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REF NO.: 9

SUBJECT: Memorial University’s science and engineering researchers take home Discovery Grants

DATE: Sept. 10

Researchers and graduate students from Memorial University are among the recipients of Discovery Grants and graduate-level scholarships awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Memorial researchers collected a combined total of $976,000, which will further the discoveries of research in fields related to science, engineering and mathematics.  The researchers received 35 Discovery Grants: 25 from the Faculty of Science and eight from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and one each at the Marine Institute and Grenfell Campus.

 “These Discovery Grants provide Memorial’s researchers with the opportunity and freedom to pursue breakthrough discoveries and innovative solutions,” said Dr. Richard Marceau, vice-president (research). “By supporting researchers engaged in science, engineering and mathematics, we are ultimately investing in the future success of our province. Memorial takes great pride in cultivating and encouraging research that will deliver limitless opportunities for advancement and prosperity.”

Four graduate students from the Faculty of Science and one student from the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation also received scholarships from NSERC.

“Funding from NSERC Discovery Grants distributed as stipends from supervisors and used for research support greatly benefit our graduate students by allowing them to

conduct research in a wide variety of disciplines while working with talented professors at Memorial,” said Dr. Faye Murrin, dean, pro tempore, School of Graduate Studies.

 “These stipends provide students with essential financial support as they complete full-time master’s and doctoral degrees in the areas of the natural sciences and engineering. We are focused on supporting and cultivating our talented graduate students and know the NSERC Discovery Grants contribute tremendously to the success of their research at Memorial.” 

The funding was announced by Ed Holder, minister of state (science and technology) at a news conference in London, Ont. More than $340 million was awarded through NSERC’s flags grant program.

“By supporting over 3,500 researchers and students in Canada, our government is providing the right kind of help to push the frontiers of knowledge in science and engineering and ensure Canada’s leadership for years to come,” said Minister Holder.

“In so doing, we are developing, attracting and retaining the world’s most talented researchers who carry out the scientific research that creates jobs and prosperity and improves the quality of life of Canadians.”

The awards announced comprise the 2014 competition results for NSERC’s Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Scholarships.

The federal investment will support scientists, engineers, post-doctoral fellows and students at Memorial as they drive innovation and ultimately economic prosperity.

For a complete list of recipients, please visit  

Discovery Grants

Faculty of Science

  • Dr. Janet Brunton, Department of Biochemistry, Dipeptide absorption in young pigs
  • Dr. Amy Hurford, Department of Biology, Mechanistic models of host movement to understand disease dynamics in variable environments
  • Dr. Dawn Marshall, Department of Biology, Genetic and genomic investigations of hereditary, viral and parasitic wildlife diseases in non-model organisms
  • Dr. Julissa Roncal, Department of Biology, Explaining the biological diversity in tropical America: a phylogenetic and biogeographic approach
  • Dr. Yolanda Wiersma, Department of Biology, Understanding and mapping the boreal rain forest: effects of biotic and abiotic factors on arboreal lichen distribution across multiple landscape extents
  • Dr. Karen Mearow, Division of Biomedical Services, Role of autophagy in survival and regeneration of adult sensory neurons
  • Dr. Reza Tabrizchi, Division of Biomedical Services, Adaptive changes in control of blood vessel tone
  • Dr. Travis Fridgen, Department of Chemistry, Experimental studies of the structures, energetics, and reactions of gas phase self-assembled biomolecular ionic complexes
  • Dr. Francesca Kerton, Department of Chemistry, Catalyphic transformations of oxygen- and nitrogen-containing substrates
  • Dr. Erika Merschrod, Department of Chemistry, Hierarchical considerations in materials design and characterization
  • Dr. Luke Beranek, Department of Earth Sciences, Continental margin tectonics, stratigraphy, and petroleum systems
  • Dr. John Hanchar, Department of Earth Sciences, Crystallization, alteration, and ore-forming processes, of IOCG ores and related rocks
  • Dr. Aphrodite Indares, Department of Earth Sciences, High temperature metamorphic processes in large orogens
  • Dr. Evan Edinger, Department of Geography, Cold-water carbonate production in Canadian waters
  • Dr. Jahrul Alam, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, A multiscale modelling and simulation methodology for turbulent geophysical flows
  • Dr. Yuri Bahturin, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Groups, rings, lie and Hopf Algebras
  • Dr. Zhaozhi Fan, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, High frequency and high dimensional data modeling
  • Dr. Scott MacLachlan, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Robust structured multigrid alogorithms for mechanics of heterogeneous media                                
  • Dr. Yildiz Yilmaz, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Sampling designs and statistical methods for incomplete data analysis
  • Dr. Xiaoqiang Zhao, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Spatial and temporal dynamics of nonlinear systems and applications
  • Dr. Iakov Afanassiev, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Turbulent oceans and atmospheres of the rotating planets
  • Dr. Stephanie Curnoe, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Frustrated magnets and unconventional superconductors: Symmetry and quantum mechanics
  • Dr. Brad DeYoung, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Ocean dynamics in the Northwest Atlantic
  • Dr. Jolanta Lagowski, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Structure and properties of organic semiconductors: from single polymers and oligomers to interacting eterogeneous nanomaterials
  • Dr. Michael Morrow, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Phase behaviour, reorganization, and dynamics of lipid and soft matter assemblies


Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science


  • Dr. Mohamed Ahmed, Advanced techniques for cooperative wireless communication
  • Dr. Salim Ahmed, Framework and models for an event-based early warning system Design
  • Dr. Shafiq Alam, Biosorption of gold from alkaline solution using biomass wastes
  • Dr. Ralf Bachmayer, Propulsion and control of long endurance unmanned marine vehicles
  • Dr. Bing Chen, Risk-based multi-agent simulation-optimization approaches for spill response management (RMASOS) in harsh environments
  • Dr. Syed Imtiaz, A fault detection and diagnosis tool for chemical processes based on hybrid-dynamic Bayesian belief network
  • Dr. Keven Pope, Multiphase transport in solid-liquid and solid-gas flows with subsea applications
  • Dr. Wei Qiu, Ship and offshore floating platform motions in extreme seas
  • Dr. Azizur Rahman, High efficiency interior permanent magnet machines and drive systems


Grenfell Campus

  •  Dr.Telex Magloire Ngatched Nkouatchah, Resource allocation in coded cooperative relay for multi-channel cognitive radio networks

 Marine Institute 

  • Dr. Dominique Robert, Plankton effect on forage fish production in the Northwest Atlantic


 NSERC Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships

 NSERC Post-graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (PGSD)


  • Jason Robert Laurich, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
  • Greg Pearcey, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation
  • Anne Provencher St-Pierre, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology


NSERC Alexander Graham Bell CCanada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral (CGSD)

  • Sarah Adcock, Faculty of Science, Department of Psychology
  • Katherine Gale, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

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For more information, please contact Krista Davidson, communications co-ordinator, Office of the Vice-President (Research), (709) 864-4073 or


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