"I have been enjoying the access to the top tier magnetic resonance facilities at SFU that have allowed me to get hands on experience on instruments that technicians would operate at most other universities."

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Student Profile: Gregory MacNeil

February 15, 2022
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Chemistry doctoral student in the Faculty of Science

I'm from Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia and graduated from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick with a BSc in Chemistry. I worked under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Westcott on catalyzed hydroboration reactions.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

The work in Dr. Charles Walsby's group caught my eye as they were developing new metal-based anticancer compounds and using unique methods to study their biological function such as electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. Plus, the idea of getting to ski Whistler didn't hinder my decision and Charles avidly encouraged a healthy work-life balance.

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

I get to create new anticancer drugs that contain metal atoms at their core. These metal atoms provide unique characteristics that allow me to study how the drugs behave in relevant biological environments using spectroscopic techniques involving magnets, such as MRI.

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

I have been enjoying the access to the top tier magnetic resonance facilities at SFU that have allowed me to get hands on experience on instruments that technicians would operate at most other universities. I have also enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere that Charles has encouraged not only within our group but between other groups in- and outside of SFU. It is also nice to be able to take a hiking trail down the mountain straight to a brewery, after work hours of course.

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.

I was fortunate to receive the DuPont Graduate Entrance Scholarship in Chemistry and the Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship. These awards helped with the costs of moving to and living in Vancouver, allowing me to focus more on my research.

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

The doctoral program in chemistry at SFU provides a great opportunity to further your career in the field. The program is somewhat loosely structured which allows for plenty of opportunity to learn how to self-guide your own research. There is also ample opportunity to supervise undergraduates and masters students either within your own group or through teaching assistantships. SFU is also a great location if you like to balance your work with outdoor activities.

 

Contact : gmacneil@sfu.ca

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