2022 Undergraduate One Health Awards

2022 Faculty & Undergraduate Student Award Recipients

The One Health Institute is proud to offer three opportunities for undergraduate and DVM students to engage in real-world One Health research projects. To find out more about the 2022 awardees, use the links below.

Applications for the 2023 award cycle will be accepted starting December 2022.

Robert W. Woolner Summer Undergraduate Research Studentship

$8,000 student salary support | $1,000 operating support | 14 weeks (summer)

International Summer Studentship in One Health*

$8,000 student salary support | $1,000 operating support | 14 weeks (summer)

Student Eligibility

To be eligible for the studentships, you must:

  • be available to work on the research project for 14.1 weeks full-time (i.e. 35 hours/week) between May 1 and August 31 of the calendar year in which the award is granted
  • be a full-time University of Guelph student in good standing who is registered in Phase 1 or 2 of the DVM program, or after 2nd or 3rd year of a related University of Guelph undergraduate program and returning in the fall*
  • participate in the summer Career Opportunities and Research Exploration (CORE) program. Advisors are requested to be flexible in research work hours to allow students to participate in this program
  • participate in the CPHAZ One Health Poster Day in the fall semester of the year in which the award is granted
  • complete a survey evaluating the research experience and the mentor’s performance

*To be eligible to work on the One Health of Fungal Disease project, students must be international.

Student application deadline is Friday, February 25 by 5 PM EST.

2022 Robert W. Woolner Summer Undergraduate Studentship Projects

Bloomin’ Barcodes: Metabarcoding Harmful Algae Blooms

About the Project:

Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (HABs) have negative impacts on communities, animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife and there is a need to identify and analyse the detailed biotic and abiotic conditions surrounding HABs. In this project, we use water quality data and microbial diversity measurements and integrate them with bloom frequency and intensity in model lakes. We are looking to recruit a highly motivated student, interested in tackling this complex problem using a OneHealth approach, including bioinformatics analysis and benchtop experimentation

About the Professor:

Andreas Heyland is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph. His work broadly focuses on the endocrine and environmental signals regulating organismal physiology and development. Projects in the Heylandlab include the study of molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying metamorphosis and settlement in zooplankton, the physiological and developmental responses of phytoplankton and zooplankton to environmental change and biotechnology application of microalgae. 

About the Student:

Laksha Jingree is a fourth-year BSc Honours student majoring in Biological Science. Laksha has developed great interest in the public health sector through undergraduate courses in epidemiology. She is particularly interested in the impact that micro-organisms in the environment have on human health. Through the HAB project, she aims to increase her interdisciplinary understanding of how One Health approaches can be applied to problems in the real world.

Zoonotic disease risk factors associated with non-human primate/human interaction in a captive setting

About the Project:

Spillover of infectious disease from animals to people (zoonoses) or people to animals (reverse zoonoses) can have dramatic impacts. For example, novel infectious diseases like COVID-19 are the product of interactions between humans and people. Additionally, animals are at risk of reverse zoonotic disease that can result in illness or death – especially important for species threatened with extinction. Because of their evolutionary relatedness, non-human primates and humans share many infectious diseases. Thus, in cases where humans and non-human primates interact there is the potential for zoonotic/reverse zoonotic disease transfer. One special circumstance is in zoos where non-human primates, humans, and other animals all interact in a shared space. Understanding the spatial/temporal interactions among non-human primates, humans (e.g., zookeepers), and other animals (e.g., rodents) will help determine the potential risk factors that could lead to disease transfer between them. Although zoos have protocols to reduce the transmission of infectious disease, there are unknown avenues of transmission that still need to be uncovered. Thus, the objective of this research is to determine potential risk factors for zoonotic/reverse zoonotic pathogen transmission among non-human primates and humans at a zoo, map those factors, and provide recommendations to the zoo to reduce the potential risk.

About the Professor:

Travis Steffens is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology his research leverages conservation biogeography, spatial ecology, and One Health approaches to understand how lemurs interact with and respond to human caused disturbance. He is also interested in how humans are impacted by applied conservation measures targeting lemurs and their habitat and he is interested in understanding the risk factors associated with zoonotic/anthroponotic transmission among humans and their domestic animals, wildlife, and their shared environment.

About the Student:

Raquel Archie is an upper year Bachelor of Arts – Honour Degree (BAH) student in anthropology with a minor in ecology. Raquel expresses specific interest in the relationship between human, environmental, and animal health regarding potential risk factors of zoonotic and reverse zoonotic pathogen transmission. She intends to employ a One Health approach to inform about these potential risks and recommend management strategies to reduce them.  

Raquel hopes to make an impact on the future of environmental conservation and protection using the skills she has developed and nurtured through her time at the University of Guelph. 

2022 International Summer Studentship in One Health

One Health of Fungal Disease

About the Project:

Fungal diseases greatly impact the world around us, including our environment, food system, and health. Beginning with the food we eat, the application of fungicides to protect cereal crops from devastating fungal diseases can lead to resistance among plant pathogens. Moreover, fungicidal applications can also cause resistance within environmental pathogens, which are transmitted to humans, causing devastating disease. For example, Fusarium head blight (FHB), a globally-impactful fungal disease of cereal crops that leads to a reduction in grain quality and contamination with dangerous mycotoxins, is often averted with the annual application of azoles. Subsequently, such applications increase exposure of environmental microbes, including the human fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans, to the fungicide and promote antifungal resistance. For C. neoformans, inhalation of spores from the environment can lead to fatal meningitis if left untreated or in the presence of antifungal resistant strains. Using a One Health approach, my research program bridges together environmental, animal, and human health to uncover new prevention and treatment strategies against disease in the grower’s field to reduce fungicide use. Our approach limits the evolution of resistance amongst environmental pathogens, and ensures that our current medical antifungal therapies remain effective. We achieve these goals using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry instrumentation, advanced bioinformatics platforms, an array of biochemical, molecular, microbiological, and immunological techniques, as well as established interdisciplinary collaborations.

About the Professor:

Dr. Jennifer Geddes-McAlister started her appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph in July 2018. She is an expert in mass spectrometry-based proteomics following a Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (Germany). Her research program embraces a One Health approach to define the relationship between host and pathogen during infection to uncover new strategies for overcoming resistance in both medically- and agriculturally-relevant diseases.

About the Student:

Jiaxi Lu is a third-year BSc student in Crop, Horticulture, and Turfgrass Science (CHATs). Jiaxi is particularly interested in exploring the relationship between environmental, plant, and human health in order to discover new preventative measures and treatment approaches against fungal disease in the grower’s field through a One Health approach.

Jiaxi has experience working with academic institutions (plant pathogens) and non-governmental organizations (breeding and field management) in Canada and China on research and business projects.

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