Graduate Opportunities

M.Sc./Ph.D Opportunities

Two MSc opportunities available in the lab of Dr. Van Raay (

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

DESCRIPTION: Assessment of different diets on neural development

More and more research supports the old adage ‘you are what you eat’.  Indeed, much attention is now given to our diets and the western diet in particular has gained some notoriety for its lack of nutrition and fiber, which is contributing to mental health issues.  In contrast, the Mediterranean diet, high in fiber, nuts, fruits and vegetables has been associated with better mental health.  However, we don’t know how these different diets actually impact the brain.  Unfortunately, there are too many variables in human epidemiological studies (age, weight, lifestyle, compliance) and insufficient readouts (questionnaires, behavioral tests) to make significant conclusions about how specific diets impact mental health.  To overcome these challenges requires innovative experimental models. Here, we will use the “Robogut,” pioneered by Dr. Emma Allen Vercoe, to recreate the human colon in the lab.  We will feed the robogut different diets and collect the by-products or metabolites it produces.  To understand how these metabolites affect the brain, we are going to add these metabolites to the developing zebrafish embryo, which is just a day old and is highly sensitive to environmental metabolites.  We will then compare the different diets for changes in gene expression, brain development, axon guidance and simple behaviours.  If this sounds interesting to you please forward your CV and unofficial transcripts to

Start date: May 1, 2022 or as soon as possible.


Three graduate student positions available in the lab of Dr. Elena Choleris (

Department of Psychology

DESCRIPTION: MSc or PhD applications will be considered from students with a strong Neuroscience/Biology/Psychology background, preferably with previous research experience, who are interested in studying the neuroendocrine brain systems involved in the regulation of social (and non-social) cognition in female and male mice.

HOW TO APPLY: Interested students should email Dr. Choleris directly (, for a chat/interview and apply to the Psychology program, NACS (Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science) area. The Neuroscience collaborative specialization is also reccommended.

A description of the NACS grad program can be found here. This year's dealine to apply is January 15, 2022. More information on the application process can be found here.


Two graduate student positions in the lab of Dr. Maz Fallah (

Department of Human Health & Nutritional Sciences

Visual perception and cognitive processing:

We take a 2D reflection of light from the world on our retinas and create a robust 3D representation of the world around us that we can then act upon. Multiple visual and cognitive processes are needed to make this happen. We are seeking a strong and independent graduate student to study the interplay of visual and cognitive processing. The candidate will investigate topics such as how features like color affect visual processing from feature integration to executive functions such as attention, inhibition, and working memory. The research involves designing and conducting behavioral experiments, analyzing data, presenting, and writing manuscripts. The successful candidate will have a relevant background (e.g., psychology or neuroscience) and preferably programming skills.

Relevant recent papers in this area include:


Eye tracking analytics and computational modelling:

They say the eyes are a window to our souls. We continue to show how the eyes intrinsically reflect other brain functions. To this end, we are seeking a strong and independent graduate student to study how eye movements reflect underlying cognitive and perceptual processing, in health and disease. The candidate will investigate how gaze reflects feature- and object-based visual processing, decision-making, target selection, and cognitive strategies. The research involves designing experiments using infrared eye trackers, analyzing gaze metrics (e.g., saccadic reaction times, trajectories, end-point deviations, etc.), advancing computational models, and potentially developing neural network models. The successful candidate will have a relevant background (e.g., neuroscience, informatics, psychology, cognitive science, etc.) and programming skills (preferably Matlab).

Relevant recent papers in this area include:

HOW TO APPLY: All interested MSc candidates need to send a letter of interest, a CV, and a copy of university transcripts to:


The University of Guelph is committed to equity in its policies, practices, and programs, supports diversity in its teaching, learning and work environments, and ensures that applications from members of underrepresented groups are seriously considered under its employment equity policy. All qualified individuals who would contribute to the further diversification of our University community are encouraged to apply.

Program Contacts

Program Coordinator & Advisor

Jenna Penney

Faculty Advisors

Elena Choleris

Leah Bent

John Vessey


Director & CBS Representative

Jasmin Lalonde

OVC Representative

Craig Bailey

CSAHS Representative

Boyer Winters