Honours in Biology

**Deadline for applications for admission to honours 2021-2022: 1st March 2021**

For more information, contact: Dr. Mirwais Qaderi 902-457-5974 mirwais.qaderi@msvu.ca

The honours thesis (BIOL4499) is strongly recommended for anyone thinking about going to graduate school or interested in research. By doing honours thesis research, you will get a taste for what hands-on science is all about.

Reasons for doing honours:

  • To conduct your own research project
  • To learn to work independently in the lab
  • To gain hands-on experience
  • To be part of a research team
  • To learn valuable scientific skills (writing, presentation, critical thinking, etc.)
  • To find out if you like research
  • To get to know faculty, other honours students and graduate students
  • And to have fun!

Comments of previous honours students:

“In completing the biology honours program at MSVU, I have gained and improved upon many skills such as scientific writing, public speaking, problem solving, and scientific research in general. My experience with the program has allowed me to grow as a scientist and has provided me with assets that will aid me throughout my career. To anyone interested in scientific research, I would highly recommend the honours program.” Nicholas Zinck (2019)

“The Mount’s biology honours program was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to design and conduct a research project, while developing invaluable skills in problem solving, writing, and data collection and analysis. Through the honours program, I also gained useful experience presenting my work at a conference, which helped me improve my communication skills. Overall, I would highly recommend the honours program to any biology student wishing to become more well rounded, and especially, those interested in research.” Sage Dixon (2018)

“The biology honours program at the Mount provided me with an unparalleled learning experience. I was able to apply my classroom knowledge to a real research setting while developing practical skills that I will use for the rest of my career. I would highly recommend the honours program to anyone interested in working as researcher.” Amanda Griffin (2016)

We are proud of our honours students, who have entered the graduate programs at the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, Memorial University; entered the Veterinary program at UPEI; and entered the Medical School at Dalhousie University.

For more information, please speak to one of the Biology Faculty members, or contact the Honours Coordinator, Dr. Mirwais Qaderi, by e-mail at mirwais.qaderi@msvu.ca

Find out more about Biology Program Requirements

Titles of Previous Honours Theses


  • Effects of increased muscle load on skeletal development in zebrafish (Danio rerio);
    Shea McInnis; Supervisor: Dr. Franz Odendaal
  • The effect of fungal melanization on the feeding preferences of soil microarthropods;
    James Gailey; Supervisor: Dr. Kernaghan
  • Abundance of actinomycetes on decomposing pine ectomycorrhizae;
    Kaylee Boyle; Supervisor: Dr. Kernaghan
  • Exploring the effects of blue light and abscisic acid on leaf surface wax and methane emissions from canola plants grown under sterile conditions;
    Cassidy-Rae Creelman; Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi


Exploring scleral cartilage development in Danio rerio:

the roles of BMP and Wnt signaling

Nicholas Zinck

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)


The individual and interactive effects of temperature, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen on canola (Brassica napus L.)

Sage Dixon

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)


Cell Dynamics in a novel in vitro culturing technique for embryonic chicken eyes

Daniel Andrews

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

An investigation of the extracellular matrix in the development of the scleral ossicle system

Megan Lawson

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)


Tannic acid tolerance in dark septate endophytic fungi

Amanda Griffin

(Supervisor: Dr. Kernaghan)

Does water stress affect growth, ethylene evolution and methane emission in sunflower (Helianthus annuus)?

Anna Jessop

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)

Combined effects of carbon dioxide, temperature and water stress on growth and chemical constituents of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) seedlings

Jamie MacDonald

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)

Does abscisic acid regulate growth and physiological responses of canola (Brassica napus) to temperature and water stress?

Sarah Pickrem

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)


Establishing in vitro culturing and determining the effect of inhibitors on bone development in chick embryonic eye tissue

Gregory Haller

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

Interactive effects of temperature, watering regime, and mycorrhizae on growth and physiological characteristics of mung bean (Vigna radiata)

Alexis LeFait

(Supervisors: Drs. Qaderi &


The individual and interactive effects of temperature, ultraviolet-B radiation, and salicylic acid on pea (Pisum sativum L.)

Ashley Martel

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)

Interactive effects of temperature, carbon dioxide and abscisic acid on growth and development of mung bean (Vigna radiata) plants

Megan Reardon

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)

Geographic variation in the song of the Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)

Brianna Burns

(Supervisor: External)


A comparative shape analysis of the lower jaw of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and the Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus)

Christine Hammer

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

Investigating scleral ossicle development using fluorescent dye labeling and alkaline phosphatase staining

Kaitlyn Wilson

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

Maternal environmental effects of temperature and exogenous gibberellic acid on evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) seed characteristics

Britanie LeFait

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)


Transmission electron microscopy as a tool for studying cell dynamics in early osteogenic condensations: Trials and tribulations of a classic approach

James Jabalee

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

Combined effects of temperature and light quality on canola (Brassica napus) seedlings

Kuranda Slauenwhite

(Supervisor: Dr. Qaderi)


A descriptive and comparative analysis: Morphological ontogenetic growth of the mandibular and gill arches in Danio rerio and two morphs of Astyanax mexicanus

Brittni Milligan

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

Patterns of organic nitrogen utilization in fungal root endophytes

Erica Fraser

(Supervisor: Dr. Kernaghan)

Nesting habitat differentiation of Nova Scotia’s three small cavity-nesting raptors, with an emphasis on the Boreal Owl (Aegolius funureus)

Kathleen MacAulay

(Supervisor: External)


An investigation of spatial variation in the dietary niche breadth of little brown and northern long-eared bats in eastern Canada using stable isotope analysis

Ryan Hearn

(Supervisor: External)


Fishy bone development: Methods of observing bone growth and remodelling in Teleosts

Sara Edsall

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

Assessing the resource allocation regime between sexual reproduction and vegetative growth of a population of Scirpus longii that has suffered introgression from Scirpus cyperinus (Cyperaceae)

Scott Dickey

(Supervisor: Dr. MacKay)


Ontogenetic changes in tolerance to herbivory in three ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana

Caroline Tucker

(Supervisor: Dr. Avila-Sakar)

A comparative study of scleral skeletal elements in modern and fossil sharks and fossil Arthrodires

Brettney Pilgrim

(Supervisor: Dr. Franz-Odendaal)

Development of butyrylcholinesterase neuroimaging substrate analogues for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease

Eric Joy

(Supervisor: Dr. Pottie)


The effects of new technologies and natural antimicrobials on the control of micro-organisms and maintenance of food quality

Deana Sharpe

(Supervisor: External)