Nine BU student projects supported by NSERC undergraduate research awards

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Nine Brandon University (BU) students are getting a boost for their research through increased funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The students are recipients of this year’s NSERC’s Undergraduate Student Research Awards. The value of the awards has been increased from $4,500 to $6,000, with BU providing $1,500 in matching funds for a total award of $7,500 for each student. The purpose of the awards is to help students gain research experience that complements their studies.

The recipients include five members of the Department of Chemistry: Corbin Glufka, Taylor Goodon, Joel Hardy, Changmin Lee and Jeffrey Li. Three Biology students—Keagan Morrison, Reid Opperman and Kieran Taylor—are also receiving awards, along with Courtney Izzard of the Department of Geography and the Environment.

“These students are working on very exciting projects, from agriculture to diseases to our natural environment,” said Dr. Bernadette Ardelli, Dean of Science at BU. “Our faculty members invest a lot of effort into helping our students gain research experience at the undergraduate level that will benefit them as they continue their studies and as they prepare for the workforce. COVID-19 has been challenging for us, but I’m proud of the way our faculty have adapted their supervision efforts, in some cases in person and in some cases remotely, so that we can continue to provide our students with outstanding research opportunities.”

In some cases, the faculty supervisors, themselves, are providing funding from their labs to help top up the research support for the students.

“Many amazing discoveries have grown from student research projects into the type of trailblazing work that defines careers,” said Dr. Heather Duncan, Associate Vice-President of Research at BU. “Support from NSERC is truly invaluable in helping these projects get off the ground and in giving students the support that they need grow as researchers.”


Student Supervisor Research Area Topic Potential Benefit / Application
Changmin Lee Eric Bushnell Chemistry A Computational Investigation of the Antioxidant Power of Ovotellurol and Ergotelluroneine Design new cancer-preventing compounds
Corbin Glufka Vincent Chen Chemistry Mechanisms of IDH Mutation in Glioma Cancers Cancer therapeutics
Courtney Izzard Peter Whittington Geography and Environment Moss-peat Gradients of Physical Properties and Moisture Content from Drone Images Quicker restoration of peatlands back to carbon accumulating ecosystems
Jeffrey Li Vincent Chen Chemistry Multi-Proteomic Analysis of IDH Mutation in Glioma Understand cellular mechanisms of the disease
Joel Hardy Michael Charette Chemistry Probing the Structure and Post-translational Modifications of Emg1 Understand and characterize genetic diseases such as Bowen-Conradi syndrome.
Keagan Morrison Bryan Cassone Biology Elucidating the Genetic Basis for Vector Competence in Beetles Protect crops against disease causing viruses from insect vectors
Kieran Taylor Bryan Cassone Biology Development of Diagnostics for Soybean Develop rapid tests to accurately, and economically detect leaf diseases in soybean crops
Reid Opperman Mousumi Majumder Biology Roles of miRNA in Cellular Aging Finding biomarkers for age-related disorders
Taylor Goodon Michael Charette Chemistry Determining the Molecular Interactions between Emg1 and Utp2 in Ribosome Assembly Understand the assembly of cellular proteins that directly affect growth in humans



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