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Click here to view a photo album from Celebrate Research 2019

The power of positive reinforcement on self-esteem, reducing the risk of concussion in girls’ hockey, cross-resistance between disinfectants and clinical antibiotics – these could very well have been graduate thesis projects. On the contrary – these projects, and many more like them, were created by students ranging from grades 7 to 10 as part of the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair (BASEF).

Since 2015, the Research Institute of St. Joe’s has sponsored several BASEF special awards. These awards recognize outstanding projects that use strong scientific principles in exploring or solving problems related to human health issues. 

Matteo Romano displaying his project at Celebrate Research

The winners of the 2019 Research Institute’s BASEF awards are:

  • Maya Clapperton (Westdale Secondary School) for her project entitled “Reducing the Risk of Concussion in Girls’ Hockey through Root Cause Analysis.”
  • Neha Gupta (Westdale Secondary School) for her project entitled “Identifying Cross-Resistance between the Antiseptic Chlorhexidine and Clinically-Used Antibiotics.”
  • Matteo Romano (W.H. Morden Public School) for his project entitled “The Power of One: A Study in Self Esteem.”
  • Devan Tasse and Ethan Shannon (St. Luke’s Catholic Elementary School) for their project entitled “What’s in your helmet?”

Three of the five 2019 award winners joined researchers, staff, and local partners at the Research Institute’s annual Celebrate Research event, held on October 24, 2019. There, these students shared their projects during the interactive display marketplace. They were given the opportunity to learn more about Hamilton’s collaborative network of health researchers and the many different career paths in health sciences.

The students had the chance to meet Dr. Jack Gauldie, Vice President (Research) of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, who was hosting Celebrate Research and being honoured with the Anne & Neil McArthur Research Award. Dr. Gauldie is considered one of the founding fathers of cytokine biology, a field that explores how cells communicate with each other.

Dr. Gauldie talking science with Maya Clapperton and Neha Gupta at Celebrate Research

Dr. Gauldie was happy to share his enthusiasm over the students’ winning science projects and provide some words of encouragement to these young scientists. Importantly, he stressed the notion of collaboration – after all, it was only through collaboration that Gauldie, along with several international teams, discovered Interleukin-6 and its multifunctional role in the body.

“By encouraging and supporting the curiosity of young scientists, the Research Institute believes that such curiosity can be made to flourish,” said Dr. Gail Martin, Executive Director of the Research Institute.

Celebrating 60 years in 2020, BASEF is the largest science and engineering fair for the Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, and Norfolk area. Students ranging from grades 7 to 12 participate across several categories. The Research Institute’s BASEF awards are given to projects within the health sciences and life sciences categories, or to those that have human health applications. The next Fair will be held at the end of March, 2020 at Mohawk College.

The group poses for a photo at the Celebrate Research photo booth

Hamilton is Canada’s leading health sciences research cluster – home to Canada’s most research-intensive university that is affiliated with two multi-site health systems, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences. An array of organizations supports these institutions, including Bay Area Research Logistics, Clinical Trials Ontario, the Ontario Tumour Bank at St. Joe’s, and many more.

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