As of tomorrow, May 4th, the first wave of re-openings has been given the okay in Manitoba. It still isn't clear how many of the businesses that have been given the green light to reopen will be able to do so. There is still a shortage of items, such as hand sanitizer and masks, which may make it difficult for businesses to follow the guidelines the government of Manitoba has implemented.  I just got an e-mail yesterday that hints that academic labs may be able to re-open, at least partially, near the end of May, which is very good news! Victor has been working hard on his papers and thesis, and there are a few key experiments that will need to be done ASAP for him to meet the deadlines that will permit him to graduate in August. Victor's data look really nice, and I think his hard work will pay off with very nice publications. 

I recently found out that a grant I applied for in November or 2019, from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), was successful! This was such great news to get during this stressful time. I am very thankful and grateful to NSERC, the University of Manitoba, the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and the reviewers of my proposal.

The very first merit-based academic funding I received from a federal agency was an undergraduate student research award from NSERC, which allowed me to work in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Loewen, at the University of Manitoba, for a summer. It was this initial experience that hooked me on scientific research and started me on my trajectory towards my ultimate career as an independent researcher in an academic setting. Many of the techniques that I first learned in Dr. Loewen's lab are still used in my lab today, although in a modernized format. It was in the Loewen lab that I learned how to isolate plasmid and viral DNA, conduct Southern blotting, carry out restriction enzyme digestion and molecular cloning, and culture bacteria and bacteriophages. My mentor in the lab, Barb Triggs-Raine, was an incredible PhD student who was incredibly friendly, very patient and a fount of knowledge regarding molecular biological techniques. As things come full circle, she is now the head of the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics at the U of M, in which I hold an appointment! Mike Mulvey was also a PhD student in the lab, and he helped me out a lot too. He's also a faculty member at the U of M and is Chief, Antimicrobial Resistance and Nosocomial Infections with the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

The weather has improved dramatically here in Winnipeg, and we have now had a day over 20˚C! I'm starting to see more rabbits again, and hints of buds are on the trees.

I have fallen WAY behind in my paper of the day uploads, but you will see them popping up again starting today! Why have I fallen behind? 1) I've been taking some online courses through the U of M, Coursera and Udemy. 2)  I've  been trying to catch up on reading papers and have been sorting through my digital files in the cloud and on my computer. 3) I've also been doing some spring cleaning, reorganizing and decluttering around my home.