemical and molecular methods (e.g. mass spectrometry, qPCR, sequencing) to characterize effects and risks associated with REE contamination from agricultural sources (e.g., fertilizers, dietary additives). State-of-the-art facilities will be available at the Trent Water Quality Center, and via the ENIGMA1 and ASH2 research groups.
The work will involve collecting soils from operational farms and established field trials. Applicants must possess a “G” level drivers license (or equivalent) to complete field work requirements. Applicants should have a strong background in soil science, chemistry, and/or molecular laboratory methods and be highly motivated. Candidates must have completed a 4-year bachelor’s degree in soil science, environmental chemistry, molecular biology, microbial ecology, environmental science, agronomy or a related discipline, and meet the admission requirements of Trent’s graduate program. We are looking for a strong and enthusiast candidate who enjoys conceptual thinking; research experience is an asset.
Please check the websites below for more information about:
Trent Water Quality Center: https://www.trentu.ca/wqc/facilities-services/facilities
- 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.
1 ENvironmental Isotope Geochemistry and Mass spectrometry Applications
2 Agricultural Soil Health
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 Spring or Fall of 2021. Interested students should contact Dr. Maggie Xenopoulos (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief statement of interests, transcripts and a recently updated resume. Information of lab projects can be found at: www.xenopoulos.ca .
Graduate student opportunities in avian ecological physiology
Supervisor: Dr. Gary Burness
About the projects: We are seeking 1-2 M.Sc./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). To apply for an M.Sc., you will require a B.Sc. Hons (or equivalent) in Biology or a related field. 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, email@example.com
Start date: January, 2021. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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
M.Sc. and Ph.D. positions are currently available in Agricultural Soil Health at Trent University - Project: Linking Microbial Functioning to the Fate of Carbon in Soil
Supervisor: Dr. Karen Thompson
NSERC-funded MSc and PhD positions are available in the new Agricultural Soil Health (ASH) Lab hosted in the Trent School of Environment at Trent University. Research conducted in the ASH lab broadly focuses on characterizing the impacts of climate change and agricultural management on below-ground carbon and nutrient transformations mediated by the soil microbiome. Students utilize biogeochemical and molecular methods (e.g. qPCR, sequencing) to characterize changes in functional soil microbial communities; this work involves collecting soils from operational farms and established field trials. Applicants must possess a “G2” or “G” level driver’s license (or equivalent) to complete field work requirements. Applicants should have a strong background in soil, plant, or agricultural science; experience in molecular biology is an asset. Candidates must have completed a 4-year bachelor’s (or bachelor’s + MSc) degree in soil science, molecular biology, microbial ecology, environmental science, agronomy or a related discipline.
Conditions of employment:
The positions are suitable for highly motivated MSc or PhD students. The positions will be based at Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. A start date of September 2020 would be ideal but is negotiable. Interested candidates should send a statement of their research interests and related experience, as well as a copy of their current CV and academic transcripts to Dr. Karen Thompson ( email@example.com.)
For more info, see the ASH Website: https://sites.google.com/trentu.ca/ashlab/home?authuser=0
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
Graduate Opportunity in Applied Conservation Genetics
Supervisor: Dr. Joanna Freeland, Dept. of Biology, Trent University
The magnolia tree Magnolia acuminata, commonly referred to as the Cucumber Tree, is a forest canopy species growing in remnants of the Carolinian forest in southern Ontario, where it is classified as endangered. Previous research that was based on the population genetics of extant populations found that saplings had lower genetic diversity than mature trees, which raises a concern for the long-term sustainability of populations. This graduate project will build on earlier research by collaborating with the Carolinian Canada Coalition and other partners to develop a plan for supplementing existing populations with genetically diverse saplings. The research will involve genotyping saplings and working with partners to develop a restoration plan in which trees will be planted in a manner that should maximize the genetic diversity of future generations.
Applicants should have an interest in conservation genetics, molecular analyses, and collaborations among academic and management groups. Candidates must have completed a B.Sc. (or B.Sc. + M.Sc.) degree in biology, with some lab genetics experience preferred but not essential. Interested candidates should contact Joanna Freeland (email@example.com) for more information, or send (via e-mail) a statement of research interests and related experience, plus a copy of their current CV and academic transcripts.
M.Sc. and Ph.D. Positions in Molecular Ecology
Supervisors: Dr. Marcel Dorken and Dr. Joanna Freeland, Dept. of Biology; Dr. Aaron Shafer, Forensic Science Program
We are seeking to recruit a motivated MSc/PhD candidate to develop genomic markers and use them to characterize hybridization dynamics in a well-studied cattail species complex that in Canada comprises Typha latifolia, T. angustifolia, and their invasive hybrid T. x glauca. This will initially involve lab work and bioinformatics analyses for identifying numerous SNP markers, with the scope to build on this by addressing one or more questions pertaining to hybrid fitness and hybrid breakdown as it relates to invasive plants. Applicants should have an interest in evolutionary biology, wetland plants, and molecular analyses. Candidates must have completed a BSc (or BSc + MSc) degree in biology, with some bioinformatics experience preferred but not essential.
Interested candidates should contact Joanna Freeland (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information, or send (via e-mail) a statement of research interests and related experience, plus a copy of their current CV and academic transcripts.
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, 2020.
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 (email@example.com).
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.
Chemical Property and Environmental Fate Modelling
Supervisor: Dr. J. Mark Parnis
Graduate Ph.D. positions starting January, May or September, 2021 are available in the Chemical Properties Research Group (CPRG), 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, perfluorinated organic acid fates in a large-scale ecosystem model, modelling partitioning in complex media such as soils and biomaterials, and indoor air exchange with dust and dirt films.
A solid background in environmental chemistry is appropriate for this work, as well as ability to work comfortably with equations and spreadsheet calculations, or with quantum-mechanical calculations. Interested students should contact Prof. Mark Parnis, firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief statement of interests, transcripts, and a recently updated resume.
Please note that the funding for these positions is intended for Ph.D. students, however, eligible domestic EnLS Masters students that transfer from a Masters to the PhD program with a start-date in the PhD program of January, May or September, 2021 are also welcome to apply. Please visit the CPRG website for more information.
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, 2020 or 2021 (Winter, Spring or Fall).
M.Sc. and Ph.D. positions - CO2 mineralization within mine wastes and natural systems
Supervisor: Dr. Ian Power
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, email@example.com (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.
Carbon, Energy and Water Cycling on the Arctic Tundra
Supervisor: Dr. Peter Lafleur
The Arctic tundra is a diverse ecosystem with high spatial variability. Recent climate change is impacting tundra environments and resulting in changes in vegetation cover and composition, permafrost thaw and distribution and water balances. These effects will continue into the coming decades and beyond as the Arctic warms. This research is aimed at understanding the essential processes that control interactions between the tundra and atmosphere and helping to predict how future changes will feedback on the climate system. Field measurements of these exchanges via eddy covariance are coupled with measurements of soil and plant characteristics in different types of tundra near Daring Lake, NWT in the Canadian Low-Arctic. I am looking for MSc and/or PhD students with diverse interests to participate in this research. Qualifications are a strong science background, some quantitative and computer skills and a willingness to undertake field work in a remote environment.
Interested applicants should contact Peter Lafleur.