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Northrop Frye Summer Research Experience

The 2022 competition is now closed.

Scholarship value: $5,700
Duration: Four months (May to August)
Deadline: Monday, March 28, 2022 at 4pm ET

First awarded in 2001, the Northrop Frye Summer Research Experience Scholarship in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology enables an outstanding student who has recently completed BIO120H to spend four months (May to August) in the lab of a faculty member, assisting with a project.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must have completed BIO120H (St. George campus).
  • Priority will be given to students who completed BIO120 in the previous Fall session.
  • You must obtain an average of at least 85% in the university courses you are presently taking or have taken (e.g., if you are taking five courses this year, you estimate that your average among these courses will be at least 85%).

What to Submit

The 2022 competition has closed.

Project Descriptions

Supervisor: Matt Osmond

DNA contains information about the past. In particular, spatial patterns in genetic diversity tell us how a species has moved across the landscape to be where it is today. One of the goals in the Osmond Lab is to build mathematical models and computational methods that allow us to infer the geographic history of a species from genetic data. The student will help us test a recent method we created, sparg, to see how well it can infer geographic histories on real geographic maps. This involves writing, running, and analyzing computer simulations using R, Python, and SLiM. In the process you will learn about evolution, population genetics, mathematical models, computer programming, and bioinformatics. To enrich the research experience, you will also get to participate and present in weekly Osmond Lab meetings and will be encouraged to attend Departmental seminars, etc. While all of this can be done remotely, there is space available in our Lab (aka “the theory room”) in the Earth Science Centre that you will be encouraged to use as in-person activities ramp up.

Supervisor: Caroline Parins-Fukuchi

New anatomical and molecular characteristics often facilitate organisms’ abilities to radiate into new habitats. The Parins-Fukuchi lab is focused on understanding how the processes that drive the emergence of these novelties shape evolutionary patterns, both within populations and across lineages. The student will contribute toward this long-term research program by developing their computational skills to perform analyses of morphological and molecular data. In the process, you will learn important skills and concepts in evolutionary biology, computer programming, and statistics/machine learning. Since ours is a computational lab, you will work in a dedicated physical space in our dry lab (aka “the computation room”) in the Earth Science Centre. You will also have an opportunity to engage with other undergraduate and graduate students in the PF lab and other research groups focused on computation, theory, and evolution.

Supervisor: Chelsea Rochman

The Rochman Lab researches how anthropogenic stressors impact ecosystems. A lot of the research in the Rochman Lab revolves around the sources, fate and effects of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems. We also work with local stakeholders to do litter audits to inform solutions on our waterfront. The student will get to take part in various projects led by graduate students and/or the Trash Team in Summer 2022. This will include local field work, characterizing macroplastics and microplastics from various environmental samples, and data curation. The successful student will be required to take Biosafety training through EHS, to attend Rochman Lab meetings and training sessions, and to contribute to general lab maintenance.

Photo by Nicholas Ypelaar