Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies


Master of Science (MSc)

Meet Elizabeth Walden, MSc candidate in Biochemistry

“The best parts of my graduate program are the opportunities to present my own research/proposal, as well as to learn about the work of others. I have had opportunities to attend research events within my own department, as well as more broadly through Schulich and across London. These opportunities provide an amazing atmosphere for research and learning.”

Supervisor: Dr. Caroline Schild-Poulter

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
I completed my undergraduate degree (BSc) in Biology and Chemistry at Trent University. I also completed a Bachelor of Education (BEd) at Queen’s University before beginning my graduate work at Western.

Where is “home” for you?
I call Stratford, Ontario home.

Why did you come to Western for your graduate degree?
When considering where to pursue my graduate studies, I was interested in attending a school with an excellent reputation for research in the fields of health and medicine. The Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry has such a reputation, and I found that there were many amazing research opportunities of interest to me. In addition, the program fit with my needs and I was excited to be part of the Robarts Research Institute within the Western Community. However, when it really came down to it, the biggest thing was finding a supervisor whose work was interesting to me, and an environment where I felt I would thrive.

Describe your research in 100 words or less.
My research focuses on the response of the cell to double-stranded DNA breaks. Specifically, I focus on the inhibition of Aurora B kinase by phosphorylated Ku70. Ku70 is a key player in the NHEJ DNA double-stranded break repair pathway, and our lab has recently demonstrated that in conditions of extreme damage, Ku70 is phosphorylated and inhibits Aurora B, leading to cell cycle arrest. The repair of DNA, or arrest of cells which cannot repair DNA, is vital in maintaining normal cell cycling and preventing cancer, as the DNA repair pathways are deregulated in a many cancers.

What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about lifelong learning and curiosity, both for myself and fostering this in others. That’s probably my inner teacher talking, but I love pushing the boundaries of science in my own work, as well as sharing my passion for science with the younger generations.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Make connections with your peers. I have found that having friendships, acquaintances, or even just a familiar face, has helped me to be able to reach out to people when I am having trouble, or need to borrow reagent or equipment. This support network will benefit you in the long run.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Barb Green (barb.green@schulich.uwo.ca)
Graduate Program Administrator

Department of Biochemistry

Western University
Medical Sciences Rm 342
London, Ontario N6A 5C1

t. 519-661-2111 ext. 86850

The Department of Biochemistry offers MSc and PhD graduate degrees. PhD and thesis based MSc degrees require completion of a research-intensive thesis, course work, and participation in a seminar program.

Times to Completion

  • 6 Terms (2 years)

Curriculum Options

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Details

Applicants (domestic and international) are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships:

Admission Requirements

  • BSc in biochemistry, biology, genetics, chemistry, cell biology, microbiology, physiology or closely related disciplines.
  • Minimum 78% GPA in the undergraduate degree.

Test Requirements

Graduate Record Examination Scores (GRE) - For international applicants only.

  • Institution Code for Western: 0984
  • Department Code: 0202 (Biochemistry)

A score in one of the following subjects is required: Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry. A minimum score is not set; scores will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

Application Deadline(s)

  • February 1 - Fall or Summer Term
  • June 1 - Fall Term
  • October 15 - Winter Term

Acceptance notifications begin as soon as your application is completed and reviewed.

Fields of Research

  • Bioinformatics
  • Genome Dynamics, Epigenetics, and Gene Expression
  • Human Genetics and Clinical Biochemistry
  • Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics
  • Proteomics
  • Signal Transduction and Intercellular Communication