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Engineering and Applied Science

Exploring the promise of the quantum realm

[Rob Knobel]
Queen’s engineering physics professor Robert Knobel and his team at the Kingston Nano-Fabrication Laboratory are developing practical technologies on a tiny scale that could profoundly impact all our lives. (Supplied Photo) 

Rob Knobel is probing the ultimate limits of nanomechanical systems to develop and build tiny vapour sensors, which could be used as airport security tools to prevent terrorism or drug smuggling.

He and his students are using highly specialized equipment in the $5-million Kingston Nano Fabrication Laboratory (KNFL), which opened a year ago in Innovation Park, to fabricate nanosensors made from graphene, a form of carbon a single atom thick.

“Graphene is the strongest, lightest material yet discovered, and it has remarkable electrical and mechanical properties. We’re developing graphene chemical sensors that can detect vapours in parts per billion or trillion concentration. These could potentially be used for detecting explosives or biological agents,” says Dr. Knobel, an associate professor, the Chair of Engineering Physics and a Queen's Engineering graduate himself.

In his cutting-edge research, Dr. Knobel runs experiments in which small vibrating elements fabricated at the KNFL are cooled down to temperatures near absolute zero. These nanomechanical systems – moving devices with dimensions of a few nanometres, only a few atoms thick – vibrate under the influence of vanishingly small forces, and measuring their motion presents both scientific and engineering challenges. One purpose of these cryogenic experiments is to understand and measure how the properties and behaviour of these human-made nanostructures change in the transition from the macro world of classical physics to the quantum mechanics world on an atomic scale.

“Putting and measuring a nanomechanical system in the quantum world is important, fascinating and challenging science in its own right,” he says.

But Dr. Knobel’s fundamental research in the quantum realm also leads to the translation of this knowledge into promising real-world applications at room temperature. As he and his team push to develop superior nanoelectrical and nanomechanical devices with the extreme sensitivity needed to measure quantum effects, they are building better sensors with many possible practical applications of value to industry. These innovative nano-devices could be used for advanced mass spectrometry, more precise analysis of materials’ properties, biosensors to detect proteins in the blood, or extremely high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to probe single molecules a few nanometres wide.

Dr. Knobel’s research on the quantum behaviour of nanoscale devices is opening up new possibilities for quantum computing, a proposed way to rapidly speed up computing, and for quantum communications.

“Quantum communications is a way to create perfectly secure communications that no one could eavesdrop on,” he says.

He has also built vibrating crystal beams that will respond to incredibly small forces at frequencies up to the microwave range, which could be used as filters to enable cell networks to handle many more phone calls.

The KNFL facility, a partnership between Queen’s and CMC Microsystems, is an open facility for researchers and companies that want to make, characterize and test devices and materials with small dimensions from nanometre to millimetre. The new lab (funded through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, CMC Microsystems and Queen’s) has been a catalyst for Dr. Knobel to launch collaborations with materials and chemical companies and other small and large industrial firms to test and advance these innovative technologies for broader practical uses.

“We’re excited about the industry collaborations, and these are of great benefit to graduate students. This facility allows us to envision projects that were out of reach before and bring our research on quantum effects in nanomechanical systems closer to the real world and commercialization,” he says.

This article was first published in The Complete Engineer, the magazine for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. 

Seeking control

[Martin Guay]
Dr. Martin Guay and colleagues showed in a recent research paper how an innovative distributed control technique can be used to optimize the use of high-altitude balloons for Google's Project Loon. (Supplied Photo)

Google’s Project Loon aims to provide internet access to the entire globe using a network of high-altitude balloons. Less than half the world’s population and fewer than 30 per cent of people in Africa and Asia have internet access today.

Martin Guay (Chemical Engineering) and colleagues showed in a recent research paper how an innovative distributed control technique – distributed extremum seeking control (ESC) – can be used to solve the balloon problem without requiring complex wind models or large amounts of computing power. Dr. Guay’s simulation study, involving 1,200 balloons, illustrates how distributed ESC can determine the optimal configuration for balloons floating on changing, non-linear wind currents to provide adequate internet coverage for all users at the lowest cost.

“We’re pushing the boundaries of this control technique. It’s a very practical tool, which can be used to solve large-scale operating problems in any type of industry in a simple way. Every company I talk to will listen because it does exactly what they are looking for, real-time optimization in a model-free way,” he says.

Dr. Guay works with large companies such as Mitsubishi Electric, United Technologies, Johnson Controls and Praxair to continually improve, refine and apply his control method to optimize in real time power consumption, manufacturing productivity and chemical processes – and ultimately, profitability – across a wide range of industries. With Mitsubishi Electric, for example, he has applied the technique and its algorithms to optimize energy performance in heating and cooling buildings.

“These techniques allow you to minimize a building’s total power consumption by manipulating the energy-management control system to give you the best performance,” he says. “A small change in power consumption can result in a lot of cost savings.”

Consider a large grocery store with multiple heating and cooling systems, lots of open space with doors opening and closing, and varying numbers of people shopping. The store conditions are constantly changing and very complicated to model in a realistic way. The control problem is to maintain a constant store temperature with the least power consumption.

“This technique allows you to find extra degrees of freedom to adjust the compressor speed or fan speed, for example, to changing conditions in real time to minimize power consumption while maintaining a constant temperature,” Dr. Guay says. “It’s an adaptable tool that could easily be used to retrofit the energy systems in office, retail, industrial or apartment buildings.”

His innovative and influential contributions in the areas of process control engineering and real-time decision-making support have been recognized with the Premier’s Research Excellence Award, the Queen’s Chancellor’s Research Award and the Syncrude Canada Innovation Award. He also received the Golden Apple Award for his teaching from Queen’s Engineering undergrads. His past work with Suncor Energy, Syncrude Canada and Royal Dutch Shell in the Alberta oil sands to help optimize plant productivity and performance under changing daily operating and market conditions takes on greater urgency and relevance in today’s world of low oil prices.

Dr. Guay sees exciting opportunities as well to develop real-time optimization tools in multiple areas. Such tools could be used in drug delivery in medicine to develop tailored individual treatments.

“Every individual responds differently to medications,” he says. “We’d like to work with pharmaceutical companies to develop drug delivery systems that could find the optimal dose from measurements of blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol from the patient in real time.”

ESC is also ideal for the development of cyber-secure control systems.

“The model-free aspect of the technique can minimize the complexity of control systems and reduce their vulnerability to cyber-attacks,” Dr. Guay says.

This article was first published on the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science website.

Adversity no barrier to success

Queen’s electrical and computer engineering (ECE) student Emily Heffernan has a lot going on.

[Emily Heffernan]
A student in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) at Queen's, Emily Heffernan has earned Google Lime and Hydro One scholarships. (Supplied photo)

She’s deep into her undergraduate studies, spent last summer working in biomedical computing at the Laboratory for Percutaneous Surgery (Perk Lab) and has an internship this summer with Hydro One. She’s also been named Regional Executive Officer for North America of Robogals, the popular international student organization that holds robotics and computing workshops designed specifically to encourage girls and young women to pursue engineering in academy and industry.

She’s bright, industrious and community minded but she’s been waylaid a time or two along her path so far.

“Two weeks before I was scheduled to start at Queen’s in 2013, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease,” she says.

Crohn’s is a chronic autoimmune disease that principally affects the large intestine. It’s painful, often embarrassing and can even become life threatening if left unchecked. There’s no sure cure and people living with it have to make big lifestyle changes. It’s manageable but always lurking, always threatening to flare up.

“Obviously it came with lots of challenges: figuring everything out and being in pain a lot of the time,” Ms. Heffernan says. “Crohn’s is also hard because it’s an invisible disease. People don’t necessarily know you have it so it can be hard for them to understand.”

Still, she managed to complete her first-year courses and progress through second year. Then, during a routine checkup, doctors noticed she had a heart murmur.

“My mom has one, so I wasn’t concerned at first,” Ms. Heffernan says. “But after I went for some tests, I was referred to a cardiologist and then to a surgeon. I had mitral valve regurgitation.”

The mitral valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle of the heart. A leaky one can cause fatigue and shortness of breath but, more dangerously, it can lead to high blood pressure in the veins leading from the lungs to the heart. It’s a condition that can cause heart failure if left untreated and the only way to repair it is with open heart surgery. The recovery set Heffernan back at least a semester.

“It’s probably something I had for years and years and they just never caught it,” she says. “Now, since the surgery, I’m back to running and doing yoga and all that kind of stuff.”

Her perseverance, hard work and academic talent have served Ms. Heffernan well this year. She was one of only 12 Google Lime Scholars selected from North America. It’s one of the highest honours Google bestows on undergraduate students and comes with $5,000, a summer retreat to Google headquarters in California and a chance at a Google internship. She also earned one of only 10 Hydro One Women in Engineering Scholarships. That one is also $5,000 and, for Ms. Heffernan, comes with a summer internship at the utility giant in Toronto.

She isn’t quite sure what she wants to do after her undergrad but thinks graduate school will likely be part of the plan when it comes together.

“One thing I’ve learned from these experiences is that there are always obstacles and barriers in the way of what I’m trying to do,” she says. “It might take a bit of time. I might have to take a detour to get where I want to go but I’ll get there eventually.”

To fellow students who are living with disabilities or facing health issues at Queen’s, Heffernan has some advice.

“It can be really overwhelming and it’s hard to feel understood,” she says. “But it’s really important to take advantage of the resources available. Admitting that you need help can be one of the hardest things to do but it’s important to understand that it’s okay to ask for it. If it’s going to help you to get where you want to go, it’s important to do that.”

Building rockets, boats, and futures

Justin Gordanier engages Aboriginal youth in hands-on STEM activities in new Access to Engineering role.

Justin Gordanier can easily pinpoint the best part of his job.

He started as Aboriginal community engagement coordinator in the Aboriginal Access to Engineering (AAE) program this past spring, and so far he’s already spent many days out in communities working with young children to boost their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM fields).

“I love to see the students who typically don’t do well in school take the lead when given the chance to do hands-on activities, like making boats out of recyclable materials,” says Mr. Gordanier (B.Ed.’14), who in addition to his Queen’s Education degree, holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Brock University.

Justin Gordanier joined Melanie Howard in the Aboriginal Access to Engineering office this past spring.

“All of a sudden, you see these kids’ confidence soar and they begin to help the others who aren’t as good at the hands-on work. They get to see each others’ strengths and work together. It’s nice to see that shift.”

Mr. Gordanier works alongside AAE Director Melanie Howard and together they’ve developed an outreach program to engage Aboriginal students ages 6-13 in communities throughout Ontario and Quebec. Travelling many days a month, Mr. Gordanier is visiting First Nation day camps throughout the summer, working with the children on science and engineering activities. He spends a few hours at each of the camps every week. Throughout the school year, Mr. Gordanier will be working in First Nation schools and with teachers to help them develop long-term plans to integrate more hands-on STEM learning opportunities in their classrooms.

Queen’s Aboriginal Access to Engineering 
Unique in Eastern Canada, this program aims to increase the number of Aboriginal engineers across the country. It has a dual focus – it offers on-campus support to current Aboriginal students and aims to foster future development of younger generations, by providing resources for students at the elementary and secondary levels to encourage them to stay in school and keep studying math and science. Learn more on the website.

“The activities I do with the kids are fun but educational, and the response so far has been great. They look forward to what’s coming the next week, especially when it’s building rockets or something like that,” he says. “And it’s all collaborative group work, so they are learning to work together, as well as life skills such as patience and perseverance.”

Mr. Gordanier’s work is part of AAE’s broader plan to increase engagement and interest among Aboriginal youth in the STEM fields. They want to get into schools early and build long-term, sustained relationships with both students and educators. “It is well-known that Aboriginal people are underrepresented in post-secondary and this program aims to help change that,” he says.

With his science and education degrees, as well as his Mohawk ancestry, Mr. Gordanier is well-suited for the position. He grew up in Deseronto, Ont., close to the Tyendinaga community, but he says it wasn’t until university that he became really interested in his culture.

“When I went to Brock, this large, diverse community, I saw people from so many different cultures, and it sparked my interest in my own culture and history. During the summer, I worked at a daycare at Tyendinaga, and while I had always wanted to go to medical school, I realized I loved working with kids and that made me go into teaching.”

While supply teaching at Quinte Mohawk School, he met Ms. Howard, who was working on other outreach activities with the community through Queen’s AAE. She told him about the new position in her office, and Mr. Gordanier quickly applied.

“It’s an exciting and rewarding job that allows me to use all of the skills I’ve developed over the years,” he says. “I love watching the kids’ eyes light up while doing the activities I’ve set out for them. We don’t know for sure how it will impact or change their lives, but you can see the excitement and how much they enjoy it.”

 

Bigger-picture training for industry leaders

New online, interdisciplinary master’s program offers energy and minerals/mining professionals a chance to zoom out, gain new knowledge for complex workplace.

A new interdisciplinary master’s program at Queen’s wants to take professionals already working in the energy and minerals/mining sectors and zoom them out to see the bigger picture.

“The working environment for those in oil and gas, and minerals and mining, has increased in complexity, and leaders in those fields need to have a solid understanding earlier in their careers of all the interconnections playing out,” says Ione Taylor, Executive Director of the program.

The Queen's Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership provides professionals with a flexible, mostly online format to allow them to keep working while they complete the degree.

The Master of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership, which is accepting students for the January 2017 start, is an 80 per cent online, 20 per cent residential program that allows professionals to keep working as they complete the degree.

“This is a very exciting program that integrates many different components, from examining the resource life cycle, with its fundamental earth science and engineering aspects, to the economic and business side, and the legal, policy, regulatory and ethical considerations of working in these industries,” says Jean Hutchinson, Professor and Department Head for Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering.

An important facet of the program is its broad range of faculty members and instructors. The program draws from the Faculty of Law, Smith School of Business, Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Political Science, and Economics, as well as external industry leaders.

“Many people working in these fields recognize that having an undergraduate degree is not enough going into the future – they need more sophisticated analytical skills, to deal with a changing environment that demands they have an understanding of human rights and environmental issues, on top of earth systems science and business knowledge,” says Dr. Taylor, who came to Queen’s from the petroleum industry and the U.S. Geological Survey to lead, and teach in, the program. “This program will help shape the next generation of leadership in these fields – people who will help Canada and the world move forward in a sustainable way.”

Students can study in the program on a part-time basis and will complete the master’s in 20 months, ideally.

“This program sets a new standard for course design at the graduate level and exemplifies Queen’s mission to provide innovative, interdisciplinary programs that offer students flexibility and both on-campus and online components,” says Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and its staff have been integral to this program’s launch and in making it a dynamic and fluid learning experience for students.”

The CTL worked with faculty and program staff to take input from an extensive external market survey and shape it into an innovative curriculum, which effectively addresses the skill and competency development needs identified in the survey as priorities for the program. 

In addition, Continuing and Distance Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science provided instructional designers and developers, who are experts at online and blended delivery programs, to guide faculty in creating the online format for the courses offered in the program.  

For more information, visit the program website or email Dr. Taylor.

Powered by collaboration

Queen’s researcher Jon Pharoah teams up with Mercedes-Benz to solve fuel cell challenges.

When Mercedes-Benz was looking for help to improve its fuel cell manufacturing process, the company turned to Jon Pharoah, an engineering professor at Queen’s with more than 20 years of research experience in this field.

Queen's researcher Jon Pharoah has partnered with Mercedes-Benz to help improve their fuel cell manufacturing process.

“For decades we’ve been researching these devices – how to make them better, how to make them more robust, less costly – and now, there’s a whole new slew of problems when it comes to mass manufacturing,” says Dr. Pharoah, who served as director of the former Queen’s-RMC Fuel Cell Research Centre (FCRC). “When manufacturing fuel cells on a commercial scale, we need to worry about using all the material so that nothing is wasted, that the devices are built to the right tolerances and that they’re made as inexpensive as possible.”

Dr. Pharoah and his team were approached by Mercedes-Benz to help solve an issue faced during mass production of fuel cells. The polymeric material that composes the core of the cell requires water to function, which it draws from the air. When the relative humidity changes, the material can shrink or expand – causing serious quality control issues in a manufacturing setting. Similar to wood used in construction or flooring, the material must be allowed to acclimate before manufacturing. As all of the fuel cell components must be stored and manufactured in a clean room, the manufacturer was looking for ways to shorten the acclimation time and reduce the volume of inventory necessary.

Queen's graduate student Philippe Coté works on fuel cell material at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing centre in British Columbia. Mr. Coté was one of two graduate students from Queen's to work at the facility under a Mitacs Accelerate grant. Photos courtesy Thomas Maassen and Vincent Nguyen, Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc., Fuel Cell Division 

In a series of experiments, Dr. Pharoah and his team tested means of speeding up the acclimatization process, controlling for a wide range of factors. His team has already sent two mechanical engineering master’s students to the manufacturing facility in British Columbia to test the methods on the polymeric material on a larger scale. These on-site projects were funded though the Accelerate program offered by a Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit organization that supports applied and industrial research by providing funding for research internship programs with private sector organizations across the country.

Dr. Pharoah says the collaboration with Mercedes-Benz presented some interesting challenges and required the researchers to look at issues they had not considered in the past.

“We have really thought about the devices, but more from the perspective of making the best possible widget and not the widget that’s easiest to manufacture. It’s a new focus area and there are many manufacturing issues we need to tackle,” he says. “Ultimately, this is the way we’re going to have clean vehicles. This is an incredibly important area for combatting climate change and it’s nice to be working with a company that’s trying to get these out the door and into the hands of consumers.”

Dr. Pharoah and his team continue to refine their acclimation technique, with a new method showing promise in the manufacturing environment. The lab recently sent another student to the manufacturing centre on a Mitacs Accelerate internship to test the polymeric material being used in actual fuel cells.

“Queen’s is delighted to be working with Mercedes-Benz, and to provide our expertise in fuel cell research to solve pressing issues that stand in the way of commercializing this technology,” says Dr. Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “By improving how Mercedes-Benz manufactures fuel cells for its vehicles, Dr. Pharoah and his team are helping take a crucial step towards a more environmentally friendly future.”

Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions in Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines.

Current issue of For the Record

For the Record provides postings of appointment, committee, grant, award, PhD examination and other notices set out by collective agreements and university policies and processes. It is the university’s primary vehicle for sharing this information with our community.

The next issue of For the Record will be published Thursday, Aug. 18. The deadline for submitting information is Tuesday, Aug. 16. For the Record is published bi-weekly throughout the academic year and monthly during the summer.

Submit For the Record information for posting to Communications Officer Wanda Praamsma

Appointments

Faculty of Health Sciences

Alexander H. (Sandy) Boag – Head, Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine

Dean Richard Reznick is pleased to announce that Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), has appointed Alexander H. (Sandy) Boag as Head, Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences. This appointment is for a five-year period beginning June 15, 2016.

A graduate of Queen’s in Chemical Engineering, Dr. Boag did a Master's of Applied Science at University of Toronto. He then attended medical school at Queen’s, and a residency in anatomic pathology, also at Queen’s.

Dr. Boag then joined the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine as a faculty member in 1993. He served as service chief for anatomical pathology from 2001 to 2013. Dr. Boag is an active member Cancer Care Ontario, currently serving as pathology lead for the southeast region. He has served as clinical director of the Cytology lab at Kingston General Hospital since 2008.

An active and respected member of his department, Dr. Boag has held numerous committee roles, displaying a penchant for change and improvement. He currently sits on the Departmental Practice Plan Steering Committee, and holds the position of vice-chair of the SEAMO Finance Committee, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

Dr. Boag has been active at all levels of education and training, having served on the residency training committee in pathology, and being a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Anatomical Pathology Examination Board. A pulmonary and urologic pathologist, Dr. Boag’s scholarly work has focused on prostate and lung cancer. As an active member of several research teams, Dr. Boag has been involved in multiple funded research initiatives and scholarly publications.

Other appointments in the Faculty of Health Sciences:

Muhammad Khan, Associate Professor, Psychiatry – May 1, 2016

Tracie Pennimpede, Assistant Professor, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences – May 1, 2016

Amir Elmekkawi, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics – May 1, 2016

Colleen M. Davison, Assistant Professor, Public Health Services – June 1, 2016

Stacy Ridi, Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine – June 1, 2016

Christopher Booth, Associate Professor, Oncology – July 1, 2016

Danielle Rumbolt, Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Radiology – July1, 2016

Wiley Chung, Assistant Professor, Surgery, General Surgery – July 1, 2016

Jeff Yach, Assistant Professor, Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery – July 1, 2016

Genevieve Digby, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine – July 1, 2016

Cynthia Pruss, Assistant Professor, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences – July 1, 2016

Glenio Mizubuti, Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine – July 1, 2016

Anupam Sehgal, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics – July 1, 2016

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

New appointments:

Nicolas Hudon, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering – July 1, 2016

Amir Fam, Associate Dean (Research & Graduate Studies) – July 1, 2016

Brian Frank, Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning) – July 1, 2016

Human Resources

Successful Candidates

Job Title: Visitor Services Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Competition: 2016-107
Successful Candidate: Kyle Holleran

Job Title: Research Coordinator
Department: Emergency Medicine
Competition: 2016-014 & 2016-R003
Successful Candidate: Nicole O'Callaghan (Critical Care Medicine)

Job Title: Simulation Lab Manager (USW Local 2010)
Department: School of Nursing
Competition: 2016-159
Successful Candidate: Linda Suurdt (School of Nursing)

Job Title: Grants and Special Projects Leader (USW Local 2010)
Department: Pediatrics
Competition: 2016-161
Successful Candidate: Helen Coo (Pediatrics/Public Health Sciences)

Job Title: Senior Development Officer (USW Local 2010)
Department: Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Competition: 2016-129
Successful Candidate: WITHDRAWN

Job Title: Plumber Steamfitter (CUPE 229)
Department: Physical Plant Services
Competition: 2016-054
Successful Candidate: WITHDRAWN

Job Title: Senior Web Developer (USW Local 2010)
Department: Education Technology Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences
Competition: 2016-079
Successful Candidate: Eric Howarth (Education Technology Unit)

Job Title: Director, Career Development
Department: Faculty of Law
Competition: 2016-082
Successful Candidate: Julie Banting (Faculty of Law)

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Department: Strategic Procurement Services
Competition: 2016-131
Successful Candidate: Shamael Malko-Moore

Job Title: Assistant Residence Life Coordinator (USW Local 2010)
Department: Housing and Ancillary Services
Competition: 2016-121
Successful Candidate: Monica Geary

Job Title: Program Materials Administrator (USW Local 2010)
Department: Industrial Relations Centre
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Department: Department of Chemistry
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Department: Housing and Ancillary Services
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Successful Candidate: Kathleen Murray

Job Title: Web/Application Developer (USW Local 2010)
Department: Smith School of Business
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Successful Candidate: Sinthu Sivanesan

Job Title: Coordinatoor, Marketing and Communications (USW Local 2010)
Department: Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Science
Competition: 2016-092
Successful Candidate: Sarah Chapman (Dean's Office - A&S)

Job Title: Senior Manager, Program and Administration
Department: Queen's University Biological Station
Competition: 2016-R001 & 2016-002
Successful Candidate: Sonia Nobrega (University Research Services)

Job Title: Governance Assistant
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Competition: 2016-102
Successful Candidate: Tracy Brons

Job Title: Learning Managament System Specialist (USW Local 2010)
Department: Faculty of Arts & Science, Learning Enhancement and Distance Studies
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Department: Athletics and Recreation
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Job Title: Chemical Technologist (CUPE 254)
Department: Chemical Engineering
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Successful Candidate: Brooke Belfall

Job Title: Residence Life Coordinator (USW Local 2010)
Department: Housing & Ancilary Services
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Successful Candidate: Alex Smykaluk (Residence)

Job Title: Senior Chemical Technologist (CUPE 254)
Department: Chemical Engineering
Competition: 2016-068
Successful Candidate: Kelly Sedore (Chemical Engineering)

Job Title: Program Manager (USW Local 2010)
Department: Smith School of Business
Competition: 2016-085
Successful Candidate: Hayley Clifton

Job Title: Residence Desk Supervisor
Department: Housing and Ancillary Services
Competition: 2016-081
Successful Candidate: Lindsay Higgs

Job Title: Coordinator, Facility Operations (USW Local 2010)
Department: Athletics and Recreation
Competition: 2016-104
Successful Candidate: Iain Pope

Job Title: Web Developer (USW Local 2010)
Department: Education Technology Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences
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Successful Candidate: Jordan Lackey

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Department: Cultural Studies
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Department: Athletics and Recreation
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Successful Candidate: Behrouz Ehsani-Moghaddam

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Department: Smith School of Business
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Successful Candidate: Noémie Hallé-Ducasse

Job Title: Office Assistant (USW Local 2010)
Department: Mechanical and Materials Engineering
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Successful Candidate: Marilyn Oosten (Environmental Health and Safety)

Welcome fellows

Three outstanding post-doctoral fellows have been recruited to Queen’s as a result of the inaugural Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds competition.

The Post-Doctoral Fund, intended to attract competitive post-doctoral candidates to the university and support their research contributions, is part of the suite of internal research awards launched by the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) in fall 2015.

“My sincere congratulations to the successful recipients of the Post-Doctoral Fund,” says Dr. Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “As was our intention in developing this opportunity, these funds have drawn leading young scholars to the university and will help to propel their research careers in new and exciting directions. I look forward to seeing the contributions made by these individuals.”

The successful recipients are Reza Nosrati (Chemical Engineering), Jaqueline Raymondi Silva (Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine) and Gregory Whitfield (Political Studies).

“Post-doctoral fellows play an important role in advancing research at Queen’s,” says Dr. Brenda Brouwer, Vice Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “We are thrilled that three new post-doctoral fellows will take up these awards‎ in the next academic year − they will bring energy and fresh perspective to the research community.”

More information on the post-doctoral fellows:

Reza Nosrati]
Reza Nosrati

Reza Nosrati – Dr. Nosrati is ready to apply his vast academic background in fluid mechanics to Prof. Carlos Escobedo’s research on the applications of micro-technology into cell biology and sensing.

Dr. Nosrati defended his PhD thesis in March 2016 at the University of Toronto, which focused on microfluidics for male infertility treatment. He has published more than 40 papers with 14 of them residing in high-profile scientific journals like Nature Communications. His works, including his groundbreaking discovery of the 2D slither swimming mode of sperm, have been highlighted several times in renowned journals such as Nature Reviews Urology and featured in news sources worldwide including LA Times and Daily Mail.

Dr. Nosrati’s unique skill set will assist Prof. Escobedo in his two research streams: developing and applying microstructures to interact with living cells, and developing sensing technologies for detection of ovarian cancer in early stages. Dr. Nosrati’s experience in creating and developing microstructures will be of particular value to Prof. Escobedo’s current project of designing and testing microtech-based platforms for studying biofilm formation and degradation.

[Jaqueline Raymondi Silva]
Jaqueline Raymondi Silva

Jaqueline Raymondi Silva – Dr. Silva is excited to be joining the Queen’s Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine as a post-doctoral fellow this year. Under the supervision of Nader Ghasemlou, Dr. Silva will be able to pursue her passion for research into the impacts of pain in post-herpectic neuralgia, or shingles.

While completing her doctorate at the Universidade de São Paulo, Dr. Silva developed a new model of this disease in the mouse. She will now bring this expertise, along with her background in somatosensory and immunology research, to Dr. Ghasemlou’s team. As part of the Ghasemlou lab, Dr. Silva will study the neuroimmune basis underlying post-herpetic neuralgia using animal models, with a focus on changes to circadian rhythms. Dr. Silva’s experience in this field will be key to carrying out the Ghasemlou lab’s bedside-to-bench-and-back study, allowing her to use her doctoral research in a new academic community.

Dr. Silva will be able to build collaborations with other Queen’s researchers and to mentor new undergraduate and graduate students entering the fields of neuroscience and immunology. The experiences and training she receives at Queen’s will support her in her goal of eventually establishing her own laboratory and research team in Brazil.

[Gregory Whitfield]
Gregory Whitfield

Gregory Whitfield – Beginning in August, Margaret Moore in the Department of Political Studies will see one of her past graduate students return to her as a post-doctoral fellow. Gregory Whitfield completed his master’s degree at Queen’s and successfully defended his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. His dissertation is about the connection between the theories and methods used in social science research and normative political theories and ethics, but he also has strong academic interests in the study of legal systems and Aboriginal property rights.

He is thrilled to be able to apply his knowledge to Dr. Moore’s SSHRC-funded project on methods of corrective justice, where his fellowship will allow him to research normative theories that contribute to Aboriginal land claims. Considering North America’s origin as a settler nation that has struggled with Aboriginal territory ownership, Dr. Whitfield’s contribution will be very relevant to the current political landscape. Dr. Moore has identified Dr. Whitfield’s analysis as essential to covering all aspects of land rights and necessary self-government after land dispossession in her SSHRC project. Dr. Whitfield will also be able to forge new research relationships with other faculty members throughout his time at Queen’s.

More information on all of the QROF recipients please visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)’s website. The 2016-2017 QROF competition will launch in the fall. 

Fuelling success

In an impressive debut at the prestigious Shell Eco-marathon, a team of Queen’s engineers overcame numerous roadblocks to finish tops in its division for most energy-efficient vehicle.

The student team from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science competed in the hydrogen fuel cell prototype division of the eco-marathon, which brings together teams of university, college and high school students from across North America in a challenge to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient vehicle.

“I think it was the collaboration of the team and the persistence and problem-solving throughout the competition. It would have been easy to say ‘No, that’s it – we can’t fix these problems’ and just enjoy the rest of the competition without competing,” says Matt Swift (Sc’17), technical director for the team. “But nobody had that attitude and everyone wanted to make sure the car was ready to go and that we could compete in the final competition.” 

[Queen's Fuel Cell Team]
The Queen's Fuel Cell Team accepts its prize for placing first in its division for the most energy-efficient vehicle at the Shell Eco-marathon. (Supplied photo)

Previously, the team had competed in the SAE Clean Snowmobile competition, which challenges students to re-engineer an existing snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise, but had not made it past the inspection stage. 

The new competition, however, got off to an auspicious start, says Mr. Swift.

“The first time we went through the inspection, we passed most of the stages right away and then had a few things to fix,” he says, adding that a number of hydrogen leaks were detected in the fuel lines. “So we went back and tried to do the best we could and went for another inspection and ended up getting through, which was really huge to the team, even at that stage.” 

After getting through the checks, the team hit the track.

There was trouble from the start. The vehicle couldn’t make it up an incline at the start of the 0.6-mile track, so it was back to the work area to find a solution. 

I had never been in a leadership position as big as this one and had never managed a team, so I think that was huge for me. Those are really useful skills to bring to the workplace after I finish my studies.
— Matt Swift (Sc'17), Technical Director, Queen's Fuel Cell Team

This is where the team members gained a lot of valuable experience, Mr. Swift explains. They also got some help diagnosing the issue from a coach from another team.  

“It was a lot of troubleshooting and trying to figure out what the actual problem was because we weren’t really sure,” Mr. Swift says. “It was a great problem-solving experience. We needed to get it done and in a short amount of time so we could get other tests done.” 

The team had a total of four runs in the competition – and the second run went smoother. However, as the vehicle neared a larger hill at the end of the course, it came to a halt once again. Then, another complication.

In the rush to get out of the way of other competitors, one of the spindles holding a wheel and its brake snapped off. 

It was a welded piece they had made themselves in McLaughlin Hall, and they didn’t have the tools to repair it. 

Fortunately, they came across a manufacturing shop that was offered free to all competitors. The team told the shop what they needed and provided drawings, as well. 

 “We came back an hour later and they had fixed it. That was huge and it was something we didn’t know we would have the opportunity to have at the competition.” 

With one more chance, the team decided to warm up the fuel cell ahead of time, hoping that would resolve the power issue. It worked. The vehicle completed the 10 laps – 6 miles, almost 10 km – without a hitch.  

Then they waited for the results, which left them “awestruck.” 

QFCT was first in their division – and it wasn’t close. They posted a result of 83.9 miles/m³ hydrogen, and the next best result was in the 60s. 

Like the other design teams supported by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Queen’s University Engineering Society, QFCT allowed Mr. Swift to gain valuable hands-on experience outside the classroom. 

“For me personally, the management side of things was really important. I had never been in a leadership position as big as this one and had never managed a team, so I think that was huge for me,” he says. “Those are really useful skills to bring to the workplace after I finish my studies.” 

Engineering a path to success

Queen’s University Chemical Engineering professor and Queen’s Research Chair in Biochemical and Cell Culture Engineering, Andrew Daugulis, has been named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

 The Canadian Academy of Engineering allows Canada’s most distinguished engineers the opportunity to provide strategic advice on matters of importance to society. Queen's professor Andrew Daugulis was one of 43 new Fellows elected to the academy today at the academy's Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg, MB.

Election to the academy is one of the highest professional honours accorded to engineers in Canada. Fellows are nominated by existing members based on a track record of distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession.

“It’s a big honour,” Dr. Daugulis explains. “There are some renowned people in that group such as Bob Beamish, namesake of Beamish Munro Hall, and Mike Lazaridis, who started Research in Motion. It’s humbling to be included in that company.”

Dr. Daugulis’ research focus is industrial biotechnology – using microorganisms and biological systems in a wide range of commercial applications such as biopharmaceuticals or industrial bioprocesses. His research also touches on the field of environmental engineering, which uses biological systems to degrade toxic compounds.

“The biological revolution is now,” he says. “Biological processes are green – they don’t run at high temperatures and pressure. The carbon footprint is really small and the use of renewable resources is significant, so it’s a great place to be right now – using biological systems to do important industrial applications.”

While the academy will formally induct the new fellows at the Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg on June 27, Dr. Daugulis will have to wait until next year’s meeting to receive his plaque due to a prior commitment.

“Because I found out only in April, I unfortunately will not be able to attend,” Dr. Daugulis says. “Our family has had a long-standing family vacation arranged every year going into the long July weekend. As of the date of the meeting I can use the post-nominal letters but I’ll have to wait until next year’s meeting, which I will certainly attend!”

Founded in 1987, the Canadian Academy of Engineering is an independent, self-governing and non-profit organization established to allow Canada’s most distinguished and experienced engineers the opportunity to provide strategic advice on matters of critical importance. Its membership comprises many of the country’s most accomplished engineers, who are elected by their peers in recognition of their dedication to the application of science and engineering principles.

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