Research opportunity pays dividends for Canadian graduate student

11th July 2011

Justin McCarville, a master’s degree student in Applied Bioscience at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology has recently taken part in a three-month international internship at IFR, studying the immune response of the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. [UOIT Announcement] 

“When a chance to work with the IFR develops, you have to go for it,” said McCarville. “During my time at the IFR, I came into contact with a range of individuals with a variety of different research backgrounds from countries like Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia and Cyprus. It was more than just an exchange of ideas and experiences, but also one of culture and tradition. My understanding of research on a global scale was enhanced, particularly with regard to the relationship between food, diet and health.”

At IFR, Justin worked in Prof Claudio Nicoletti’s group, which is investigating the role of intestinal epithelial cells in food allergy. “From my point of view, Justin was a very positive addition to the intellectual environment of the lab,” said Prof. Nicolletti. “He was an excellent team player, highly dedicated to the experimental work and he fitted very well into the social environment of the student community here at IFR.”

Postgraduate training plays an integral part in IFR’s culture of encouraging both learning and knowledge transfer across its user communities.

McCarville’s internship award came from the Advanced Foods and Materials Network (AFMnet). At UOIT, the research he concentrates on involves the immunology of the gastrointestinal tract. McCarville’s award comes as no surprise to his supervisor Dr. Julia Green-Johnson, associate professor of Biology in the Faculty of Science.

“This was a great opportunity for Justin to apply the knowledge and experience he has gained at UOIT, and reflects the strength and interdisciplinary nature of the Applied Bioscience program,” said Dr. Green-Johnson. “He represented our university as well as AFMnet in exemplary fashion.”

“The facilities offered by the IFR were very well equipped, giving me the opportunity to work with technologies that I had not used previously, and learn skills I can apply later in my academic career,” added McCarville. “The internship also gave me the opportunity to attend seminars from researchers who are considered the best in their fields, including the University of Oxford. Working on this project has given me the confidence and experience I feel I need to carry on with a successful student and academic career in the field of mucosal immunology. I am extremely grateful that I was given this opportunity through my studies at UOIT and again I thank AFMnet.”