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Custom program developed for Health Science leaders

Health Sciences Leadership Series

A program designed to improve the leadership capabilities and communication skills of Health Sciences faculty members.

Visit the Faculty of Health Sciences website to register.

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Health Sciences faculty members spend years training for their roles as educators, researchers and scholars. In many cases, though, there aren'™t the same opportunities to develop specific skills required for their administrative and managerial duties.

The Office of Faculty Development in the Faculty of Health Sciences aims to change that by collaborating with the Human Resources Department on a new management development program. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will launch this September with the first cohort of 30 participants completing six full-day sessions throughout 2014-15.

"This program is modelled after one that myself and a number of other faculty had the opportunity to take several years ago," says Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, Faculty of Health Sciences. "In retrospect, the content has proven to be highly relevant and practical. The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development."

Human Resources designed the program specifically for Health Sciences faculty members. The material will cover challenges, situations and conflicts they will encounter in their day-to-day work. Dr. Sanfilippo says participants will gain a deeper understanding of their leadership capabilities, expand their communication skills, enhance their project management skills, and improve their ability to build relationships both within and outside their department.

The Health Sciences Leadership Series will be invaluable to any faculty members charged with administrative responsibilities or curricular development.

Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences.

With the Health Sciences Leadership Series, Queen's Human Resources Department continues to expand its leadership development programming. The department has offered a similar program for non-academic managers since 2009.

"œWe are excited to partner with the Faculty of Health Sciences to extend this valuable leadership training to their faculty members," says Al Orth, Associate Vice-Principal, Human Resources. "We are hopeful that the positive outcomes of this series will result in opportunities to work with other faculties on similar programs in the future."

The series has the added benefit of meeting the accreditation criteria for two professional organizations. It is an accredited group learning activity for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The program also meets the accreditation criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Online registration is now open with the first session slated to take place Sept. 16. More information is available on the Faculty of Health Sciences website or by contacting Shannon Hill, Learning Development Specialist, Human Resources, at ext. 74175.

Provincial funding to strengthen Queen’s research teams

The Ontario government announces funding to support new Queen’s research teams and laboratory operations.

A total of 17 Queen’s researchers are receiving a combined $2,942,914 in funding from the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure programs and Early Researcher Awards – efforts designed to bolster the capacity of research teams and laboratories.

“Today’s funding announcement speaks not only to the ongoing research excellence demonstrated by our faculty, but also to the future potential their work holds in addressing exciting challenges in Ontario,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research), Queen’s University. “On behalf of the university, I would like to thank the Government of Ontario for continuing to support the growth of research capacity and innovation at Queen’s, and at institutions across the province.”

Three of the winning faculty members received Early Researcher Awards, providing up to $140,000 to support the creation and operation of new research teams. This funding is used to hire personnel to assist in research experiments, including undergraduates, graduate students, technicians, associates, and others.

Additionally, 14 researchers were awarded support through the ORF Small Infrastructure Fund which helps cover the cost of acquiring or renewing research equipment, specimens, computer software, and other operational technology for laboratories.

“Innovative research is essential for future economic growth and I am thrilled with the investments being made in projects in Kingston and across Ontario,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “The world-class research being conducted at Queen’s University is an immense source of pride for myself and our region and I look forward to seeing the results of this funding.”

ORF - Early Researcher Award recipients:

Frances Bonier (Biology) – $140,000
Carlos Escobedo (Chemical Engineering) -- $140,000
Madhuri Koti (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $140,000

ORF - Small Infrastructure Fund recipients:

Janet Dancey (Canadian Cancer Trials Group), David LeBrun (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Lois Shepherd (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) – $197,065
Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $125,000
Peter Davies (Biochemistry), John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $100,192
Amer Johri (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $120,000
Lysa Lomax (Medicine) – $139,914
Susan Lord (Film and Media), Dylan Robinson (Art History; Cultural Studies), Rosaleen Hill (Art History and Art Conservation) – $400,000
Jacqueline Monaghan (Biology) – $125,641
Lois Mulligan (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute), Andrew Craig (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Peter Greer (Pathology and Molecular Medicine)  – $124,040
Diane Orihel (Biology/School of Environmental Studies) – $167,602
Michael Rainbow (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $400,000
David Rival (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $76,520
R. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) – $316,000
Graeme Smith (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Amer Johri (Medicine) – $63,540
Zhongwen Yao (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $167,400

More information is available on the Ontario Research Fund – Early Researcher Awards and Research Infrastructure Funds websites.

Standardized Patient program extends beyond campus

Queen's-based program uses actors to enhance training in the community.

The Kingston community will soon benefit from an expanded Queen’s University Standardized Patient and Objective Standardized Clinical Examination (SP&OSCE) program – a unique educational experience that uses actors to enhance training.

A  is an actor who is trained to portray the historical, emotional, and physical characteristics of a real person for educational purposes. This is done through simulated interviews and examinations. Standardized patients are also trained to provide feedback so students can gain insight into their strengths as well as areas requiring improvement. 

[Standardized Patient program]
Standardized patients go through a rigourous training program.

Started in 1992, the SP&OSCE Program has recruited and deployed more than 100 standardized patients in clinical skills, training and examinations for Faculty of Health Science students. Actors can take part in a variety of scenarios ranging from routine to emergent situations.

“For the past 25 years, Queen’s has run a successful standardized patient program catering to the Faculty of Health Sciences,” says Rebecca Snowdon, Community Outreach Coordinator. “Now we want to offer our services outside of the university to provide realistic, hands-on training to other departments, teams and organizations. We can provide a valuable service to the Kingston area with our standardized patients.”

Simulated learning provides a safe, yet realistic environment in which professionals from all fields can practice their skills. As the SP&OSCE program expands to the broader community, companies and organizations can hire actors to work in faculty development, dispute resolution, business, law enforcement, customer service, pharmacy, and physiotherapy.

“Standardized patients can be used in a wide range of applications outside of medicine. Over the past year we’ve been receiving an influx of bookings and requests from organization outside the university, it seemed a natural time to expand.  We’re excited to share the benefits of simulated learning,” says Kate Slagle, the SP&OSCE Program Manager.

The launch is set to begin this month with an open house at the Queen’s School of Medicine Clinical Teaching Centre on Monday, March 26 from 1 to 4 pm.  At the open house visitors will learn more about what the program has to offer, take a tour of the facility, and hear testimonials from those who have benefited from the program.

For more information visit the website.

Agreement highlights college-university collaboration

Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences program will offer advanced standing to students from various college programs across the province.

A doctor uses a touch screen. (iStock)
A doctor uses a touch screen. (iStock)

Queen’s University has signed agreements with 10 Ontario colleges which will allow students enrolled in a one-year health-centred certificate program to gain advanced standing in a Queen’s online health degree.

New articulation agreements signed with colleges across Ontario, including Kingston’s St. Lawrence College, will allow graduates of the colleges’ Pre-Health Sciences advanced pathway who enroll in the Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences program to receive credit for roughly one semester of courses.

Colleges who have signed onto this agreement:
• Algonquin College, Ottawa
• Cambrian College, Sudbury
• Fleming College, Peterborough
• Georgian College, Barrie
• Humber College, Toronto
• Loyalist College, Belleville
• Niagara College, Niagara-on-the-Lake
• Northern College, Timmins
• Sheridan College, Toronto
• St. Lawrence College, Kingston

“These agreements are an example of our commitment to collaboration and innovation within the higher education system,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are simplifying the process for qualified students who are seeking a high-quality education in the health field, while also delivering that education in a way that is flexible and forward-looking. We look forward to welcoming these students and helping them begin rewarding careers in healthcare.”

The agreements are effective immediately and are designed to pair the students’ introductory training and experience in health and healthcare with the necessary theoretical knowledge to pursue a variety of health professions or further studies at the university level.

“We are so pleased to work with Queen’s University to be able to offer this new pathway to our students,” says Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO of St. Lawrence College. “We know that many of our students are just beginning their post-secondary journey and opening up accessible ways for them to be able to achieve their educational goals is an important way we can help them on their career path.”

Post-secondary student mobility has been a priority of the Ontario government. In 2011, the government established the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to enhance student pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among Ontario’s 45 publicly assisted postsecondary institutions.

In response, Ontario universities and colleges have stepped up their efforts to develop transfer credit policies and practices, making it easier for students to choose their path through the postsecondary system. According to ONCAT, 55,000 students transfer institutions each year in Ontario.

Queen’s receives dozens of college graduates each year through academic pathways that have been established between individual faculties and colleges across Canada, including a collaborative degree in Music Theatre where students complete two years at St. Lawrence College and two years at Queen’s.

To learn more about the Queen’s online Bachelor of Health Sciences degree, visit bhsc.queensu.ca. Applications for the Spring 2018 term are now open.

Fireflies light the way

Queen’s researcher develops biosensor that uses firefly enzyme to monitor cancer cell activity.

Queen’s University researcher Xiaolong Yang and his research team have developed a light emission-based biosensor that uses firefly luciferase (the enzyme that allows fireflies to light up) to monitor cancer cell activity and help find new ways to fight the spread of cancer.

Research has previously shown that changes in Hippo signaling proteins may be responsible for cancer development but there is currently no system to quantify how these proteins change in cancers. This breakthrough discovery could improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Xiaolong Yang (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) has developed a new biosensor that monitors cancer cell activity.

“Our labs have recently shown that aberrant changes in a group of proteins called the Hippo signaling pathway may be involved in cancer development,” says Dr. Yang. “In this study, by using the luciferase enzyme extracted from fireflies as a reporter, we have created a new biosensor tool that allows researchers to measure the activity of the Hippo signaling pathway protein in cancers in real-time.”

Dr. Yang adds that studies show that the Hippo signaling proteins are critical for cancer angiogenesis, a process by which tumours make blood vessels during their growth and spread.

“Almost all people have family members or friends who are diagnosed with or die of cancer,” says Dr. Yang. “Our new tool allows us to detect cancerous cells’ behavior in a new way and will help future development of therapeutic drugs for preventing the most devastating and drug-resistant cancers from growing or spreading.”

More than 90 per cent of cancer deaths are due to spreading of cancer cells to other organs of the body (metastasis) at late stages of cancer progression. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for treating metastatic cancers. Dr. Yang’s novel research findings provide new evidence that targeting the Hippo signaling protein is very effective in cutting the nutrient supply of cancer cells through inhibiting blood vessel formation. This discovery may provide new hope for treating metastatic cancer patients for successful cancer treatment in the future.

Moreover, since defects in angiogenesis also play important roles in many other diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, the new discovery may also provide a new way of fighting these diseases that affect the lives of millions of people around the world.

Working with Dr. Yang on the research were PhD candidates Taha Azad, Helena J. Janse van Rensburg, and Ben Yeung, and research associate Yawei Hao. The research was published in Nature Communications.

Queen’s researchers receive federal funding for novel, patient-oriented cancer treatments

Three Queens faculty members awarded three-year funding for multi-disciplinary health research.

Three Queen’s University scholars have been named as recipients of Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) grants – a funding program created by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to support stronger working partnerships among health care, engineering, and natural science researchers.

John Allingham, Associate Professor of Biomedical Molecular Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology, John Schreiner, Adjunct Professor of Oncology, and Gabor Fichtinger, Professor in the Queen’s School of Computing and Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair, will all receive funding to support multi-disciplinary cancer research projects.

“It is wonderful to see innovative, patient-oriented researchers at Queen’s recognized with grants that will help advance patient-oriented research through their work,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research). “On behalf of the university, I want to congratulate Drs. Allingham, Schreiner, and Fichtinger on their new funding, which speaks to the impact of integrated and collaborative approaches on scientific discovery and future therapies.”

Dr. Allingham, together with co-investigators P. Andrew Evans (Chemistry) and Andrew Craig (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute), will receive $497,500 over three years to fund the development and pre-clinical testing of new cancer fighting drugs inspired by natural products that disrupt a key protein required for cancer cells to spread. The spread of cancer cells within the body is the cause of 90 per cent of cancer-related deaths, and new therapies targeting this step will greatly improve survival rates for cancer patients.

Dr. Schreiner will receive $157,870 over three years to analyze and improve upon current radiation treatments for tumours by evaluating the effectiveness and shortcomings of the current methods to measure dose when the therapy uses a radiation source moving within the tumour, and by creating software that can measure and assess  the delivery of the treatment designed for each patient. He and his colleagues aim to be the first team to develop practical patient-specific dose delivery validation for this class of radiation treatments.

Dr. Fichtinger will receive $194,419 over three years for his work to improve the surgical outcome for breast cancer patients who undergo breast-conservation procedures. These operations involve efforts to remove early-stage cancer cells while preserving healthy parts of the breast. Occasionally some cancerous cells are missed and remain in the body, meaning patients often have to undergo repeat surgeries – increasing their risk of complications, psychological distress, and increased costs, treatment disruptions. Dr. Fichtinger’s team, including primary collaborators Jay Engel (Surgery) and John Rudan (Surgery), will develop a real-time electromagnetic navigation system capable of better detecting remaining cancer cells in effort to improve the procedure’s success rate, and eliminate the need for recurring surgical interventions.

As part of Queen’s University’s affiliation with Kingston Health Sciences Centre and the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, the CHRP funding will play a key role in improving care and health outcomes for patients in the future.

The grants are part of $19.8 million in CHRP funding being awarded to researchers across Canada. The funding supports multi-disciplinary studies designed to discover and innovate in ways that will have a profound impact on Canadians’ health and environment, the economy, and communities.

For more information on the CHRP grants, please visit the website.

Aubrey Groll: 1934-2018

Aubrey Groll

Aubrey Groll, a long-time member of the Faculty of Medicine at Queen’s and gastroenterologist at Kingston General Hospital, died on Thursday, Feb. 22. He was 85.

A devoted teacher, Dr. Groll was recognized for his outstanding clinical teaching by Queen’s medical students who awarded him the WT Connell Award for three successive years, and his colleagues presented him with the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1996. Upon his retirement, the Faculty of Medicine established the Groll Prize in Clinical Studies for a student who demonstrates “exemplary interpersonal communication skills with patients.”

An obituary is available online.

Queen’s family medicine residents participate in unique Falkland Islands rotation

One Queen's family medicine resident will be heading 11,000 kilometres south for a year to help citizens of a remote Commonwealth territory. 

Katherine Soucie, a second-year post-graduate family medicine resident (PGY2), assesses patient Norma Edwards in clinic at the King Edward Memorial VII Hospital (KEMH) in Stanley, the Falkland Islands. (Supplied Photo)
Katherine Soucie, a second-year post-graduate family medicine resident (PGY2), assesses patient Norma Edwards in clinic at the King Edward Memorial VII Hospital (KEMH) in Stanley, the Falkland Islands. (Supplied Photo)

One of the strengths of Queen’s Family Medicine residents is their ability to work almost anywhere. As a part of their two-year residency, these family doctors spend six months of training in a community setting, and at least two of those months are spent in a rural setting.

So, when a remote British overseas territory off the coast of South America found itself in need of medical professionals, a Queen’s alumnus knew exactly where the Falkland Islands’ government could find help.

“Thanks to a connection made by Andrew Pipe (Meds’74) of the Ottawa Heart Institute, Queen’s Family Medicine residents have been taking on placements in the Falkland Islands in recent years as part of a strategy to help the territory meet their need for well-trained family doctors,” says Geoffrey Hodgetts, Enhanced Skills Program Director, Rural Skills Program Coordinator and Kingston Residency Site Director in the School of Medicine.

While the Falklands previously relied on British and foreign-trained physicians, it has been more difficult to attract doctors with the necessary skills to work in a remote setting such as the small island nation, located to the east of South America’s Patagonia coast. Additionally, providing medical care to the population – which is divided up across several islands – requires medical experts who can work in the field with limited equipment.

Queen’s University family medicine residents stay at “Canada House”, which is a typical Falkland Islands house. These accommodations were given the name when the Queen’s University residency program began several years ago. The location is ideally situated near the hospital. (Supplied Photo)
Queen’s University family medicine residents stay at “Canada House”, which is a typical Falkland Islands house. These accommodations were given the name when the Queen’s University residency program began several years ago. The location is ideally situated near the hospital. (Supplied Photo)
Why the Falkland Islands?
● The Falkland Islands are a remotely located British territory with just 3,400 citizens, making it a distinctive environment to gain practical medicine training.
● Providing health care on the islands can be costly as more critically ill patients may require air evacuation to a hospital, and accessing more advanced care can be a challenge.
● Queen’s Family Medicine residents come well prepared for these challenges through their rural and community training.
● The demanding environment helps residents master their skills and meet the requirements of their residency.

Since forming the agreement, approximately six Queen’s family medicine residents per year have headed to the Falkland Islands with one or two residents making the trip at a time. During their rotations, residents work under the direction of the Falkland’s Chief Medical Officer, Rebecca Edwards, and her delegates. 

“We are privileged to work with these skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced young doctors,” says Dr. Edwards. “I am always extremely impressed with the ability of these residents to travel across the globe, to a new country and unknown hospital where medical practices might be unfamiliar, and be able to just get on with the job at hand. The residents seem unfazed by the changes, meeting each new challenge with focus and dedication and asking appropriate questions when needed.”

This rotation gives residents an opportunity to experience the Falkland Islands, and assess their interest in the territory’s available enhanced training scholarship. The scholarship offers a post-graduate third-year training position provided the resident stays for a one-year return of service. Most importantly, it helps the island nation potentially recruit physicians to help meet their needs longer term. 

Belle Song (Meds’15), a Queen’s family medicine graduate, is the first to take advantage of the Falkland Islands’ training scholarship. Dr. Song is currently completing her enhanced rural skills training. When she completes her training later this year, she will work at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in the Falkland Islands.

She is already familiar with this setting, as Dr. Song was one of the earliest Queen’s family medicine residents to complete a two-month rotation in the Falkland Islands in 2016.

"From the moment I arrived, I felt that I was a part of the Falklands community. Some of the nurses, pharmacists, radiation techs, and physiotherapists have become close personal friends, and even residents of the island were incredibly welcoming,” she says. “I am certain that this year in the Falklands will help me become a stronger and more confident rural generalist, developing skills that will be useful when I come back to Canada. I've always believed that you can't learn and grow without pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.”

Dr. Geoffrey Hodgetts and Dr. Rebecca Edwards discuss her assessment of a Queen's family medicine resident. Dr. Hodgetts is part of a Queen's delegation currently visiting the Islands. (Supplied Photo)
Dr. Geoffrey Hodgetts and Dr. Rebecca Edwards discuss her assessment of a Queen's family medicine resident during a visit by a Queen's delegation. (Supplied Photo)

While rural medical training is an expectation among Canadian family medicine post-graduate medical programs, Queen’s Department of Family Medicine has had a long tradition of preparing family physicians for practice in various rural and remote settings.

“I know that the residents enjoy their time with us as we have received great feedback, and this is definitely a two-way relationship,” Dr. Edwards adds. “The constant flow of keen, intelligent, up-to-date young doctors that we get to work with and mentor provide our team with fresh and valuable perspectives on clinical scenarios.”

To learn more about the Falkland Islands scholarship for Family Medicine residents, visit the Department of Family Medicine’s website.

An Olympic dream come true

Rick Hunt
Rick Hunt, who coordinates the teaching labs for the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s, will be taking part in the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as a referee for long-track speed skating. (University Communications)

Rick Hunt’s resume as a long-track speed skating referee is impressive. He has officiated at seven World Championships and 11 World Cup events.

That resume, however, is about to get even better as he will soon be officiating at the biggest competition of them all – the Winter Olympics.

Mr. Hunt, who coordinates the teaching labs for the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s, will soon be heading to Pyeongchang, South Korea, where the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will be hosted Feb. 9-25.

It’s the highlight of his career, he says, but when he received the invite back in November, he kept it a secret – even from his wife. He just wanted to be sure, he explains. That same day he had been told that he would be the chief referee for the final World Cup race before the Olympics as well as the World Junior Championships that will follow the Winter Games.

It all seemed a bit much, and there is that friend who is a bit of a prankster.

“I just wanted to make sure it was authentic,” he says with a smile.

But, as he soon found out, it was all true.

Now, the magnitude of what lies ahead has sunk in.

“It took a while. It took a couple of weeks for me to realize,” he says. “Everybody else was excited for me and I guess I might have been in a mild state of shock. I had so many things going on that it really didn’t hit me until two or three weeks afterward, what was going to happen. It’s only been since Christmas and refereeing the Canadian Olympic Trials that it has hit me – I’m going to be refereeing where these athletes going to be competing. And now I am excited.”

This delayed reaction also has something to do with Mr. Hunt’s nature. He’s laid back, easy-going, not one to be flustered easily. He’s also meticulously organized, pays attention to the fine details and believes that being a professional at all times is of the utmost importance. It all makes for an excellent referee for speed skating. This has been instilled from the very beginning of his career by his mentor Guy Chenard – always run every competition like it is the Olympics.

The role of the referee is similar to that of a tournament convener in many other sports, he explains. Creating schedules and pairings, making sure the races are conducted in a fair and timely manner. He also must handle any complaints from team officials. This sometimes can be heated, but, once again, Mr. Hunt’s personality is a perfect fit.

“You can stand there, scream and holler at me all you want. Then it’s ‘OK you said your piece, I agree with you. There’s nothing I can do. That’s the way the rules are written but if you can get them changed, I’ll help you out with it,’” he says. “I’m not intimidated by anyone and I’m not offended by a passionate coach saying their piece about what they think really happened and their side of things. It’s their job to stick up for their skaters.”

Mr. Hunt first became involved in speed skating about 25 years ago when one of his sons wanted to see the provincial short-track championships being hosted in Kingston at the time. Both his sons were hooked and he along with them.

As the boys grew, long track became a better fit. He was competing as well and at one event he offered to help a referee who was working on his own. He found that he enjoyed it more than skating. His career then “evolved” from there, climbing the ladder until, now, he will be officiating at the pinnacle of all sport.

Laid back he may be, but he knows that when he enters the rink and his dream becomes a reality, the moment will have a profound effect.

“When I walk up the stairs onto the infield I guarantee there will be tears in my eyes,” he says. “I am a very emotional person that way.”

There has also been some extra good news recently as his wife, Audrey Hunt, the Departmental and Financial Administrator for the Department of Emergency Medicine, has been accepted as a volunteer at Canada House at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Research hits the airwaves

“Blind Date with Knowledge” will air on CFRC.

Do you ever wonder what drives a researcher’s curiosity? What was the spark that led them to discovery? Beginning on January 31 at 5:30 pm, you can listen in and hear these types of questions answered directly by scholars themselves.

CFRC, the Queen’s radio station, 101.9fm,  is launching a bi-weekly radio show called “Blind Date with Knowledge.” The show seeks to demystify scholarly research and personalize the research process through discussions with various Queen’s faculty members.

“Blind Date with Knowledge” is one way Queen’s is increasing its efforts to promote the importance of research conducted by faculty and students. The show is a collaboration between CFRC, the Office of the Vice-Principal (University Relations), and the show host, Barry Kaplan. Kaplan is a member of the Kingston community, and his passion for spreading knowledge about research at Queen’s is palpable.

“There is a lot of interesting and consequential knowledge being created, in a huge range of subjects, by an array of Queen’s researchers,” says Kaplan. “This show is a small but important platform for knowledge-sharing about research, as spoken about by the researchers themselves, to get a little more visibility and traction with everyday people.”

The quirky name “Blind Date with Knowledge” is based on the premise that research isn’t predictable. Like a blind date, research is about taking risks and being prepared for failure and success.

Each episode will feature scholars from different disciplines sharing their stories about what it’s really like to do research. With so many different research projects being conducted by Queen’s faculty, “Blind Date with Knowledge” provides a small glimpse into the pioneering work of these scholars.

Laura Murray
Dr. Laura Murray (Photo Credit: Barry Kaplan)

Dr. Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) will be featured in the first episode of the show, discussing how she has used archival research and oral history as a tool to uncover some of Kingston’s lesser-known history.

“Talking to non-specialists about academic research isn’t always that easy – but it’s hugely important and rewarding,” says Murray. “I’m glad Queen’s is encouraging it. My 15 minutes with Barry went extremely quickly and I enjoyed the challenge!”

John McGarry
Dr. John McGarry (Photo Credit: Barry Kaplan)

Dr. John McGarry (Political Studies) will also appear in the first episode. As an expert in conflict resolution, Dr. McGarry will explain the forces that can lead to the beginning of civil conflict, focusing on Northern Ireland.

“It is great for Queen’s to have a radio show that does not just showcase research, but shows the positive impact that research can have on people’s lives,” he says. “People are often curious about how my research begins and the form it takes, and participating in the show is a way to share this with everyday people.”

CFRC also hosts the weekly radio show "Grad Chat", which is a platform for Queen's graduate students to share their research with both the Queen's and greater Kingston community. The show airs on Tuesdays at 4pm, and past episodes can be listened on the School of Graduate Studies website.

After airing, all episodes of "Blind Date with Knowledge" will be available online on the CFRC website. If you have questions about the radio show, please contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives.

The schedule for the first five episodes of "Blind Date with Knowledge" is available now. The schedule is subject to change.



Air Date



Jan. 31, 2018

Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) and John McGarry (Political Studies)


February 14, 2018

Lynda Colgan (Education) and Adrian Baranchuk (Medicine)


February 28, 2018

Patricia Smithen (Art History and Art Conservation) and John Smol (Biology)


March 14, 2018

Leela Viswanathan (Geography and Planning) and Gregory Jerkiewicz (Chemistry)


March 28, 2018

Alana Butler (Education) and Antonio Nicaso (Languages, Literatures and Cultures)


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