Keynote Speakers

Dr. Allyson Brady

Astrobiology: hunting for Martian microbes on Earth

April 29th – 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM – Richcraft Hall 2220

Dr. Allyson Brady joined Carleton in 2022 and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and a member of the Institute of Biochemistry. She has a background in microbiology, anthropology and earth sciences, drawing on these different disciplines in her work. Her research focuses on understanding how microbes survive, thrive, and interact with one another and their environment – and how we can use that information to help develop biotechnology tools and techniques, such as using microbes to degrade plastics, or to find evidence for past life on other planets. She loves being outdoors and her work in microbial ecology has led to projects with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, the Geological Survey of Canada, Nuclear Waste Management Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and has taken her to field sites in the Antarctic, hot springs in Western Canada, volcanoes in Hawaii, and piloting single-person submersibles underwater in B.C. She is excited to talk about some of her work in the field of astrobiology.

Dr. Carole Yauk

“Adventures in genetic toxicology: our quest to discover human germ cell mutagens”

April 30th – 8:45 AM to 9:45 AM – Richcraft Hall 2220

Dr. Carole Yauk was the lead scientist of the Genomics Laboratory in the Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau at Health Canada for 18 years. She joined the University of Ottawa’s Department of Biology as a professor in September 2020, where she holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Genomics and the Environment. Her research broadly focuses on multi-sector collaborative efforts to develop and implement genomic tools for human health risk assessment of environmental chemical exposures. She is involved in various international consortia to advance this area, including within the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (a global non-profit), where she currently serves as vice-chair of the Board of Trustees and Co-chair of the Program Strategy and Stewardship Committee. She is a Canadian Delegate to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), participating in the Advisory Group on Emerging Science in Chemicals Assessment. She is Past-President of the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society and an editorial board member of several journals focused on mutagenesis and genetic toxicology. In her spare time, you’ll find her bouldering, hiking and skiing, or obsessing over her current Wordle streak. She can’t wait to tell you about her lab’s most recent efforts to revolutionize mutagenicity testing using a cutting-edge sequencing technology called Duplex Sequencing!

Pub Talk Speaker

Dr. Catherine Cullingham

Beer, deer, and prions to fear?

Tuesday April 30th – Pub Talk at Ollie’s 6 pm

Dr. Catherine Cullingham is an assistant professor, hired as a plant population geneticist at Carleton in July of 2019. She grew up on a small dairy farm on the edge of the bustling metropolis of Burks Falls. There she spent a lot of time outdoors and interacting with animals. She always had a passion for math and biology and decided to do her undergraduate studies in molecular biology and genetics at the University of Guelph. After finishing her undergrad, she decided she hated lab work, and research was not for her. A year after not finding any meaningful employment, and after some great interactions with researchers at a plant research station, she jumped into a Master’s at Trent University. From there she was hooked and transferred to the PhD program where she used population and landscape genetics to examine the risk of raccoon rabies spread into Ontario. From there she did her postdoctoral work at the University of Alberta, where she initially worked on understanding the spread-risk of chronic wasting disease in deer, and then switched from mammals to plants to investigate the genetics of pine trees to understand the spread-risk of mountain pine beetles. This research has formed the foundation of her current research lab.