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Last updated: Jan 24, 2017 6:50 am

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Arts and Science

William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Dr. William Leggett.

William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

"œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.

 

Humboldt honours research achievements

Queen’s professor Tucker Carrington earns prestigious international award for contributions to chemistry.

Queen’s University professor Tucker Carrington (Chemistry), Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in
Computational Quantum Dynamics, is one of only 100 recipients worldwide across all disciplines to receive a prestigious Humboldt Research Award. The honour recognizes his fundamental contributions to chemistry, and in particular to advancing our understanding of the movement of atoms in molecules. 

Awarded to those whose research discoveries have had a significant impact on their own discipline, winners are invited to spend up to one year in Germany to build or strengthen research collaborations. Dr. Carrington will travel to the University of Bielefeld for six months starting in September. 

“Dr. Carrington has made seminal and important contributions to his field of research,” says Dr. Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This international award is another testament to the level of research excellence at Queen’s and in Canada.”

Carrington is the second Queen’s faculty member to receive a Humboldt in the past three years; Dr. Nikolaus Troje (Psychology) garnered the award in 2014.

Nominated by Dr. Uwe Manthe, a professor at the University of Bielefeld, the two will use mathematics and computers to understand better the motion of atoms in molecules and during reactions. The research may provide a better understanding of reactions that occur in the atmosphere and in combustion.  

“Dr. Manthe is an extremely bright man and I’m looking forward to our collaboration”, says Dr. Carrington.  “This award will make it possible for us to extend and generalize computational methods we have both developed.  An academic sabbatical is a privilege we enjoy as professors. My sabbatical will give me the opportunity to focus on research.”

Although, it’s Dr. Carrington’s research that is being recognized, he’s quick to point out that earning a lifetime research achievement award isn’t a solo endeavor. “I’ve learnt a great deal from students and postdoctoral fellows during my entire career. I would not have won this award without the contributions of talented students and postdocs.   My research isn’t possible without them.”

For more information on the award, visit the website.

Flipping the switch

New research, published in Science, examines how plants “turn off” immune response after confronting pathogens.

New research, published in the journal Science, has uncovered a previously unknown means by which plants are able to regulate how their immune systems respond to pathogens. A group of small peptides, referred to as RALFs (Rapid ALkalinization Factors), serve to dampen immune signaling – preventing further response once the infection has been dealt with by the plant’s immune system. The finding could pave the way to improve the immune systems of food crops, which would have a tremendous impact on food security.

Dr. Monaghan examines a tray of Arabidopsis thaliana, similar to the plants used in her study on immune response. The researchers uncovered a previously unknown mechanism by which plants can "switch off" their immune response once an infection has been managed. 

The study, co-authored by Queen’s plant biologist Jacqueline Monaghan, examined how plant immune systems work to respond to threats, as well as how plants regulate their pathogen responses in order to avoid negative impacts to their growth and development.

“Most people are familiar with their own immune system and how it functions, but we don’t often consider immune systems in other organisms,” explains Dr. Monaghan, who took part in the study while a postdoctoral researcher at the Sainsbury Laboratory. “Immune responses need to be ‘turned off’ once the threat is eliminated – otherwise, there can be negative effects on the organism. In humans, this can result in autoimmune disorders. In plants, we see stunted growth and other detrimental effects.”

Dr. Monaghan and her colleagues measured this response by first tracking the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) – chemically reactive compounds – produced in plants exposed to molecules known to elicit an immune response. The plants were also infected with various pathogens and the immune response was tracked. Genetic tests allowed the researchers to identify a number of genes that are important for these immune responses. The results of the study expand the understanding of how plants are able to fight off diseases – possibly serving as a stepping-stone to future research that could improve immune response and food crop yields.

Dr. Monaghan says that this research plays a role in furthering the collective understanding of how plants respond to environmental threats and pathogens. She says that future developments could lead to improving the immune systems of food crops, which would have a tremendous impact on food security.

“Studies such as ours, which aim to understand the fine details of plant immunity, make incremental progress towards that capability,” she explains. “If you increase immunity broadly in crops, you’ll have a decrease in yield – the plants may be stunted because they’re constantly prepared to fight infection, rather than growing. We need to understand that balance so that we can improve the immune response in crops, without those detrimental effects. Knowing how to ‘flip that switch’ is key.”

The full study, titled The receptor kinase FER is a RALF-regulated scaffold controlling plant immune signaling, was published in the journal Science.

No mistaking its impact

Mistaken Point to feature on Canada Post stamp.

Following its recognition as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in July 2016, Canada Post today issued a postage stamp and postage-paid postcard of Mistaken Point, Newfoundland. The stamp is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites – 2017 collection and recognizes the national significance of this unique location where "life got big."

[Mistaken Point postcard]
Mistaken Point is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites to be featured on a new line of stamps and postage-paid postcards offered by Canada Post. Queen's paleontologist Guy Narbonne was the lead author of the UNESCO nomination and has conducted research at the site for nearly 20 years. (Image courtesy of Canada Post)

Since 1998, Queen’s paleontologist Guy Narbonne has played a key role in examining and cataloging the fossil record - over 10,000 fossils spread over 146 hectares - at Mistaken Point. Located at the southeastern tip of Newfoundland, the site features some of the world’s oldest known large fossils – dating back some 560-580 million years. 

“It is incredibly rewarding and touching to see this recognition come in the form of something as common and ubiquitous as a stamp, that will be seen and used by so many people,” says Dr. Narbonne. “This represents a very stunning and gratifying recognition of the important place that Mistaken Point plays – not only in the history of life on Earth, but also in comparison with other great natural and cultural sites worldwide.”

The fossils at Mistaken Point have provided never-before seen insights as to how and when large, complex organisms first emerged. While life on Earth first appeared approximately 3.5 billion years ago, it remained simple and unicellular for much of that time. Between 645 and 540 million years ago – during the Ediacaran Period – large, complex life forms suddenly took shape.

“Mistaken Point represents a watershed in evolution ‘when life got big’, the sudden appearance of large and complex creatures after three billion years of mostly microscopic evolution,” explained Dr. Narbonne in a 2016 interview.

Dr. Narbonne was a driving force behind the efforts to have the site declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, acting as the Chief Scientist on the file. 

The stamp follows a long list of recognition for Dr. Narbonne's research, which has received widespread acclaim and recognition both in and outside academia. His seminal work has been featured in documentaries narrated by David Suzuki and Sir David Attenborough, and has attracted widespread international attention to the site.

More information on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites - 2017 stamp series is available on the Canada Post website. To learn more about Dr. Narbonne’s research at Mistaken Point, please visit (e)AFFECT or Queen’s Gazette.

Ladder to arts leadership

Queen’s University has launched a new ‘laddered’ Graduate Diploma and Master’s program that will provide students interested in pursuing or accelerating their career in the arts with a 360-degree view of the arts and culture industry.

Through the programs, offered by the Dan School of Drama and Music in collaboration with the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, students can earn a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management with the successful completion of the six-week term, or continue with the Master’s in Arts Leadership.

[Arts Leadership graduate programs]
A new laddered Graduate Diploma and Master’s program at Queen's provides students interested in pursuing or accelerating their career in the arts with a full view of the arts and culture industry. (University Communications)

With a focus on experiential learning through live site research assignments and a final term practicum placement in an arts organization, students are exposed to, and taught by, top practitioners in the arts industry. Students in the program will also be provided with assistance in securing their final term practicum by leading North American arts search consultants, Genovese, Vanderhoof and Associates. 

“Queen’s offers its students a perfect balance of engagement with rigorous academic programs and access to first class practitioners and arts facilities,” says Gordon E. Smith, Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “Both programs are cross-disciplinary – and will be delivered by instructors from the Dan School of Drama and Music, the Masters of Industrial Relations program, the Smith School of Business, as well as top practitioners in the field. In addition, the campus boasts world-class facilities including a major performing arts centre, art gallery, and library, all with senior staff whose management experience adds to the practical teaching environment.”

The five core courses needed to complete the Graduate Diploma in Arts Management are offered during a single six-week session in May and June beginning in 2017. A student may then continue on to pursue the Master’s in Arts Leadership program through the completion of one additional term of coursework, partly or wholly online, followed by a third capstone term involving a practicum placement.

“This is an ideal and complementary graduate program for those who have received an undergraduate degree in drama, music, fine art, film and related cultural fields,” says Craig Walker, Director of the Dan School of Drama and Music.  “It is designed to help students capitalize on the extensive transferable skills they have gained during their earlier studies.”

“Students will gain a tremendous knowledge in resource development which is required in all arts leadership positions in an industry requiring substantial revenue growth to achieve its artistic and audience goals,” adds Tricia Baldwin, Director, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. “The relationship-based and revenue development focus of the program will set graduates up for tremendous success in the field.”

For more information and upcoming events for the Graduate Diploma in Arts Management and the Master’s in Arts Leadership visit the programs website.

A night to remember

  • Patricia O’Callaghan plays the lead role in the musical theatre production 'One Last Night with Mata Hari,' which is being staged at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Tim Fort)
    Patricia O’Callaghan plays the lead role in the musical theatre production 'One Last Night with Mata Hari,' which is being staged at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Tim Fort)
  • Patricia O’Callaghan sings during the final rehearsal for 'One Last Night with Mata Hari,' which is being staged at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Tim Fort)
    Patricia O’Callaghan sings during the final rehearsal for 'One Last Night with Mata Hari,' which is being staged at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo by Tim Fort)
  • Gregory Oh performs the role of Dr. Bazinet, the last of Mata Hari's supporters, performed by Patricia O'Callagan in 'One Last Night With Mata Hari.' (Photo by Tim Fort)
    Gregory Oh performs the role of Dr. Bazinet, the last of Mata Hari's supporters, performed by Patricia O'Callagan in 'One Last Night With Mata Hari.' (Photo by Tim Fort)
  • The Dan School of Drama and Music's John Burge, left, and Craig Walker, right, collaborated to create 'One Last Night With Mata Hari,' with Gregory Oh and Patricia O'Callaghan in the roles of Mata Hari and Dr. Bazinet. (Photo by Tim Fort)
    The Dan School of Drama and Music's John Burge, left, and Craig Walker, right, collaborated to create 'One Last Night With Mata Hari,' with Gregory Oh and Patricia O'Callaghan in the roles of Mata Hari and Dr. Bazinet. (Photo by Tim Fort)

A century after her execution, Mata Hari remains an intriguing character and is the focus of an upcoming production created by Queen’s University’s John Burge and Craig Walker.

One Last Night With Mata Hari presents the final night of the exotic dancer before she is to be executed by French authorities on charges of spying for Germany during the First World War.

The production offers a rare collaboration between two Royal Society of Canada fellows who are leaders in their fields: Dr. Burge in music and Dr. Walker in drama.

As Dr. Burge explains, the idea got its start after he had completed the chamber opera The Auction and was looking for a similar theatrical project that was a little less time consuming.

“I was incredibly excited about the whole experience of writing music with a more theatrical bent but it can take years – if not decades – to see an opera through from inception to the stage and I was a bit more impatient than that,” he says. “It seemed much more doable in the short term to work on a one-person show with piano and I had mentioned this idea to Craig Walker as a collaboration.”

He says that with Dr. Walker’s skill set as a dramatist, lyricist, actor and director, he knew that whatever his collaborator came up with would be inspiring.

The result is a musical piece with Mata Hari and her final supporter, Dr. Bizard, telling her story from a cell in Paris’ Saint Lazare Prison.

“One of the sources of inspiration was that John and I both admire Billy Bishop Goes to War,” Dr. Walker says, referring to the award-winning musical about the Canadian war hero that follows a similar format. “But we wanted to write a show for a female performer, and I first thought of Mata Hari simply because she was a historical female performer. I also knew that when the records of her secret trial had been released there were serious questions raised about her guilt. So suddenly her life became more intriguing; it seemed that a little research might be repaid with an interesting story.”

Finding the right actor for the role proved a bit easier as Patricia O’Callaghan jumped on board early in the process and participated in all of the creative workshops.

It was an exciting bit of recruitment for the team. The award-winning singer also suggested Gregory Oh, a collaborator on a number of projects, for the role of Dr. Bizard.

“We both owned many of Patricia’s CDs prior to this project and she was the first singer we thought could pull off what we had in mind. All the songs have been crafted to her extraordinarily expressive voice,” Dr. Burge says. “She has performed her own cabaret-style shows for years and in many ways, having Mata Hari telling her life through song on the night before she is to be executed, is a cabaret of intimate proportions that is often quite funny, despite the impending doom.”

One Last Night With Mata Hari is being staged at the Power Corp Studio Theatre of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, with shows set for Thursday, Jan. 12 to Saturday, Jan. 14, and Tuesday, Jan. 17 to Saturday, Jan. 21, at 8 pm. Matinees are scheduled Sunday, Jan. 15 and 22 at 2 pm. Tickets can be purchased online at theisabel.ca. A special ‘pay what you can’ preview performance will be held Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 8 pm.

The show marks the first time that Drs. Walker and Burge have worked together creatively and both are eager to work on another project. The collaboration, Dr. Burge explains, mirrors the synergy created through the creation of the Dan School of Drama and Music last year.

“I had gotten to know Craig quite well when we were both heads of our respective programs at Queen’s and worked together with the architectural team that designed the Isabel,” he says. “Now all these years later, it seems to me that this show is really quite indicative of the many ways that music and drama intersect at Queen’s and a tangible example of why the merger and renaming of the Dan School of Drama and Music has been so exciting for students, faculty and staff.”

Honours for art historian

Queen’s University art historian Gauvin Bailey recognized by international art organizations.

Professor and Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art Gauvin Bailey was recently named the second Panofsky Professor at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich, Germany.

The facility is the only independent art history research institute in Germany and features one of the largest and most significant art historical libraries and archives in the world.

Art historian Gauvin Bailey has earned two significant honours over the past year.

“This professorship will allow me to work with and collaborate with a wide range of important scholars in my research area,” says Dr. Bailey. “It will also enable me to bring new ideas to my teaching and course development and to mentoring my students at Queen’s.”

Named for Erwin Panofsky, one of the founders of art history as a discipline, the first Panofsky Professor was Victor Stoichita, an internationally recognized scholar of Spanish painting.

Dr. Bailey says during his two month stay in Germany he will be tasked with presenting a public lecture which will be published by Deutscher Kunstverlag, Germany’s premier art history press. He will also act as a mentor to the Panofsky Fellow, a post-doctoral scholar who is working on a project related to Baroque and Rococo art.

This latest honour follows his recent appointment with the Institut de France. In 2014, he was elected as a correspondent étranger (foreign correspondent) of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, which was founded in 1663. This past fall, Dr. Bailey was formally inducted into the Academy. The Academy only maintains 50 French and 50 foreign correspondents at any one time. Only six are from North America.

For his public lecture at the Institut de France that was part of the induction ceremony, Dr. Bailey spoke about his current book project on the architecture of the French Atlantic Empire. The text of the lecture will appear in the French scientific journal, the Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.

“I am extremely grateful for these recent honours,” says Dr. Bailey. “In particular holding the Panofsky Professorship will allow me to start a new project which focuses on globalization and its impact on Baroque and Rococo art and architecture.”

For more information on Dr. Bailey and his research, please visit his website.

A positive exchange

[QUIC Winter Orientation]
Newly-arrived exchange students from the Faculty of Arts and Science show off their tricolour scarves and mittens during the QUIC orientation session on Thursday, Jan. 5. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

For exchange students arriving at Queen’s for the winter term, it’s the beginning of a new learning experience.

On Thursday, Jan. 5, an orientation session was hosted by the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) for exchange students from the Faculty of Arts and Science to provide some basic information about life at Queen’s and in Kingston, such as the resources that are available from the many campus partners.

In a Queen’s tradition, the students also received tricolour scarves and mittens donated by the Campus Bookstore as they face the Canadian winter.

Ella Jansen has returned to Canada from the Netherlands after visiting Vancouver and Calgary two years ago. She was drawn to Queen’s by the broad range of courses available.

She’s looking to explore and discover more about Canada through the exchange.

“At University College Utrecht I am already in an international environment but there are a lot of Europeans there and a lot of Dutch people,” she says. “I feel like we don’t have a lot of Canadians there, or North Americans, so I would like to explore these cultures and get more stories from these students, so an even more international view.”

Kim Yeung arrives from Australia and says she is a bit concerned about the winter weather. While her hometown Canberra can dip to about the freezing point, she says she can’t imagine what temperatures of -25 C or -30 C will be like.

She arrives at Queen’s on the recommendation of a friend who studied in Sweden and met a fellow exchange student from Queen’s.

She says she’s excited by the prospects the university offers, both inside and outside the classroom

“I definitely know there are a lot of social events at Queen’s but there is also a really strong sporting community and when I heard about the free gym I thought that was great,” she says. “I walked around campus (Wednesday) and there’s some really good facilities.”

QUIC is currently offering extended hours, including this Saturday and Sunday, from 1-7 pm. All newly-arriving international students are invited to a welcome to the QUIC social on Sunday, Jan. 8, 5:30-7 pm, where light supper will be served.

For a full schedule of events and more information, visit the QUIC website.

Leading by example

Sam McKegney (English Language and Literature) and Louise Winn (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) have been recognized by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) for their work with graduate students.

Awarded for the first time last year, the “Featured Graduate Coordinators of the Year” initiative is aimed at highlighting the best practices among graduate coordinators.  

“Graduate Coordinators are on the front lines of providing crucial supports to students and supervisors. The School of Graduate Studies launched the Graduate Coordinators of the Year initiative in 2015 to feature excellent initiatives that could inspire colleagues across the disciplines,” says Kim McAuley, Associate Dean, SGS. “Louise Winn and Sam McKegney have set great examples by developing new programs and promoting a supportive community for graduate students and their faculty supervisors.”

Sam McKegney

[Sam McKegney]
Sam McKegney

Specializing in the study of Indigenous and Canadian literatures, Dr. McKegney says he feels very fortunate to oversee graduate studies at Queen’s in the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples. He points out that while he is involved in a number of graduate-related initiatives, the acting head of the Department of English Language and Literature regularly utilizes a collaborative approach.

He is currently involved in the development of the MPhil degree in English Literature – a two-year Master’s Level degree with direct entry into the doctoral program. He is also overseeing two experiential learning components for graduate programs. The first – the Literary Internship –provides master’s students with work experience that is directly related to literary studies, including Kingston WritersFest, the Strathy Language Unit, and McGill-Queen’s University Press.  The second – the Publishing Practicum –takes students through the revision and submission stages of scholarly publishing with the goal of achieving a publishable piece by the end of the student’s first year of doctoral study.

In receiving the award, Dr. McKegney provides the following advice for incoming graduate coordinators:

“Be personally invested in the wellbeing and successes of your grad students, but do not take their struggles personally. Try to focus on developing solutions to concerns that arise without bearing the burden of responsibility for things beyond your control.

Louise Winn

[Louise Winn]
Louise Winn

As the Associate Head - Graduate Studies for the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Dr. Winn is responsible for overseeing all aspects of graduate administration from admission to degree completion for more than 100 graduate students.

She also helped launch a new initiative offering a combined program  (BScH/MSc) that sees students in the fourth year of an honours program to take up to two courses in the department at the graduate level, allowing them to enter the graduate program with advanced standing.

Recently, Dr. Winn has developed a proposal in collaboration with the School of Computing for interdisciplinary graduate programs in biomedical informatics that include a diploma and professional master’s. She has also developed a proposal in collaboration with the offices of Postgraduate and Undergraduate Medical Education for graduate programs in medical sciences that include a diploma and professional master’s.

Dr. Winn also serves on a CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship selection committee.

In receiving the award, Dr. Winn provides the following advice for incoming graduate coordinators:

“I have a standing weekly meeting with the program assistants, which I have found to be extremely helpful for keeping well-informed and in touch with of all of issues that need attention. Nurture this relationship as it will serve you well."

Flags lowered in memory of Professor Emeritus Fisher

[Alfred Fisher]
Professor Emeritus Alfred Fisher

Flags will be lowered on campus Friday, Dec. 16, in memory of Professor Emeritus Alfred Fisher, former director of the School of Music, who died Wednesday, Dec. 14 at Kingston General Hospital. He was 74.

Dr. Fisher was a distinguished composer, pianist, writer, and poet. A funeral service will be held Friday, Dec. 16 at Beth Israel Congregation, 116 Centre St., Kingston, at noon. 

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