Honours: Outstanding graduate students recognized with top honours

The Schulich Medicine & Dentistry Internal Graduate Awards celebrate excellence in research and academics, offering one of the highest levels of financial support for graduate students at Western University and across Canada.

Thanks to funding by individual donors, corporations, faculties, departments, and the governing body at Western, there are a number of internal awards, scholarships and fellowships to support high-achieving graduate trainees at the School.

Awarded annually to the most outstanding PhD student graduating from a basic sciences program, this year’s Collip Medial award was presented to Jacqueline Dron, PhD, who completed her doctoral degree in Biochemistry. Under the supervision of Dr. Robert Hegele, Dron’s thesis investigated genetic factors that influence the development of lipid disorders and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease.

“I showed how each lipid disorder can be characterized by a unique combination of rare and common genetic factors, and through this process, I created two ‘genetic risk scores’ as methods to calculate disease risk due to the presence of certain genetic factors,” Dron explained.

Currently, Dron is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, expanding on her PhD work from studying patient cohorts to large-scale population databases, as well as incorporating non-genetic data into her statistical models.

“The Collip Medal will surely serve as a reminder of not only my research endeavours as a graduate student, but also as a reminder of the wonderful mentorship and support I received from my supervisor, Dr. Hegele, and all members of my lab to get to that point,” she shared.

The Jonathon & Joshua Memorial Graduate Scholarship is awarded to four doctoral students each year who are specializing in the neuroscience of mental health disorders. The $25,000 scholarships were awarded to: 

  • Matthew Demmings, PhD Candidate in Neuroscience (Supervisor: S.Cregan, PhD)
  • Peter Jeon, PhD Candidate in Medical Biophysics (Supervisors: J. Theberge, PhD & L. Palaniyappan, PhD)
  • Michael MacKinley, PhD Candidate Neuroscience (Supervisor: L. Palaniyappan, PhD)
  • Aja Hogan-Cann, PhD Candidate Neuroscience (Supervisors: M. Prado, PhD & V. Prado, PhD)

A number of additional awards were given to students who demonstrated excellence in a particular research area, or made an impact through their teaching or publications. Congratulations to all Internal Graduate Award recipients:

  • Kevin Chung, PhD Candidate in Medical Biophysics (Supervisor: T.Y Lee, PhD) - Cobban Student Award in Heart and Stroke Research recipient
  • Mariyan Jeyarajah, PhD Candidate in Anatomy & Cell Biology (Supervisor: S. Renaud, PhD) - Madge and Charles Macklin Fellowship for Teaching and Research in Medical Sciences recipient
  • Denny Chin, PhD Candidate in Microbiology & Immunology (Supervisor: D. Heinrichs, PhD) - Madge and Charles Macklin Fellowship for Publication in Medical Sciences recipient
  • Tyler Dexter, PhD Candidate in Neuroscience (Supervisors: T. Bussey, PhD & L. Saksida, PhD) - Jonathan & Joshua Memorial Graduate Travel Scholarship recipient
  • Claire Park, PhD Candidate in Medical Biophysics (Supervisor: A. Fenster, PhD) - Norman E. Nixon Marie Rämö Nixon Award recipient