Excellence in Research by CSB Graduate Students Recognized by Multiple Awards

Our graduate students are the recipients of major research awards for excellence, including Vanier, CIHR Doctoral, NSERC CGS, and Connaught awards. Indeed 22% of current graduate students in our program have received external awards for merit.

Internally, the annual CSB Graduate Awards are given at the Departmental Holiday Party. In 2018, the inaugural Rustom H. Dastur Scholarship to support students pursuing studies in botany was awarded to Ahmad Hasan (Ness Lab). This scholarship was bequeathed by Renate Dastur in honour of her late father-in-law, a plant physiologist who, among other research, undertook a pioneering study on the effect of blueviolet rays on photosynthesis in 1935.

Research excellence was recognized by a number of other CSB Graduate Awards; for a full list of awards, follow this link.

Students have the opportunity to present a poster or talk at CSB Research Day. This year, the Best PhD Oral Presentation Award was given to Medha Sharma (pictured with the Chair, Professor Tropepe) from the Harris lab.
The Best MSc Oral Presentation award went to Ernest Iu (Plotnikov lab) with an honourable mention to Diana Bonea (Gazzarrini/Zhao lab).
The Best Graphical Abstract Prize went to Amir Arellano Saab (McCourt lab).

We also offer “PhD Transfer Awards” that are given to students that have excelled in the development and defense of a research proposal to transfer from a Master’s to a PhD.

Future prospects for Graduate Students

In order for our students to lead the way into a data-driven future, we are expanding training in the use of computational tools to understand and analyze large datasets. We have developed new graduate modules in the Fundamentals of Genomic Data Science and Introduction to R for Data Science, and we are embarking on developing workshops to complement these modules, the most recent of which is a workshop on the use of data visualization tools. Computational skills in data analysis also include large imaging datasets and we have consequently developed a new course module in Advanced Microscopy and Imaging.

The School of Graduate Studies at U of T undertook a major survey (“10,000 PhDs”) of students that have graduated with their PhD degree from 2000-2015. Of the surveyed graduate students from CSB labs that received their PhD over this period, 53% were working in academia as tenure-track professors, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists and technicians. A significant proportion (28%) of graduates were working in private industry (primarily biotech/pharma), public service or charitable organizations. Our graduate students appear to be engaging in fulfilling careers in their chosen areas of expertise. This was evident in 2016 when we celebrated our 10-year departmental anniversary with a CSB graduate alumni research symposium. This event showcased some of our outstanding alumni pursuing careers in academia and industry.