Daniel Almeida - 2019 Winning Essay

In 2007 my father suffered a stroke that left him hemiplegic. The 8 months of convalescence that followed inspired my pursuit of a career in neuroscience. In 2014 I graduated high distinction from the University of Toronto with an HBSc in comparative physiology. Later that year I began McGill’s Ph.D in neuroscience. As a neuroscientist I utilize post-mortem brain samples to understand the molecular neurobiology of depression and suicide.

Part of my doctoral work has involved the development and optimization of cutting edge single cell-type sequencing methodologies not previously used in post-mortem brain research. These methods will allow the field to more precisely understand cell-type specific alterations underlying neurological and psychiatric disease. During the past 4 years of my Ph.D I have authored 9 academic works, presented in international scientific conferences and mentored 9 undergraduate students.

Beyond the lab I am also passionate about communicating the findings of my research. In fact, it was due to my involvement in science communication and knowledge translation that in 2017 I was awarded Canada’s most prestigious and competitive graduate scholarship. Vanier Scholars are recognized for their leadership skills and high standard of scholarly achievement.

My future aspirations are to pursue a career in medical affairs where I will draw on my in-depth knowledge of clinical neuroscience and the communication skills gained during my Ph.D. In further preparation for a career in medical affairs I have, in addition to my doctoral thesis, completed a two-year clinical observership and an internship in medical affairs.