Academic & Professional Conduct

All graduate students in the Department are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of academic and professional conduct.


The Department expects that any and all work a student takes credit for is solely their own work and that appropriate credit is given when the work of others is used. This applies not only to any written work produced by a student (during coursework, as part of a thesis, in manuscripts invited or submitted for publication, as part of webpages) but also the content oral presentations (seminars, talks at meetings, lectures). Plagiarism will not be tolerated and, if detected, will lead to serious consequences ranging from a failing grade on an assignment, or the course or, in extreme cases, even expulsion from the program. Find out more about our academic integrity policy at Dalhousie.

Responsible Image Manipulation

In the current era of digital microscopy there is tremendous pressure to make images convincing and aesthetically pleasing. While some degree of image manipulation is appropriate and even necessary, students are expected to limit such alterations to the absolute minimum required to make an image an accurate representation of the original. Students should be aware that many journals now employ sophisticated software to detect excessive manipulations and, in some cases, journals will require examples of the “raw image” in order to be convinced that the data has not been exaggerated. It goes without saying that it is completely inappropriate to combine portions of different images to create images that never existed in reality. If you have any doubt about what is appropriate and what is not, consult your supervisor or members of your supervisory committee. Staff in the Cellular Microscopy and Digital Imaging Unit (located within the Department on the 13th floor) can also be a source of good advice.


The use of antibodies for immunohistochemistry and Western blotting is a key feature of many student research projects within the Department. Students need to be aware of the pitfalls of using antibodies that have not been well characterized, both in general and in the specific tissue of study. Student thesis research using antibodies should include appropriate controls and include adequate considerations of antibody specificity and source. A good starting point to learn more about this are two commentaries:

Saper, C.B. and P.E. Sawchenko (2003) Magic peptides, magic antibodies:  Guidelines for appropriate controls for immunohistochemsitry. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 465:161-163.

Rhodes, K.J. and J.S. Trimmer (2006) Antibodies as valuable neuroscience research tools versus reagents of mass distraction. Journal of Neuroscience. 26:8017-8020.


It is likely that you will be given the opportunity to study from, and later teach using, specimens derived from the Department’s Human Body Donation Program. Students should be conscious of the tremendous privilege and honour it is to have access to human remains for study and teaching and should show appropriate respect and decorum both within and outside the teaching lab. In particular, students should use discretion when discussing any issue relating to human remains outside the anatomy-teaching lab. The teaching labs and other facilities are not open to the public and students are not permitted to take friends or family on tours. No specimens of any kind are to be removed from the labs. Students that fail to follow these regulations may lose access to teaching labs and, in the case of extreme violations, may be expelled from the program.