Postdoctoral scholars join Banting Fellowship

By Adela Talbot
October 24, 2013

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Western postdoctoral scholars Hannah Neufeld and Corey Maggiano have been named among 70 members of the 2012-13 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship class.

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship was created by the Government of Canada in 2010 in an effort to boost Canada’s ability to attract and retain world-class postdoctoral talent. In collaboration with Canadian institutions, the program develops candidates’ leadership potential and helps prepare them for success in research, all the while contributing to Canada’s economic, social and research-based growth.

Each of the three main funding bodies recruits fellows – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research reviewed 163 applications this year, and named 23 scholars; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada reviewed 180, and named 23; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council reviewed 99, and named 24.

Fellows are funded $70,000 for up to two years.

NeufeldPaul Mayne, Western News

Hannah Neufeld
A generational investigation of traditional food knowledge among First Nation communities in southwestern Ontario

The last time Hannah Neufeld approached a postdoctoral opportunity, her prospects didn’t quite pan out. Instead, she took up a post at the World Health Organization in Geneva, working in nutrition.

She returned last year, only to find a postdoctoral door at Western, where she initially hoped to be, had opened. She successfully applied for the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, proposing to study nutrition and the passing of traditional food knowledge in First Nations communities.

Originally from Guelph, Neufeld holds an undergraduate degree in applied human nutrition from the University of Guelph. She has worked in community health and nutrition, as well as traditional medicine initiatives in Brazil and Indonesia, before returning to Canada to pursue graduate work in the field.

Neufeld, funded by CIHR, completed her master’s degree and PhD at the University of Manitoba.

“My research here (at Western) will be focused on the bigger picture – diabetes prevention. A disconnect came up – cross-generational – between the young mothers having babies and their grandmothers having knowledge and not being able to share it,” Neufeld said. “There were (differing) lifestyles, activity patterns with grandmothers hauling water chopping wood, etc., when pregnant. There was a real disconnection.”

Neufeld plans to partner with local First Nations communities and organizations such as the Southwestern Ontario Aboriginal Access Centre, and potentially helping to develop culturally relevant nutrition programing and diabetes prevention programs.

MaggianoSpecial to Western News

Corey Maggiano
Reconstructing short and long term change in human behavior, biology and environment using a novel technique combining bone histology and isotopy

Taking multidisciplinary to a whole new level, Corey Maggiano’s research encompasses three campus groups – Anthropology, Earth Sciences’ Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science and Western's Joint Motion Program.

“I’ve always flirted between anthropology and biology, relating human behaviour to ecological and biological parameters and limitations; that’s been the focus of my interest,” said Maggiano, funded by the SSHRC.

By doing a specialized microscopic and chemical analysis of bone, Maggiano looks for hints of previous human diet, activity and migration in relation to seasonal changes and physical environment. By analyzing bone, he is looking for indicators of human biomechanical adaptation, hoping to better understand the interactions between biology, environment and behaviour.

And Western is the perfect place to conduct such research, he said.

“This is the only place where I can get the expertise I need to do this research. It’s quite a tripod of requirements and, luckily, it was all here,” Maggiano said of Western’s facilities and research resources.

“I feel really lucky to have fallen into the circumstances here. The focus of my supervisor (Christine White), and the cooperation between groups here on multidisciplinary work, that’s what’s made this possible and it’s really rare to see it in practice. I never want to leave,” he laughed.


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