Biology Graduate Research Symposium

2019 BGRS Extended program


9:00 – 9:30: Dr. Jannice Friedman - Linking genetics and ecology to understand the evolution of life cycle variation in plants

3:15 – 3:45: Mr. Mark Read - Alternative to Academia – building a career with a one-way ticket and £50      


11:15 – 12:15: Dr. Ehab Abouheif - Obligate endosymbiosis between ants and bacteria reveals developmental steps to a major evolutionary transition

Speaker Titles (by order of presentation)

Student Session 1  9:30-10:15
  1. Danielle Greco and Alex McClymont - Effects of road salt and additional stressors on Ontario lake communities
  2. Ryan Kilburn - The dual-function of RcCDPK1 in the regulatory phosphorylation of bacterial-type PEP carboxylase and abscisic acid signalingM
  3. Mike Dungey - Adaptation, range limits and conservation genetics in Californian dune plants
Student Session 2  10:30-10:45
  1. Melissa Bredow, Phosphorylation-dependent sub-functionalization of the calcium-dependent protein kinase CPK28
  2. Lily Colston-Nepali, Using genomic tools to answer conservation questions in an arctic seabird.
  3. Cale Gushulak, Nice, Ice, Baby: Glacial geomorphology, paleolimnology, and the importance of site selection
Student Session 3  2:00-3:00
  1. Kurtis Westbury, Hypoxia and the metabolic phenotype in Daphnia
  2. Katie Birchard, Using population genomics to disentangle the Leach’s storm-petrel species complex
  3. Katy Dunning, Investigating post-translational regulation of BIK1, a key plant immune signaling kinase
  4. Aaron Rosenstein, Assessing DNA Polymerase fidelity in microgravity
Student Session 4  3:45-4:30
  1. Allen Tian, Characterizing the early development of cyanobacterial algal blooms in small fresh water bodies through high temporal frequency eDNA and photogrammetric analysis with UAV
  2. Richie Honor, Garlic mustard: what we have learned & what we hope to discover
  3. Harshavardhan Thyagarajan, Sexually antagonistic variation in long term LNS populations


Poster Session: 12:15-2:00 pm (alphabetical order)

(1) Stephen Atkins, Capture and light-induced release of antibiotics by an azo dye.

(2) Taylor Barwell, Biological consequences of polyglutamine repeats in Drosophila muscle cells

(3) Jeffrey Cedarwall, Queen’s Experimental Ecology and Ecotoxicology Research Group: Understanding the fate and effects of emerging contaminants in freshwater ecosystems

(4) Geraint Element, The Walker Lab: Molecular Ecology and Stress Responses

(5) Carmen Gonzalez, Plant immune responses: Elucidating a signaling mechanism for PTI1-like kinases in Arabidopsis thaliana

(6) Nell Libera, Is the mink fur farming industry causing eutrophication of Nova Scotian lakes? Preliminary results from a multi-proxy paleolimnological study.

(7) Joeline Lim, Using chironomid assemblages to assess the long run changes of external nutrient inputs in tropical lakes

(8) Irina Sementchoukova, Guarded and Targeted: Investigating the role of MACPF domain proteins in plant immunity.

(9) Kristen Siegel, The Great Gatekeepers: Investigating the Role of a Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase Kinase Kinase Family in Stomatal Defense

(10) The Paleoecological Assessment and Research Laboratory, Overview of current research

BIOL 537 Poster Winners:

(11) Kristen Hayward, An informative cost effective SNP genotyping-by-sequencing assay for non-invasively collected polar bear (Ursus maritimus) fecal DNA

(12) Mansuba Rana, Uncovering the role of subgroup III plant-U-box proteins (PUBs) in Arabidopsis thaliana

(13) Hayden Wainwright, Disrupting the bio-adhesive characteristics of cyanobacterial blooms

**The Biology Graduate Research Symposium was made possible with support from the Department of Biology, the School of Graduate Studies, Queen’s University Division of Student Affairs, and the Office of the Principal.**

The 2019 BGRS Planning Committee is pleased to announce our Keynote speaker will be Dr. Ehab Abouheif from McGill University! He will be joined by plenary speakers Dr. Jannice Friedman, our new faculty member, as well as Mr. Mark Read from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks!

Registration for the 2019 BGRS is now open!

Please use the following link to register:

Registration deadline: Friday, March 15th 2019

Abstract deadline for registered presenters: Friday, March 29th 2019

The BGRS is a free, annual conference in which Biology graduate students can present their work, or the work of their lab group, in a relaxed setting. We encourage all lab groups and grad students to present or attend. 


This year's BGRS will be on April 12th 2019!


The 2019 bgrs planning committee

If you have feedback or would like to help organize the 2019 BGRS please contact Monica Fisher at



The 2018 BGRS was made possible by the generous support of the Department of Biology, the Shool of Graduate Studies, Queen's University Division of Student Affairs, and the office of the Principal. 

Special thanks to Mr. Charles Fisher from 807 Images for designing our logo and banner. 

I've spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I've done them with joy, and I've taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it?

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley