Dr. Tyson MacCormack honoured with 2024 Paul Paré Medal of Excellence 

08 May 2024

SACKVILLE, NB – Dr. Tyson MacCormack, Mount Allison University professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received the 2024 Paul Paré Medal of Excellence. He will be recognized during Mount Allison’s afternoon Convocation ceremony on May 13. MacCormack will also receive $7,500 to support his research, teaching, and professional activities. 

MacCormack says much of his research success is due to excellent students and the collaborative and supportive atmosphere at Mount Allison.  

“I've benefitted from great mentors and collaborators, both at Mount Allison, in grad school, and in my post-doc who have showed me the value of trusting students and seeing how capable they really are,” he says.  

MacCormack’s research studies the mechanisms that allow heart function to support stress tolerance in animals. He uses fish as the model system. 

“By understanding how heart function adapts to stress and how stress tolerant organisms like fish can change their heart function to allow them to survive those stressors, we can better predict the impact of climate change and human influence on the environment,” says MacCormack. 

Despite the similarities in biochemical and mechanical aspects of heart function between humans and fish, stress tolerance pathways are amplified in certain fish species, making it easier to identify and characterize mechanisms. For example, by understanding these mechanisms in fish, researchers hope to improve the understanding of conditions such as heart failure in humans and potentially inform clinical practices for better treatment strategies. 

MacCormack’s research spans biology and biochemistry. His discipline, comparative physiology, differentiates from a human-centric or clinical-centric physiology.  

With exposure to diverse organisms throughout his research, this broad perspective has enhanced his teaching by strengthening his understanding of how different species interact with their environments. He draws from his research and educational experience to create a more engaging learning environment within the classroom. 

“It has allowed me to pull in examples from research to keep students engaged in teachings,” he says.  

With a focus on experiential learning, MacCormack says a lot of time in the lab is also spent discussing how research is completed and teaching students how to translate what they learn in the classroom and in the lab into a peer-reviewed publication. 

“The students are incredibly intelligent, capable, and competent but also have a lot of pressures in life, so I focus on the most important aspects of the material that I am teaching them,” he says. 

MacCormack prioritizes students and places significant value on developing relationships. He emphasizes the importance of clear and effective communication, both in writing and presentations. Mastering this skill not only benefits students academically but also enhances their ability to express ideas clearly in other aspects of their life. 

The Paul Paré Medal of Excellence is given annually to a faculty member who has best exemplified outstanding teaching, research, scholarship, and/or creative activities. 

Next Steps

Be part of Canada's best undergraduate university