Medical Biophysics Graduate Student Association

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Recap: Medical Biophysics’ James Lepock Memorial Student Symposium

By Mojib Javadi

After months of preparation the annual Medical Biophysics’ James Lepock Memorial Student Symposium took place on June 7th.  It was nice to have over 150 students, fellows and faculty participate in a student-organized event.  With 34 posters and 6 excellent talks from the molecular biology, structural biology and physics streams, the symposium is a great opportunity for all of us in the department of Medical Biophysics to rediscover the great variety and depth of research that is being undertaken by our department. The morning started off with three great M.Sc. talks given by Firas Moosvi from Dr. Stanisz’s Lab, Monica Clifford from Dr. Moghal’s lab and Sarah Cuddy from Dr. Rowland’s Lab.  The M.Sc. talks were followed by lunch during which segments of the film Naturally Obsessed, a movie documenting the daily life of a graduate student in the lab was screened. The poster session provided the most interactive and fun segment of the symposium.  

From walking around during the poster session, it was quite evident that a very wide array of research is being done by our department, which I believe is representative of Dr. Harold Johns’ vision when he started this department. Jocelyn Stewart, Natalie Nady, and Anton Neschadim were selected by a panel of judges to give the Ph.D. talks, which followed the poster session.  The selection process for the talks was a close race, as the judges indicated; there was a lot of great science to choose from.

The symposium ended with a keynote address provided by Dr. Lee Smolin, a well renowned theoretical physicist who was recruited by Dr. James Lepock to be one of the founding members of the perimeter institute in Waterloo.  Dr. Smolin’s talk focused on ethics of research, about how we as scientists ask questions and conduct research.  He warned of those who don’t take risks in their research and hope to succeed by practicing “me too” science.  Dr. Smolin pointed out that one way to prevent the flourishing of “me too” science was for funding agencies to start taking risks and funding proposals that may at first seem too risky, but if followed through could provide a lot of innovation and progress.  He also pointed out that it has become increasingly more difficult for young scientists to get faculty positions and start up grants, and how this trend needs to change if we are to see the scientific community prosper in the future. I hope that those who attended the symposium enjoyed it, and for those who were just attendants, I hope you are motivated by what you saw to present work in next year’s symposium.