Just a quick note to congratulate my good friend and labmate Zach Ferraro for the successful defense of his PhD Thesis earlier this afternoon. Zach’s defense attracted the largest crowd that I have ever seen at a Thesis – I counted more than 40 people in attendance. In fact, there were so many people there that the defense had to be moved to a lecture theatre at the last minute to accommodate the large numbers.
He will also be the first person to graduate with a PhD in Exercise Physiology from the School of Human Kinetics, and his work was nominated for the University of Ottawa Thesis Prize, which is no small accomplishment. I have already had several colleagues point out to me that Zach has set the bar ridiculously high for future defenses in the program (e.g. mine)… so thanks for that 🙂
Zach’s thesis looked at the impact of pre-pregnancy weight and gestational weight gain on birth weight. To investigate this issue Zach employed methods ranging across the entire spectrum – self-report questionnaires, large-scale epidemiological datasets, long hours collecting placentas, and a good helping of bench work running Western Blots. I like to think that my thesis employs a broad range of methods in my own thesis, but the breadth of methodologies used in Zach’s thesis is just remarkable.
Here is a selection of papers from the thesis which are available online (with more to come soon):
Zach has also been somewhat of a media celebrity of late, with his thesis work being featured by CBC, CTV (click on the April 17th news at noon link, and fast forward to the 3:06 mark for interview), the Ottawa Citizen, Global, and the Ottawa Sun. I’d especially recommend the CTV interview for a great overview of Zach’s work and weight gain during pregnancy.
Finally, I’ve embedded below a podcast that I recorded with Zach in November of 2010 about his area of research (email subscribers can listen to the podcast on the blog).
Congrats again to Zach, as well as his co-supervisors Kristi Adamo and Denis Prud’homme, for an extremely successful PhD Thesis and Defense!