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Research Prominence

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.

 

Awarding a commitment to outreach

Queen’s professor receives award for outstanding efforts in sharing earth science with Canadians.

In recognition of his research and public outreach, Queen’s paleontologist Guy Narbonne (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) has received the E.R.Ward Neale Medal from the Geological Association of Canada.

In recognition of his research and public outreach, Dr. Guy Narbonne has been awarded the E.R.Ward Neale Medal from the Geological Association of Canada. (Supplied Photo) 

“I feel tremendously honoured to be recognized by the Association with this award,” says Dr. Narbonne. “Just as the research isn’t done until you’ve written the publication, the research also isn’t done until you’ve told all the stakeholders what they got out of it. We went from almost no one having ever heard of Mistaken Point, to paleontologists around the world knowing about it, to designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a stamp issued by Canada Post to celebrate this UNESCO designation. This shows the kind of level of recognition that we’re getting by conducting rigorous research, sharing it with the public and showing why it matters.”

Over the course of his more than 30-year career, Dr. Narbonne has dedicated his efforts to both high-impact research and sharing his findings with the public. His research has been profiled in a number of television documentaries - including BBC’s Snowball Earth, a documentary series on the geology of Canada in The Nature of Things narrated by David Suzuki, and First Life narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Dr. Narbonne also played a leading role in Mistaken Point receiving World Heritage Site designation by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Dr. Narbonne’s research has made a tremendous impact on our understanding of early life on Earth, and his outreach efforts have brought the geological sciences into the mainstream Canadian consciousness,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “I wish Dr. Narbonne my sincere congratulations for this well-deserved national recognition.”

Mistaken Point shows “when life got big,” and provides a fossil record of the appearance of large multicellular creatures 570 million years ago after nearly three billion years of microbial evolution. Volcanic eruptions 580 million years ago preserved surfaces covered with the fossils of the thousands of the soft-bodied creatures that were covered by beds of volcanic ash on the deep sea floor.

When Dr. Narbonne began his work at Mistaken Point in 1998, none of its abundant fossils had been formally named. It took nearly 12 years of research to bring the scientific understanding of the site up to the level necessary for UNESCO to consider naming Mistaken Point a World Heritage Site.

During this time, Dr. Narbonne produced over 30 scientific papers on Mistaken Point and related fossils – several of which were published in high-profile journals such as Science and Nature. Dr. Narbonne credits many factors for the success of the Mistaken Point project, including the ability to take a long-term approach to his research, and the support of the Queen’s Research Chair.

“There probably would not be a UNESCO World Heritage site at Mistaken Point without the QRC,” says Dr. Narbonne. “I’m deeply grateful to those who set up the program and am grateful for them selecting me. An awful lot of great things came out of their investment and their faith in me.”

Dr. Narbonne will formally receive the medal at the GAC-MAC annual conference, taking place May 15-17 in Kingston, Ontario.

The Neale Medal, named after Canadian geoscientist E.R. Ward Neale, is awarded annually to a researcher in recognition of sustained outstanding efforts in sharing earth science with Canadians – including through public lectures, media, and other forms of public outreach.

For more information, please visit the website.

A passion for harmony

The Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Collaborators series profiles regional innovations, startups and collaborations that are flourishing and which engage Queen’s faculty, staff and/or students.

[Canarmony]
The tech firm Canarmony has developed a healthcare scheduling tool called MESH. From left: Hassan Nouri, Chief Technology Officer; Dr. Shahram Yousefi, Co-founder, President and CEO; and Ethan Heming, Chief Product Officer. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

As entrepreneurs go, Shahram Yousefi is a paradox – a “black sheep,” he says. 

Most entrepreneurs seek to strike it rich. First and foremost, the professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Queen’s is looking for solutions to problems. Entrepreneurs are single-minded. Once they have an idea, they clamp on like an angry pit bull, to the exclusion of everything else. He has not one but two seemingly different ideas, both of which he is passionate about. And, in a world where new ideas and products are hailed for their “disruptive” potential, he says that at the root of what he does is “my passion for harmony.”  

Innovation Park is helping him realize it.

Arriving at Queen’s in 2003 (drawn, he says, by the university’s generous policies towards the intellectual property its professors develop and  students who “are strong on the technical but understand the social and business aspects of what they do”), he spent his 2008 sabbatical at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. 

“It’s a very entrepreneurial school,” he says. “And when I got back I decided I wanted to concentrate more on entrepreneurial projects.” 

To that end he has developed a new entrepreneurial stream within electrical and computer engineering programs dubbed ECE innovation or ECEi. Dr. Yousefi praises Kim Woodhouse, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Michael Greenspan, his department head, and Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, for fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Out for a meal with a medical resident friend one evening in 2012 he was shocked when she told him that a young mother and her twins had died because a scheduling mistake meant that a needed specialist was not on duty. 

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and could not get it out of my head for days,” he says.

Talking to other health care professionals, he learned that medical scheduling was incredibly complicated, but usually done with very simple, and inappropriate, tools like spreadsheets and emails. 

“And communications between the scheduler and the team were very spotty and extremely rudimentary,” Dr. Yousefi says. 

A chief resident of cardiology might spend an entire weekend trying to schedule his or her first-, second- and third-year residents. Add in trying to juggle sick days and holidays and other variables, and there were many possibilities for errors.\

“Because I come from an algorithm background, I knew that these were the hardest problems to deal with in computer science. Difficult but not impossible,” Dr. Yousefi says. “Here was a great chance to create a system that would harmonize doctors’ and other healthcare professionals’ work schedules.” 

He started working on it in 2013, and in 2014 he and his co-founder, Dr. Mohsen Omrani, a medical doctor and neuroscientist, incorporated Canarmony (as in Canadian Harmony – there’s that idea again). 

Yousefi’s solution is a cloud-based scheduling tool called MESH (which combines the initials of the four developers’ first names and says succinctly what the tool does). 

“It meshes staff schedules seamlessly,  at the push of a button,” he says. “You identify whom you need, say so many E.R. nurses and so many residents and with what skills.” 

MESH can even incorporate who wants to work with whom and what shifts they prefer. 

“When the schedule is done, it gets pushed along to everyone in the pool,” he says.

They can access it through iOS and Android mobile apps on their phones, tablets, or via any web browser on any computer. If anything changes, because of sickness or an accident, everybody gets informed in real time. 

“The other thing MESH does is allow people to swap shifts really easily,” Dr. Yousefi says. “Life does not happen on schedule. Just send out a swap request on your phone and someone can take your shift.”

A self-described perfectionist, Yousefi and partners have taken their time developing MESH. Today the company is trialing the app with medical users, including Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu, and plans to launch a new version of the app featuring an “improved Canarmonizer” (as he terms the algorithm) and a “more user-friendly and attractive version of the interface.” Monetization comes next.

“What got us where we are has been the move to Queen’s Innovation Park,” says Dr. Yousefi. “We’ve received lots of help. There are so many examples. We’ve made connections through IRAP and OCE, we’ve had so many networking and learning opportunities in the last six months.

“Not only has it been good for the company as a whole, but our people have benefited individually.” 

With a mission-focused startup like Canarmony, “it is extra important to make sure the team is highly motivated.” Thanks to Canarmony’s involvement in GrindSpaceXL (Innovation Park’s acceleration program for startups that offers them work space and expert advice), “they understood a lot better what we were doing and why. We also worked out where we were not doing things optimally. The amazing team at the Innovation Park harmonized Canarmony even further.”

MESH would be enough to keep most entrepreneurs busy. Not Dr. Yousefi. 

“I teach my students you want to be the sharpest knife – you do one thing and you do it the best. So I am seemingly violating that by launching a second product” called OPTT (for Online Psychotherapy Tool). Many people seek psychotherapy help, but for various reasons – geographic isolation,  personal schedules, cultural or language barriers or  stigma – cannot get it. OPTT lets them access help over the web, connecting them with mental health professionals, and offering tests, cognitive behaviour therapies and exercises, completely confidentially. 

“OPTT creates a clinic-in-the-cloud delivering the latest clinically proven methods of therapy through our proprietary modules,” he says. Still in its early stages, “We want to get hospitals and governments involved. It’s a challenging feat, but I am not here to do something easy.” 

Currently on sabbatical, as well as researching fifth-generation wireless telecommunication systems (5G) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he is working with his PhD students at Queen’s on mass cloud-based data storage and transmission technologies for high-rate applications such as video. They have one recent U.S. patent filed with one more under review by PARTEQ Innovations (Queen’s commercialization arm) also located at Innovation Park. Dr. Yousefi is also busy “growing a Canarmony subsidiary in the Bay Area, to benefit from, the rich high-tech ecosystem around San Francisco.” 

Dean Woodhouse has also appointed Yousefi faculty liaison to C100, a non-profit association of Canadian business leaders based in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to helping Canadian high-tech start-ups and our  next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. 

“One thing I hear again and again from entrepreneurs and investors is that Canada is the place to be. Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston. They are it. Down here (in the Bay Area), people are not going to offer you the kind of support we have received at Innovation Park, and are still receiving,” Dr. Yousefi says. “So kudos to Janice and the teams at Innovation Park. Deciding to move there has been the single most important decision we have made since Canarmony’s inception."

Smith School of Business new home for IBM Watson in Canada

[IBM Canada | Smith Cognitive Computing Centre]
Smith staff interact with IBM Watson in the new IBM Canada | Smith Cognitive Computing Centre at Smith’s downtown Toronto campus. (Submitted photo)

Smith School of Business unveiled a new cognitive computing centre at its downtown Toronto campus today.

The new IBM Canada | Smith Cognitive Computing Centre, the first of its kind at a business school in Canada, is a collaborative space that will provide an exclusive artificial intelligence demonstration experience for IBM clients and enhanced access to cognitive computing solutions for Smith students and faculty.

“Integrating the latest in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing into our curriculum further enhances the learning experience for Smith students,” says David Saunders, Dean, Smith School of Business. “Access to the centre will also give our students a competitive edge in the work force and in developing new venture concepts.”

The centre consists of seven interactive wall screens for users to work directly with IBM Watson technologies in a multi-media environment. Under this five-year collaboration, IBM will offer a number of annual internships to Smith students, providing opportunities to work with IBM Watson technologies in a business setting.

Visit Smith’s Facebook page to see more photos of the centre and launch event.

 

Statement from Principal Woolf on federal budget

On behalf of Queen’s University, I thank the Government of Canada for its continuing support of science, innovation and post-secondary education in Canada. Universities such as Queen’s play a critical role in supporting Canada’s prosperity by creating a highly skilled workforce and fostering innovation and discovery.

I note the government’s commitment to cultivating an innovative economy, including through an investment of nearly $1 billion in innovation clusters. Research universities such as Queen’s serve as anchors to virtually all globally competitive innovative clusters and we look forward to working with the federal government more closely. And we look forward with interest to further details on the Canada 150 Research chairs program.

Budget 2017 also makes significant investments in improving access to post-secondary education and training for adult learners returning to school, part-time students, students with dependent children, veterans and Indigenous students. The government has also included a number of measures in the budget that will have a significant impact on women, including through creating more opportunities in the workforce and promoting inclusive economic growth.

Queen’s also welcomes the federal government’s additional investment of $221 million over five years to create 10,000 work-integrated learning opportunities through Mitacs, as well as the government’s commitment to work with the provinces, the private sector, and postsecondary institutions to support skills development.

We look forward to further details of these programs, and to the release of the much anticipated fundamental science review.

Daniel Woolf,
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Queen’s University

An ambassador of Canadian science

Stephen Lougheed (Biology) has received the Science Ambassador Award from Partners in Research (PIR). The award recognizes an outstanding Canadian researcher for their body of work over a period of time, their contributions to the field of science, and their promotion of this research to the Canadian public.

“I really like the challenge of articulating what we do in our lab or in the field for a general audience” said Dr. Lougheed. “Moreover, making publically-funded university research accessible and intelligible is incredibly important.”

Queen's biology professor Dr. Stephen Lougheed has received the PIR Science Ambassador Award, in recognition of his contributions to the field of conservation biology as well as his dedication to community outreach and knowledge dissemination. (Supplied Photo)

Dr. Lougheed’s research has made significant contributions to our understanding of how historical climate change, shifts in vegetation, mountain uplift and fluctuating sea levels during the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs (from 5.3 million to 11,700 years ago) affected the diversification of species in North and Latin America. He has authored more than 100 refereed journal articles and book contributions, and his work on biogeography and evolutionary genetics have been cited more than 3500 times. In December 2016, Dr. Lougheed and his northern and university collaborators received a $9.2 million grant for a project combining leading-edge genomics and Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to develop a non-invasive means of tracking polar bear responses to environmental change.

“Dr. Lougheed is a leading scientist in the field of conservation biology, who has demonstrated both a dedication to fundamental research and to disseminating information to the public at large,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This award is a wonderful acknowledgment of Dr. Lougheed’s accomplishments and a testament to the excellence of Queen’s researchers and faculty.”

In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Lougheed has made outreach and public engagement a focus of his career. Since associating with the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) in 1994, he has taught over 45 field courses at QUBS and at other locales spanning four continents. He became the station director in 2012, and with his dedicated staff he has dramatically increased the station’s public outreach activities through public lecture series, programming for school and community groups, augmented on-line resources, and a camp for youth.

“Some of my most cherished moments at QUBS have been showing young people a creature like a ratsnake or musk turtle or giant water bug, and talking about their unique ecologies,” stated Dr. Lougheed, “or talking with school groups about how we might contribute to the conservation of one of our many species at risk.”

PIR is a registered Canadian charity founded in 1988 to help Canadians understand the significance, accomplishments and promise of biomedical research in advancing health and medicine. Since its genesis, PIR has broadened its scope to encompass science, technology, engineering and mathematics as fields of discovery and study for Canadian students.

Dr. Lougheed will receive the award at the Partners in Research National Awards Ceremony, held in Ottawa in May.

Queen’s researchers awarded $4.5M in Ontario government funding

  • The Honorable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, announces that four Queen's researchers would receive a combined $4.5 million in research funding from the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure programs. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    The Honorable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, announces that four Queen's researchers would receive a combined $4.5 million in research funding from the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure programs. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands, welcomes the investment of $4.5 million in research funding for four Queen's researchers, and discusses the importance of research and innovation in Kingston. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands, welcomes the investment of $4.5 million in research funding for four Queen's researchers, and discusses the importance of research and innovation in Kingston. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf discusses how the funding announced by Minister Moridi will assist Queen's researchers in breaking new ground in their respective fields. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Principal Daniel Woolf discusses how the funding announced by Minister Moridi will assist Queen's researchers in breaking new ground in their respective fields. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering) discusses how the funding announced today will help researchers at the Queen’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER) continue to find new methods of producing efficient and environmentally-friendly renewable energy. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering) discusses how the funding announced today will help researchers at the Queen’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER) continue to find new methods of producing efficient and environmentally-friendly renewable energy. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • Khadijat Hassan, a master's student conducting research in the ePOWER lab, discusses how the investment will help create new research opportunities for students at Queen's. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    Khadijat Hassan, a master's student conducting research in the ePOWER lab, discusses how the investment will help create new research opportunities for students at Queen's. (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
  • From L-R: Principal Daniel Woolf, Khadijat Hassan, The Honorable Reza Moridi, MPP Sophie Kiwala, Alexander Braun (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering), Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), and John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)
    From L-R: Principal Daniel Woolf, Khadijat Hassan, The Honorable Reza Moridi, MPP Sophie Kiwala, Alexander Braun (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering), Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), and John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). (March 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Garrett Elliott)

The Government of Ontario today announced more than $4.5 million in new infrastructure and research funding for four Queen’s researchers through the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure programs. The Honorable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, made the announcement today at Queen’s, as part of a $77-million investment in research across the province. The grants will provide funding to support key research programs, as well as the operational and equipment acquisition costs associated with research that is leading-edge and transformative.

“The funding announced today highlights Queen’s record of sustained research excellence and demonstrates how our researchers are working to address crucial issues – such as renewable energy development – facing the province and the public at large,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are grateful to the Government of Ontario for its continued investment in research and innovation at Queen’s and across the province.”

A leader in the field of energy and power electronics research, Praveen Jain (Electrical and Computer Engineering), the Canada Research Chair in Power Electronics, has received $4 million from the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence to develop small-scale, point-of-use photovoltaic (solar) power systems for residential use. Dr. Jain will lead a team of researchers from four Ontario universities in developing new technology to reduce cost and increase the efficiency, output, and reliability of residential solar systems. Dr. Jain was previously awarded funding from the Ontario Research Fund.

“Our government recognizes the importance of investing in our innovation ecosystem,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “We are proud to support the researchers at Queen’s University who are working on transformative research that will help strengthen our province’s competitive edge.”

Geophysicist Alexander Braun (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) has received $180,000 to support the acquisition of a superconducting gravimeter – one of only 12 such devices in the world. The device will be used for monitoring fluid migration processes in oil, gas, and water reservoirs, to monitor mass changes in reservoirs, and to help mitigate environmental hazards related to extraction.

Psychology researcher Jason Gallivan (Psychology) has received $150,000 from the fund to support new infrastructure in the Memory, Action, and Perception laboratory (MAPlab). Dr. Gallivan’s research examines how a stroke or other neurological disorder can alter the perceptual, cognitive, and motor-related mechanisms of the brain.

In addition, physicist Ryan Martin (Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy) has received a grant of $250,000 to support the establishment of a world-class facility to develop p-type point contact detectors. These complex detectors are used to more accurately measure interactions with difficult-to-detect particles, such as neutrinos and dark matter.

“Innovative research is essential for future economic growth and I am absolutely 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 our region and I am excited and anxious to see the results of this funding. This investment demonstrates Ontario’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge, innovative research that will lead us into the future. Congratulations to all of the Queen’s researchers receiving these competitive awards.”

More information is available on the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence and Research Infrastructure Funds websites.

 

Celebrating research in education

  • Liying Cheng, Acting Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Faculty of Education, hosts the first Celebration of Scholarly Activity at the Education Library in Duncan McArthur Hall.
    Liying Cheng, Acting Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the Faculty of Education, hosts the first Celebration of Scholarly Activity at the Education Library in Duncan McArthur Hall.
  • Lynda Colgan (Education), right, talks about the projects she is working on after receiving two Ministry of Education grants and a KNAER Secretariat grant, as Amanda Cooper (Education) looks on.
    Lynda Colgan (Education), right, talks about the projects she is working on after receiving two Ministry of Education grants and a KNAER Secretariat grant, as Amanda Cooper (Education) looks on.
  • Richard Reeve (Education) co-edited the book “Design as Scholarship: Case Studies from the Learning Sciences” and was recognized by the Faculty of Education at the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.
    Richard Reeve (Education) co-edited the book “Design as Scholarship: Case Studies from the Learning Sciences” and was recognized by the Faculty of Education at the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.
  • Rosa Bruno-Jofre received a SSHRC Connection Grant for the project “Educationalization of social and moral problems in the western world and the educationalization of the world: historical dimensions through time and space.”
    Rosa Bruno-Jofre received a SSHRC Connection Grant for the project “Educationalization of social and moral problems in the western world and the educationalization of the world: historical dimensions through time and space.”
  • Ben Bolden (Education), recipient of the 2016 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing for his composition Tread Softly, talks about his research during the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.
    Ben Bolden (Education), recipient of the 2016 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing for his composition Tread Softly, talks about his research during the Celebration of Scholarly Activity.

Research at the Faculty of Education was highlighted recently through the inaugural Celebration of Scholarly Activity.

At the event, six faculty members were recognized for their achievements and had the opportunity to share their experiences and research with their colleagues.

Similar events have been held in the past but were not focused on the range of award- and grant-winning research that is being done by faculty members. The Celebration of Scholarly Activity offered the opportunity for faculty members to share their insights as well as hear about the work being accomplished by colleagues.

“We’re emphasizing partnerships, working together, building community. Through these kinds of recognitions, we can build a strong research culture within a faculty that also encourages collaborations and attracts external partnerships,” says Rebecca Luce-Kapler, Dean, Faculty of Education. “This event is a chance to celebrate accomplishments and let people know what’s happening in the Faculty of Education and that research and teaching are priorities for us.”

Recognizing the research component is vital not only for the Faculty of Education but for the Queen’s and surrounding communities as well, adds John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).

“We know we have a transformational educational experience at Queen’s and embedded alongside and within is the research of educators – that may be in choral music, it could be in how to enhance math education,” Dr. Fisher says. “They contribute to the social fabric of our community and have a huge impact in different areas of the city and in education and methods to enhance education of children as well as in the discovery of methods to better communicate education.”

Those recognized were:

Ben Bolden – recipient of the 2016 Choral Canada Competition for Choral Writing for his composition Tread Softly; and a new chairholder of the Faculty of Education’s UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning.

Rosa Bruno-Jofre – recipient of a SSHRC Connection Grant for the project “Educationalization of social and moral problems in the western world and the educationalization of the world: historical dimensions through time and space”; and ASPP Publication Grant for the work “Catholic Education in the Wake of Vatican II.”

Liying Cheng – authored the book “Assessment in the Language Classroom - Teachers Supporting Student Learning” (2017)

Lynda Colgan – recipient of a Ministry of Education grant for the project “Building parent engagement: A project to support the implementation of Ontario's Renewed Mathematics Strategy”; Ministry of Education and the KNAER Secretariat grant for the project “Mathematics Knowledge Network: The Fields Institute.”

Amanda Cooper – co-recipient of SSHRC Partnership Development Grant for the project “CITED: Partnered knowledge mobilization between researchers and media organizations.”

Richard Reeve – co-edited the book “Design as Scholarship: Case Studies from the Learning Sciences” (2016).

At the intersection of research and policy

[Diane Orihel]
Diane Orihel, the Queen’s National Scholar in Aquatic Ecotoxicology, arrived at the university at the beginning of the winter term. (University Communications)

As the newest Queen’s National Scholar, Diane Orihel is settling in at the university.

The QNS in Aquatic Ecotoxicology, Dr. Orihel’s research looks into the fate and effects of contaminants in the environment. Specializing in freshwater ecosystems, she uses an ecosystem approach to ecotoxicology.

“Traditionally, toxicology has focused on short-term assessments of the direct toxicity of a chemical on a model organism,” she explains. “Such experiments are informative but that’s not what actually happens in the real world. The real world is complex – contaminants released from smoke stacks or sewage outfalls often change as they enter and move through aquatic ecosystems, and affect not only individual plants and animals, but whole food webs. By using an ecosystem-based approach to ecotoxicology, I unravel the intricacies of how chemicals behave in our lakes and wetlands and the impacts they have on everything from plankton to fish.”  

As the QNS, Dr. Orihel is jointly-appointed to the School of Environmental Studies and Department of Biology. It’s an ideal set up she explains and was one of the biggest draws for coming to Queen’s. Her work, she says, while grounded in science, is always framed in terms of environmental policy.

“All of my research starts with the question: what is the policy need and what are the scientific  data required to address that policy need?” she says. “Being able to have a foot in the Department of Biology and a foot in the School of Environmental Studies is a very good match for me because that’s what I do. For me, science doesn’t stop at the scientific publication. I work hard to bring my science to the public and to engage decision makers, so that together we can make strides toward solving our most pressing environmental problems. ”

For example, her research has already contributed to: linking atmospheric mercury deposition and methylmercury concentrations in fish; understanding nutrient recycling and toxic algal blooms in freshwater lakes; and probing the degradation of a common flame retardant in the natural environment.

Another advantage Queen’s offered Dr. Orihel is its proximity to the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS). A mere 45-minute drive north and she is immersed in her research environment. At the same time Dr. Orihel is excited to be working with some of the leading experts in water issues, in Canada and around the world, at Queen’s.

The QNS program was established in 1985with the objective of attracting outstanding early and mid-career professors to Queen’s to “enrich teaching and research in newly-developing fields of knowledge as well as traditional disciplines.” 

Dr. Orihel definitely fits the mold.

Her ecotoxicology research addresses two of the leading environmental issues in Canada.

Currently, the Government of Alberta is looking at reintegrating wastewater from oil sands mining and upgrading that is currently stored in tailings ponds. First, however, the water, billions of litres, will have to be treated.

Dr. Orihel wants her research to contribute to ensuring that downstream aquatic life isn’t detrimentally impacted.

“We need to rigorously test in a realistic setting whether existing treatment technologies effectively reduce the toxicity of tailings pond water. Academia, government, and industry need to partner on this important issue. Only then can we be confident that releasing this waste water will not change the ecological integrity of downstream ecosystems and the vital services they provide to local First Nations and other communities.”  

At the same time, Dr. Orihel is part of an NSERC strategic project that is looking into the effects of diluted bitumen (dilbit) spills on freshwater ecosystems. It is a timely topic, she says, as there are a number of pipelines transporting unconventional oils such as dilbit, but little understanding of how these materials behave following a spill and what effects they have on freshwater ecosystems.

“Obviously, we have to do everything we can to prevent oil spills, but inevitably, things can go wrong and these spills do occur,” she says. “We need to be properly prepared to respond to spills in freshwater environments. We need to learn how dilbit behaves in fresh water and what treatments are best to apply to minimize the negative impacts of these spills.”

After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Orihel earned a Masters of Natural Resource Management from the University of Manitoba, and a PhD from the University of Alberta. Most recently she was a Banting and Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa.

To learn more about Dr. Orihel’s research, visit her website.

For more on the Queen’s National Scholar program, visit the QNS page on the Provost’s website.

Focusing on frailty

Queen’s based Canadian Frailty Network receives renewal funding of $23.9 million.

  • John Muscedere, Scientific Director and CEO, Canadian Frailty Network, talks about the work by the internationally-recognized research network that is focused on improving health care for an aging population. (University Communications)
    John Muscedere, Scientific Director and CEO, Canadian Frailty Network, talks about the work by the internationally-recognized research network that is focused on improving health care for an aging population. (University Communications)
  • Taking part in Friday's funding announcement were, from left: Richard Reznick, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences; Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands; Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President of Research Partnerships, NSERC; John Muscedere, Scientific Director and CEO, Canadian Frailty Network; Russell Williams, Chair, Board of Directors, Canadian Frailty Network; and John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Taking part in Friday's funding announcement were, from left: Richard Reznick, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences; Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands; Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President of Research Partnerships, NSERC; John Muscedere, Scientific Director and CEO, Canadian Frailty Network; Russell Williams, Chair, Board of Directors, Canadian Frailty Network; and John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President of Research Partnerships, NSERC, speaks during Friday's announcement of $23.9 million in renewal funding Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) from the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. (University Communications)
    Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President of Research Partnerships, NSERC, speaks during Friday's announcement of $23.9 million in renewal funding Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) from the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. (University Communications)

An internationally-recognized research network focused on improving health care for an aging population has received renewal funding from the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. Launched as an NCE in May 2012, Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) will receive $23.9 million in renewal funding for the next five years, matched by $30 million in contributions from 150 partners

Hosted by Queen’s, CFN is a national initiative to improve the care of older Canadians living with frailty. Its goals are to increase frailty recognition and assessment, support new research and engage frail older people and their caregivers to improve decision making, and mobilize evidence to transform health and social care to meet the needs of the aging population.

“This Queen’s-led Networks of Centres of Excellence demonstrates the importance of the research at Queen’s and is evidence of how knowledge-mobilization can be done effectively and lead to a measurable impact,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University.

For its second term, CFN has prioritized standardizing how frailty is identified and measured in various care settings, continuing to increase evidence on frailty to aid decision making, and mobilizing knowledge to catalyze change in care. Canada is a leader in frailty research but, despite this, the Canadian health care system has lagged behind other jurisdictions in applying what is known about frailty.

“Implementing standardized ways to identify and measure frailty will support comparisons between jurisdictions and identify variations in care, outcomes and healthcare resource utilization,” says John Muscedere, Scientific Director and CEO, CFN. “This can increase value from healthcare resources by avoiding under use and overuse of care. Informed by evidence, our goal is the right care, delivered in the right setting, as determined by older frail individuals with their families and caregivers.”

Over the past five years, CFN has had a number of successful outcomes:

  • Pilot study of in-bed cycling as a rehabilitation intervention for older frail patients in the ICU has led to full study.
  • A national partnership with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) and Mount Sinai Hospital implemented elder-friendly models of care in 17 Canadian hospitals and an international hospital, and further collaboration is planned for Term 2.
  • A study testing ICU screening for frailty has been rolled out across Alberta.
  • ICU patients in Alberta are now screened for frailty. Promising feasibility study result has led to volunteer patient navigators for frail rural dwelling seniors being tested across Canada.
  • Testing by home care teams in the province of Quebec examined how a training program for doctors and interprofessional teams can improve the experience of the frail elderly and their families and caregivers in confronting the decision to stay at home or move to a care facility.
  • CFN’s Interdisciplinary Program is the only one in Canada targeting frailty, and nearly 550 young scholars, students and trainees have developed enhanced specialized skills and knowledge to provide the best evidence-based care.

“The unique challenges posed by frailty require a shift in Canadian health policy and planning on a national level,” says Russell Williams, Chair, Board of Directors, CFN. Canada needs frailty assessment standards implemented across care settings; better frailty training for caregivers and healthcare professionals; and funding models to address the needs of older adults living with frailty.”

For more information, visit the website.

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