In Memoriam - Christina Burbadge

Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Written by Paul Garrett

Christina Burbadge

Christina Burbadge, a talented and vibrant member of the Physics Department, passed away Friday morning, March 19, after a protracted and courageous fight with cancer. 

Christina joined the University of Guelph in September 2010 in the Physics program. At the age of sixteen, she was younger than her colleagues but showed the maturity and focus that would come to define her entire academic career. She graduated with 1st class honours in May 2014, and Christina decided to pursue graduate studies continuing at Guelph as a Master's student in Physics.  Commencing in September 2014 in the Experimental Nuclear Physics Group, it was here that two of Christina's passions converged; that for learning, and that for travelling as her research involved the use of an accelerator facility located in Munich, Germany. 

Christina was first diagnosed with cancer only a year into her graduate studies. Hardly missing a step, she simultaneously worked on her research while undergoing treatment, displaying grit and determination to defeat the disease while inspiring many of us with her positivity and enthusiasm for life. Following successful treatment, she excelled not only by completing her M.Sc. degree, graduating in May 2017, but also in presenting her work at major international conferences with such a command of her subject that senior researchers mistook her for a graduating Ph.D. student.  Looking forward to pursuing a Doctoral degree, she lived every moment to its fullest through her vast network of close friends, and seizing all opportunities for travel and adventure. No place was too distant, no language barrier too high, and no challenge too great. On one occasion, she rented a car to travel throughout the mountainous terrain of Croatia, learning how to drive with a manual transmission the week before while she was in Munich for field work -- nothing would stop the upcoming adventure! 

Christina's personal experience prompted a reorientation of her research focus from purely academic questions towards improving directly the lives of others. Her Ph.D. research topic became the investigation of a new method to improve the effectiveness and safety of proton radiation therapy for cancer treatments.  Showing tremendous promise, she was working at the heart of a Guelph-TRIUMF collaboration performing the experimental verification of the method. Tragically, her cancer reappeared in early 2020 that resisted all efforts for treatment, but throughout she continued working on her research with the audacity of hope that refused to surrender. 

Christina's time with us was far too short, but with her spirit for life and learning her presence in our community is a blessing that will continue to live on. 

Find related news by keyword

News Archive