Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University


Faculty name: Naowarat (Ann) Cheeptham

Research organisms: Actinomycetes, Fungi, and Bacteria

Field of research: My research has centered on microbial diversity, and searching for potential natural products and bioactive compounds for use in fields such as agriculture and pharmaceuticals. Other topics related to industrial microbiology will also be considered. General topics that I am willing to supervise:

  1. Screening and isolation of microorganisms for their antifungal and antibacterial activities
  2. Photochemotherapeutic potential from microbial metabolites
  3. Biosurfactant and bioemulsifier production from microorganisms

Faculty name: Tom Dickinson

Research organisms: Wildlife, particularly birds.

Field of research: I am generally interested in any aspect of animal behaviour as it relates to vertebrates. I am specifically interested in how animals communicate vocally. For many years now I have examined how forestry affects populations of wild birds that breed in the forests near Kamloops. I often have funds for this work and have hired numerous summer students over the years that have taken on aspects of their work for directed studies.

Faculty name: Nancy Flood

Research organisms: Primarily birds, but I have also supervised work on various other vertebrates and on insects.

Field of research: Ecology, evolution and behaviour of birds. For example, I am currently involved in a project that aims to determine methods of forest harvesting that will help ensure the health of avian populations. However, my interests cover not only birds but all aspects of conservation and population biology. I'm also, of course, very keen on analysing data - I love numbers! Students that I have supervised or co-supervised have studied such things as insect biodiversity, endangered species hotspots in B.C., the effect of capture on stress levels in wild elk, and the effects of Kamloops' wastewater effluent on fish.

Faculty name: Lauch Fraser

Research organisms: Grassland and wetland plants

Field of research: Community and ecosystem ecology of grasslands and wetlands. In my research I focus on two ecosystems that are among those most affected by anthropogenic and natural disturbance; temperate grasslands and freshwater wetlands. To understand the processes that control grassland and wetland plant communities it is necessary to take an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach. Rather than look at community properties or ecosystem processes in isolation I merge the two traditionally disparate fields by exploring plant trait/ecosystem function relationships and trophic interactions. My research is conducted in multiple sites (marshes, wet meadows, and prairie bunchgrass grasslands) and across a wide range of spatial scales: from single-plant pot experiments in a controlled greenhouse setting, to multi-species outdoor microcosms, to natural controlled field manipulations, to landscape modeling.

Faculty name: Louis Gosselin

Research organisms: Benthic marine invertebrates, such as snails, tubeworms, barnacles, bivalves, ascidians, and bryozoans. I also work on invertebrates living in alkaline ponds, such as crustaceans and insects.

Field of research: Marine invertebrate ecology. Experimental work takes place during a 4-6 week period in the summer at the Bamfield Marine Station, on Vancouver Island. Examples of research areas in which I could supervise a student project:

  1. Effects of solar ultraviolet radiation on survival and adaptation in bryozoans.
  2. Reproduction and development of snails, barnacles, or ascidians.
  3. Population growth, distribution, and evolution in snails.
  4. Predator-prey interactions: foraging behaviour, predator avoidance.

Ecology of invertebrates of alkaline ponds. Experimental work takes place in ponds of the Kamloops region and at TRU. Examples of research topics are:

  1. Relationship between the chemical and physical conditions of the ponds and invertebrate diversity.
  2. Physiological tolerance of invertebrates to alkaline conditions.

Faculty name: Mairi MacKay

Research organisms: To date I have worked with owls and salmon, but this type of research can be applied to anything that has DNA.

Field of research: DNA fingerprinting. Examples of current projects are:

  1. Sex identification of Burrowing Owls for Kamloops Wildlife Park. We have a PCR based sex test which works very well with blood samples. We'd like to get it to work with DNA isolated from feathers and from dried blood samples, and also to get it to work on other species of birds.
  2. Isolation of microsatellite DNA sequences (small repeated sequences in the DNA) for population studies and family testing for Burrowing Owls.
  3. Identification of salmon species from ancient bones from archeological and paleontological samples. This is done using amplification by PCR and DNA sequencing of mitochondrial DNA.

Faculty name: Don Nelson

Research organisms: I work with a variety of organisms from E. coli to yeast, nematodes (C. elegans), fruit flies (D. melanogaster) and vertebrates (mice, rats, snakes), as well as tissue cultures.

Field of research: My research interests include most anything involving the storage, expression and transmission of heritable information in eukaryotes (genetics with a molecular bent). My expertise lies in the application of molecular techniques to the study of embryonic development (in flies) and neuroscience. My current research involves the isolation and characterization of microsatelites (highly polymorphic repetitive sequences) from the rattlesnake genome (in collaboration with Karl Larsen (NRS). I am interested in to supervising student-initiated projects that are well designed and have a molecular component.

Faculty name: Jonathan Van Hamme

Research organisms: Microorganisms, mostly bacteria.

Field of research: My main research interest involves fundamental and applied research for the biodegradation of hazardous pollutants. Currently, research projects are underway for the development of biocatalysts for mustard gas detection and destruction, as well as the aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation of fluorinated organics used in the production of products such as Teflon and GoreTex. During the next year I will be constructing a fermentation facility with a 40 L capacity for producing bioproducts.