Scholarship Season!

It really is that season, where good news seems to come so fast. Rabia (pictured), who will be starting with us in just a few weeks, was awarded an OGS Scholarship for her Master’s. Congratulations! I’ve also added her info to our “Team” page.

Jason Tran was also offered an NSERC CGS-M to pursue a Master’s - although I know that given how well his Med School interviews have gone, he may move on to greener pastures instead (aka the dark side?). All of us sincerely hope not, though!

Alexander Hynes
CSM Competitions

This low-res picture, taken 9 years ago in Hamilton, was of a young Alex receiving an award at the CSM. Presenting in the Student Symposium was an amazing, formative experience. Nearly a decade later, I’m back at McMaster and not one but TWO of my students have been selected to present in the student competitions - despite a far more competitive process. A well-deserved congratulations to Hiba (Poster Competition) and Jason Tran (Student Symposium). I can’t wait to see your presentations!

Alexander Hynes
Farncombe RIP

The Farncombe Research in Progress (RIP) talks are a big part of the trainee experience within the Farncombe Institute, but I know Anisha was dreading it. A lot. And yet, I don’t think anything so far has so well encompassed how far she’s progressed in the last (almost) full year since she joined the lab - she did a fantastic job. And every time we get to share our work and see that kind of engagement from the audience, I’m further reminded of just how [censored] cool what we do is.

Alexander Hynes
Grant news...

Emotional rollercoasters. While a researcher’s career is full of them, few are as regular as those sparked by emails/messages like this one. And because we’re apparently sadists, we tolerate structures that invariably bury the lede, often force you to access another site for the actual decision, hidden behind a password you can’t possibly remember. Throw in the additional delay sparked by a few thousand people all loging in around the same time… and suspense is too mild a term.

However, when you get good news - like that resuling from this email (see how I buried the lede here too?) - well, I’m elated. I’m really excited about this project, and delighted to be able to bring on some new people to tackle it!

Alexander Hynes
Summer Studentships

We’ve been extraordinarily fortunate this year, with 3 students awarded NSERC USRAs (out of 11 in the Faculty) to work with us over the summer; Janice Tai and Kevin Zhao will be sticking around, and newcomer Stephanie Scott will be joining us! In addition, Neeloufar Grami (Pictured) was awarded a Farncombe Studentship to have her first research lab experience with us over the summer. That CFI grant for equipment and infrastructure came at just the right time, as we’re scaling up rapidly.

I’ll be updating the lab website to reflect all the new faces shortly!

Alexander Hynes
Visualizing Science

From March 19th (today) to March 29th - check out Visualizing Science! Jason was running around preparing for the exhibit’s grand opening today, and while I couldn’t attend that, I’ll definitely drop by the exhibit in the next few days!

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Alexander Hynes
CFI - John R. Evans Leader's Fund

These things take a while to trickle through the system and become official, but it is now! We’ve been granted a sizeable CFI-JELF to equip the lab, and that means that over the next few weeks, there’ll be quite a few new pieces of equipment making the way into the lab, increasing our capacity just in time for an influx of new students!

Alexander Hynes
Lab outings

We haven’t had a chance to go out as a lab in a while, and so we celebrated a lab birthday party with all-you-can-eat sushi. It’s 9 h later, and I still feel no desire to eat any more.

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Alexander Hynes
Women & their Microbes

Kevin Zhao got a chance to present his work from last summer, polished up and in poster format, at the local “Women and their Microbes” conference. This was his first poster, his first conference…. and since none of us had the foresight to take a picture at the time, instead we took this shot of him in the lab. Great work, Kevin!

Alexander Hynes
MedSci Research Day

Hiba presented her work at the MedSci Research day, getting a lot of good feedback (and some offers to help with the mouse model). In what’s becoming a trend, though, nobody has any photographic evidence of this. And for some reason, I’m the luddite?

Alexander Hynes
CSM2019: Sherbrooke

I’ve made no secret about it, the Canadian Society of Microbiologists hosts my favourite conference. Plenty of opportunities for trainees to present (and shine!), diverse science, and plenty of colleagues working through the same system you are. I’ll be attending, of course, and bringing along a fair chunk of the lab (road trip?).

This year’s meeting will be taking place in Sherbrooke - check it out and register here.

Alexander Hynes
To catch a (not) killer

From the few updates on the site, you’d be forgiven for thinking things are quiet - but no, it’s just grant writing season. Today, I submitted a NFRF fund grant - and as it’s the first time this tri-agency grant has existed, it feels like rolling the dice. A d20, actually, as over 1700 NOIs were submitted and only 70 grants will be funded…. Still, I’m excited about the interdisciplinary project I’m proposing, developping some methods to detect phages that aren’t killing their hosts.

Alexander Hynes
NSERC Discovery Grant

These things take a while to become public, but as NSERC just announced the 2017 competition results, I can finally announce that we’re NSERC-funded. This is the first external grant awarded to the lab, and a major milestone.

NSERC always publishes a tidy summary document for each competition - a good read for anyone interested in funding rates and biases. You can find it here.

Alexander Hynes
Lookin' good!

When has the lab ever looked this good? Not since the last lab cleanup, back in July. It always surprises me how satisfying a thorough cleanup can be - my thanks to all the students, who scrubbed on hands and knees alongside me to achieve this.

Alexander Hynes
Phage Boot Camp III

The third iteration of the Phage Boot Camp, with my own incoming students complemented by a contingent of Brown Lab (now) phage experts. This time, I condensed things down to two days, and it worked (mostly). Always a little more tweaking to be done for Boot Camp IV, either this May or Sept.

Alexander Hynes
Hynes House Holiday Hootenanny

Ok, so it wasn’t a hootenanny, but I’m a sucker for alliteration. Although, to be fair, the highlight - the spontaneous pyjama party pictured here, might actually qualify. We celebrated a great first year!

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Alexander Hynes
Secret Santa

The Stearns & Hynes labs join forces once again for a Secret Santa. The undisputed “winner” gave a gift including the poem “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Your bacterium has no DNA, what do you do?”

Alexander Hynes
IIDR Presentations

The IIDR Trainee Day saw 3 poster presentations from the lab; Anisha (not pictured - no good shot of all three!), Felix and Hiba. It’s the lab’s first forray into posters, but I don’t think there are any kinks to iron out - everyone did a great job!

Alexander Hynes
NSERC USRA Poster Presentations

Roland Chou, the lab’s summer NSERC USRA student, got a chance to present his work today - really happy with where that story is heading (in fact, I’m so excited about its potential that I gave a talk about it just yesterday!)

Alexander Hynes
Amazing Scientists/Geniuses

Modelled around Brookyn Nine-Nine’s Halloween Heist, the Stearns and Hynes labs had a ‘friendly’ competition to secure a trophy before the end of the day. In a picture perfect finish, we exposed that we knew of their fake trophy all along, tricked them into proudly displaying our own fake (real geniuses would know how to spell genius, I’m afraid), and secured the real one. We hope this is a start of an annual tradition, not just of the heist, but of total victory.

Alexander Hynes