Opportunities for biology students | Mount Allison

There are many academic and extracurricular opportunities available for biology students.


Research opportunities

Many professors offer paid and volunteer research positions in their labs. You can also conduct your own research under the supervision of a professor.

Find out more about each professor's area of research below.

Phytoplankton physiology (Dr. Doug Campbell, dcampbell@mta.ca)

We study the ecophysiology of phytoplankton, with particular emphases on photosystem II and the Photosystem II inactivation/regeneration cycle,  resource allocations and Phytoplankton physiologyanalyses of the costs of growth and acclimation to environmental variation and new, integrative approaches to quantify and analyze these processes. We publish actively, collaborate widely, welcome short-term research visitors and welcome applications from qualified post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate researchers.

Neurophysiology (Dr. Karen Crosby, kcrosby@mta.ca)

We study the neurobiology of appetite, impact of stress on feeding circuitry in the brain, endocannabinoid and nitric oxide signaling and regulation of food intake in the rat, and the role of the dorsomedial hypothalamus in integrating satiety and stress signals.

Fish ecology (Dr. Matt Litvak, mlitvak@mta.ca)

We study fish ecology, behaviour and ecophysiology, spatial ecology and modelling, conservation, aquaculture and gene banking.

Molecular genetics (Dr. Vett Lloyd, vlloyd@mta.ca)

My research interests are in genetics and epigenetics with a focus on epigenetics disease, including cancer, Lyme and other Tick dragging tick-vectored diseases. Current projects include tick genetics, endobacteria and Lyme disease in wildlife, companion animals, and humans.

Marine botany (Dr. Irena Kaczmarska, iehrman@mta.ca)

I am interested in evolution of diatoms, particularly in their deep divergences. The overriding objective of our work is to evaluate the evolutionary significance of diatom sex and related structures to better understand what role various types of sexuality might S. Clay Steell sampling at St. Andrews NBhave played in the spectacular diversification of diatoms since their appearance in the Jurassic Period. We infer relatedness between the groups of interest using standard molecular and cellular development approaches. Advanced microscopical techniques detect and localize opaline silica and visualize the fine structure of the cell-wall components during their stages of development. Anyone interested in unlocking the great potentials hidden in the very small things is encouraged to inquire.

Field ecology (Dr. Diana Hamilton, dhamilto@mta.ca)

Research in my lab is focused on shorebird ecology and intertidal ecology, with attention paid to community-level interactions between birds and invertebrates, and interactions within invertebrate communities. My current research centres on movement, Bird watchinghabitat use, and diet of migrating shorebirds in Maritime Canada. We make extensive use of radiotracking technology and regularly band and flag several species of shorebirds in the field. We couple that with lab-based analyses of prey availability from samples collected in the field, stable isotope analysis of blood, and molecular sexing of birds to better understand the activities of shorebirds in this region.  I collaborate in this work with researchers from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the University of New Brunswick.

Comparative Physiology (Andrea Morash, amorash@mta.ca)

Our research focuses on understanding how vertebrates respond to environmental stress through changes in substrate use and mitochondrial function. To address this issue, we study a variety of animals that have evolved under various environmental conditions and have unique metabolic phenotypes.

Evolution of Diatoms (Irena Kaczmarska, iehrman@mta.ca)

Research Students:  I am interested in evolution of diatoms, particularly in their deep divergences. We infer relatedness between the groups of interest using molecular, cellular, developmental and fossil evidence. Please peruse representative publications on my web page if you would like to see specific approaches and contributions of former students (names in bold). Anyone interested in unlocking the great potentials hidden in the very small things is encouraged to inquire by sending me an e-mail or just stopping by.

Laboratory Assistant:  I often hire undergraduate Laboratory Assistants on a part-time basis, throughout the academic year and summer. This is an opportunity to learn research methods first-hand and experience the workings of a research laboratory. We establish our own diatom clones of interest, induce their sexuality and use various microscopical and molecular methods to address our research questions. Numerous previous Research Assistants have contributed data to publications and chose to participate in preparing manuscripts for publication as bona fide co-authors. If you are interested, please inquire by sending me an e-mail or just stopping by.


Becoming a teaching assistant

A teaching assistant is someone who assists a lab instructor with the running of lab. The duties of a teaching assistant can include (but are not limited to) lab set-up and tear-down, answering student questions, and marking assignments.  Teaching assistants must also review lab/course material before coming to lab to ensure they are prepared for lab. Any questions regarding lab material should be brought to the lab instructors attention before lab begins.

How do I become a teaching assistant?

To become a teaching assistant you must have taken the course for which you’d like to assist. You must also have taken an online WHMIS course (offered through Moodle).  Please fill out the online application form.

When do I apply to be a teaching assistant?

You should aim to apply one month prior to the start of each semester.  You need to reapply every academic year.

What are the benefits to being a teaching assistant?

As a teaching assistant you will learn additional course material and strengthen your knowledge of course topics. Teaching assistantships are also paid positions. The pay is slightly above minimum wage and is determined by your experience as a TA, so if you've been a great TA in the past you may be looking at a raise!

These positions also look great on a resume and allow you to work on skills you may otherwise not, such as interpersonal skills, grading and marking assignments and on-the-spot critical thinking. You will also develop a strong working relationship with the lab instructor, which can lead to great reference letters when applying for grad or professional schools.


Bioscience Society

The Bioscience Society (or Bio Society) is a student-run organization that aims to enhance the biology experience through a combination of academic and social events.

Finding a tutor

The Bioscience Society can help match you with a tutor. E-mail bioscience@mta.ca with the course you want a tutor for. It is up to you to pay your tutor and to arrange times/places to meet.

2020-21 Bioscience Society Executive

 

Lauren Dessureault
Co-president

Preferred pronouns: she/her
Hometown: Dartmouth, NS
Year of study: Fourth
What I’m studying: Honours in biology, minor in biochemistry
Fun fact about me: I am on the varsity swim team!
Favourite bio class so far at MtA: Human Anatomy! It was so cool learning about the human body and relating it back to myself.
Favourite bio fact: Seahorses are the only fish that swim upright!

Alyson MacCormack
Co-president

Preferred pronouns: she/her
Hometown: Souris, PE
Year of study: Fourth
What I’m studying: Honours in biology, minor in biochemistry
Fun fact about me: I love to knit and crochet
Favourite bio class so far at MtA: Human Physiology with Dr. Crosby
Favourite bio fact: Your gut microbiota can influence your mood

Diwan Minocha
Vice-president external

Preferred pronouns: he/him
Hometown: Amherst, NS
Year of study: Third
What I’m studying: Major in biology, minors in astronomy, biochemistry, and computer science
Fun fact about me: I am a Type 1 diabetic
Favourite bio class so far at MtA: Microbiology with Dr. Campbell
Favourite bio fact: Most Chihuahuas aren’t dogs. They were specifically bred from rodents over the years to look like dogs.

Madeleine Robitaille
Vice-president academic

Preferred pronouns: she/her
Hometown: Lunenburg County, NS
Year of study: Fourth
What I’m studying: Honours in biology, minors in biochemistry and English
Fun fact about me: I have a permit to hold turtles
Favourite bio class so far at MtA: It's so hard to choose! There are so many good courses here, but Native Flora is definitely one of my favourites.
Favourite bio fact: The emergence of flowering plants made it possible for mammals to evolve the way they did, i.e. without flowers we wouldn’t be here!

Sun Min Park
Vice-president finance

Sydney Ford
Secretary

Preferred pronouns: she/her

Hanna Fuzesi
Social chair

Preferred pronouns: she/her
Hometown: Campbellton, NB
Year of study: Third
What I’m studying: Major in biology, minors in biochemistry and pyschology
Fun fact about me: I  can speak three languages and have gone to school in two countries!
Favourite bio class so far at MtA: Animal Biology with Dr. Grey or any lab I've had with Lori.
Favourite bio fact: An octopus has three hearts and the colour of its blood is blue!

Keeley Barnable
Social chair

Preferred pronouns: she/her
Hometown: Halifax, NS
Year of study: Third
What I’m studying: Major in biology, minor in biochemistry
Fun fact about me: I am immunocompromised and I do not make antibodies!
Favourite bio class so far at MtA: Cell Biology with Dr. Lloyd
Favourite bio fact: Tardigrades are a type of meiofauna that can survive extreme temperatures, oxygen deficiency, and even the vacuum of space!

Bioscience Society FAQ

Q: What does the Bio Society do?

A: The Bio Society plans and hosts various social events throughout the year, runs the Bio Advisory Committee where students share feedback about biology courses, often does clothing sales, and maintains the biology tutor list. This year, many events will be different from how they have been run in the past, but we are excited to have biology events, no matter what platform we may use. Keep an eye out for events!

Q: What does the Bio Society NOT do?

A: The Bio Society does not provide course advising. While information in this document can be used as a guide and can address problems many students run into, it should not be used as a replacement for academic advising. 

For academic and program advising, contact an academic advisor or a program advisor. The Bio Society does not provide private tutoring. While the society can match students with tutors, students pay for their tutors, and it is up to the students and tutors to work our their own agreement about tutor fees. The Bio Society is not a replacement for other student resources, but we would be happy to direct you to the appropriate academic or program advisors!

Q: How can I be involved with the Bio Society?

A: There are lots of ways to be involved with the Bio Society!

  • You can participate in events! While they will be different this year, we're so excited to have events, and we can't wait to meet you.
  • You can apply to be on the Bio Advisory Committee! Applications are generally due late September or early October, so keep an eye out for details.
  • You can apply to be a peer tutor! If you are an upper year student and you feel confident in your understanding of course material, contact bioscience@mta.ca with the courses you would like to tutor. We will match students with tutors when there are students who are looking for tutors.
  • You can follow us on social media platform! Our Instagram is @mtabiosociety. This is a great way to see what events are coming up.