Dr. Ian Winship, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Neurochemical Research Unit (NRU), has been honoured with the 2019 University of Alberta Great Supervisor Award.
The awards, sponsored by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR), are bestowed annually on supervisors in all departments who have demonstrated exceptional skill and dedication at guiding research activities and enhancing the mentorship culture for graduate students.
Nominees are selected by individuals who work closely with graduate students, including Department Chairs, Associate Chairs, Professors, and Graduate Program Directors.
Dr. Winship, an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Scholar, leads a diverse group of scientists who are investigating the fundamental neurobiology of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and developing new therapies for psychiatric and neurological disorders such as Schizophrenia.
“The award was a surprise but it is very rewarding to be honoured in this way. When I started my lab I made a commitment that I wanted to primarily train students as opposed to Postdoctoral Fellows or technologists, although I have trained them as well,” says Dr. Winship.
“For somebody like me who doesn’t do as much course lecturing as some of my colleagues, I think it’s still important to be involved in the education of the next generation of scientists. But you never exactly know how you’re doing at it, how you’re perceived by your trainees, and whether your students find the way you provide supervision beneficial. So it’s a good feeling to receive this award.”
“Since 2007, (Dr. Winship) has been supervisor to 11 graduate students (six PhD, five MSc), and all of his students are highly productive, they have won multiple local, provincial, and national scholarships, they complete(d) their degrees in time, and find employment after completion – often pursuing further Postdoctoral training,” the Department of Psychiatry stated, in its nomination letter to the FGSR.
Dr. Winship was also praised in the letter by John Wesley (Wes) Paylor, a PhD student in the Department of Psychiatry who is conducting research at the NRU on the neurobiological brain structures associated with Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.
“Dr. Winship is a superb supervisor for a number of reasons. Perhaps his best trait is his ability to balance an appropriate level of oversight while still giving students space to conduct their work,” Paylor wrote, in the nomination letter to the FGSR.
“Ian gives us space while still keeping in touch frequently to see how things are progressing and his door is always open if we have questions. He also
strikes a healthy balance in the feedback he provides, he supports and encourages the work we do, but he will still challenge and push our abilities to improve.”
Research in the Winship Lab combines advanced imaging and behavioural neuroscience to define how the integrated CNS functions and how to identify key pathophysiological or adaptive processes in brain disease. These insights are used to develop new therapies for disorders including Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, and Schizophrenia.
“It’s nice to get some positive feedback that the way I supervise my students and try and help them is appreciated,” adds Dr. Winship. “A big part of my job is supervising the graduate students, so it’s a good feeling to be honoured for my work with them.”