Alumni Newsletter 2004

Composed by Tim Goater in October, 2004. Thank you to the 40 graduates who contributed to this year's newsletter.

1996 Graduates

Cheri Ayers continues to work on the Hul'qumi'num Treaty in her capacity as the Fisheries Consultant. "The past two years at the Treaty Group have been a great experience. This opportunity has afforded me with an interesting insight into the operations, policy and mandate of the Federal and Provincial Governments and Hul'qumi'num nations in relation to fisheries." She is also currently undertaking the research required for her Masters degree on First Nations Perspectives of Marine Conservation. Cheri has recently become engaged and purchased her first house in Duncan. Last summer's travels around BC included catching her first Babine River sockeye on a fly and meeting up with a fish-hungry grizzly.

Aran Gough has been in Lima, Peru for the past 3 years working for Knight Piésold Consulting. "It has been an interesting experience here in Lima, although with the mineral prices high, I have had so much work that there has been no time for other activities. Even the planned Xenodacnis paper has had to be put on hold. In the new year my wife and I will be heading to South Africa to start a new adventure there."

Dianna Saam has been in Ontario contemplating the direction of her life since completing her internship at Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in July of 2002. "I have done a smattering of emergency clinic work, some locum work and then a year in Hamilton in a very nice small clinic. On August 4th I returned to OVC to take the staff veterinary position in Oncology for 1 year with a view to applying for either an internal medicine or oncology residency for July 2005. If I am able to obtain an oncology residency (they are very competitive) it would be a way to tie my first degree to my second".

Greg Sandland is finishing up the final year of his Ph.D. research at Purdue University in Indiana. There he is studying 1) the energetic costs that hosts pay in order to resist parasitic attack, and 2) the degree to which environmental variation modulates the detection of these costs. Results from this work will likely provide insight into why resistance is far from a universal phenomenon in natural systems. Thus far, a number of experiments have been successfully completed and appear in the journals Oecologia, Trends in Parasitology and Ecoscience. After he finishes his thesis, Greg plans to start a post-doc either at Purdue University or at Indiana University.

1997 Graduates

Christy Falkenberg is continuing her work with parasites like Loma salmonae and Kudoa thyrsites at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. "One of the best things about working at PBS is the variety of the job. We do everything from scientific assays to histology, to fish husbandry, to plumbing. I can't even imagine being tied to a desk all day". In addition to her work, Christy has been taking advantage of all the Island has to offer, camping, hiking, and skiing with friends and family. Shelley Jepps continues to work for Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a Habitat Biologist. During the winter of 2003 she had the opportunity to work out of the Comox office. "I took full advantage of the proximity to Mount Washington and discovered a love of snowshoeing (with my dog Kynoch)." Her Port Hardy posting resumed on April 1, 2004 but didn't last long as she was relocated from Port Hardy to Campbell River on May 1, 2004. "The relocation could be as short as one year or indefinitely but I couldn't resist. I bought a lovely little log cabin style home on half an acre with fruit trees and a stream. I love it!" Reziah Khan continues to work at the Pacific Biological Station in the Shellfish Stock Assessment Division on geoduck clams. "There is so much involved in the management of this fishery, and there is so much yet to learn about geoduck habitat that could be applied to the management of the fishery. We are currently developing a database with information on substrate type of specific geoduck beds. We want to know how harvestable geoducks are at certain locations, why some beds are more dense than others, why there is variance in geoduck quality between beds and we want to learn more about the productivity of the beds." The fishery is managed by applying individual vessel quotas and licence limitations and is regulated as a 3-year rotational fishery. "I review geoduck beds (landings/hectares) on nautical charts using fisherman maps, at-sea observer information, and Geographic Information System (GIS) programs. The beds are then digitized in a GIS program to determine area, which is used to calculate quotas for the next fishing season. "I enjoy what I do and I am lucky to work with a great group of people".

Greg Murray is currently working at Vancouver General hospital in the Prostate Centre Gene Array Facility, where Gene Microarrays are manufactured.

After finishing his Masters degree in biochemistry at University of Calgary, Todd Unger went south to attend medical school. " I am now living in Cleveland, finishing up my last few months of medical school and scheduling interviews for a residency in anesthesiology. In the past three years, I have lived in Miami, Baltimore, DC, NY City, and on a tiny Caribbean island. Needless to say, life has been exciting! To cap it all off, in February I got married to a wonderful gal from North Carolina".

Chris Whipps has recently finished his Ph.D. in Microbiology at Oregon State University. The focus of his dissertation was the molecular systematics and taxonomy of a group of myxozoan parasites, which are of concern in commercially important fish host species. Chris was fortunate to be involved in several other studies during graduate school and is an author on 13 manuscripts of various topics related to fish diseases. Currently, Chris is employed as a post doctoral research associate at Oregon State University on an NIH funded project to conduct molecular analyses of important zebrafish pathogens. This includes developing diagnostic and strain typing methods for Mycobacterium species and microsporidia with the aim of conducting molecular epidemiological studies in zebrafish culture facilities. In addition, Chris is conducting molecular studies on apicomplexan parasites that occur in native and introduced Hawaiian fishes and continues his research on enigmatic myxozoan parasites. Outside of work, Chris spends his time hiking, camping, playing guitar, and has enjoyed recent trips to Hawaii, Ireland, England and Italy.

1998 Graduates

Melissa Daniels is currently working full time for Health Canada, First Nations & Inuit health branch in Nanaimo as an Environmental Health Officer. "I am also enrolled in the Masters of Public Health Extended Degree Program at the University of Washington. I have completed the first on-campus quarter and do the next three quarters through distance education. Instruction will be completed in June 2006 and the thesis should be completed by June 2007".

Melinda Jacobs has had a few changes since the last grad update. After finishing up with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and a small contract with Vancouver Island University's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, she joined Dr. David Welch (DFO) and his new research company, Kintama Research Corporation. The company focuses on tracking acoustically tagged juvenile salmon throughout British Columbia, Alaska and Washington State. During the tagging season of 2004, Melinda has traveled all over Vancouver Island, the lower Mainland and the BC Interior surgically implanting acoustic tags into ~1050 juvenile salmon. After the tagging portion of the project was complete, the data retrieval began. "I was on so many fish boats in Washington, Alaska and BC waters trying to retrieve the data that it has all become a big blur. There are so many beautiful places to visit, yet so much work to do. Overall we are having a tremendous year!! We have detected a high number of our fish as well as many endangered green sturgeons and a few fish from other U.S. tagging studies. Within the next few years, I can see this project paving the way for all marine life tracking. Just imagine what this information will do for future improvements within fisheries research!"

1999 Graduates

Ken Fong is continuing his work with shellfish stock assessment at the Pacific Biological Station.. "It has been a very busy but enjoyable year with lots of sea time. I am currently conducting a two-year tagging study on inshore Tanner crabs with the Oweekeno Nation in the Rivers Inlet area (Central Coast). A highlight of the year included a three-week multi-species survey for manila clams, varnish clams, inshore Tanner crabs and humpback shrimp throughout the Central Coast of BC. Part of this cruise included a visit of MacKenzie Rock in Dean Channel where Sir Alexander MacKenzie arrived from his cross country voyage in 1793."

Alison Keple is currently teaching grade 11 and 12 biology at Cowichan Secondary School in Duncan. She will also be teaching a new course she developed, called "Coastal Ecology and Adventure Tourism". It will focus on the biodiversity here on Vancouver Island (particularly the forest, freshwater and intertidal habitats of the south Island), and how to minimize impacts when groups of people are out enjoying these wonderful areas. A secondary goal of the course is to provide students with some skills to obtain summer work (or more!) in the ecotourism industry. When she is not at work, hopefully she is out mountain biking on local trails with her husband Jason and her dog Humu.

2000 Graduates

Andrew Cameron is currently in the fourth year of his Ph.D. in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia. Andrew is researching various aspects of gene regulation in bacteria, including how proteins work cooperatively to bind specific DNA sequences. He would like to pursue a career in microbial ecology and biodiversity as he feels there is sadly little appreciation and understanding of the microbial species that constitute most of the biomass and biodiversity on earth. His other academic interests include studying the history of evolutionary thinking in biology and how bacterial populations interact and evolve.

Aaron Jex is STILL working on his Ph.D. at the University of Queensland in Australia. He is in his third year of research, slowly but surely working towards completing his thesis. Research into all things cockroach and parasite related has been going well for Aaron. He recently presented at the XXII International Congress for Entomology held in the extravagant exhibition centre in fabulous Brisbane (or The Lady Brisvegas as it is affectionately known to those that know it) and will also be presenting at the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Society for Parasitology, held in Fremantle, this October. In addition to this, Aaron is busily trying to finish a lengthy paper his supervisor has dubbed Aaron's "Magnus Opus" which includes a new genus named after good old MALU (Malaspinanema goateri -- See if you can guess the inspiration for the specific epithet) and one named after Allan Gibson (Cordonicola gibsoni). Since everything Aaron writes these days seems to want to explode out to fifty pages or more, he will finish here by wishing one and all the best of luck".

Andrea Griffiths .will be starting the second year of her M.Sc. in the School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene at UBC. Andrea's project is entitled "Assessing exposure to Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii". "I am really enjoying being back in school again and working on my thesis!" Andrea and her husband Michael are off to a wedding in Calgary for a week in July and then heading to Belize for a two week visit in August".

Kim Taylor is still working at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. "I am entering my third and final year. In the spring I plan to do some more travelling. The plans are to see a few countries in South America, India, Nepal, Southeast Asia and two or three countries in Africa. Just a few more months of pay cheques and I should have the necessary funds to support myself overseas for about 18 months. As for my work at the Station, it has been very interesting and I have learnt a lot of new techniques. I still work primarily with myxozoan parasites. My time over the last few months has been occupied with setting up drug studies for Kudoa thrysites, and of course making the hundreds of slides and reading them once the studies have been terminated. Before that I was working on developing an ELISA for Kudoa thrysites. This was a great learning experience as it involved purifying and biotinylating antibodies. I was also kept busy with in situ hybridizations, another new skill for me. I have had a great summer, lots of swimming, hiking and camping, and a road trip down the sunshine coast. What more can I say? Life is good!"

Tanya Griffiths (née Wood ) is starting her 5th year in the Ph.D. program at UBC. She has been so busy since the last update with her undergraduate student's project, her own project, writing three manuscripts for her supervisor, as well as working on getting her own stuff published! Tanya also presented her research entitled "Expression and Characterization of Recombinant Human Hephaestin, a Novel Multicopper Oxidase Involved in Iron Metabolism" at the 7th European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. "Germany was so beautiful and so fun and Brett was able to come along as well! We also stayed in England for a week before the conference to make the trip a holiday as well!" Tanya and Brett have been filling their "spare time" with day hikes and biking, their most recent adventure - a 16 km round trip hike/bike to the beautiful Poland Lake in Manning Park. Tanya also lives with her sister-in-law, Andrea Griffiths; for anyone who remembers the two of them from their MAL-U days, you can imagine how fun it must be!

2001 Graduates

Liane Orrey (now Liane Stenhouse) was recently married to her best friend Shawn Stenhouse on July 17, 2004. The two just returned from their honeymoon of snorkelling, horse back riding, swimming with the dolphins, and relaxing by the pool in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. As for Liane's career, she is still working at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo as a Genetics Technician.

Since graduating from Malaspina Mike Russell has been working towards his PhD in the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute (SACRI) at the University of Calgary. "My research has been directed in two different, yet intimately related, directions: (1) development of a mass spectrometry-based protocol to screen for protein interactions involving the ING1 type II tumour suppressor protein; (2) identification, mapping, and characterization of ING1 protein phosphorylation using both traditional biochemical techniques and more cutting edge mass spectrometry-based analyses. The ultimate goal of these analyses is to further our current understanding of how the functions of ING1, and of all tumour suppressor proteins, are regulated in human cells and how attenuation of these functions can lead to transformation and cancer. I am currently funded by a full-time studentship from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. In addition, I recently co-authored two review papers that will be published in a fall 2004 issue of Cell and Molecular Life Sciences and The International Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, respectively. I have also been privileged to give poster presentations detailing my research at international scientific conferences in both San Francisco and Montreal. Additionally, I was the major contributor for a recent, successful CIHR grant application and am currently a contributing editor to the Science of Aging-Knowledge Environment (SAGE-KE/Science) for which the grant was written".

Shannon Derksen is happy to be entering her final semester at Simon Fraser University, having completed her research on the semiochemical-mediated oviposition behaviour of the peachtree borer (a serious pest of stone-fruit trees). One of the summer's research highlights was discovering that the attractive lure we created for this moth was equally as attractive as the peach tree itself---an important step towards developing a commercially-available trap for this pest. "I will begin to write my thesis on a part-time basis, spending the rest of my time looking after my now 6-month old daughter Jasmine. Jasmine Carol Brar-Derksen was born on January 30, 2004 at Surrey Memorial Hospital and she is undoubtedly a lifelong 'research project', a true labour of love. As a final note, I am now officially in the market for a pest management/entomology-related job---does anyone know of any openings?

Since graduating from Malaspina Tina Hein (née Younker ) has done a couple of different things. "On a personal note I finally married my fiance of 8 years in September of 2002 and bought a house in sunny Shawnigan Lake. My career has seen some interesting twists and turns. First was Creel Surveying for Julian Sturhahn (B. Sc. 1998) of DFO for a summer after graduation. In October of 2001, I started working for a consulting company called Madrone Consultants Ltd. in Duncan where I had my hands in many different projects as well as managing a TEM mapping project of the Johnston Landscape Unit in River's Inlet and a caribou ecology project in the Muskwa-Kechika region in northern BC. In February 2002 I began working with raptors at Pacific Northwest Raptors in Duncan (Madrone Consultants old home base) and have been working with raptors ever since. At PNWR I train raptors for falconry purposes, educational demonstrations and for bird control/pest management. Raptors have become my passion".

2002 Graduates

Mandy Butler is employed at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency as a Virology Technician. "During the summer I was involved in a project that screened for the Plum Pox virus from orchards all across Canada using ELISA. Most recently, I am continuing work within the CFIA doing PCR. Out of 7 of us, I will be the only one staying on as a direct result of the PCR experience I gained from my 491 project".

Nolan Hopwo is still working at Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a chinook research technician. He has currently been planning and preparing for his wedding to Kerrie Thornhill on September 11, 2004. In his spare time he has been playing bass guitar and singing with his band "Don't Tell Fez!".

Stan Khan is working in Victoria for a Biotechnology company in the Research and Development department. The research is in Somatic Embryogenesis. "I finished the remainder of my Malaspina B.Sc. requirements at UVic., and then went on to complete a Diploma in Computer Science at Camosun College".

Since graduation Anna Nelson has spent most of her time in Santa Cruz California~ building a life here and looking for work in her field. After spending a year working in benthic ecology and habitat restoration at Moss Landing Marine Labs and a year working as an assistant for a very talented artist, she has recently accepted a job at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. "At Cabrillo, I will be working as a biology lab technician, which I am sure I will enjoy. My life outside of work is moving forward as well. Last September I was married to a wonderful man, Elias Tillery, on a beach in Santa Cruz. Currently, we are contentedly living in a tiny house close to the beach with our dog, Zee, but sometime in the future we intend to move back to Vancouver Island".

In the past year Jodie Fadum (née Neufeld ) encountered a few changes. On July 17, 2004 she was married to Sean Fadum and a few months before the wedding she moved to Vancouver to take a Research and Development technologist position at Stemcell Technologies. She mostly works on improving methods of hematopoietic cell separation for human and murine cells.

Julie Newall is currently living in Port Alberni with her husband Kurt and 1.5 year old son Seth. Since graduation Julie worked at a Veterinary Clinic until going on maternity leave. This summer (2004) Julie started work at Gone Fishin'. "It is a lot of fun to be involved with sport fishing, very educational!" Julie is enjoying motherhood and hopes to expand the family shortly. After the kid(s) are grown a little she may go back to school to find a career.

For the past couple of years Shawn Stenhouse has been working for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. "I have been keeping busy monitoring the recreational and commercial fisheries throughout southern B.C. Throughout these last couple of years I have also had the opportunity to explore and visit many of the remote and beautiful areas of Vancouver Island. I have also been able to work with many of the other graduates from Malaspina. Outside of my career life, I recently married my College sweetheart, Liane Orrey . We had a wonderful wedding followed by a honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta".

Catherine Young has been working as a graduate student at the Pacific Biological Station since graduation. "This opportunity has been great since it keeps me close to home and my kids (in Ladysmith). The people at PBS (many of them VIU grads) are great, and I have made some good friends there. This fall I am transferring to a Ph.D. program at the University of Victoria, but I'll still be working out of PBS. An NSERC scholarship will help fund my doctoral studies. My new project will be aimed at studying immune responses of Chinook salmon to infection by the microsporidian parasite Loma salmonae. Immunology is so fascinating, and the immune systems of fish are not well understood, so I'm quite excited to get the chance to work in this area".

2003 Graduates

Olle de Bruin is starting his master's degree in the Department of Biochemistry & Microbiology at the University of Victoira this fall. He will be studying the virulence of the intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis, which has been listed as a potential bio-terrorism agent. "With so much time on my hands since graduation, I enjoyed a bit of travelling in our beautiful province. But now I am looking forward to going back to school again! I would like to say hi and thank all the students and instructors I had the pleasure of meeting at Malaspina - you were great!"

Since last year Hitomi Kimura has been kept very busy. "In early September, my mother came to visit me for a week and I accompanied her back to Japan. It had been four years since I went back to Japan. It sounds odd, but going back to Japan was not really fun for me any more. Although I was very happy to see my father and relatives, one week was just enough for me. After coming back to Nanaimo, I had a chance to participate in a marine mammal survey. After the survey, and thanks to the research experience I gained during my 491 Project, I was hired by the marine mammal research section at the Pacific Biological Station and worked for two months, studying the biology of humpback whales. Last fall Hitomi replaced Holly Blackburn (who was on leave for a semester) and was lab technician in the Biology Department at Malaspina. "It was such a great feeling to come back to Malaspina where I used to work as a work-study student. However, the job this time surpassed my expectations. It was awesome! Although I was sometimes humbled because of my lack of knowledge and experience, it was wonderful not only to help students and to learn new materials but also to work among great instructors and colleagues. My contract was renewed during the summer to replace Wendy Simms (who will be teaching this semester). I am very happy to be able to stay in the Biology Department. Presently I am getting ready for a new semester and am looking forward to meeting another challenge".

Shawn Lum is working for The Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community Abalone Project, or the 'Ab Lab' near the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre "It is exciting and interesting working in this lab partly because that it is so new (only 3 years old) and that it is growing and changing all the time. I have also recently bought a 15' Boston Whaler and I am spending all of my free time fishing and exploring the Broken Group Islands in Barkley Sound".

Louise Massey will be graduating from the Post-Baccalaureate Education program at Malaspina in December 2004. "I hope to start work in the New Year. I finally managed a trip to Bamfield this summer after many people suggested that I should see it (some people were mortified that a person could graduate without going to Bamfield). The Marine Science Centre was running a public education day camp about mammals of the west coast. My family and I went out on their boat and saw three grey whales and the tail of a humpback".

2004 Graduates

Jackie Churchill was employed upon graduation as a field biologist monitoring endangered Vancouver Island marmots that had been recently re-introduced to an isolated mountain near Nanaimo. Her care of the captive born marmots in the field required remote camping and radio telemetry tagging and extensive hiking to monitor the individuals until they enter hibernation. Upon graduation Satoko Nishimura continued her work in the math learning centre and then started volunteer work in two veterinary clinics in Nanaimo. Satoko traveled to various parts of Canada, visiting the veterinary schools in Guelph and Charlottetown. "In October I am returning to Japan to work on my grandparent's farm and tutor english, science and math at local high schools. I hope to make enough money and be accepted into veterinary schools in the fall of 2005. I hope to come back in March in time to see the Biology 491 student research presentations!"

Scott Okrainetz is currently taking advanced anatomy and physiology courses at UVIC. He intends on applying to medical school next year.

In September Lydia Rockwell will be leaving to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints for 18-months. "This is something I have been dreaming of for about ten-years. I will be serving in the Canada Halifax Mission, which includes Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and a little of Maine in the United States. After her mission Lydia is planning to apply for graduate studies in marine chemistry.

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