Meet the 2021 CSHS Student Committee


Claudio Ignacio Fernandez Claudio

Chair of CSHS Student Committee
University of New Brunswick

Claudio I. Fernández, Chair of CSHS Student Committee.
PhD Candidate at the University of New Brunswick. I am an agronomist passionate about learning and use science to solve agricultural problems practically and profitably.
My work today is related to apply remote sensing to detect crop diseases. I have been working with the use of hyperspectral data to detect potato late blight and multispectral image registration and analysis to detect cucumber powdery mildew in greenhouses.
During this year with the student committee, we will be organizing the second CSHS Graduate Student Conference to be realized by the end of 2021.
Feel free to contact me or any student representative to know more about the CSHS or the next conference.

Meaghan Merchler
CSHS Student Committee's co-chairMeaghan

Meaghan Mechler. CSHS Student Committee's co-chair
"Hi there! I'm Meaghan Mechler. I am currently the CSHS Student Committee's co-chair and am in the second year of my Ph.D. at the University of Guelph, where I study Pomology with Dr. John Cline. Before arriving at this area of study, I completed a joint honours undergrad in biology and environmental studies and a master's of soil science at the University of Waterloo. With my research today, I combine my passions for science, soils, and plants (particularly fruit trees). I study Apple Replant Disease and investigate the ability of select rootstock and biotreatments to improve soil and tree health following orchard replanting."

Umanath Sharma
Student Representative for for Newfoundland.USharma

My name is Umanath Sharma. I am PhD candidate at department of Biology of the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I am working in small berry improvement program at St. John’s Research and Development Center of the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada with the goal to contribute to the development of “better berries” that can lead to a healthier and happier world. One area of my research is the genetic diversity analysis of blueberry. I am using phylogenetic analysis to figure out the relatedness among several types of blueberries and association mapping with the antioxidant properties to identify the genes involved in deciding antioxidant contents in blueberry. In lingonberry, I am working to develop efficient micropropagation techniques. I am testing various hormones and media composition and evaluating the distinct types of bioreactor for micropropagation. On the top of that, I am also looking the genetic and epigenetic variations in micropropagated lingonberries by using molecular and bioinformatic tools. Feel free to contact me if you want to know more about my research or CSHS student committee.

Yifan Yan  Yifab
Student Representative for British Columbia
University of British Columbia

My name is Yifan Yan, I am currently a PhD student in Castellarin Lab in UBC. I have been working in the same lab since September 2017 and obtained the master’s degree in September 2019.
My master project aimed to understand the impact of different temperature regimes on grape berry ripening through metabolic and transcriptional analysis, with an emphasize on the accumulation of flavonoid compounds.
My PhD project aims to understand, firstly, the relationship between blueberry cuticular waxes and the transpirational water loss in different varieties; and secondly, the role of cuticular waxes and phenolic compounds in affecting fruit surface color. This study will mostly be conducted in harvested berries, in order to understand the post-harvest performance of different blueberry varieties and provide new insights on blueberry cultivation for growers and breeders. Metabolic (characterization of wax and phenolic profiles) and transcriptional (gene expression) analysis would be employed in this study, which would be assisted with essential physiological measurements (transpiration water loss, fruit surface color, etc.).

Trang PhanTrang Phan
Student Representative for Saskatchewan

My name is Trang Phan. I am an M.Sc. student in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan and a CREATE Climate-Smart Soils program scholar. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Honours) at the University of Saskatchewan in June 2019. My specialization is Horticulture and Crop Sciences, Nitrogen Cycling and Management, and Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions. My M.Sc. project is focused on measuring the agronomic, economic, and environmental outcomes of fall vs spring-applied enhanced efficiency N-fertilizers (EENFs) in canola production. I’m very excited to be a part of the 2021 CSHS Student Committee, serving as the Student Representative for Saskatchewan.

J. Duncan Giebelhaus 
Student Representative for Alberta.
J Duncan

My name is Duncan and I am a MSc student in the Ozga lab at the University of Alberta. I received my BSc in honours biology from MacEwan University, where I worked on research projects involving native orchid conservation and antimicrobial screening of plant secondary metabolites. My current research focuses on developmental biology of peas, specifically attempting to identify the role of the phytohormone gibberellin in regulating seed protein accumulation during development. In my spare time I enjoy maintaining my personal horticultural collection and hiking in search of native plants.
Raphael Ofoe
Student Representative for Nova ScotiaRaphael Ofoe
Dalhousie University

Raphael is a PhD candidate in the Department of Plant, Food and Environmental Sciences at the Agricultural Campus. He is interested in exploring innovative and eco-friendly ways of enhancing crop growth and resilience under the recurring changes in climate. His research is focused on investigating how plants respond to nutrient application at the morpho-physiological, biochemical and molecular level. He aims to discover and understand various mechanisms that can be harnessed to improve crop growth and productivity.