Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Manitoba medievalist earns prestigious scholarship

Julia Gamble, an anthropology PhD student at the University of Manitoba, is one of three graduate students at that university to be awarded by the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program. This will allow Gamble to proceed with research on health in medieval Denmark.

Considered the Canadian equivalent to the United Kingdom’s Rhode’s Scholarship, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship is a tool to recruit and retain top doctoral students from across Canada and around the world. Each of the 174 winners across the country will receive $50,000 annually for up to three years to assist them during their studies. Canada’s three federal granting agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – administer the scholarships.

They recognize students who demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health. Students are nominated by their university. Nominees are evaluated by multi-disciplinary peer-review committees and selected by a board composed of world-renowned Canadian and international experts.

Gamble's research aims to better understand if and how our health in childhood affects our health as adults. She’ll analyze the enamel on the teeth of the remains of a large Danish medieval population who experienced significant socio-economic change. Growth lines in the enamel reveal if and when our bodies were under stress. Enamel formation is disrupted when our bodies are fighting disease, a parasitic infection or even nutritional deficiency. She is the first to look at both the surface and the internal microstructure of tooth enamel.

Gamble will compare her findings with health information about the given population recorded in historical literature. Her quest to figure out if a connection exists between our health as kids and our health later in life includes determining how that might affect our longevity.

The other two PhD students from the University of Manitoba to be awarded the scholarship are Oleksandr Maizlish, a mathematician, and Renée El-Gabalawy, a clinical psychologist.

John (Jay) Doering, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Manitoba, said, “I congratulate our recipients, who have been recognized as being among the world’s top students. They are well deserving of this prestigious honour. We are very proud of them.”

Source: University of Manitoba