What are the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Awards?
The Dean’s Undergraduate Student Research Awards (DURA) were created to provide more opportunities for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science to gain hands-on research experience. They provide 16-week positions (paid, full-time) for students to work in a York University research lab over the summer. Students who apply for a DURA must first secure the support of a faculty supervisor, who agrees to host the student in their research group and to pay a portion of their salary.
In summer 2016, the Faculty offered six DURAs (see highlights below), in addition to about 20 Undergraduate Science Research Awards from NSERC. The Faculty is committed to dramatically increasing the number of DURAs over time.
Why are DURAs important?
DURAs provide research lab experiences that
- give students exposure to what frontline research really involves;
- help students learn new skills and make more informed choices about their career paths;
- boost our professors’ research productivity and impact; and
- enhance the research culture within the Faculty.
How can you support DURAs?
There is a significant unmet demand for undergraduate summer research positions.
Given that there are more highly qualified students each year than the Faculty is able to support, we are asking friends of the Faculty to assist us in funding as many positions as possible. The cost for each student is $4,500, which is then matched with $1,500 pledged by the research supervisor, to fund each student at $6,000 for the summer.
Donors or groups of donors can invest in one or more DURA, or make a donation in any amount to support a portion of one DURA.
To learn more about investing in these awards, please contact Tom McLagan, Senior Development Officer at tmclagan(at)yorku.ca
To support DURA internships now, please visit giving.yorku.ca/dura
2016 DURA internship highlights
Miranda DiBiase, supervised by Prof Derek Wilson in the Department of Chemistry
Miranda will use unique bioanalytical techniques developed in Prof Wilson’s lab to investigate the early-stage mechanisms of insulin pathogenic aggregation. This type of aggregation plays a critical role in diabetes-associated peripheral nerve damage, but its mechanisms remain elusive. The student’s research will lead to a better understanding of this aggregation and it could inform future work on identifying new treatment targets.
Prethipan Sakthivel, supervised by Prof Carol Bucking in the Department of Biology
Prethipan will examine how chromium impacts the gastrointestinal tract of fish, including the effects on gut bacteria and intestinal cell physiology. There is an urgent need for this research given that chromium mining in Ontario is a potential source of aquatic pollution. The student will collect and process the samples, and in collaboration with a Master’s student, analyze the results using bioinformatics.
Yosef Bisk, supervised by Prof Neal Madras in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Yosef will explore new phenomena in the probabilistic behavior of “typical” pattern-avoiding permutations. After learning some basic theory of pattern-avoiding permutations and the general principles of Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms, the student will implement, assess, and develop new variants of existing Monte Carlo algorithms with the goal of finding Markov chains that equilibrate rapidly. The results of this project could potentially provide guidance to researchers at the interface of combinatorics and probability.