" I was attracted to the PhD in Health Sciences because of its strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, which will enable me not only to conduct innovative research, but also foster my growth as an independent researcher."

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Student Profile: Maude Comtois-Cabana

October 18, 2021
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doctoral student in the Faculty of Health Sciences

I recently started a Joint PhD/Cotutelle program between Simon Fraser University (PhD in Health Sciences) and Université de Montréal (PhD in Psychology). I recently moved here from Québec where I completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Psychology at Université de Montréal.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I decided to pursue my doctoral studies at SFU for several reasons. I was attracted to the PhD in Health Sciences because of its strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, which will enable me not only to conduct innovative research, but also foster my growth as an independent researcher.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

I am working on an interdisciplinary project developed by Dr. Isabelle Ouellet-Morin (School of Criminology, Université de Montréal) and Dr. Nadine Provençal (Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University). Specifically, I am studying the interaction between genetic and environmental factors (e.g., child maltreatment) in the development of mental health problems in the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development. One way to investigate gene-environment interplay is through epigenetic marks, which are chemical modifications that regulate gene expression. Epigenetic marks are particularly interesting because they are both sensitive to genetic and environmental factors and are potentially reversible. That is why I believe that it is essential to combine the fields of molecular biology and developmental psychology to better understand the etiology of mental health problems, so as to better diagnose and treat them.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

The Joint PhD/Cotutelle program not only enables me to learn about different university cultures, but also to develop complementary skills through my enrollment at both universities. I particularly enjoy the progressive, interdisciplinary and engaging setting of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

The Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship will not only help me to contribute to research in behavioral epigenetics, but also pursue my involvement within the student community.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

Joint PhD/Cotutelle programs are customized for the student’s research interests and the requirements of the two institutions. At the completion of the program, the student will receive a single degree which is recognized by both participating institutions.

 

Contact : maude_comtois-cabana@sfu.ca