Active research programs attract postdoctoral fellows to campus

Dr. Lucas Mol, ©UWinnipeg

Dr. Lucas Mol, ©UWinnipeg

A number of postdoctoral fellows (PDFs) are currently working on research at The University of Winnipeg — in a variety of disciplines, ranging from chemistry and math to political science, biology, and geography.

PDFs are individuals who have completed a doctoral degree — a PhD — and are training further in a particular field. They bring new expertise to campus and enhance the research capabilities in research programs, while navigating their paths into academia. Their growing presence on campus is a testament to the quality of research conducted across UWinnipeg’s departments and faculties. It is also reflective of UWinnipeg’s growing reputation for innovation and impactful research.

Being a beacon for passionate researchers is a win-win situation. “Postdoctoral fellows are highly trained and self-propelled to do research. They are very motivated and at a very productive stage in their careers,” said Dr. James Currie, UWinnipeg Provost and Vice-President, and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “They enhance the excellence and rigor of our programs while we provide them with valuable experience and resources that will further their accomplishments.”

The knowledge that UWinnipeg faculty members create through research, scholarly, and creative activities is having an impact. External funding from faculty research grants as well as external opportunities such as SSHRC postdoctoral fellowships and The University of Winnipeg’s Queen Elizabeth Scholars – Advanced Scholars grant help support the work of postdoctoral fellows on campus.  The highest level of external funding ever in 2017-18 helped faculty work with more postdoctoral fellows to advance their research.  

“This increase reflects that we have very active researchers at UWinnipeg,” said Dr. Manish Pandey, Acting Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “Postdoctoral fellows are interested in coming and working with somebody to boost their research — they want to get the publications to help them get a tenure-track position.”

Two current PDFs on campus are Dr. Quinn Fletcher and Dr. Yvonne Dzal, both working with Dr. Craig Willis (biology department). They are trying to save little brown bats in North America from the spread of white nose syndrome through understanding the ecology of the disease, and evaluating different management strategies.

“I came to UWinnipeg because I was always impressed with the research questions, quality of science, and dedication to public outreach that the Bat Lab is built on,” said Dzal. “The lab’s collaborative nature and enthusiasm won me over and is in line with how I think science should be done. UWinnipeg also gives younger researchers the opportunity to mentor students, help develop projects, and get mentorship ourselves on how to run our own labs — plus getting students excited about science is the best.”

Willis has been working with postdoctoral fellows since 2010. “Our lab has been lucky in recruiting really talented and hardworking PDFs,” said Willis. “Everyone benefits from the wide-ranging skills and knowledge that they bring to the table. PDFs have helped us make terrific advances while also improving the training environment we can provide for our research students in biology.”

Another PDF at UWinnipeg is Dr. Lucas Mol, who holds a PhD in mathematics. He is collaboratively working with Dr. James Currie, Dr. Ortrud Oellermann, and Dr. Narad Rampersad on a variety of research projects and mathematical puzzles in the areas of combinatorics — the study of patterns in words. These patterns, and the words that avoid them, are of interest in areas such as DNA sequencing, communication technology, and crystallography. They also have applications inside mathematics, including logic and algebra.

For information on postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at The University of Winnipeg, visit the Research Office website.

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