P2GS Researchers 2022

Stephanie BugdenDr. Stephanie Bugden - Psychology 

We rely on our numerical abilities to make decisions every day, such as determining when to leave the house to attend class on time, splitting a restaurant bill between friends, and taking the correct dosage of medication when we are sick. How do we acquire those numerical and math skills? Why do some people excel in math, while others struggle and fail? How can we improve math skills in children who have difficulties? How can identifying individual differences in the developing brain answer these questions? These questions inspire me to use behavioural and functional brain imaging methods to explore the basic cognitive and neural mechanisms that support numerical and math development in typically developing children, and to examine how they differ in children with math learning difficulties. My research also involves testing the efficacy of screening tools that can be used to identify children at risk for developing math learning difficulties, as well as how engaging children in math games improves learning. In May 2022, students in the P2GS program will support research projects exploring the cognitive processes involved in producing numerical sequences in adults and children. Students who work in my lab gain valuable hands-on experience conducting developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience studies.

To learn more about Dr. Bugden’s research, please visit their ResearchGate webpage.

Nora CassonDr. 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

Ed Cloutis Dr. Ed Cloutis - Geography 

We explore the solar system to understand our place in it and how life arose on Earth. Searching for life beyond Earth is a big part of exploring the solar system. In our lab, we study Earth rocks that do and don’t contain evidence of life. Rocks that contain evidence of life are called “biosignatures” (also commonly called fossils). We also study meteorites from the asteroid belt, the Moon, and Mars, to further our understanding of the history of the solar system. Me and my students are part of the Science Team of the NASA Perseverance rover that is exploring the surface of Mars, so the research that we do here finds it way to helping to explore Mars. Our study of meteorites helps us better explore and understand the Moon and asteroids – the building blocks of the solar system. P2GS students will analyze meteorites and Earth rock samples that are relevant to the search for life on Mars and understanding the origin and evolution of the solar system. For Mars, we focus on how the science instruments on the Perseverance rover can recognize biosignatures. The search for life is complicated and multidisciplinary, so students from a wide range of science disciplines can participate and contribute.

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

UWinnipeg Team Supports Search for Signs of Life on Mars

Danielle DefeisDr. Danielle DefriesKinesiology 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

Caleb HaslerDr. Caleb Hasler - Biology

Freshwater fish are among the most at-risk taxa due to various anthropogenic pressures, including overfishing, hydropower, invasive species, and climate change. Our lab seeks to quantify organismal and population responses to environmental change and other processes like catch and release angling. We complete both applied and basic studies, often pairing field work with laboratory bench work. The P2GS student will support projects designed to quantify fish stocks in Manitoba and will involve aging fish and quantifying diets.

To learn more about Dr. Hasler’s research, please visit the Hasler Lab website:

Hasler Lab: Fish Biology and Conservation Labatory

Blair JamiesonDr. 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

Evan McDonough profile photo Dr. Evan McDonoughPhysics

My research develops the interface of cosmology and high energy physics. Taking input from quantum field theory, supergravity, and string theory, I strive to understand the relation between cosmological observables, such as the cosmic microwave background and large scale structure of the universe, and the underlying fundamental theory. I have worked extensively on both the earliest moments in the universe (and the theory of cosmic inflation), and the properties of our present universe, such as the mysterious dark matter. This research field combines analytical (pen and paper) with computational and numerical techniques, and provides opportunities for early stage undergraduates to find new and interesting results.

To learn more about Dr. McDonough's research, please visit their website (still under construction!):

Evan McDonough - Theoretical Physicist 

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-SeonDr. 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 Seon Dr. Yannick Molgat-SeonKinesiology and Applied Health

The human respiratory system is the first and last line of defence for the maintenance of arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide homeostasis. Fulfilling this critical, life-sustaining function is challenging, particularly during exercise when our metabolism is elevated well above resting levels. In our laboratory, we seek to better understand how the respiratory system responds to exercise and how this response is affected by biological factors such as aging, sex, and chronic respiratory disease. To do so, we employ an integrative approach that involves the assessment of respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscular function in humans during whole-body and isolated-muscle exercise. Students who work in our laboratory will be directly involved in one of several ongoing projects focused on determining the impact of sex-differences in lung and airway size on the integrative response to exercise. This unique training opportunity will enable students to gain hands-on experience in human physiological research as well as learn research-related skills that will assist them in pursing graduate studies or a career outside of the academy.

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

Masks, Exercise and Masks During COVID

Tabitha WoodDr. Tabitha Wood - Chemistry

How do synthetic chemists put the atoms in the correct arrangement when they make molecules? The fundamental concept in Chemistry that "structure defines function" explains how the different arrangement of atoms in distinct molecules allow for the molecules to possess unique properties. In our research lab we experiment in the area of organic synthetic methodology (not a contradiction!), which is the study of how to build carbon-containing molecules. Our studies involve exploring the nature of various organic reactions in terms of their mechanisms, what kind of molecules they can accept as substrates, and what we can do to make them reliable and predictable technologies for use in the synthesis of new molecules. With this kind of information, we can investigate ways to apply the reaction to solving problems like making the production of difficult molecules easier, and accessing new molecules with interesting new properties. A student in the P2GS program may do work ranging from gaining confidence running reactions in fumehoods to running calculations on computers (and everywhere in between), depending on their interests. This project will help students reinforce concepts they learned in Organic Chemistry, or will help them get a sneak peak at what they would learn in that course!

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

Wood Research Group

Haixia ZhangDr. Haixia ZhangChemistry

To maintain good health, daily food consumption should include enough macronutrients and micronutrients.  Macronutrients are nutrition required in relatively large amount, such as proteins, carbohydrates (starch and sugar) and lipids (fats). Micronutrients include minerals and vitamins, and as the name indicates, they are required in small amounts but are essential to human health. One project in our lab is to measure water-soluble B vitamins from germinated seeds or sprouts, using an analytical instrument called liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Students from P2GS program will be involved in aspects of this project such as seed germination and sample processing, and will have an opportunity to learn cutting-edge LC-MS technology, including instrument operation, maintenance, method development, data collection and data processing.

“To learn more about Dr. Zhang’s research, please visit their ResearchGate webpage.”

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