P2GS Researchers 2021

Graduate Studies


Christopher Biniosti                                 Chris Henry

Dr. Christopher Bidinosti - Physics &

Dr. Christopher Henry - Applied Computer Science



Innovative farming methods have always been developed in the Prairies.  The coming use of sensors, robotics, and machine learning offers a very exciting, if not revolutionary, approach to the way we grow and harvest our food.  It is no longer the realm of science fiction to consider, for example, the use of robotic systems (e.g. drones) equipped with small but high-resolution optical sensors to monitor crop development and health, as well as to distinguish and destroy insects and weeds that threaten the crops.  Come join this exciting project and work on machine learning, parallel computing, 3D imaging, and many more important technologies that will be critical in the next revolution in agriculture.

To learn more about Dr. Bidinosti and Dr. Henry's research, please read the article below:

Growing the Digital Agriculture Industry

 Nora Casson

Dr. Nora Casson - Geography

Our lab works to unravel relationships between water and nutrient cycling, to understand how patterns and processes vary across the landscape and how human activities impact the surface waters that drain forested ecosystems. We combine field work, laboratory studies and data synthesis to expand understanding of how human activities impact ecosystems, by diving deep into the mechanisms that underpin observed changes and also by looking broadly at controls on regional-scale patterns. The P2GS student will assist with building and deploying field equipment either within Winnipeg or at a forested site near Kenora and processing soil and water samples in the lab. The project may be modified depending on the COVID-19 situation.

To learn more about Dr. Casson's research, please visit her team's website:

Doug CraigDr. Douglas Craig - Chemistry 

When chemists do experiments they typically make measurements on samples containing a very large number of individual molecules. The data they obtain reflect average values for these large ensembles. What if each molecule of a given compound does not behave in the same manner as another? We now know that for a class of molecules found in every living thing, enzymes, this is the case. Individual molecules of a given enzyme have different properties. In my laboratory we make measurements on single enzyme molecules and try to understand the differences between them. In addition we also develop methods to detect other molecules of biological interest.

To learn more about Dr. Craig's research, please visit their research website:

The Craig Group

Danielle Defeis

Dr. Danielle Defries

Kinesiology and Applied Health

Your intestines do a lot more than just digest food! In fact, they form part of your nervous system and are a major player in your body’s immune system. The Defries lab focuses on how certain types of cells in the intestinal nervous system control intestinal function, and how factors in the foods we eat influence how these cells behave.  We are looking for a student to help us study how compounds called short chain fatty acids, made by the microbes in our gut when we eat fibre, cause gut nerve cells to act like immune cells.  Specifically, you will examine cells that have been treated with short chain fatty acids under a microscope to look for fluorescently-tagged immune cell markers.  Through this work, you will gain hands-on experience in a basic molecular biology lab, will learn how to effectively document experiments, and analyze data. Your work will generate important information on how inflammation in nerve and immune cells in the gut can be affected by diet.  Ultimately, this project may help identify foods that are beneficial for people with intestinal inflammation to include in their diet. 

To learn more about Dr. Defries' research, please read the article below:

Understanding Gestational Diabetes

Joshua Hollett

Dr. Joshua Hollett - Chemistry

Our research is focused on creating tools for understanding electronic structure and using what we learn to devise more accurate and efficient models of electrons in atoms and molecules.  Besides gaining a more fundamental understanding of quantum mechanics, the development of improved models of electronic structure enables the study of the chemical and physical properties of materials with unprecedented accuracy.  Our current work involves the analysis of correlated electron motion within important chemical phenomena, such as bond breaking and photoexcitations.  It also involves the testing of new models for electronic excited states and their comparison to near-exact quantum chemical calculations.  A student project could vary from an intricate analysis of the electronic wave function, to benchmark excited-state calculations on a database of molecules.  The research is carried out using technical computing software (e.g. Mathematica), graphical computational chemistry software, quantum chemistry software packages, and in-house software.  There is an opportunity to learn how to run calculations using a supercomputing facility, perform theoretical chemistry derivations, and program in scientific computing language. 

To learn more about Dr. Hollett's research, please visit the website below:

The Hollett Group

Blair Jamieson Dr. Blair JamiesonPhysics

My research group is leading research in collaboration with physicists in Japan, Poland, and other countries to search for a possible difference in the oscillation of neutrinos from anti-neutrinos.  A difference in the oscillation of neutrinos from anti-neutrinos could explain why the universe appears to be made of matter instead of anti-matter.   To conduct this research on weakly interacting neutrinos requires high-intensity beams of neutrinos, and large detectors.  The beam and detectors are located 295 km apart in Japan.  One of the world's highest intensity neutrino beam is produced at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Center (J-PARC) located 100 km north of Tokyo, and the world's largest water Cherenkov neutrino detector (25 m tall, and 40 m diameter) called Super-Kamiokande is the far detector.  The focus of his research this summer is on the development of photogrammetry of large Water Cherenkov detectors.  The technique will be used to take photographs of the inside of the detector to accurately locate the under-water light sensors and calibration devices in the detector to the mm accuracy over distances of tens of meters.  I am looking for students with an interest in big data analysis, machine learning, optics, photography, electronics development, and design, who want to push the limits of our knowledge in physics.

To learn more about Dr. Jamieson's research, please read the article below:

UWinnipeg Collaborates with Super-Kamiokande

Jeff MartinDr. Jeff MartinPhysics







In our lab, we use lasers, atoms, and a little bit of quantum mechanics to make a very sensitive magnetic sensor.  One application for magnetic sensors like this is to use them as a metal detector, to find lost items at the beach.  Our sensor is a little more sensitive than that.  It's sensitive enough to measure the magnetic field created by the electrical impulses in your brain as you read these words.  We want to use these sensors to measure the magnetic fields in our particle physics experiments.  Your mission will be to operate and test the sensors, and see if we can make them work even better.

To learn more about Dr. Martin's research, please read the article below:

Kicker Magnet Makes Beams

Yannick Molgot-Seon








Dr. Melanie Martin - Physics

As a physicist specializing in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), I am developing a noninvasive empirical method to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and other nervous system disorders earlier in the progression of the disease. I am also using MRI to follow the effectiveness of treatments over the course of time and to understand more about diseases. My program is multi-disciplinary. Students who work with me strengthen the skills they have and develop new skills in other disciplines. Projects include data analysis and collecting images using a 7T MRI.

To learn more about Dr. Martin's research, please visit the webpage below:

Experimental Magnetic Resonance Imaging Physics Group

Yannick Molgat SeonDr. Yannick Molgat-SeonKinesiology and Applied Health

In humans, aging causes progressive changes to the structures of the respiratory system that negatively affect the mechanics of breathing and subsequently impose an increased load on the respiratory musculature during exercise. The respiratory muscles themselves are thought to undergo age-related atrophy, which impairs their ability to generate force. However, the effect of age on respiratory muscle energetics is poorly understood. The purpose of this project is to improve our understanding how healthy aging influences respiratory muscle energetics during exercise by addressing two specific aims:

  1. to determine the effect of healthy aging on the oxygen cost of breathing at low, moderate, and high levels of minute ventilation
  2. to assess whether healthy aging influences the efficiency of the respiratory muscles

To accomplish these aims, groups of older (i.e., 60-80 y/o) and younger (i.e., 20-30 y/o) adults will perform whole-body exercise while respiratory mechanical variables are assessed using open-circuit spirometry and oesophageal balloon manometry. On a separate day, participants will replicate the hyperpnea of exercise in the absence of exercise itself to isolate the work performed by the respiratory muscles from that of the locomotor muscles. The oxygen cost and efficiency of respiratory muscle work will then be quantified.

The interested student will be involved primarily in data collection, analysis, and interpretation for the above-mentioned project. By working closely with Dr. Molgat-Seon, the student will learn important skills related to scientific research, including (but not limited to) pulmonary function testing, exercise testing, analyzing and organizing large datasets, performing statistical analyses, and graphically representing data. Additionally, the student will gain an in-depth understanding of respiratory physiology and exercise physiology in humans. The ultimate goal will be to expose a student interested in exercise physiology to research in this area and teach them skills that will assist them in pursing graduate studies or a career outside of the academy. Due to the ongoing pandemic, it may not be possible to directly engage in research involving human participants. Should in-person testing not be possible, the interested student would be assigned to a similar project for which data is already available.

To learn more about Dr. Molgat Seon's research, please read the article below:

Masks, Excercise and Masks during COVID

MirjanaDr. Mirjana Roksandic - Anthropology

Our laboratory in bioanthropology is called MIRA (Movement, Innovation,Resilience, Adaptation): Human -environment nexus in the past. The laboratory includes Prof. Mirjana Roksandic, Dr. Yadira Chinique de Armas (Anthropology) and Prof. Bill Buhay (Geography) and three gradaute students: Joshua Lindal, Predrag Radovic and Miaih Thratch. We use scientific methods in understanding human past - well contextualized within archaeology of the two three regions where we currently conduct our research: the Balkans in the Pleistocene and the Caribbean (with focus on Cuba and Nicaragua) in the Holocene. We study everything from palaeoenvironment, human diet, growth, development, weaning practices, senesence to burial ritual. Students can hope to learn multiple techniques in dental and skeletal analysis (using 3d software), collagen extraction and palaeoethnobotanical analysis (finding remains of plants in dental plaque from archaeological sites). 

To read more about Dr. Roksandic's research:

UWinnipeg Researchers Collaborate on Discovery of 6,000-Year-Old Skeleton

Jacques Tardif

Dr. Jacques Tardif- Biology / Environmental Studies and Sciences

Our research deals with trees and how they respond to their environment and, in particular, to extreme climatic or hydrological events like late spring frosts, extreme spring floods, cool or dry summers, etc.  We work mainly with wood and, in particular, with tree-rings characteristics such as width, cell anatomy, chemistry, etc. Each year, trees in Canada are producing a tree ring reflecting the growing conditions to which they were exposed. Once we have established the relationship between existing tree-ring characteristics and their environmental trigger, we can use tree rings as environmental proxies. To do so, we need to crossdate samples from many trees in an area to ascertain the year in which each tree ring was produced. This is called crossdating. Currently we are looking at the impact of spring floods on riparian trees and how tree-ring anatomy (especially vessels) is affected during major flood events. We are also looking at reconstructing past late spring frost events in Manitoba by identifying frost rings in tree samples. Late spring frost will usually kill some living cells in trees and we can identify and date them looking at wood samples. The successful student will be introduced to and getting practical training related to the preparation of wood samples for tree-ring analysis, the process of crossdating and in the identification of tree-ring anomalies associated with either spring flooding or late spring frost.

To learn more about Dr. Tardif's research, please read the article below:

Examining Tree-rings in China 

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