From left: Dr. Lynn Weber, interim associate dean research and graduate studies, Evelyn Harris, Jensen Cherewyk, Jessica Sharpe, Isabel Arely Hernandez, Davila, Victoria Gonzalez, Dr. Leonie Bettin, Muhammad Yaasin Dulymamode, Scott Dos Santos, Narsimha Pujari

Science and fellowship at forefront of graduate poster day

The return to an in-person graduate research poster day at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) was a welcome change after two years of online events.

By WCVM Today

“Everybody was waiting for this because of COVID-19 and having to do things virtually, and it’s just so nice, so amazing to do this in person. It’s what everybody’s needed,” says Dr. Lynn Weber, interim associate dean of research at the WCVM.

The event returned to the college hallways on March 24, 2022, for the first time since 2019. The poster day competition is an annual opportunity for graduate students to present their research work to their peers, college faculty and other scientists at the University of Saskatchewan.

Fifty students participated in this year’s competition — the college’s best turn out to date. Weber also noted the very high quality of research from the WCVM graduate students.

“The judges came to me and said, ‘This is so hard, because they’re all really good,’” she says, noting the marked increase in microbiome-focused studies, an emerging field of study at the college.

The WCVM’s Research and Graduate Studies Office awarded prizes in three categories: infectious disease and immunology; basic science, and microbiome and clinical sciences. First place winners received $300, second place $200 and third place $100. With so many participants, judges also awarded several honourable mentions in addition to the top three winners in each category.

Click here to see a photo gallery of winners.

Infectious disease and immunology

  • First place: Dr. Leoni Bettin (supervisor: Dr. Volker Gerdts). Research title: “gd T cells are significantly affected by age and the microenvironment.”
  • Second place: Victoria Gonzalez (supervisor: Dr. Arinjay Banerjee). Research title: “Discovering novel antiviral type I interferon responses in bats.”
  • Third place: Isabel Arely Hernandez Davila (supervisor: Dr. Vikram Misra). Research title: “Towards the identification of the receptor of a new bat alphacoronavirus.”
  • Honourable mention: Kezia Fourie (supervisor: Dr. Heather Wilson). Research title: “Intradermal vaccination of a subunit Lawsonia intracellularis vaccine.”

Clinical sciences

  • First place: Evelyn Harris (supervisor: Dr. Behzad Toosi). Research title: “Evaluation of expression and function of the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase in canine and human osteosarcoma.”
  • Second place: Malkon Sanchez Estrada (supervisors: Dr. Behzad Toosi and Dr. Andrew Freywald). Research title: “Combination treatments for suppressing EGRF and EphA2 expressing tumors.”
  • Third place: Jessica Sharpe (supervisor: Dr. Behzad Toosi). Research title: “Expression and function of the EphB4 receptor in canine and human osteosarcoma.”
  • Honourable mention (tie): Elise Bokshowan (supervisor: Dr. Lynn Weber). Research title: “Are oligosaccharides the link between grain-free diets and dilated cardiomyopathy in beagles?”
  • Honourable mention (tie): Muhammad Yaasin Dulymamode (supervisor: Dr. Joe Rubin). Research title: “Identification of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli isolates and their resistance genes causing urinary tract infections in domestic canines.”

Basic science and microbiome

  • First place: Narsimha Pujari (supervisor: Dr. Adelaine Leung). Research title: “Post-starvation feeding behavior is regulated by NUCB1 via its expression in tissues analogous to hypothalamus.”
  • Second place: Scott Dos (supervisor: Dr. Janet Hill). Research title: “Antibiotic exposure mediates the relationship between mode of delivery and infant gut microbiome composition.”
  • Third place: Dr. Mohanathas Gobikrushanth (supervisor: Dr. Dinesh Dadarwal). Research title: “Does uterine microbial population vary due to uterine sampling techniques and stages of the estrous cycle in healthy postpartum dairy cows?”
  • Honourable mention: Jensen Cherewyk (supervisors: Dr. Barry Blakley and Dr. Ahmad Al-Dissi). Research title: “Prolonged vascular contractile response induced by the R and S-epimers of the ergot alkaloid ergocristine, and attenuation by a non-competitive antagonist.”