Dr. Rosa da Silva is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Biology and School of Interdisciplinary Sciences at McMaster University. As a teaching professor, she instructs courses at all undergraduate levels in the areas of cellular and molecular biology, human pathophysiology, and cell signalling malfunctions that underlie disease. Dr. da Silva completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto Mississauga, her PhD at the University of Toronto under Dr. Angela B. Lange, and further postdoctoral research at the University of Toronto Scarborough with Dr. Rene E. Harrision. A great deal of Dr. da Silva’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-funded research has investigated the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate various systemic processes within model organisms. Stemming off of her doctoral and postdoctoral research interests, Dr. da Silva has established The Stink Bug Project (www.thestinkbugproject.com) at McMaster University. Under Dr. da Silva’s direct supervision, students work in team-based projects to contribute to understanding the physiology and biochemistry of an agriculturally devastating pest, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), in hopes of eventually contributing to its eradication in affected croplands. In this project, students build skills that include: critical thinking, scientific literacy, practical laboratory skills, and an appreciation for comparative research using model organisms. This long term project aims to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in authentic research experiences in an undergraduate research lab and contribute to novel research and discovery. Furthermore, the scope of the work conducted in the Stink Bug Project will also contribute to the design of experiments and techniques that can be used in various undergraduate courses to enhance course-related laboratory experiences of hundreds of students at McMaster University.
In addition to her discipline-related undergraduate research instruction and mentoring, Dr. da Silva has focused her pedagogical research efforts towards identifying methods that can be used to enhance student engagement within the science classroom. Dr. da Silva’s pedagogical research program has particularly emphasized the following: 1) Exploring the use of social media in the science classroom as a means of developing scientific literacy in high school and university students; 2) Examining the efficacy of reflective learning through meta-data analysis of student reflections (McMaster University 2014 Learning Portfolio Fellow, in collaboration with Dr. Andrew McArthur); and 3) Analyzing the outcomes of incorporating technology in the classroom as a teaching tool to advance teaching and learning (McMaster University 2016 & 2018 Leadership in Teaching and Learning Fellow- McMaster Institute for Innovation & Excellence in Teaching & Learning (MIIETL)).