Undergraduate Student Research Awards

USRA Poster Session

USRA Fall Poster Session 2018

Nov 1, 2018 | 2 to 4 p.m. | CIBC Hall, Third Floor MUSC

The annual Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) Poster Session provides McMaster undergraduate students the opportunity to share their summer research experience with peers, faculty members, staff and the broader Hamilton community. The session highlights the work done by the 2018 Undergraduate Student Research Award winners, who spent this past summer working in the labs, libraries, and in the field. Their hands-on research experience gives them an opportunity to get a taste of what it is to be a graduate student researcher. 

The Undergraduate Student Research Awards are sponsored by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; Office of the Vice-President Research; the faculties of Social Sciences, Humanities and Business; and the Arts & Science program. The poster session is sponsored by the School of Graduate Studies.

A poster session is a forum for communicating research. An academic poster combines text and graphics to make a visually pleasing presentation. The USRA poster session takes place in one large room, where viewers have the opportunity to meander through and learn about each student's summer research. Viewers are able to learn from and discuss your project with you one-on-one.

This is a non-competitive poster session. The spirit is one of academic sharing and enrichment. 

Presenter Registration

Student presenters must register before October 23!

USRA Fall Poster Session 2018

Supervisors, staff, friends and family of presenters do not need to register.


USRA Poster Pointers Video: This hour-long video was created specifically for USRA students and contains everything you need to know about making and presenting an academic research poster (indexed under ‘show more’ option)

If this is your first USRA poster session you can also check out this promotional video to get an idea of the floor layout and ‘vibe.’ 


You must indicate all of the following spec preferences in your email to the printers:

  • Finish: matte or glossy (indicate your preference to the underground) 
  • Size: 3’(W) x’ 4' (H) or 3’x3’ (up to you, but posters must not exceed 4'Wide)
  • Cost: USRA students pay out-of-pocket for the cost of printing. At the MSU Underground, use the reference code you received in your USRA Poster Session email.
  • Format:Save as PDF

Deadline: If using the MSU Underground for Printing, your poster must be emailed to the Underground by October 24, 2018 at 12 noon to be printed in time.

Email your finished poster (saved as a PDF) to Emelia.

Pick-up location: You will need to pick up your poster from the Underground Print Shop (basement of MUSC) and bring it to the poster session. The MSU will contact you when it is ready for pickup.

MSU Underground Media is located in MUSC B117

Submit to Emilia Lussow by email underground@msu.mcmaster.ca. If you have any concerns or questions about the printing, contact Emilia at 905.525.9140 x27557 


Pick up your poster in advance and bring it to CIBC Hall for set-up anytime before 1:30 p.m. on the day of poster session. When you arrive at CIBC Hall, you will check in and be assigned a board # and velcro dots (to fasten your poster to the board). Staff will be there to help. You can also take some time to wander around and look at the other posters during this time as well.

For pointers on how to prepare for the presentation portion, consult the USRA Poster Pointers Video (starting at 51:32).

Questions?  Contact Andrea Cole in School of Graduate Studies ourmac@mcmaster.ca or x23437

When is the deadline to register to present at the poster session?

October 23, 2018

When is the deadline to submit my PDF poster to the MSU Underground for printing?

Submit to the Underground by Oct 24, 2018 in order to have your poster ready in time through that service.

When should I arrive at the session?

You can come to CIBC Hall anytime before 1:30pm to set up on the day of the poster session. This will allow enough time for you to get situated, collect your nametag, set up your poster, and view some of the other posters being presented.

Do guests and supervisors need to register?

No. Only presenters need to register. Others are free to drop-in anytime between 2-4pm.

Who attends?

Your audience is a combination of USRA faculty supervisors and lab-mates, other USRA students, staff, friends, and family. The USRA poster session is open to the public – so feel free to invite your friends family, and supporters!

What is the dress code?

There is no official dress-code for the USRA poster session. We recommend comfortable and/or professional attire for this session. Please be aware that photographs are often taken at this event as well.

Who pays for the poster printing?

Unless you have made other arrangements with your supervisor, USRA students are expected to cover the cost of printing out-of-pocket (USRA students receive a discount if they choose to print at the MSU Underground). 

What size should my poster be?

A USRA poster should be 3’W x 4’H or 3’x3’  (must not exceed 3' wide)

Note: The size of the poster must be visible within the PDF file (if working out of PowerPoint, you simply need to click the page layout tab, and use the required dimensions for your backdrop).

What should I expect during the session?

Be prepared to talk a lot! You will be repeating a lot of the same information over the course of two hours. You can also expect a broad audience – some attendees will have specialized knowledge of your research area, while others will have little-to-no background in your topic. You can always ask your viewer about their field of expertise and tailor your conversation towards them. Also be prepared to have fun! This is your chance to share about your research project and even the process and experience of the USRA itself. Enjoy!


Contact Andrea Cole in School of Graduate Studies ourmac@mcmaster.ca or x23437

About the USRA

USRA  for Arts and Science, Humanities & Social Sciences Students

The McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) provides undergraduate students in the Faculties of Arts & Science, Humanities, and Social Sciences with an opportunity to receive $6,000 to cover 15 weeks of full-time research-based activity in the summer, while cultivating research partnerships between faculty members. The intent is for the research to be student initiated, and that the proposed research activity deepens a student's learning about a substantive area and enhances the student's research skills. Student award recipients agree to present their research in a poster session in the following academic year. For more information, including eligibility requirements and information on the application process

  • For the Faculty of Arts and Science »
  • For the Faculty of Humanities »
  • For the Faculty of Social Sciences » 

NSERC USRA for Science & Engineering Students

The NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to stimulate students' interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage students to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields. If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support through your host university. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students to apply to this program.

For more information, including eligibility requirements, application procedures, the application form, and deadlines, visit Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

2018 Poster Session Participants

From Arts & Science 

  • A Taste of Our Own Medicine: Conceptions of “Nature” Within Naturopathy, Avery Qurashi
  • Neural Processes of Face Identification, Hailey Wright
  • The role of observational learning in the acquisition of complex motor skills, John Cyfko
  • How Canadian Soccer Coaches Make Decisions, Mahmood Haddara
  • An Arf Invariant of Virtual Knots, Marco Handa
  • Transactional Nature of Temperament and Parenting in Preschoolers, Sadie McVey Neufeld
  • What Does the University Stand For?: Freedom of Expression, Protest and Dissent, Tianqi Lei

From Health Sciences 

  • Utilization of expanded Natural Killer cells to vanquish malignant tumors via antibody dependent cellular cytoxicit, Abdullah El-Sayes
  • Evaluating the effect of age on phagocytosis of S. pneumoniae by macrophages, Danny Ma
  • Dissociating gut microbiome and genotype influences on Angelman Syndrome mice, Owen Luo
  • Bacteriophage Discovery in the Human Gut Microbiome, Roland Chou
  • Investigation of the Cooperative Functions of Polyclonal Antibodies that Target Diverse Influenza Epitopes, Sierra Barnes

From the Humanities

  • Can Musical Cues Improve Auditory Alarms in the I.C.U.?, Cameron Anderson
  • Bacon Bros: Theoretical approaches to understanding masculine identities in contemporary cook books, Daniel Arauz
  • Prayers and pennies for the paupers: Research into the Guilds and Charity in Late Medieval Strasbourg (1350-1475), Graeme Lavender
  • Creating Wilderness and Crafting Identity: The First National Parks in Québec, Hannah Walters-Vida Karin Fish
  • Pollution Visualizations, Karin Fish
  • Harold "The Colonel" Kudlets: A Transcontinental Music Pioneer, Lukas Spencer
  • Aether: A Sci-Fi Novella, Virginia Ford-Roy

From Engineering

  • Characterization of 3D Printed Titanium Alloys, Asad Hussanain
  • Inkjet printing of conductive nanocellulose inks for flexible electronics, Elsie Loukiantchenko
  • Curve Fitting to Characterize Stress-Generated Electrical Potentials in Bone, Elyse Rier
  • Integrated External and Internal Quantum Efficiency Measurement System, Jarod Coppens
  • Enhancing Microwave Imaging for Breast Cancer Screening, Jessica Trac
  • On-Demand Drug Delivery from Hydrogels Induced by Alternating Magnetic Fields, Lauren Weir
  • Wordathon: A Tool for Social Learning, Yumna Irfan

From Science

  • Genetic Variability of Phragmites australis in Southern Ontario, Alexandra Tekatch
  • Detecting Pathogens that cause Sepsis and their Resistance Genes, Brianne Laverty
  • Investigating evidence for a Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in ultrathin films of Fe/W(100), Bryce Norman
  • Designing a Robust Paradigm to Study Replenishment Kinetics of Nematocytes in Hydra littoralis, Christian Barborini
  • Does aperiodic-predictable temporal regularity facilitate auditory perception?, Elger Baraku
  • Cockayne Syndrome Group B Protein Regulates Telomere Maintenance in Telomerase-Negative Cancer Cells, Emily Feng
  • Growth and Characterization of Mixed Pyrochlore-Type Oxide Nd2ScNbO7, Graham Johnstone
  • The Effects of High Intensity Interval Training on Endothelial Function in Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients, Jessica Sadri-Gerrior
  • Physiological and Behavioural Adaptations of an intertidal fish to Hypoxia and Air Exposure, Noah Houpt
  • High-speed preparation of ultra-thin uniform polymer fibers for advanced materials development, Sara Evans
  • Single Particle Imaging of Bicoid's DNA Binding Domain, Sonya Martin
  • Evaluating the diagnostic capabilities of cell-free DNA, procalcitonin and protein C in comparison to HEWS, Walaa Faidi

From Social Sciences

  • Examining the Policies and Decision-Making Procedures of Toronto City Committees on Migrant Sex Workers, Aaron Li
  • An Exploration of Ontario’s Grade 9 Health Curriculum Abdullah, Al Hamlawi
  • Reporting Methodology for the Proportion of Students with Disabilities at Ontario Post-Secondary Institutions, Brittany Gottvald
  • A Catch Twenty-Two: Mother's Experiences with Formal and Informal Supports in the Community after Domestic Violence, Carol Lopez Ricote
  • Negotiating Conflicting Understandings of Intimate Relationships, Chriselle Vaz
  • Orphan Drugs in Canada and the Effect of Patent Expiration on Prices, Daley Thomsen
  • China’s Rise: Assessing the Security Dilemma in East Asia Eric Lim
  • Effects of Electoral Malpractice on Regime Stability, Eric Lim
  • Qeya - Tracing Time Through Pots, Harriet Jopling
  • The effect of music listening on implicit racial attitudes, Nicholas Ballarin
  • Undergraduate Students' Attitude-Behaviour Consistencies towards Rape Myths, Rachel Cheung
  • Underscoring the Importance of Adequate Nutrition: Exploring Food (In)security Initiatives and the Policy Process at the Municipal-level in Canada, Sabrina Campanella
  • Analysis of Macrobotanical Remains from Classic Maya Sites of Budsiljá and Sak T'zi', Sarah Watson
  • Understanding barriers in accessing mental health services within the Sri Lankan Tamil Diasporic Community in the GTA, Shangaari Kanesalinkam
  • Cognitive vs. Chronological Age as Barriers to Using Wearable Activity Monitors in Older Adults, Shiva Gheblehverdi
  • “We’re going to hold them accountable”: Explaining Attrition Among Black Students in Undergraduate STEM Programs, Tianna Follwell

2017 Poster Session Participants

From Arts & Science 

  • Shyness and Autonomic Regulation in Preschoolers, Annie Mills
  • Modulating Software: Pokémon-Go and Contested Fun in Public Space, Benjamin Feldman
  • Gendered Bodies in Post-World War Two Canada, Rachel Guitman
  • Impact of the Neighbourhood Action Strategy on Social Capital, Stephanie Bertolo
  • Through the Glass Ceiling, Over the Glass Cliff?, Sutina Chou
  • Social Participation and Resilience among Hamilton's Older Adults, Thipiga Sivayoganathan

From Interdisciplinary

  • Understanding timbre: Exploring amplitude envelope and overtone tuning, Maxwell Ng (Health Sciences and Humanities)

From Health Sciences 

  • The role of innate immunity in virus-induced exacerbation of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Daniel Celeste
  • Fast estimation of time-varying infectious disease transmission rates, Mikael Jagan
  • Early immune challenge impacts neuroprogenitors and depressive behaviours in mice, Owen Luo
  • Role of Gut Serotonin in the Production of  Antimicrobial Peptides, Parsa Mehraban Far
  • Palliative Care in Specialist Residency Education: Literature Review, Samer Kullab
  • Copy Number Variation (CNV) prediction/validation using the XHMM pipeline and dPCR, Steven Chen

From the Humanities

  • Russell's Epistemology Bridging the Foundationalist-Coherentist Distinction, Alisha Butani
  • Canada's Democratic Hypocrisy: The Problem of Indigenous Political Control, Elizabeth Bloomfield
  • Eros and immortality in the Phaedo, Emily Wall
  • Information Status in Italian, Erin DeBorba
  • Virtual Learning Environments: Inclusive or Impeding?, Sumi Voora
  • Perception of Beat Isochrony in 6 month old Infants, Tessa Dickison
  • The Hamilton Spectator and the Great War Veterans Association, 1918-1920, Unnati Gandhi
  • Locke Embodied, William Bell

From Engineering

  • Electrically Conductive Membranes, Alex Sutherland
  • Design and Wet-Etching of Al2O3 Waveguides for On-Chip Amplifiers and Lasers, Arthur Mendez-Rosales
  • Correction of Multi-Angle Plasma FIB SEM Image Curtaining Artifacts, Christopher Schankula
  • 3D Printing In MRI, Josh Bierbrier
  • Secure Communication for a Quantum Future: Post Quantum Cryptography in SSH, Karl Knopf
  • Computational Modelling of the Inner Hair Cell to Auditory Nerve Synapse, Laura Green

From Science

  • Modelling Finite-Time Vortex Collapse with Contour Dynamics, Alex Kerzner
  • Movement Synchrony on Helping Behaviour in Infants, Alisha Song
  • The Effect of Brachial Occlusion on Finger Flexor Tendon and Subsynovial Connective Tissue Motion, Andrew Wong
  • Direct Detection and Reactions of MePhSnMPP, Brianna Nguyen
  • An Investigation of Sediment Cyclicity and Glacial Deltaic Processes in Lake Jircacocha Cordillera Blanca, Perú, Chimira Nicole Andres
  • The regulation of a new mode of bacterial growth, Christine Pham
  • Controlled Assembly of Silicones, Daniel Szames
  • Evolution and Structural Implications of a Multi-Stage Moraine at Lake Palcacocha, Peru, David Bowman
  • Assessment of RFID technology to estimate fledging success in common terns, Hannah Clyde
  • Hydroxyapatite nucleation on bone scaffolds using simulated body fluid, Iflah Shahid
  • EEG Cross Frequency Coupling in Preoperative Anxiety, Jhanahan Sriranjan
  • Estimating Tibia Lead Half-Life and Intake from Blood Lead, Jonas Yeung
  • Effect of task on neural responses to faces, Katrina Fackelmann
  • Cognitive Audiology: Influence of Working Memory Capacity on Hearing, Marija Radenovic
  • 1918 Influenza Pandemic Mortality in Ontario, Michael Chong
  • Physiological impacts of aquatic hypoxia on Porichthys notatus, Noah Houpt
  • Kin Recognition in Silver Maple?, Pascale Bider
  • The use of pharmacological tools to study regeneration in hydra littoralis, Rachel Lee
  • Estimating the effects of parasites on the maintenance of sex, Sang Woo Park
  • Phylogeography of the North American Matsutake Mushrooms, Sarah Sandor
  • The regulation of human skeletal muscle plasticity in response to contractile perturbation, Tom Tripp
  • The Fabrication and Application of Cellulose-Based Aerogels with Tunable Thickness, Patterning, and Morphology, Tyler Or

From Social Sciences

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Moral Injury, Anthony Battaglia
  • The Evolution of the Struggle for a Living Wage in Hamilton, Ontario, Ben Owens
  • Parking to Paradise? A Case Study on the Experiences of the McMaster University Community with Ancaster Creek Restoration Work at Lot M, Carly Stephens
  • Only 2 Students in the Store - Using Photovoice to Examine Individual, Cultural and Structural Forms of Adultism in Hamilton, Carolyn Ralph
  • Crying Over Spilt Milk: The Impact of Supply Management in the Dairy Sector on Canada, Emma Holmes
  • Exploring the Resiliency of Low-Income Older Adults in Hamilton, Grace Martin
  • Proportional Representation and East Asian Party Systems, James Ankers
  • Producing Public Archaeology at The Stélida Naxos Archaeological Project, Jason Lau
  • Night Walkability of Hamilton, Ontario as Viewed by the City's Deaf Community, Jillian Scott
  • Food Insecurity on Hamilton's Upper West Mountain, Leticia Cubas
  • Indigenous Driven Ethnobotany, Stephanie Morningstar
  • Examining male-identified student perspectives of sexual violence on Canadian university campuses, Maddie Brockbank
  • The Role of Health Policy on Mental Health Care Services Use by Asian Immigrant Groups in Canada, Natalie Thirakul
  • Coping Mechanisms Women of Color Use to Deal With Racism, Rachel Persaud

Past Poster Sessions

2016 USRA Poster Participants

From Arts & Science 

  • Special Relativity as Told by the Luminaries, Matthew Jordan
  • Sojourning in the World, Henry Krahn
  • A History of Churches Formed by Immigrants to Hamilton, Clare MacDonald
  • Defining Rumination: A Factor Analysis of Rumination Questionnaires, Jonah Nadler
  • Investigating the Effects of Social Mix On Residents’ Experiences of Social Inclusion/Exclusion In Toronto’s Regent Park Public Housing Community, Emily Power
  • Mexican Fiction and Identity, Alex Recio
  • LEED and Perceptions of Sustainable Design in the City of Hamilton, Spencer Williams

From Health Sciences 

  • Detection of Legionella pneumophila using Flurogenic DNAzymes, Suraj Gopinathbirla
  • Investigating the effects of AMPK on Atherosclerosis, Matthew Han
  • Impact of maternal nutrient restriction during pregnancy on ovarian follicle number in guinea pig offspring, Xinglin (Lyn) Li
  • The Cytochrome P450 Superfamily in Cnidaria, Kirill Pankov
  • Screening for Pseudomonas aeruginosa genes involved in biofilm stimulatory response to sub-lethal antibiotics, Madeleine Rudolph
  • Influence of fetal exposure to SSRIs on the development of the enteric nervous system, Megan Wang

From the Humanities

  • The Healing Arts, Ema Asler
  • Fertility Treatments and the Singing Voice, Laura Curtis
  • Covert Hegemony: Explaining Nixon's Hostility to Chilean President Salvador Allende, Jaime Graydon Dennison
  • Women's Leadership Roles in Haudenosaunee Society, Oznur Kaynak
  • Ongoing Colonial Violence against South Asian Communities in Canada: Air India Bombings of 1985, Zarah Khan
  • Derrida's Hospitality and its Local Implications in the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Adam Watters
  • Perception of Tonality and Harmonic Progressions, Brandon Wild
  • Teaching Introductory Italian Using Digital Tools, Kaitlyn Zarcone-Beam

From Engineering

  • Air-Floating Wind Turbine, Akshay Aubeeluck
  • Teaching Computer Science Game Graphs, Tanya Bouman
  • Using MEMS techniques for fabrication of planar electromagnets for applications in DNA sensing, David Philpott
  • Inducing Apoptosis in MCF-7 cells using MNP's and Magnetic Fields, Justin Sing
  • Thermal Stability of Cellulose Nanocrystals via Hydrolysis with Sulfuric and Phosphoric Acids, Oriana Vanderfleet 

From Science

  • Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) reflectance of decayed root matter under varying soil moisture conditions, Julia Andersen
  • The Effects of Driving Experience on Visual AttentionSenuri Aponso
  • A Microfluidic Microinjector for toxicological and developmental studies of cardiogenesis in Drosophila embryos, Pouya Aref
  • How do plants deal with low phosphate? Getting to the root of the problem, Anna Axakova
  • Ligand-induced cooperativity between CBD activation and channel gating in HCN channels, Adam Bernardo
  • The Search for an Integrable Discretization of the Derivative Nonlinear Schrodinger Equation, Sylvie Bronsard
  • Exploring the Interplay Between Lsr2 Proteins in Streptomyces venezuelae, Loryn Byres 
  • Localization and assessment of functional groups on surface modified PDMS, Srimann Chari
  • Sign Patterns and their ApplicationsBiran Falk-Dotan 
  • Digital Drumming: Visualizing a Desynchonizing Percussion Performance, Kyle Gauder
  • One-pot synthesis of quinazolinones as anti-parasitic agents for promotion of global public health, Tiffany Kong
  • The Effects of Power on Empathic Responses to PainMichael, Ku
  • Heat flow, Brownian motion, and Feynman diagrams, Kyle MacDonald
  • Photoreactions in an Optical Vortex, Fariha Mahmood
  • Fourier Series, Hilton Maurer
  • Characterization of Transient Germlyenes in Solution, Austin Read
  • Quantifying evapotranspiration edge effects in peatland systems: implications for at-risk reptiles, Kyra Simone
  • A distributed hydrogeochemical assessment of Spencer Creek Watershed, Supriya Singh
  • Polymer hydrogel microspheres as building blocks for extracellular matrices, Marta Skreta
  • The impact of reduced daily ambulation on glycemic control in older adults: a pilot study, Tanner Stoeks
  • Breast Cancer in Women of African Ancestry, Yulika Yoshida-Montezumae

From Social Sciences

  • Ontario's Allied Health Professions / Medical Expense Tax Credit, Collin Brown
  • Differentiating Commingled Remains through EDXRF, Katie Campeau
  • Chert Sourcing in the Cyclades, Jeffrey Coffin
  • Being Transabled: What it means to seek disability in an able-bodied world, Kaelyn Danahy
  • Association between socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics and household food insecurity in Canada, Mack Fielding
  • Associations among shyness, physiological regulation, and social and private speech in typically developing 4-year-olds, Raha Hassan
  • Hamilton's Women's Shelter System and the Housing Market, Sarah Hugh
  • The Recipe of Choice: A Petrographic Analysis of Neutral Iroquoian Ceramics at the Christianson Site, Daniel Ionico
  • Exploring Hairstylists as Cultural Intermediaries, Sasha  Johnstone
  • Mapping Disabled Homeless Youths' Navigation of (Dis)connected Services, Daire Kavanagh
  • Accessing democracy: Barriers to voting for People Experiencing Homelessness, Grace Kennedy