I attended Sir John A Macdonald High School in Ottawa from 1979 to 1984, where I particularly enjoyed courses in science (especially biology) and math (especially calculus). My undergraduate degree was carried out at McMaster University, 1984 to1988 where I graduated with a B.Sc. (Honours) in Biology. During my fourth year at McMaster, I took a course in environmental physiology given by Dr. Chris Wood and was totally hooked, so after finishing at McMaster, I went to the University of Cambridge to pursue a PhD in Zoology. Upon completion of my PhD in 1992, I was awarded an Eastburn postdoctoral fellowship to work in the lab of Dr. Steve Perry at the University of Ottawa.
After a second postdoctoral stint, this time back at McMaster in Dr. Wood’s lab, I moved to the University of Glasgow as a temporary lecturer, 1996 to 1998. I landed a “real job” and joined Carleton University’s Biology department as an Instructor. In 1999, I was awarded an NSERC University Faculty Award and moved into an Assistant Professor’s position. Finally, I moved to the University of Ottawa in 2004, and was promoted to full professor in 2009. My research focuses primarily on stress in fish.
My PDF supervisor, Dr. Steve Perry, held an Eastburn Postdoctoral Fellowship at McMaster (1982-1983) and he made me aware of the award. Funnily enough, one of my recent PhD students was also awarded an Eastburn PDF to work in the lab of Dr. Sigal Balshine at McMaster – Dr. Connie O’Connor, 2011-2013.
The Eastburn PDF enabled me to pursue a postdoctoral position that would not otherwise have been possible. That postdoc was a time in which I developed many of the research interests that now inform my research program. Without the Eastburn PDF, that program would look very different and/or I might not have been able to stay in academia – I owe a lot to the Eastburn PDF!
If I could say anything to Mr. Eastburn it would be, “THANK YOU! Thank you for funding a career stage where funding is traditionally difficult to get, especially in Canada. Having independent funding as a PDF allows an early career researcher to focus on and develop her own research interests – it is an enormous advantage to an early career scientist.”