Grad students recognized at UM student health research forum
Over 130 graduate students from across the province, and representing a variety of health disciplines, presented their research in this year’s poster competition at the Manitoba Student Health Research Forum (MSHRF) as part of the three-day event at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.
“This event is all about the grad students. It provides opportunity for them to present their research, refine their communication skills and be recognized for their achievements through the large suite of awards,” said Dr. Samantha Pauls, assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy and co-chair of the MSHRF.
There were 24 poster awards and 22 travel awards tied to the poster competition this year. The top 10 PhD students were given the opportunity to represent the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the national poster competition at next year’s International Congress on Academic Medicine (ICAM) in Vancouver.
“After participating in many virtual research forums after starting my PhD in 2019, it is nice to be back to in-person events to really interact with others and have those in-depth, one-on-one discussions that were not possible in a virtual format,“ said Emma Martell, a fourth-year graduate student in the department of pathology, Max Rady College of Medicine.
Martell took home a record-breaking six awards, including the top poster award, ICAM travel award, the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba major award and all three available oncology awards. Martell’s poster presented part of her thesis work on the discovery of new strategies for targeting cells related to aggressive childhood cancers.
“It was an incredible feeling, and I am so pleased that the judges and committees enjoyed and appreciated the research work I’ve done. Of course, research is a team effort and I am so grateful to all the students, technicians and collaborators that helped me with this research. I am especially thankful to my supervisor and mentor, Dr. Tanveer Sharif, who fostered a supportive and encouraging lab environment that made all this work possible,” said Martell.
Although the name is different, the MSHRF follows a tradition over 30 years in existence. Starting out as a simple poster competition, what was once called “Awards Day” has evolved and grown over time, with the original founder Dr. Ed Kroeger, professor emeritus, Max Rady College of Medicine, continuing to guide the event.
“Amidst the changes, the four key pillars envisioned by Dr. Kroeger many years ago still guide us today: mentoring, networking, showcasing and recognizing,” said Pauls.
This year the MSHRF also included nine early career researcher presentations from prominent faculty members from all five Rady Faculty of Health Sciences colleges, along with networking events with Manitoba-based alumni, employers and mentors.
There were over 250 registered participants in the MSHRF with graduate students representing 70% of those in attendance. The Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association (HSGSA) along with additional graduate student volunteers assisted in the planning and execution of MSHRF on multiple levels, including hosting a student networking event in the evening and sponsoring several of the awards.
“I have participated every year since I started my program and I continuously learn new tips, tricks and techniques to improve my presentation style,” said Martell.
“If it is your first time presenting a research project, then the MSHRF is a great place to practice in a friendly local environment to prepare for larger conferences.”