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Nicole Dorville Discusses Her Thesis Research and Time in the Bioscience Program

Graduate Studies


Nicole Dorville in caveRecently, the Faculty of Graduate Studies chatted with Nicole Dorville. In April, Nicole completed her graduate thesis for the Bioscience, Technology, and Public Policy program over Zoom from her home in Singapore.

Can you tell us about yourself, your educational background, and why you enrolled in the Master of Science in Bioscience, Technology, and Public Policy program at the University of Winnipeg?

This degree is what I would like to call "my second life adventure". I am an international student from Singapore, and previously did a Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Melbourne, Australia, which I consider was my first adventure. Having done a variety of related jobs I consider myself a professional environmental biologist for about 13 years now (and yes, I am a lot older than I look!). When I'm not science-ing I'm often out for a nature walk, and enjoy taking wildlife photos with my boyfriend. I also practice the ukulele, Catholicism and Aikido (a Japanese martial art), but not at the same time as that would be quite odd.

Honestly, I enrolled in this programme because I wanted to do a Master's degree and study bats under my professor Craig Willis, who came highly recommended by other bat biologists that I had tried to apply to. His lab mainly focuses on conservation physiology of bats with white-nose syndrome.

Can you tell us about the program and your research focus?

The program is as its name states: one course of biological sciences (a course on biological theory or a chosen short biological study), one course of technology (a scientific technique) and one course of public policy (environmental policy, for myself). I mainly studied the pathophysiology of white-nose syndrome in two different bat species, along with testing and evaluating two potential treatments that might have helped.

Recently, you defended your thesis titled “Variation in Host Response, and Potential Treatments for, White-Nose Syndrome in Little Brown and Big Brown Bats”. What was the highlight of your thesis research for you?

There's quite a few things. The people, for one. I really enjoyed working, listening to, and collaborating with the various collaborators across Canada, and a few in the US. I also learnt a lot from Craig and my superb senior lab members, and my lab mates. The next was visiting a caves. I got to ride in a helicopter for one of them, that was pretty epic!

What are you going to take away from your experience at University of Winnipeg?

That a small university can do many great things, including providing opportunities for all kinds of students. Its professors and instructors are very earnest, creative, friendly and hardworking and it was a pleasure to have met many of them. I especially want to thank the university for awarding me 2 scholarships and a scholarship renewal, and for my various employment opportunities: as an interim lab manager, as a lab instructor, and as a volunteer co-ordinator of the science charity Let's Talk Science.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us your graduate experience!

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