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Research Prominence

Supporting new scientific discoveries

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has provided a combined $14,808,621 million in funding to over 70 Queen’s researchers through the flagship Discovery Grants, Scholarships and Fellowships, and Research Tools and Instruments Grants programs. The funding received will enable researchers to carry out innovative research projects over the next one to five years in fields ranging from particle astrophysics to mechanical engineering.

“This funding provided by NSERC provides crucial support to long-term, ongoing programs of research,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This allows researchers the flexibility to pursue promising new avenues and address higher-risk topics with the potential for tremendous rewards. The process is highly competitive, and the success of our researchers in receiving this funding speaks to both the significant potential of their programs and the leading expertise of the researchers themselves.”

NSERC’s Discovery Grants Program aims to promote and maintain high-quality Canadian research in the areas of natural sciences and engineering by fostering excellence and promoting scientific innovation. Notable recipients include Philip Jessop (Chemistry), Ryan Martin (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) and Virginia Walker (Biology).

Dr. Jessop has received $619,400 for a project aimed at developing new means of recycling waste CO2 collected from power plants and other industrial processes. This research could lead to the development of methods to produce needed chemicals in a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.

Dr. Martin has received $225,000 to support a team of researchers in developing and testing new particle detectors made of high-purity germanium. These detectors will be used in large-scale particle astrophysics experiments, such as the MAJORANA and MINER experiments, to help answer some of the most challenging questions in particle physics and further cement Canada’s status as a leader in the discipline.

Dr. Walker has received $300,000 to examine the role anti-freeze proteins play in protecting plants and animals from cold-related cell damage and in immune response. She proposes that a more thorough understanding of how these proteins function could assist in developing crops that are better able to withstand freeze damage, as well as improved techniques for the cryopreservation of tissues.

In addition, three Queen’s researchers were awarded Discovery Accelerator Supplements. Valued at $120,000 over three years, these grants serve to provide additional support for researchers who show potential to become international leaders in their fields. The additional funding aims to accelerate their potential progress and maximize the impact of top calibre research. Recipients include Leon Boegman (Civil Engineering), Julian Ortiz (Mining), and Ryan Martin (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy).

Notably, Dr. Mark Chen received $2.6 million from the Subatomic Physics Discovery Grants program, and another 14 researchers received a combined $1.8 million to assist in acquiring tools and equipment necessary to carry out their research.

A further 20 doctoral research students were awarded scholarships with a combined total of $1.9 million over a two to three year period. Nine of these recipients were awarded the Alexander Graham Bell Graduate Scholarship, a prestigious award aimed at nurturing the research leaders of tomorrow.

For the full list of Discovery and Research Tools and Instruments program recipients from Queen's University, see below.

 

Discovery and SAP-Individual/Project Awards:

Andrew, Robert
Banfield, Bruce
Barthelme, Thomas
Boegman, Leon
Chen, Mark
Dean, Thomas
Evans, P Andrew
Fam, Amir
Gallivan, Jason
Gee, Katrina
Genikomsou, Aikaterini
Ghasemlou, Nader
Graham, TC Nicholas
Green, Mark
Hollenstein, Tom
Hudon, Nicolas
Jerkiewicz, Gregory
Jessop, Philip
Lai, Yongjun
Levin, Yuri

MacDougall, Colin
Martin, Ryan
Mosey, Nicholas
Moyes, Christopher
Oko, Richard
Ortiz, Julián
Oteafy, Sharief
Peppley, Brant
Raptis, Leda
Rau, Wolfgang
Robertson, Robert
Rowe, R Kerry
Scott, Neal
Smol, John
Surgenor, Brian
Taylor, Peter
Troje, Nikolaus
Walker, Virginia
Zou, Ying

 

Discovery Accelerator Supplements:
Boegman, Leon
Martin, Ryan
Ortiz, Julian

 

Northern Research Supplement:
John Smol

 

Research Tools & Instruments Awards (RTI) and RTI-SAP Awards:

Amsden, Brian
Beninger, Richard
Cunningham, Michael
Davies, Theresa
Di Stefano, Philippe
Fichtinger, Gabor
Flanagan, John

Hassanein, Hossam
Jessop, Philip
Lafreniere, Melissa
Lougheed, Stephen
Plaxton, William
Smith, Steven
Take, William

 

Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships:
Bagherzadeh, Mojtaba
Bonafiglia, Jacob
Jeronimo, Mark
Lamontagne, Steven
Neeteson, Nathan
Rygus, Jason
Sikora, James
Van De Ven, Cole
Vance, Tyler

 

NSERC Postgraudate Scholarships:
Brault, Andre
Coulson, Jeremy
Fernandes, Suzette
Gushulak, Cale
Mangardich, Haykaz
Peoples, Jacob
Raveendran, Joshua
Sivarajah, Branaavan
Stortini, Christine
Welte, Lauren Kelsey Marie
Wright, Timothy

The colours of Orientation Week

  • Each faculty at Queen's has its own unique traditions as seen with these students and orientation leaders from the Faculty of Arts and Science. (Photo by Tia Wilson)
    Each faculty at Queen's has its own unique traditions as seen with these students and orientation leaders from the Faculty of Arts and Science. (Photo by Tia Wilson)
  • Incoming commerce students gather on Summerhill on Wednesday, the first day of orientation for each of Queen's University's faculties. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Incoming commerce students gather on Summerhill on Wednesday, the first day of orientation for each of Queen's University's faculties. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Incoming students for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science fill Grant Hall during the beginning of their faculty orientation on Wednesday. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Incoming students for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science fill Grant Hall during the beginning of their faculty orientation on Wednesday. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Members of the Queen's cheerleading squad try to sign up new recruits during Queen's In the Park, hosted Wednesday at City Park. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Members of the Queen's cheerleading squad try to sign up new recruits during Queen's In the Park, hosted Wednesday at City Park. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Newly-arrived students take part in a carnival held Wednesday, Sept. 6 on Tindall Field. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
    Newly-arrived students take part in a carnival held Wednesday, Sept. 6 on Tindall Field. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

Incoming students are being introduced to university life during Orientation Week – Sept. 3-8 – as well as to some traditions that make Queen’s a unique place.

Wednesday marked the transition from University Orientation to Faculty Orientation, where first-year students connect with their peers and colleagues from the same programs.

For orientation details, visit www.queensu.ca/orientation

Classes begin on Monday, Sept. 11.

A Royal honour

Three Queen’s University professors were granted the honour today of being elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), one of the highest honours for Canadian academics in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

The three fellows, Richard Bathurst, Anne Croy and Robert Morrison, have a wide range of research interests including civil engineering, reproductive sciences and literature, which demonstrative of the range of research expertise and excellence found across campus.

“The three newly elected fellows have made important contributions to their respective fields and represent a diverse mix of areas of study,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Having the RSC recognize these three scholars is an honour and I join the university community in congratulating them.”

Richard Bathurst

Richard Bathurst (Civil Engineering) – Professor Bathurst has made contributions to the advancement and understanding of modern civil engineering geosynthetic reinforced earth retaining structures and slopes. Cross-appointed to the Royal Military College of Canada, his work demonstrates a multi-disciplinary approach to the design, analysis and sustainability of these structures.

“We don’t work for awards so this is a true honour,” says Professor Bathurst. “It’s really a recognition for a lifetime of work in my field. I’m humbled.”

Anne Croy

Anne Croy (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – Dr. Croy is a world-leader in reproductive sciences and has made seminal contributions with her descriptions of uterine Natural Killer (uNK) cells recruited to the uterus in early pregnancy. Most complications of human pregnancy are linked with incomplete remodeling of vessels called spiral arteries – a process initiated by the uNK cell.

“Only the very best get recognized and I was truly shocked to be nominated,” says Dr. Croy. “This type of award is the crown jewel for my career.”

Robert Morrison

 

Robert Morrison (English) – Dr. Morrison is a leading scholar of British Romantic literature, and the world’s foremost authority on the nineteenth-century English essayist and opium addict Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859).

“I was really gobsmacked to win this award,” says Dr. Morrison. “It’s really a type of validation for my work. I’ve won awards for teaching in the past but this is for research. Being named a Fellow gives me confidence to keep forging ahead.”

The Royal Society of Canada is the senior and most prestigious academic society in Canada. Members represent a wide range of academic fields, including the arts, social and natural sciences and humanities. Candidates can be nominated by existing members, seconded by at least two others, or by one of the society's member institutions. Existing members of the society then vote to elect the next cohort of fellows. Election to the society is considered one of the highest honours in Canadian academia.

For more information visit the RSC’s website.

QICSI venture taking on the world

The SpectraPlasmonics team at the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition. L-R: Yusuf Ahmed, Malcome Eade, Christian Baldwin, Tyler Whitney, Ryan Picard.
The Spectra Plasmonics team at the Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition. L-R: Yusuf Ahmed, Malcome Eade, Christian Baldwin, Tyler Whitney, Ryan Picard. (James McLellan)

Hot off their strong performance in the 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Summer Pitch Competition, the guys behind Spectra Plasmonics are taking their show on the road. 

Hosted by Singapore Management University, the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition features 36 finalists vying for 15 prizes including cash and services. This year’s competition theme is “Smart Cities”, and entrants will be judged on four criteria: innovativeness of the business idea; commercial feasibility; the impact of the idea including market, societal impact, and sustainability; and capability to execute. 

It was Tyler Whitney (Comm’17, Arts’18) who first heard about the week-long Lee Kuan Yew competition through an exchange opportunity he had in Singapore during his Commerce program. Once Spectra Plasmonics had launched, as part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), he took the idea of submitting an application back to his teammates. Despite the 550 applications to the competition, including applications from ventures at prestigious American universities, Spectra Plasmonics was one of the lucky few accepted. So, Mr. Whitney, along with teammates Ryan Picard (Sci’17), Malcom Eade (Artsci’18), and Christian Baldwin (Sci'19) packed their bags and headed to Singapore, while team member Yusuf Ahmed (Eng'18) tends to the shop back home. 

“Spectra Plasmonics sells an enhancing piece of tech for a chemical detection device which allows for quicker, more accurate detection,” explains Mr. Whitney. “We first heard about the technology through the Office of Partnerships and Innovation when it was pitched to us during QICSI. The technology was invented here at Queen’s in the Chemical Engineering department by Hannah Dies (MSc’21, Meds’21), Dr. Aristides Docoslis, and Dr. Carlos Escobedo, and the product has garnered significant interest from governments and law enforcement agencies. We think this is an excellent fit with the competition theme because our product gives people that live in cities the tools they need to know more about their surroundings and adjust accordingly.” 

Once the technology was developed, the Queen's Office of Partnerships and Innovation began working with Dr. Docoslis and the research team to secure patent protection for the technology and seek opportunities to commercialize it. Ramzi Asfour, the office's Assistant Director for Commercial Development for applied science and information technologies, says the technology was a good fit for QICSI businesses because of its short product development cycle and the nearby access to NanoFabrication Kingston's facilities. 

“This technology has great potential for changing the way Raman Spectroscopy is currently used,” says Mr. Asfour. “It’s a simple, yet sophisticated technique for enabling cheaper yet highly sensitive chemical sensing in a number of applications where more expensive forms of testing are currently used. We are happy with the progress that Spectra Plasmonics has made to date and are looking forward to continuing to help them achieve long term success.”

To prepare for the competition, the team is tweaking their successful QICSI pitch based on the feedback they received, conducting additional research about the Asian market, and researching past winners. The four members who are making the trip headed over to Singapore a week early to meet with some connections, test their technology in the country, recoup from the jetlag, see a few sights, and meet up with some Queen’s alumni. 

“We are excited for the Spectra Plasmonics team and look forward to hearing the final results later this week,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre which organizes QICSI. “Their business unites students from many different faculties at Queen’s with technology developed here at the university, and it demonstrates the kind of collaborations we enable through our centre. Our students are equipped to start their businesses here and, as we’re seeing with Spectra Plasmonics, by the time they graduate the QICSI program they are leading companies which are garnering interest literally around the world.” 

During the week of the competition, the team will be meeting with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, participating in workshops, and readying for their moment in the sun. The thirty six competitors will be whittled down to six in a semi-final pitch competition. The top six ventures will then vie for a cut of $1 million in prizes. 

Stay tuned for an update regarding Spectra Plasmonics’ performance in the competition. For more information on the Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition, please visit: www.smu.edu.sg/lky

Investigating the genes and proteins behind bleeding disorders

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research awards substantial funding to professor David Lillicrap.

Queen’s University professor and one of the leading researchers in common inherited bleeding disorders David Lillicrap has received a $3.55 million Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Grant.

“This funding will be used to support our program of research focused on the molecular science of the two most common inherited bleeding disorders – hemophilia and von Willebrand disease,” says Dr. Lillicrap (Pathology and Molecular Medicine). “These studies involve the application of a range of molecular approaches to understand the pathological basis, enhance the detection and improve the treatment of these conditions.” 

David Lillicrap has earned a Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr. Lillicrap’s research focuses on the genes and proteins that are deficient or defective in hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Both conditions are lifelong bleeding disorders in which blood doesn’t clot correctly. Until recently, the treatment of these disorders has involved frequent injections of the missing clotting factor protein, but work conducted by Dr. Lillicrap’s group has shown that gene therapy is a feasible approach to deliver long-term benefits and a possible cure of the bleeding problem.

“Dr. Lillicrap’s research has led to innovative strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of the world's most commonly-inherited bleeding diseases,” says Dr. John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  “His novel findings, now being applied to clinical care worldwide, are improving the quality of life for patients with inherited bleeding disorders, and this significant investment from the CIHR will help to further this work.”

Dr. Lillicrap says the funding is the most significant operating grant his laboratory has received and will allow him to establish and complete more long-range goals. It will also enhance his work with the Queen's Clinical and Molecular Hemostasis Research Group, run by Dr. Lillicrap and Paula James.

“Many of our studies involve interactions between our two laboratories and include the exchange of knowledge, reagents and valuable research resources,” says Dr. Lillicrap. “We believe that our program is successful in part because we have complementary areas of research interest - the Lillicrap group is focused more on basic/molecular aspects of these diseases and the James group more on clinical and population based research.”

“Both groups share an overlapping interest in certain aspects of molecular and cellular pathology - one example being how blood vessel lining cells (endothelial cells) function in these bleeding diseases.”

He joins three other Queen’s faculty members who currently hold Foundation grants. The grants are designed to contribute to a sustainable foundation of established health research leaders.

For more information visit the CIHR website.

In-depth innovation tour

  • Mayor Bryan Paterson and Principal Daniel Woolf speak with Shahram Yousefi, co-founder of Canarmony and the acting head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
    Mayor Bryan Paterson and Principal Daniel Woolf speak with Shahram Yousefi, co-founder of Canarmony and the acting head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • The tour visited the offices of Spectra Plasmonics - an innovative forensics company founded during the 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative.
    The tour visited the offices of Spectra Plasmonics - an innovative forensics company founded during the 2017 Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative.
  • Mayor Bryan Paterson and Principal Daniel Woolf meet with Shyra Barberstock, a Queen's master's candidate and co-founder of Okwaho Equal Source. Okwaho, an Indigenous social enterprise, has become a highly sought-after global leader and change agent in Indigenous-inspired social finance, social enterprise, social innovation, and social procurement for the Canadian and Australian public and private sectors.
    Mayor Bryan Paterson and Principal Daniel Woolf meet with Shyra Barberstock, a Queen's master's candidate and co-founder of Okwaho Equal Source. Okwaho, an Indigenous social enterprise, has become a highly sought-after global leader and change agent in Indigenous-inspired social finance, social enterprise, social innovation, and social procurement for the Canadian and Australian public and private sectors.

On Thursday, Aug. 31, Principal Daniel Woolf welcomed Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson to Innovation Park to meet with companies and teams at the forefront of Kingston's innovation ecosystem. Joined by representatives of the Office of Partnerships and Innovation and staff from the City of Kingston, the tour visited the offices of several leading edge companies, including Canarmony, Limestone Analytics, Okwaho Equal Source. A testament to the strength of Queen's committment to fostering innovation, all of the companies toured have a Queen's connection - founded by, or working in close partnership with, Queen's students, researchers and faculty.

This was the second Queen's stop on the Mayor's Innovation Tour. In early August, Mayor Paterson visited the main Queen's campus to learn more about innovative research, as well as to meet with participants in the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative.

Innovative research project at the BISC combines art and science

Herstmonceux Castle is more than just a campus – it is a living piece of history. The campus, which Queen’s operates as the Bader International Study Centre (BISC), is a Bronze Age castle which has been continuously inhabited for over 600 years. This history provides a unique opportunity for Queen’s University and University of Waterloo researchers to study the way people lived hundreds of years ago – yet, up until a few years ago, the site had only received sporadic research attention.

The Herstmonceux Project is an archaeological effort which aims to increase our understanding of climate change by examining how changes in temperature and weather conditions have impacted the castle’s site since its founding.

“Since we received our initial Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant, we have spent four years digging up the past and, along the way, this has provided excellent opportunities for students to work hands-on with a unique archaeological site,” says Steven Bednarski, University of Waterloo professor and medieval scholar. “There have been dozens of research trips to the site which have helped these students practice their research skills and will hopefully one day enable them to contribute to future climate change solutions.”

Queen’s has made a number of contributions to the project, including the assistance of two Queen’s Undergraduate Summer Student Research Fellowship recipients each year. This fellowship provides an opportunity for any continuing undergraduate students at Queen’s to develop their research skills under the guidance of a faculty researcher. Up to two of the fellowships offered each year take place at the BISC. This year, Abby Berry (Artsci’18) did ‘double duty’ while working for the Herstmonceux Project, says Dr. Bednarski. Part of Ms. Berry’s role this summer has been to digitize and catalogue the project’s archives – a task that aligned with her Queen’s education and personal interests.

Queen's University study Abby Berry leads a project presentation at the Bader International Study Centre. (Supplied photo)

“In my first two years at Queen's, I constantly found myself searching for intersections between my major in art history and my minor in mathematics,” says Ms. Berry. “It wasn't until my third year that I learned that there was a discipline called digital humanities that merges both science and art. I was interested in the Herstmonceux Project because it allowed me to explore both sides of my degree. There is an endless amount of research that can be performed when you ask yourself what computer programming can do for the arts and what the arts can do for computer programming.”

The opportunity to work on the research project has been a positive experience for Ms. Berry and she says, after graduation, she plans on continuing her research in the digital humanities.

“I'm really interested in how my computer programming background can be used to enhance our understanding of medieval art and architecture,” she adds. “I want to continue working on research projects that allow art to be accessible, not only to the top one percent, but to the general public – this can be achieved through 3D printing, high-resolution images, or computer models.”

Some of uWaterloo Professor Steven Bednarski's students work on a dig site at the Bader International Study Centre. (Supplied photo)

In addition to the undergraduate student researchers, the Herstmonceux Project researchers are provided access to the campus grounds, they stay at the BISC during their visits, and the archaeological finds are physically stored and digitally catalogued at the castle. Queen’s graduate researchers, at the masters and doctoral levels, have also worked at Herstmonceux to oversee undergraduate students, and to conduct their own original research. Meanwhile, in Kingston, project collaborators in Queen’s Art History and Art Conservation department, including faculty member Amandina Anastassiades and now-retired faculty member Krysia Spirydowicz, worked with their own master's candidates to preserve and study the most fragile artifacts. These MA candidates produced reports and studies on the materials recovered at the castle, and several of them delivered a scholarly paper at an October 2016 conference in Waterloo.

The years of research work at the BISC recently led to a major award for Dr. Bednarski. He received a 2017 D2L Innovation in Teaching and Learning Award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, in part because of the Herstmonceux Project and for a digital research lab he has established at the University of Waterloo connected to the project. Dr. Bednarski credits the support of his research team and the project partners – including Queen’s University, the BISC, the University of Waterloo, and St. Jerome’s University (which is federated within University of Waterloo), and SSHRC – for the success of The Herstmonceux Project, and says he accepted the award on behalf of all involved.

To learn more about the project, visit www.medieval-environment.com

Discussing Canada’s energy future

  • James Meadowcroft of Carleton University fields a question from Queen's University's John Pharaoh (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) during his presentation on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
    James Meadowcroft of Carleton University fields a question from Queen's University's John Pharaoh during his presentation on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
  • Queen's University's Warren Mabee (Geography and Planning,School of Policy Studies), top right, leads a discussion during the workshop on the role of nuclear and renewables in Canada’s energy future.
    Queen's University's Warren Mabee (Geography and Planning,School of Policy Studies), top right, leads a discussion during the workshop on the role of nuclear and renewables in Canada’s energy future.
  • Donald Maracle, Chief  of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, makes a presentation during the energy workshop hosted at Robert Sutherland Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
    Donald Maracle, Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, makes a presentation during the energy workshop hosted at Robert Sutherland Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
  • Workshop attendees take part in a group discussion during a workshop on the role of nuclear and renewables in Canada’s energy future hosted at Queen's.
    Workshop attendees take part in a group discussion during a workshop on the role of nuclear and renewables in Canada’s energy future hosted at Queen's.

A critical dialogue on the role of nuclear and renewables in Canada’s energy future drew more than 60 research, industry, government and community leaders to Queen’s University on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

Hosted in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, the workshop was part of a broad, national engagement on Canada’s long-term energy future that will look at the challenges of supporting a competitive, affordable and low-carbon future for Canadians.

Philip Jennings, Associate Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada, was in attendance, along with a number of Queen’s administrators.  Presenters included Queen’s researchers Mark Daymond, Stephen Harrison and Praveen Jain as well as Chief Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

New dean to focus on equity, research, and student experience

Barbara Crow was hired in July to become the Dean, Arts and Science. Dr. Crow joins Queen’s from York University in Toronto where she was most recently the Dean, Graduate Studies. The Gazette caught up with Dean Crow to find out how the first few months have been, and learn more about this new member of the Queen’s community.

Barbara Crow, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, arrives at Queen's from York University where she most recently held the position of Dean, Graduate Studies. (University Communications)

How has the transition been for you?

"One of the wonderful things about starting at this time of year is that it is a bit quieter. So, while faculty are doing their research and the students are working, I have been able to meet the senior leaders and the department heads. Everybody has been very welcoming and has come to the table with their ideas and concerns about how to strengthen and reinforce the values of the Faculty of Arts & Science. It has been great to get access to their perspective. I value working with people who tell me what they think.

I also met with the Arts & Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) and have been incredibly impressed with their commitment to the student experience. I look forward to continuing a positive working relationship with ASUS and SGPS.

The campus is beautiful, and I have been trying every day to walk through a new building. I have a sense of the different kind of community here, one I am looking forward to working with.

I am also really enjoying the change to my quality of life here. I am walking to work and I have, literally, twice skipped home because I am so thrilled to be there in 10 minutes."

 

What attracted you to Queen’s University?

"It has such a fantastic student reputation – bar none. Our undergraduates benefit from excellent undergraduate teaching and we have many services. I said during my hiring I am not going to be able to help you with retention – you have got that all figured out – but I can make contributions to help strengthen research and graduate education.

I am also really excited that Queen’s is taking a leadership role in wellness through the creation of the new Innovation and Wellness Centre – this is an important initiative for students, for staff, and for faculty."

 

What do you uniquely bring to the role of Dean of Arts and Science?

"I love my work. I love universities. I believe publicly funded postsecondary institutions can be fundamental part of strong communities, vibrant cultures, through the important analytic and critical thinking skills we teach. When you look at the data around people who have been to university, you see that on average, they have higher incomes, they are healthier, they are happier, and they contribute more to citizenship issues. We need to remind ourselves of this – we have to remember many of the other elements we get from a university education."

 

For those who haven’t met you yet, what should they know about you?

"I am a really firm believer in professional development and giving colleagues – students, staff, and faculty – tools to make informed decisions about what we want to achieve in the coming years. I am compelled by evidence supported with data. I try to make decisions based on what the research tells us and I think that is important for us as a university.

On a more personal note, I have a son attending Concordia University. My partner and I met on Canada World Youth and is a faculty member in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University. I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years. I also began taking piano lessons as an adult, and I do this to remind myself of what it is like to be a student. It is a humbling experience to remember what it’s like not to understand things and to be reminded how much work it takes to do something well."

 

What are your priorities for the year ahead?

"I would like the graduate student experience to have the same reputation as the undergraduate student experience. We have a fantastic Dean of Graduate Studies here who has been a leader in Canada and I look forward to working with her supporting the graduate student experience.

In light of the exciting Nobel news in Physics, I am really keen to support our research strengths and to provide infrastructure for all of our colleagues to do well in research across the Arts and Science.

I have come from one of the most diverse universities in Canada, and I think it will be important to take up issues in equity and diversity. I also think the Truth and Reconciliation Task Force report has called for some important changes to the way we do things that will enhance indigeneity at Queen’s.

Those are all really important to me and will drive many of the decisions we will make."

Researchers revolutionize cardiac procedure

Queen’s doctors first in Canada to successfully complete operation to treat patients who suffer from common heart condition.

Queen’s University researchers Gianluigi Bisleri (Surgery) and Benedict Glover (Medicine) became the first doctors in Canada to compete a hybrid cardiac ablation procedure. The procedure, which was completed at the Kingston Health Science Centre, is a treatment for patients who suffer from the heart condition atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate.

The new procedure will help patients heal faster, stop or reduce their use of medication, as well as reduce the number of future hospital visits that they require.

“No other centre or clinician has ever performed this hybrid procedure (combining a closed-chest surgical ablation with a transcatheter mapping) in Canada,” explains Dr. Bisleri. “Furthermore, the use of the Ensite Precision cardiac mapping system makes this procedure even more unique, since maybe only other one centre in the United States may have done this procedure so far.”

Ensite Precision technology provides highly detailed models and maps of the heart: Dr. Glover was the first cardiologist in North America to utilize this technology in late 2016.

"Patients have historically relied on medication along with traditional cardiac ablation procedures to help restore normal heart rhythms. During a traditional ablation procedure, physicians create scars inside the heart which prevent abnormal electrical signals from moving through the heart tissue. This traditional approach is typically performed either by inserting long, flexible tubes with wires into the heart through the patient’s groin or by using more invasive surgical approaches that often require opening the chest and stopping the heart," says Dr. Glover.

With the new procedure, a cardiologist uses digital technology to map the inside of the heart while the surgeon performs ablation on the outside of the heart using another specialized device. This requires only three keyhole incisions to navigate to the heart, removing the need to open a patient’s chest.

“So far, we have performed two cases and we are planning to continue performing two cases per month during the early stages of this newly developed program. We obviously have plans to further expand our volumes in the near future, since a larger majority of patients could benefit from this innovative strategy,” says Dr. Bisleri. “The outcomes have been excellent to date.Both patients underwent the hybrid procedure successfully and without perioperative complications, with a restoration of normal sinus rhythm at almost two months of follow-up.”

According to Dr. Bisleri, this procedure will also help reduce wait times, especially for patients who have received unsuccessful treatments so far.

“We are committed to further expand our understanding of the mechanisms of atrial fibrillation and the effects of ablation on it. We will also analyze the mid-long term outcomes of this patient population, as we envision this procedure has the potential not only to benefit the single patient but the healthcare system overall by reducing the need for repeated hospitalization or the likelihood to develop heart failure in the long term.”

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