Canada Student Merit Award Recipient, Samuel McGaw

20 February 2024

Samuel McGawSamuel McGaw is a 2023 Canada Student Merit Award winner. He achieved this award for obtaining the highest standing of his class in the fourth and final year of his degree. Here is a brief biography of the winner.

Raised in St Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, much of my youth was centred around the game of hockey. However, after taking a gap year following high school to play Junior A hockey, I was drawn to continue my education and satisfy my curiosity for human physiology.

In 2019, I entered a four-year undergraduate biochemistry programme at Mount Allison University. In May 2023, I graduated with a major in biochemistry and minors in chemistry and biology. I received first-class honours with distinction and was awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal at graduation. Throughout my undergrad, I was fortunate to participate in exciting research efforts. This included an internship at the Upper River Valley Hospital Department of Surgery, where I helped create an online database that compares how different axillary lymph node surgeries in early-stage breast cancer patients affect recurrence. My honours work, under the supervision of Dr. Tyson MacCormack, constituted analysing the effect of a taurine deficiency on the cardiovascular stress response of a model freshwater teleost to hypoxia. By examining electrocardiograms, heart and plasma lactate, and plasma osmolality, I found taurine-deficient teleosts to have an increased sensitivity. I then developed a surgical technique to uncover the teleosts’ ventral aorta to compare blood flow using an ultrasonic flow probe while utilizing high-performance liquid chromatography to confirm plasma and tissue taurine levels. This work, along with that of several colleagues, is now published in the Journal of Experimental Biology ( 

I am passionate about the health sciences and aspire to become a primary care physician and help transform rural healthcare in Canada. While at Mount Allison, I gained valuable clinical experience as a volunteer trainer for the women’s ice hockey team. I acted as a first responder to in-game, practice, and training injuries while performing athletic taping and treatments to improve players’ physical function. Following graduation, I have continued gaining clinical experience as a medical scribe. Placed at Yale New Haven Health in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, I am now learning the importance of patient and family-centered care while alleviating provider charting demands to ameliorate the patient experience.

In my spare time, I enjoy coaching youth hockey and participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and skiing.

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