Bruce MacDonald – From student researcher to future MD


From a young age, inspired by his grandfather, Bruce MacDonald knew he wanted to work in the field of medicine. On June 3, 2016, the CBU Alumnus received word that he would be one step closer to achieving this goal.

Bruce graduated from CBU in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science, Chemistry (Honours), and was recently accepted into the Degree of Doctor of Medicine at Memorial University, Newfoundland. He will begin his studies in August 2016 and will study for four years, followed by a residency.

During his time at CBU Bruce was involved in many research activities, to which he attributes his academic success so far. Beginning in his first year of studies, Bruce worked as a Research Assistant to Drs. Godwin D’Cunha and Stephanie MacQuarrie. “Our goal was to convert cheap chemicals into more expensive ones,” says Bruce. He also says his research opportunities were unique to CBU, stating, “First-year students don’t really get to be be involved in research at larger universities.”

In 2013, Bruce was offered a second research opportunity for which he was awarded the Liebig-College scholarship, allowing him to travel to Giessen, Germany, and work with the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen. Bruce is thankful for this research opportunity, and says, “While the chemistry was really interesting in Giessen, the more important aspects for me were the people I got to meet, the places I got to see, and the awesome foods I got to try.”

For the past year Bruce has been working with Dr. Shine Zhang, the Research Chair of Applied Nanotechnology in CBU’s Verschuren Centre. “For my research now, I’m working on the chemistry of iron, hydrogen peroxide and table salt,” says Bruce. “Together, those chemicals can produce dangerous reactive species that have been overlooked in the literature for over 100 years!”

Bruce is excited to start this new journey, but when asked if he will return to Cape Breton when all’s said and done, he says, “definitely!”