Mike MacGillivary Image
Mike MacGillivary '08/'12
Mike MacGillivary always thought it would be interesting to uniquely combine his educational pathways of biology and research with medicine. He found an artistic outlet to do just that in an art exhibit — White Coat Warm HeART.

Now a Dalhousie Medical student, MacGillivary completed an honours in biology and a master’s at Mount Allison under the supervision of Dr. Irena Kaczmarska. He recently reached out to Kaczmarska and biology research associate Jim Ehrman at the Digital Microscopy Facility (DMF) to get SEM images of diatoms taken at the DMF during his master’s research.
“I ended up photoshopping the images of diatom frustules, made of silica or glass, as a collage in the shape of the heart. The glass heart represents the heart of someone in a medical ward awaiting news, with the possibility the heart shimmering with good news or shattering with bad news.”
Dalousie Medical Journal – Spring 2017 CoverThe image was chosen to be part of a national exhibition at the annual Canadian Conference for Medical Education in Winnipeg and was auctioned off to support a women’s shelter. The striking image was also selected as the cover of the Spring 2017 edition of the Dalhousie Medical Journal.
“It was a very unique opportunity to meld together my 'past' and 'current' life,” he says. “It was also fun to connect my previous research to healthcare. Mount Allison has given me the academic tools to succeed, but also instilled in me broad interests in the arts and humanities, which have helped my approach to patients and their care.”
MacGillivary says his research experience, along with the ability to publish and co-publish articles as an undergraduate and master’s student, really bolstered his medical school application.
“My undergraduate degree gave me the foundation of science I needed for medical school,” he says. “My master’s work in a small lab allowed me to get lots of lab experience because I wasn’t always fighting for space or resources.”
MacGillivary was a residence assistant for two years in Edwards House, played on the golf team, and was active in intramural sports. He says this is where he gained important leadership skills that he utilizes today. He is currently the Past-President of the Dalhousie Medical Student Society and his Class’s co-President.
“My time at Mount A encouraged me to be well-rounded and I have carried that into rounding out my medical school experience as well,” he says.
It was through a conference he attended while at Mount Allison that he made a connection that helped him land his first job after Mount Allison at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as a marine biologist with the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. But medical school was still on his mind.
“I knew I wanted that human contact that patients would provide and the feeling at the end of the day that I was making a difference.”
MacGillivary is in his third year at Dalhousie Medical School in Halifax, NS. He hasn’t decided on his specialty, but has interest in the areas of dermatology, internal medicine, family medicine, and emergency medicine.