Graeme McDowell, PhD

- Ottawa, Ontario

For as long as he can remember, Dr. Graeme McDowell has been fascinated by digital technology. While conducting his PhD research in rare childhood diseases at the University of Ottawa, he realized that he could create a fulfilling career by combining his passion for computer modelling with his expertise as a biochemist. Encouraged by his supervisor, he applied for the NRC's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and joined the NRC in September 2023, just months before defending his PhD thesis.

As a member of the scientific data mining team at the Digital Technologies Research Centre, Graeme finally has the opportunity to use various aspects of his training in biochemistry and neuroscience while indulging in his love for computational modelling.

His postdoctoral project involves creating lipid membrane simulations and examining their properties to understand how they interact with cells. The goal is to optimize the lipid composition to help transport medication to specific tissues. Results from his work could be applied to make drug and vaccine delivery more efficient and improve patient outcomes.

Graeme admits that scientists can study the mechanism of lipid-substance interaction in a traditional laboratory, but for precision and detail, he believes nothing beats computer modelling. He also relishes having a fresh challenge to tackle every day.

"Working at the NRC has exposed me to new methodologies and techniques. I've found that there's something new to learn each time I step into my office," Graeme said. "Knowing that my work will someday have tangible benefits to patients I'll never meet is both humbling and motivating."

Graeme McDowell believes the NRC is a fantastic place to work and sees himself continuing his career here for the foreseeable future. He wants to keep exploring applications for digital technologies and open up new prospects for the medical and life sciences.

Find out more about the NRC's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the Digital Technologies Research Centre.

Dr. Graeme McDowell examines a computer model of a lipid.