I have been with McMaster University for over 16 years working as an Administrative Assistant first in the School of Nursing before joining the School of Interdisciplinary Science. As the first point of contact for many students, faculty, staff and visitors, I would be happy to help you in any way that I can. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns regarding SIS programs.
The ability to generate genetic variants has greatly aided the study of biochemical and developmental pathways. Given the success of this approach it is not surprising that genetics is being used to address a wide range of neurobiological questions including the generation of behaviour. My laboratory uses the larval visual system of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to investigate the mechanisms underlying the development and function of the nervous system. To that end, mutations or molecular tools are used to impair specific cell types and/or cellular interactions. Mutations found to disrupt the development of the larval visual system or the larval response to light can be used to identify molecules involved in these processes. Thus, my research program can be divided in two parts namely the genetic analysis of the larval response to light and the molecular genetic analysis of genes required for the development of the larval visual system. To address these questions a variety of techniques are used such as mutant analysis, molecular and cell biology.
Dr. Kim Dej completed her undergraduate at the University of Toronto (St. George) in the Molecular Genetics program with a Major in Zoology and a Minor in Botany. During this time she developed an interest in genetics, chromosome structure, and transposable elements. She completed her PhD at Johns Hopkins University with Allan Spradling (Carnegie Institute of Washington) and went on to be a postdoctoral fellow at MIT with Terry Orr-Weaver (Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research). She joined the McMaster community in 2004 where her teaching has focused on genetics, cell biology, research methods, undergraduate laboratory experiences, in addition to community engagement and science communication. Dr. Dej has taught in the Life Sciences program since 2009 and she has been a part of the evolution of the program. She has won several teaching awards including the McMaster President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning, a McMaster Student Union Award (Science), an OCUFA Teaching Award, and a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Education and Mentorship.
nematode biodiversity; authentic lab research and the undergraduate experience; peer-mentorship and undergraduate student engagement; digital storytelling and student learning
Dr. Dej’s lab research with undergraduate students has focused on the cell cycle in Drosophila melanogaster and biodiversity in nematode species. In 2015 Dr. Dej became a MacPherson Teaching Fellow, which has allowed her to identify and expand independent undergraduate research opportunities on campus. This has been possible by focusing on training (the interactive Nematode Diversity Project eBook lab manual), space (The Applied Learning Lab for Undergraduate Research Excellence, or ALLURE), and funding (small grants that encourage peer-learning and collaboration in undergraduate thesis research). This is part of her broader interest in providing authentic research opportunities embedded in courses for undergraduates even in large courses and assessing the role these experiences play in engaging students. These opportunities are illustrated by development of the Amylase Gene Project (with Alastair Tracey, BIOL1A03), Personal Genome Testing (with Mihaela Georgescu, MOLBIOL2C03), and the development of the Living Systems Lab in the School of Interdisicplinary Science (various student, staff, and faculty collaborators, LIFESCI2L03 & LIFESCI3L03). In 2016 to 2018, Dr. Dej was a MIIETL Leadership in Teaching and Learning (LTL) Fellow. She has used this as an opportunity to partner with students in curriculum development, including assessing the impact on student engagement and learning of cohort-building and scaffolded peer-mentorship within interdisciplinary streams in the Life Sciences program. In partnership with the McMaster Children and Youth University (MCYU) and MacPherson student partners, Dr. Dej is leading the development of ebooks for elementary and middle-school students. Within this project, research is focused upon measuring the impact of the interactive digital storytelling on the learning in addition to the impact of community-engaged learning on university students.
CMTYENGA2A03: Foundations in Community Engagement
LIFESCI4N03 (Visualizing Science)
LIFESCI2G03: Genes, Genomes, and Society
Discovery Program (through Arts & Science program)
Dr. Carolyn Eyles was the former Director of the Integrated Science Program and is a Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science and the School of Geography & Earth Sciences. She holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia, a postgraduate certificate of Education from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in geology from the University of Toronto. Her research interests lie in the fields of glacial sedimentology and environmental geology, and she has worked extensively in Alaska, Australia, Brazil, Iceland, Norway, Great Britain and Canada. She has over 75 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books and has co-authored two first year geoscience textbooks. Dr. Eyles is a practicing Professional Geoscientist of Ontario (P.Geo), and is a member of the Geological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Geological Institute. Dr. Eyles is a 3M National Teaching Fellow and has won numerous teaching awards including an OCUFA Teaching Award, an Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award, and the McMaster President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction. Her current teaching duties include Earth Science components of interdisciplinary courses in the Integrated Science program and senior/graduate level courses in glacial sedimentology. She chaired the committee that designed and developed the interdisciplinary Honours B.Sc. Integrated Science Program and served as the program Director from 2009-2015.
Glacial sedimentology, urban and environmental geology, paleoenvironmental analysis
Analysis of Surgical Margins using X-ray Interaction Data, Synchrotron Micro Probe XRF mapping of tissue, X-Ray Scattering for Materials Analysis, and Development of a tri-axial XRF instrument, an EDXRD system and a Total Reflection XRF device.
Dr. Chad Harvey is the instructor for the Life Science component of iSci 1A24. His educational background in the fields of invasion biology, zoology, and entomology certainly come through in his teaching style. As such, Dr. Harvey introduces a new “organism of the day” at the beginning of each lecture.
Foodweb and community ecology of non-indigenous (invasive) species. My field and laboratory research attempts to determine the direct and indirect interactions and mechanisms through which non-indigenous species impact resident foodwebs and ecosystems. I employ a combination of empirical and theoretical tools to understand these interactions across multiple spatial and temporal scales. My pedagogical research seeks to increase student engagement in the entire teaching and learning process. I pursue this through identifying the importance of interdisciplinarity in teaching. Why do I need to study math if I am interested in biology? Additionally, I seek to discover techniques and strategies that increase student involvement in the classroom, enhancing student activity in the classroom and their general desire to learn and apply learning concepts. My field and laboratory research attempts to determine the direct and indirect interactions and mechanisms through which non-indigenous species impact resident foodwebs and ecosystems. I employ a combination of empirical and theoretical tools to understand these interactions across multiple spatial and temporal scales. My primary research interests deal with how populations of non-indigenous (invasive) species interact with resident species over multiple spatial and temporal scales. The main thrust of my research highlights the importance of indirect interactions as a mechanism by which non-indigenous species impact these systems. My research to date has combined these ideas with quantitative theory and empirical studies in a number of managed and natural systems. I use a number of statistical approaches, including multivariate and spatial statistics, to address both applied and fundamental questions. The ultimate goal of my research is to ascertain the key interactions by which non-indigenous species impact native ecosystems and how we may predict the outcome of these impacts for conservation purposes.
Dr. Ayesha Khan has a Ph.D. in behavioural neuroendocrinology during which she investigated the influence of in utero, dietary, and social factors on time to sexual maturity in developing females. Her research has been published in journals such as Reproduction, Physiology & Behavior, Reproduction, Fertility and Development, Hormones and Behavior, and Hormone and Metabolic Research. Her passion for teaching is largely driven by the interactions she has with the enthusiastic and inquisitive students she meets on a regular basis. She teaches a variety of courses covering topics such as animal behaviour, physiology of reproductive behaviour, and neuropsychology. Dr. Khan has taught in the Life Sciences program since 2013. Her teaching has been recognized through the McMaster Student Union Award for her work in community engaged education as well as through the McMaster President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning.
Student experience with community-engaged education; impact of institutional policies on student mental health; hormones and behaviour.
Dr. Khan’s research interests explore ways through which the undergraduate student experience is enhanced by incorporating experiential education in large enrollment courses. As part of a multi-institutional initiative, she is also investigating the impact of the newly implemented Fall Break on student mental health. She has received funding from the Forward With Integrity Initiative at McMaster University to create an online strategy to disseminate information about community-engaged education. In previous years, she has served as a Research Fellow at the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation & Excellence in Teaching.
Dr. Katie Moisse is a science journalist teaching science communication in the School of Interdisciplinary Science. Her stories have appeared in Scientific American, Spectrum and The Atlantic. She was Digital Health Editor for ABC News, leading the network’s national online coverage of countless outbreaks and other important health stories. She has a Ph.D in pathology from the University of Western Ontario, an M.Sc. in neuroscience from King’s College London and an M.Sc. in journalism from Columbia University.
Science communication, media, global health, public health
Dr. Moisse’s research examines the role of the media in shaping perceptions about health and science among non-scientists, as well as the role of creative storytelling in enhancing science comprehension and curiosity.
Quality and Safety in Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) Planning and Delivery. IMRT is a radiotherapy technique that is widely used to either escalate dose to target structures or to limit dose to organs at risk. My research interests stem from our clinical efforts to maintain a high level of quality and safety while accommodating the increased complexity associated with IMRT planning and delivery. Specific projects have included the use of the electronic portal imager for patient specific quality assurance; dosimetry of IMRT fields; and development of IMRT techniques.
Quality and Safety in Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) Planning and Delivery
Dr. Pritchard completed a PhD in Medical Sciences (Physiology and Pharmacology) at McMaster University and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics. The focus of her PhD and postdoc work was on the assessment of bone quality in older adults with type 2 diabetes, the assessment of frailty in clinical practice, and on the use of electronic decision support systems for the dissemination of clinical practice guidelines. Dr. Pritchard teaches in the Life Sciences and Kinesiology Programs.
aging, nutrition, protein, sarcopenia, frailty, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, community engagement, service learning, intergenerational learning
My research interests are focused in the fields of aging sciences and the scholarship of teaching and learning. I conduct clinical research with undergraduate students to learn more about the determinants of healthy aging, and specifically, how nutrition and physical activity can promote preservation of musculoskeletal health. I am also interested in understanding the impact of community engagement projects and intergenerational learning experiences on undergraduate student learning.
Dr. Veronica Rodriguez Moncalvo received her Honours B.Sc. degree in Biology from the University of Buenos Aires and her PhD in Biology from McMaster University.She later pursued her postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, USA. Upon her return to Canada, she taught several undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University. She joined the School of Interdisciplinary Science as an Assistant (Teaching stream) Professor in July 2017.
visual literacy and group work in the classroom
Within the area of pedagogical research, Dr. Veronica Rodriguez Moncalvo is interested in studying 1) the impact and effectiveness of scaffolding visual literacy throughout the life science program, 2) the impact and effectiveness of group activities such as contracts, peer evaluation, and group reflections on teamwork success in the classroom. In the field of scientific research, Dr. Veronica Rodriguez Moncalvo is currently interested in studying the molecular and cellular bases of tissue homeostasis and regeneration in Hydra.
Associate Member, Departments of History and Physics & Astronomy
Dr. Sarah Symons is an Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science and an associate member of the Departments of History and Physics & Astronomy. She was educated in the UK, gaining a BSc Honours Degree in Mathematics and Astronomy and PhD in History of Astronomy in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Leicester. She began her career as an academic pedagogical project manager in the UK. Since arriving at McMaster, she has been a pedagogical designer and teaching professor in the Honours Integrated Science Program and has also helped to develop the SCIENCE nexus of courses in the Faculty of Science.
pedagogy, history of science, history of astronomy, Egyptology, science literacy
Sarah’s involvement in scholarship of teaching and learning includes pedagogical research in science education, educational consultancy focusing on active learning and assessment design, and collaborative projects with teaching-stream and interdisciplinary faculty internationally. She is particularly interested in science literacy and scientific skills development in science courses big and small. Her research outside pedagogy is in history of astronomy, concentrating on astronomical texts and instruments from ancient Egypt.
Image registration is the process of computing a geometric transformation that aligns homologous points in two images. My interest lies in applying this process in radiation therapy. Translation of basic algorithms into clinically feasible ones requires the optimization of accuracy, robustness, and computational efficiency. Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT). Many linear accelerators are capable of acquiring 3D images of the patient prior to delivering a fraction of radiation therapy. Such images reveal patient setup error and normal anatomical motion. I am currently working on software algorithms for modifying treatment parameters in response to such changes. Atlas-Based Treatment Planning. Complex treatment planning is often extremely patient-specific and therefore time consuming. This may lead to large variability in treatment quality across patients. I am interested in the feasibility of building a multi-subject, plan database and customizing this atlas to future patients.
Dr. Jay Brodeur is the project lead for the Climate Change project for ISCI 3A12. Jay first developed his interests in atmospheric sciences as a kid when the weather came on the news. He attended McMaster University for his undergraduate studies initially in physics, while taking Earth and environmental science classes on the side. Realizing his passion in earth & environmental sciences, he finished his B.Sc with a specialization in hydrosciences. To pursue academia, Jay continued his studies at The University of Guelph in agricultural meteorology. Jay received his Ph. D. at McMaster, where he studied the uncertainty associated with estimates of forest-atmosphere greenhouse gas exchanges. He currently manages the Maps, Data, GIS department in McMaster’s Mills Library, where he explores questions around geospatial and information literacy, as well as research data management.
Biometeorology, Ecosystems & Climate Change, Geospatial Literacy, Information Literacy, Pedagogy, Research Data Management
My research interests span a variety of domains in environmental science, pedagogy, and information science. My interest in forest biometeorology concerns estimating forest-atmosphere greenhouse gas exchanges, as well as understanding environmental controls on these processes, and evaluating uncertainty associated with their estimated quantities. My pedagogical research focuses on aspects of conceptualizing and assessing information and geospatial literacy in undergraduate students, while my information literacy-related research addresses aspects of technological and behavioural processes to promote the long-term management and preservation of research data products.
I teach in areas of science communication, visual literacy, data literacy, and how to access and assess information. I am available to consult with students on these topics, as well as provide feedback on presentations and posters. I am passionate about providing our students with interdisciplinary learning opportunities, and actively seek collaborations with students, faculty, and community members alike. My research interests focus primarily on science communication, science pedagogy, and interdisciplinary education.
Russ is in charge of managing the daily operations of the laboratory facilities in the SIS. He designs and facilitates undergraduate experiments, serves as the co-lead for various research projects, and provides support to other members within SIS. Russ encourages and inspires students to explore beyond the curriculum and discover what it truly means to work as a scientist.
Devon completed her M.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. She provides technical and academic support to the laboratory courses in the Integrated Science (iSci) and Life Sciences programs. She also acts as the Course Administrator for the Integrated Science thesis course, in addition to providing instructional support to other members within SIS.
Dr. Ana Tomljenovic-Berube is a proud alumna of McMaster University, having completed both her Honours B.Sc. (Co-op) and Ph.D. in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. Her research focused on microbial pathogenesis and gene regulation in the pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium. Her experiences working with students as a TA in combination with her love of learning inspired her to pursue a career in teaching. After completing her graduate studies, Dr. Tomljenovic-Berube taught in the Biotechnology stream of the Bachelor of Technology Program for the School of Engineering Practice and Technology at McMaster, before joining the teaching team in the School of Interdisciplinary Science as an Assistant Professor in July 2019.
Student engagement, experiential learning, student experience in their degree program, infectious diseases, gene regulation
Dr. Tomljenovic-Berube’s current pedagogical research interests revolve around student engagement and pertain to how technology, experiential laboratory learning, and other innovative active learning strategies can be used to engage STEM students to achieve deep learning and improve learning outcomes.
I have been a member of the McMaster community since Fall of 2011. As a graduate of the Life Sciences program (offered by SIS) I am thankful to now have the opportunity to support students, faculty and staff in the School of Interdisciplinary Science (SIS) as Academic Department Manager. When I’m not sending emails you can find me cycling or training for my next triathlon. My virtual office door is always open for questions, please never hesitate to reach out!
Dr. Shaiya Robinson has a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from McMaster University. Her doctoral thesis examined the role of a transcription factor called Kaiso in intestinal epithelial homeostasis. Dr. Robinson completed her postdoctoral studies at the Hospital for Sick Children. There, she compared the effects of different Lactobacillus probiotics on key signalling pathways that govern intestinal epithelial cell differentiation. Currently, Dr. Robinson is an Assistant Professor with the School of Interdisciplinary Science where she teaches courses in the Life Science Program. Outside of teaching and research, Dr. Robinson enjoys baking, hiking, and horror movies.
Increasing workflow efficiency in radiation therapy by linking and streamlining technology and processes that work in isolation.Adaptive radiation therapy for an improved tumour targeting using radiation therapy and increased sparing of organs at risk. Automated segmentation of lung tumors on PET/CT with accurate propagation to the planning CT. Application of Finite Element Biomechanical Models to assess organ motion during radiation therapy.
New technologies in radiation therapy, adaptive radiation therapy, deformable image registration applications, cancer therapy monitoring and assessment using quantitative ultrasound.
Dr. Maryam (Manely) Zamani has received her Ph.D. from the University of Tehran and finished one year of internship at the School of Medicine, the University of Washington, working on cell-cell communication in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the effect of quorum quenching in mixed bacterial population structures under the supervision of Prof. Eugene Nester. She joined Prof. Turlough Finan’s lab at McMaster University as a postdoctoral fellow in 2014, where she practiced synthetic biology and functional genomics. Her study aimed to find the minimal genomic subset required for biological nitrogen fixation in Scinorhizobium meliloti. She continued her second postdoc position at McMaster (2019-2022), working on the characterization of a phage defence mechanisms in S. meliloti, and the School of Interdisciplinary Science awarded her a two-year teaching fellowship in 2020-2022 to teach LIFESCI 4N03: Synthetic Biology and genome editing technology and LIFESCI 4Q03: Plant-Microbe interactions: Applications and Perspective. During her academic journey, she has always greatly enjoyed assisting and teaching students and watching them grow, develop new skills, and identify their passion. She is passionate about teaching and lab work, and her potential to blend these two into a fulfilling career has motivated her to join SIS as an instructional assistant level IV.
Dr Alexander Hall is a science communication expert whose work explores the history of science in popular media. With an interest in the role of science in society, he is committed to empowering more active participation and engagement with science across diverse communities. He has an extensive track record working on large multidisciplinary research projects, is a co-founder of the International Research Network for the Study of Science & Belief in Society, and a former History of Science Section Recorder for the British Science Association.
Science communication, history of science, media studies, science and technology studies, environmental history
Dr Hall’s research traces how scientists have gained positions of expertise in society and used the media to communicate complex theories to the public. Focussing on the history of science in popular media, Dr Hall has published on a wide range of subjects from the history of evolution on TV and radio, to the importance of narrative in communications on climate change.
Matt completed his BSc in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo in 2013, and then his MSc focusing in Neuroscience in 2016. In the spring of 2013, he was drafted into the CFL, where he played professional American football for five years. Since retiring from professional sport, he has been working for McMaster University for the last 4.5 years with stints working for the Dept. of Family Medicine and recruiting for the DeGroote School of Business MBA programs. He is now assisting the Academic team within McMaster’s School of Interdisciplinary Science. In his spare time, Matt is a volunteer coach for the McMaster Marauders football program.
Dr. Sahar Darvish is an alumnus of McMaster University, having obtained both her Master’s and PhD degrees in the specialized field of Medical Physics. Her academic journey was further enriched by a distinguished postdoctoral fellowship spanning two years at the Nova Scotia Health Authority in Halifax. Complementing her academic pursuits, she embarked on a comprehensive clinical residency at the Juravinski Cancer Centre, where she dedicated two years to refining her practical skills in radiation oncology.
Development of novel technologies for cancer treatment with precision Radiotherapy
Cam is an anthropologist of science and medicine and completed his Ph.D. in York University’s Science & Technology Studies (STS) program. He has also worked for the last six years as a design researcher and strategist for hospitals, life science companies, community health organizations and clinical research teams around the world. His postdoctoral fellowship will be split between work in the Science in Society Lab here at McMaster University and collaborative work with the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society. In addition to working with colleagues and students in the School of Interdisciplinary Science, Cam will use this fellowship opportunity to expand a number of overlapping threads of research focused on tensions between the expertise of biomedical researchers, clinicians and policymakers and the needs, experiences and belief systems of underserved urban communities.
Research and Teaching Interests:
Science in/of/as Culture
Community Health & Diversity in Complex Urban Environments
Leo holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Waterloo and an MSc in Integrative Biology from the University of Guelph. Prior to his current role, he served as a teaching lab technician at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Leo now offers valuable support for undergraduate courses and contributes to the coordination of experiential courses.
Kristina graduated from the Honours Life Sciences (BSc) program at McMaster University in 2022. Her undergraduate research experience focused on the cellular and molecular basis of kidney development and chronic kidney disease progression. Currently, she is assisting the School of Interdisciplinary Science team with preparing laboratory materials and other deliverables for Life Sciences students.