Oct. 14, 2017

The 4th Annual HPI Research and Curling Day 2016

Article by Russell Avramenko (PhD student Gilleard Lab, University of Calgary)

October 14th marked the fourth annual curling event for the HPI trainees and PIs. The annual curling event provides an amazing opportunity for all HPI trainees to come and interact together. This is the fourth year in a row that the HPI curling event has been held, once again, at the Calgary Curling Club. It is rare that the majority of the trainees and PIs will have the opportunity to come together and be in the same room, so it is always a welcome event when this happens. This is the second year in which we have combined the annual curling event with an “HPI Research Day” to highlight the ongoing research of each of the PIs. This provides an excellent opportunity for the PIs to talk about their research, and highlight the specific trainees involved in their research. This also provides a fantastic opportunity for the other trainees to learn about all the fascinating research that HPI is doing; which also opens the lines of communication for further collaborative research. 

During the Research Day, in the morning, each PI received 15 minutes to try and convey what their entire lab is working on (no small feat!). Trainees who were present at the HPI Research Day last year were familiar with the works of Drs. Kutz, Wasmuth, Gedamu, Buret, Hanington, Chadee, McKay, and Gilleard. However, in the past year we have had another two researchers join the HPI team; these are Dr. Amanda Melin (UCalgary, Anthropologist) and Dr. Cam Goater ULethbridge). Dr. Melin talked about her research, which focuses on investigating parasite communities in white-faced capuchin monkeys. While Dr. Goater talked about his research regarding the ecological interactions that occur between hosts and their parasites.

After the research day, a catered lunch was provided to the trainees and PIs, which provided an opportunity for everyone to mingle.It was encouraged that the trainees sit with people they were unfamiliar with, to help everyone get to know a wide segment of the HPI trainees. The group welcomed trainees from the University of Lethbridge as well as the University of Alberta. It was great that they were able to make it to this event, as often they cannot attend in person due to the required travel to Calgary. In the future, events held in Lethbridge or Edmonton, might force the Calgarians to travel!

After lunch, it was time to curl. The group was started off with a quick introductory lesson on the basics of curling, which gave everyone an opportunity to practice, at least a little bit before the real competition started. In total we had just over 30 people divided into eight teams. The teams were randomly assigned to encourage people to play with and get to know people they otherwise may not. As this was the fourth year in a row that HPI has gone curling, some of the older members had a bit more practice than others! The games were quite competi

tive even though we only did two ends per game. Everyone got the chance to play three games, with the winners playing the winners of the other games. All said and done, Team 8 (Russell Avramenko, Gilles Bouroin, Matheus Carneiro, Ale Aleuy) were crowned the champions! Congratulations! (As a side-note, Russell Avramenko was also a part of the winning team last year… just so you know).

After curling wrapped up, the trainees and PIs retreated to the lounge at the curling center for some drinks and socializing. Program manager Teresa presented the curlers with a “Doctorate in Curling” for all of our curling efforts. The winning team was also rewarded with several boxes of chocolates and candy! Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the day of curling, and are looking forward to even more great times at the 5th annual curling event.