NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Melanie Martin

Dr. Melanie Martin

We have many programs to encourage students of diverse backgrounds to enter our programs.

Professor, Physics
University of Winnipeg

Dr. Melanie Martin graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Physics from University of Manitoba. She then went on to obtain an MS, MPhil and a PhD in Applied Physics and Biomedical Engineering from Yale University. She was a postdoctoral scholar and an associate scientist in Biology at Caltech in Pasadena, California before she returned to Canada. She received the University Faculty Award from NSERC in 2004.

She’s now a Professor of Physics at University of Winnipeg and the Director of the Magnetic Resonance Microscopy Centre. Dr. Martin holds or has held numerous NSERC, CIHR grants, society, Provincial and local grants. Dr. Martin has reviewed grants and been part of grant selection committees for many international, national, provincial and local committees including CIHR, NSERC, Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, The US National Academies, and Innovation and Technology Commission, Hong Kong.

She was a key-contributor to the NSERC-sponsored “Get the Full Picture: Women, Diversity and Research Excellence” event on June 8, 2015 and co-conceived and co-organized an event for the International Day of the Girl on October 16, 2015 with the Provincial Government. Dr. Martin was the Chair of the Division of Physics in Medicine and Biology of the Canadian Association of Physicists. She also is a part of their NSERC-Liaison Committee. Dr. Martin won the University of Winnipeg Erica and Arnold Award for Excellence in Research in 2012 and was the University of Winnipeg Chancellor’s Research Chair from 2013-16.

Dr. Martin’s research specialty is the development of non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to understand the central nervous system. Her most recent publication discusses the development of an MRI technique to infer the sizes of sub-micron structures in samples.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

I love it all. If you force me to pick one thing, I would say helping my students develop into independent researchers.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

I am developing new magnetic resonance imaging and simultaneous positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging methods to visualize parts of the central nervous system, which cannot currently be visualized non-invasively. It is always exciting to see something that has never been seen before.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

My former students and colleagues have entered all sorts of professions. Some are in academia, in the imaging industry, in the pharmaceutical industry, in medicine, in veterinary medicine, in marketing, in the financial industry, computer programming, entrepreneurs, etc.

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

Physics is a male-dominated field but we are changing that slowly.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

We have many programs to encourage students of diverse backgrounds to enter our programs.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

Mentoring and networking have helped many get their feet in the door.

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

Go for it!

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

The senior members of my department and my colleagues are my role models and mentors.