Neuroscience alum studies psychological impact of urban design, break-through galactic discoveries, deep-sea research
University of Victoria Alumni
Faculty of Science
Science News: Feb. 2022
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Message from the Dean

Dean Peter Loock

Greetings from the UVic Faculty of Science,

I am writing from a campus that is brimming with students, again. As you may know, in December the emergence of the omicron variant prompted an abrupt transition from in-person exams to online exams, and then a two-week delay in the return to in-person classes in January. These adjustments were difficult for students and instructors, but were necessary to comply with provincial guidelines and to keep students and staff safe. Now that classes are back on, the campus is back to its regular self, except that masks are worn nearly everywhere, of course. A small price to pay for the many friendly and fun interactions that in-person courses foster… 

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Robin Mazumder, UVic Neuroscientist on pavement
UVic grad and cognitive neuroscientist Robin Mazumder. Credit: Nik West
Stress and the city

UVic alumnus Robin Mazumder (BSc Biology ’08) thinks a lot about this busy intersection of city living and mental health. The cognitive neuroscientist studies the psychological impact of urban design and says, as populations grow, so does the need for better planned cities.

He says his interest in the subject grew out of his clinical work as an occupational therapist while living in Edmonton and Toronto. “I worked with people in urban environments and wondered how that stress affected them, because I certainly felt that myself.”

His dissertation “The downside of building up: An exploration of the stress impacts of tall buildings and urban centres” is published in the journal Cities & Health.

Star Cluster space imageCredit: International Gemini Observatory / NOIRLab / NSF / AURA / J. da Silva.
Ancient star cluster discovery reimagines the universe

Kim Venn (Physics & Astronomy, Director of ARC) is co-lead of an international team of research astronomers who discovered the ruins of an ancient star cluster, published in Nature in January.


Roubing Dong headshotRuobing Dong. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Close encounter: rare interstellar fly-by caught in action

Also published in Nature last month, Ruobing Dong (Physics & Astronomy), leading an international research team, uncovers the first evidence of a stellar flyby disturbing the protoplanetary disk.

Verena Tnnicliffe working on a fossilTunnicliffe. Credit: Cherisse Du Preez
New officer of the Order of Canada

UVic biology professor emeritus Verena Tunnicliffe was named an officer of the Order of Canada in December. Learn about her career, marked by scientific discovery and leadership in ocean research.

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Wylee Fits-Gerald standing on a mountainFitz-Gerald. Photo supplied
Horizon wide open for UVic Schulich leaders

For former Schulich Leader and UVic Science alum Wylee Fitz-Gerald receiving the Schulich Scholarship not only meant financial stability to help reach her academic goals but also instilled in her the importance of mentorship and giving back.

Dawson Jarvis and Sol Snir Shaool standing on campusDawson Jarvis (left) and Sol Snir Shaool. Credit: UVic Photo Services
A perfect tie

Last year, the Kasapi family established the Agamemnon Kasapi and Family Scholarship Endowment to honour their father’s wishes, achievements and values. The terms for the award are clear and simple—the student with the highest GPA in any program in the Faculty of Science at the completion of their first year will receive the award. Dawson Jarvis and Sol Snir Shaool tied with a perfect GPA of 9.0.

Ben Godwin - Science Alumni board member headshotBen Godwin (left) and Jeremy Wulff
Meet the Alumni Advisory Board: new Q&A series

I started homebrewing while researching my Doctoral thesis in the 1990’s,” says science alum Michael Allan Kuzyk, “It wasn’t until my career pushed me from the lab to a desk that I really started to get interested in the complexity of all grain brewing and propagating yeast.” Kuzyk is a member of our inaugural Alumni Advisory Board.

Honours Fest 2022
Join us for our annual conference-style poster session that showcases outstanding undergraduate research in the Faculty of Science. Event is in-person and online. 
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New speaker series with Indigenous scientists
The Faculty of Science and Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator Lydia Toorenbourgh are excited to introduce Laurie Rousseau-Nepton, Resident Astronomer at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Rousseau-Nepton will discuss her research on star-forming regions in nearby galaxies at the first lecture in an exciting new speaker series. 
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Science Rendezvous
Mark your calendars! UVic partners with Camosun College to bring Science Rendezvous to Vancouver Island.
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