Feb. 7, 2020

The 7th Annual HPI Research and Curling Day 2020

By Breton Fougere (MSc student, Finney lab, University of Calgary)

On Friday, February 7th, 2020, HPI members enjoyed their 7th annual curling event at the Calgary Curling Club. Coming from the Universities of Calgary and Lethbridge, trainees and PIs enjoyed a day of socialization, learning about some of the incredible research being pursued between the campuses.

The event was kicked off by a presentation from Dr. Donna-Marie McCafferty, the Associate Dean of Scholarships at the University of Calgary. With extensive experience in scholarship selection processes, Dr. McCafferty showed the trainees how to assemble a top-tier application, from award opportunities to what to include to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants.

Following Dr. McCafferty’s presentation, the new trainees had the pleasure of being introduced to the 2019-2020 Trainee Operations Committee (TOC). This group of HPI trainees is integral to the day-to-day functioning of the HPI group, organizing social events, maintaining a social media presence, and planning outreach activities for the community.

The jam-packed day continued with research presentations from HPI faculty members, Dr. Shaun Dergousoff, a member of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, and Dr. Cam Goater, a PI from the University of Lethbridge. Shaun gave a compelling talk about his research on the key components of risk associated with blood-feeding arthropods in livestock, with the ultimate goal of reducing animal health risks. Dr. Goater followed by presenting an exciting set of future research directions his lab will be pursuing—including emerging viruses, novel myxozoans, and zombie ants.

After our busy morning of learning (and a delicious lunch), an excited group of PIs and trainees got some expert curling instruction from the coaches at the Calgary Curling Club — guiding fresh talents and experienced curlers alike. A couple of falls and a few missed throws later, the HPI members hit the ice for a friendly tournament. Cheering and laughter filled the room for the entire two hours. At the end of the tournament, one team came out on top — Dr. Andre Buret, Adam Ranson, and Stephen Pollo — and were awarded their honorary Doctorates of Curling.

The annual HPI curling event perfectly balanced informative presentations and light-hearted fun. All of the attendees benefited greatly from the event, both PIs and trainees. Although all the HPI members have returned to their own campuses, we are all looking forward to our next opportunity to get together and reconnect.