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University of Guelph Partnership | Graduate Studentship in One Health

One Health collaborations across disciplines, faculties and campuses are important steps to resolving and understanding complex problems that exist at the interface of human, animal, and environmental health.

The University of Guelph Partnership | Graduate Studentship in One Health has been created to stimulate collaborative academic activity between the University of Guelph and McMaster University and between the University of Guelph and Western University.

Value and Duration

Students enrolling in thesis-based Master’s, PhD or DVSc programs at the University of Guelph are eligible for this award. The award is payable in per-semester instalments for six consecutive semesters, beginning in September of the academic year.

Scholarships will be confirmed and awarded once an eligible student is accepted and the graduate advisory committee established. Student award recipients are expected to enrol in and complete the Collaborative Specialization in One Health program.

This scholarship can be held concurrently with other scholarships.

Scholarship award amount

Six (6) semesters of funding are available for a graduate student enrolled in a Thesis-based master’s, a PhD or DVSc program. To receive funding, the student must enroll in their program of study by September of the academic year following that in which the studentship was awarded (for example, the award is given in February 2024, the student must be enrolled in their graduate study starting September of the 2024/2025 academic year. The student’s stipend amount will be commensurate with that given by their program of study. A maximum amount of $24,000 / year is available as a student stipend.

Eligibility Criteria

Faculty at the University of Guelph are eligible to apply if they are supervising (or planning to supervise) a graduate student who is conducting research in One Health. The research must also be in collaboration with a researcher at one of McMaster University or Western University, and the researcher must also be a member of the graduate student’s supervisory committee. Sharing research space is encouraged.

Award Allocation

The Partnership Award will be allocated through a two-stage process:

Stage 1: Faculty Submit Project Proposals

  • Selection of projects by the Director, One Health Institute, with members of the One Health Institute Advisory Board

Stage 2: Students Apply

  • Selection of students by faculty members successful in Stage 1

Schedule of Dates

DateAction Due
Monday, December 18, 2023Call for Project Proposals Opens
Monday, January 15, 2024Project Proposals Due
Thursday, January 25, 2024Successful Proposals Announced
Friday, January 26, 2024Faculty member recipient advertises opportunity

How to Apply


Stage 1 (Project Abstracts – Submitted by Faculty)

How to Apply

Please download and complete a project proposal.

To complete the application you will need the following information at hand: 

  • Applicant and co-applicant names, email addresses, affiliations and contact information
  • Project title
  • Project proposal description (1/2 page or 250 words)
  • At least one project objective, a description of why a One Health approach is necessary to achieve this objective, how the achievement of at least one objective is enhanced/enabled by collaboration with a faculty member at McMaster University OR Western University
  • A description of the role for the graduate student in the project

Evaluation Process and Criteria

The Director, One Health Institute, with members of the One Health Institute Advisory Board, will select the recipient(s) from among the nominations received on or prior to the closing date, based on the following criteria:

  • Faculty applicant is eligible to supervise a student in a MA, MSc, DVSc or PhD program at the University of Guelph.
  • There will be faculty representation on the graduate student’s supervisory committee from either McMaster University or Western University.
  • The research objectives and experimental plan are rational, clear and feasible.
  • The proposed research demonstrably employs a One Health approach.

Award of funds remains provisional until an eligible student has accepted, the program of research confirmed, and the graduate advisory committee has been established.


Students interested in working on a specific research project will contact faculty members directly. 

U of G Partnership with Western OR McMaster Projects


Evaluating bone lead levels in Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) in Ontario
4 swans sitting in a pond, with the text "Evaluating bone lead levels in Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) in Ontario" with a photo of Sherri Cox, an assistant professor in the department of integrative biology and the college of biological science at the University of Guelph

About the Project:

Thousands of free ranging wild birds ingest lead from the environment, and many are subsequently admitted to wildlife rehabilitation centres. Current methods to detect lead levels in live birds often require obtaining a blood sample to assess blood-lead levels. This method is somewhat invasive and does not truly reflect the levels of lead in the birds because the vast majority (up to 90%) of lead which is stored in bone. A newer technology called x-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a non-invasive, non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of various sources. It is essential because with the vast majority of lead stored in bone, we want to quantify the levels of lead in birds to have a better understanding of how long we must treat (e.g. via chelation therapy) birds in rehabilitation centres. We also have an opportunity to develop prognostic factors based on lead thresholds found in bone and whether or not these birds have a chance of rehabilitation and release. 

Working with people, animals, and the environment to understand the prevalence and impact of lead will enable us to better understand how to improve wild animal welfare, identify the potential location of lead (or at least where the birds were found to further investigate the presence of lead in the water system in a subsequent study). The health of wildfowl and water systems is strongly linked to human health. While urban Canadian lead exposure is now extremely low, people in who hunt wildfowl, and subsistence fish, are known to have higher lead exposure. Eating wildfowl is correlated with higher blood lead levels, but the absence of quantitative measures of lead exposure in wildfowl means the assessment of human health risk from eating exposed birds is limited. While we do not eat swans, measurements in these birds could be a useful surrogate for other wildfowl and used in models of human uptake. 

Meet the Team:

Principal Investigator (U of G)

A headshot of Assistant Professor Sherri Cox

Sherri Cox

Assistant Professor | Department of Integrative Biology

College of Biological Science | University of Guelph

As a wildlife veterinarian and Medical Director at the National Wildlife Centre, Dr. Sherri Cox is passionate about helping to improve the health and welfare of wild animals and disseminating new information about unique cases she sees when treating sick and injured wildlife. From moose to mice and turtles to terns, Dr. Cox treats all indigenous wildlife. Dr. Cox seeks to help connect students, the public, wildlife rehabilitators, and scientists together to improve the lives of these wild animals through a One Health concept.  

Co-Investigator (McMaster)

A headshot of professor Fiona McNeill

Fiona McNeill

Professor | Physics and Astronomy

Faculty of Science | McMaster University

Understanding anthroponotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to domestic and wild animals
A person performing a COVID-19 rapid test, with the text "Understanding anthroponotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to domestic and wild animals" with an image of Lawrence Goodridge, a Leung Family Professor in food safety, and a director for the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at the University of Guelph

About the Project:

Since January of 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has caused COVID-19 illness in more than 200 countries and regions, causing approximately 375 million human infections  and 5.7 million deaths. While much research has focused on zoonotic transmission to explain the SARS-CoV-2  spillover event, anthroponotic transmission has been much less studied. We hypothesize that both regular or inadvertent interactions between infected people and domestic and/or wild animals allows for anthroponotic transmission of COVID-19. Our hypothesis is supported by reports that domestic cats and dogs owned by infected individuals have become infected with SARS-CoV-2, and direct human-to-animal transmission has been proposed from epidemiological data and genetic similarities of SARS-CoV-2 strains isolated from wild animals and their keepers in zoos. Minks infected with SARS-CoV-2 have also been identified on farms in several countries where infected farm workers were speculated as the source of infection. The objective of this project is to conduct genomic-based epidemiological surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in domesticated and wild animal populations that live in close contact with humans. In addition, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the environment will also be assessed.  This research is important because the genetic diversity of coronaviruses is caused by accumulation of mutations and high-frequency homologous recombination, leading to infections across interspecies barriers and potential subsequent re-infection of humans with deadlier mutants.  In addition, host-switching events could cause SARS-CoV-2 to adapt to a wider array of selective pressures, leading to emergence of new viruses and diseases.

Meet the Team:

Principal Investigator (U of G)

A headshot of Lawrence Goodridge

Lawrence Goodridge

Leung Family Professor in Food Safety

Director | Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety

University of Guelph

In January, 2019, Lawrence joined the Department of Food Science as Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, where he holds the Leung Family Professorship in Food Safety.  Dr. Goodridge conducts research in a One Health context, as it relates to control, detection and surveillance of pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites. Dr. Goodridge has published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has been awarded more than $30 million in research funding from US, Canadian and international funding sources.

Co-Investigator (Western)

A headshot of Professor Eric Arts wearing a lab coat with a Western University logo on it

Eric Arts

Professor | Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Canada Research Chair in HIV Pathogenesis and Viral Control

Western University

Co-Investigator (U of G)

A top down shot of Professor Scott Weese with a dog sitting by his feet

Scott Weese

Professor | Department of Pathobiology

Director | Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses

Ontario Veterinary College | University of Guelph

PhD Student (U of G)

A clip art of a hand clicking an apply now button

Apply now to join the team!

Students enrolling in a PhD program at the University of Guelph are eligible for this award.

To find out more about this opportunity, email Dr. Goodridge.

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