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Graduate Studies

Graduate student receives national award for research innovation

Queen’s researcher recognized for creating support programs for families of children with  neurodevelopmental disabilities.

The pandemic brought many changes to daily routines and family dynamics. As more time was spent at home and in-person support systems became unavailable, many families who were experiencing aggression in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities saw problematic behaviours increase.

Maude Champagne and James Reynolds
PhD student Maude Champagne, seen here with James Reynolds, a professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, received an award from Mitacs for Outstanding Innovation.

Maude Champagne is a neuroscience PhD student at Queen’s who focuses her research on neurodevelopment disabilities and intervention techniques which help families mitigate aggressive behaviour in youth.

During the pandemic, Champagne was responsible for developing three collaborative projects in partnership with not-for-profit organizations that provide disability support services including ABLE2, Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN), and Adopt4Life.

Champagne’s research efforts recently earned her a national award for Outstanding Innovation from Mitacs – a non-profit organization which partners with universities, the federal government, and various provincial governments to develop solutions that will improve the quality of life for Canadians.

Celebrating research excellence

Champagne attended a celebratory event at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa where she was presented with the award and met with Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop. This year’s event saw a total of eight awards given out, and Champagne being the only PhD student to be recognized. 

“Mitacs support allows our researchers to partner with various stakeholders – from governments to industries to not-for-profits – to develop impactful solutions to improve quality of life for all Canadians,” says Jim Banting, Associate Vice-Principal, Partnerships and Innovation. “Congratulations to Maude on this national recognition of research that makes a difference to children with disabilities and their caregivers.”

Trauma-informed approach

Champagne has a personal connection to the topic of family dynamics as a mother of five children, four of whom have neurological disabilities. Her personal experience as a parent of children with disabilities provides a unique perspective on the challenges faced by families and caregivers.

As part of her work with the Kids Brain Health Network, Champagne helped implement a Fetal Alcohol Resource Program, and later took part in the KBHN-Mitacs internship program which provided a $20,000 stipend to work with community partners such as ABLE2 to assess the innovations of virtual programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To collect this data, a survey and qualitative interviews were administered to understand the needs of families raising children with a neurodevelopmental disability.

Using the findings of the survey, Champagne helped lead Canada’s first-ever nonviolent resistance (NVR) therapy program, the first National Consortium on Aggression Toward Family/Caregivers in Childhood and Adolescence (AFCCA), and a new AFCCA Family Support Program at Adopt4Life.

“At the end of the day, we want to help people, and being recognized by Mitacs will make more people aware of the research that we're doing, and get interest from policymakers, clinicians and families,” says Champagne. “I plan to keep participating in programs like the AFCCA Consortium after completing my research, and continue to raise awareness so families know that they are not in this alone”

To learn more about Champagne’s research visit  Kids Brain Health website.

2022: The year in research

We are celebrating the milestones and accomplishments of Queen’s research community over the past 12 months.

From January to December, our researchers, students, and staff enjoyed being back to in-person events, celebrating funding for groundbreaking projects, and connecting to our community beyond campus. As we approach the end of year, let’s take time to review some of the highlights from 2022.

Memorable moments

As Canada gradually reopened after pandemic shutdowns, we had the chance to once again hold on campus events to celebrate research and innovation. In July, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Vic Fedeli, and other dignitaries came to Queen’s to announce a $1.5 billion investment in an EV battery facility in Eastern Ontario that will create hundreds of jobs and partnership opportunities for the university, and boost Ontario’s economy. The podium party also took the opportunity to interact with Queen’s researchers and students.

[Group photo of Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Champagne, and Queen's researchers]
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister François-Philippe Champagne meet with Kevin Deluzio, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, and Queen's researchers at Ingenuity Labs Research Institute.

In November, Queen's hosted the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. He met with students, senior leadership, and members of the research community. The same week, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) president Ted Hewitt visited the campus to meet with Queen's senior leadership and early career researchers, including scholars in Indigenous and Black Studies research.

Support for groundbreaking research

Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) kicked-off 2022 with $24 million in support from Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund to advance research on molecular coatings designed to significantly extend the lifespan of vital metals.

In August, the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Science Initiatives Fund also announced key support for two research facilities affiliated with Queen’s. Combined, SNOLAB – Canada’s deep clean astroparticle research laboratory – and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) Operations and Statistics Centre were granted $122 million, representing around 20 per cent of the total funding announced to support Canada’s major research infrastructure. Vice-Principal (Research) Nancy Ross travelled 2 km underground to host the announcement, which included Minister Champagne and Mona Nemer, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor.

[Photo of Queen's researchers and government officials travel to SNOLAB]
Dr. Nancy Ross accompanies Queen's Emeritus Professor and Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald, Minister François-Philippe Champagne, local Members of Parliament, and SNOLAB administration on their way to the facility 2 km underground.

Other funding that will support Queen’s future research include:

[Art of Research photo Aging with Oasis by Riley Malvern]
Queen's Art of Research photo contest winner: Aging with Oasis by Riley Malvern, Staff (Health Services and Policy Research Institute), Kingston, Ontario.

Several Queen’s researchers were also recognized with prestigious awards and prizes. John McGarry (Political Studies) was the 2022 laureate for the Pearson Peace Medal, an award designated by the United Nations Association of Canada to recognize a Canadian who has made outstanding contributions to peace and prosperity around the world.

Nobel Laureate and Professor Emeritus Arthur McDonald (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) received the inaugural Canadian Association of Physicists Fellowship for lifetime achievement. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) was awarded the inaugural NSERC Donna Strickland Prize for Societal Impact of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research, which recognizes outstanding research that has led to exceptional benefits for Canadian society, the environment, and the economy. Early-career researcher Farnaz Heidar-Zadeh (Chemistry) earned Ontario’s Polanyi Prize for her research advancing innovative computational molecular design techniques.

Other recognitions included fellowships from of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Faculty members were also appointed or reappointed as Canada Research Chairs, the UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning, and as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Chair of Artificial Intelligence. Queen’s students and postdoctoral fellows received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, two of the most prestigious national awards for future researchers. Internally, three researchers received the Queen’s Prizes for Excellence in Research, which are granted to early-career researchers who have demonstrated significant contributions to their fields.

[Clockwise: Fateme Babaha, Mackenzie Collins, Jessica Hallenbeck, Joshua Kofsky, Sandra Smeltzer, Jodi-Mae John, Michael P.A. Murphy, Chloe Halpenny.]
Queen's 2022 Vanier Scholars and Banting Fellows [clockwise] Fateme Babaha, Mackenzie Collins, Jessica Hallenbeck, Joshua Kofsky, Sandra Smeltzer, Jodi-Mae John, Michael P.A. Murphy, Chloe Halpenny.

In the news

The Gazette published dozens of research profiles and stories that highlight some of the groundbreaking research undertaken by faculty and students. Our community is addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, like climate change, with programs on carbon dioxide conversion technology and sustainable finance.

Queen’s experts are responding to challenges worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, like health professionals’ mental health struggles, and working to create new technological solutions for human problems, including robots that can improve human mobility. They are also advancing the field of neuromorphic computers and figuring out new ways to manage obesity.

We continued our partnership with The Conversation Canada, an online news platform that pairs academic experts with experienced journalists to write informed content that can be shared and repurposed by media outlets worldwide. Over spring and fall, Queen’s hosted members of their editorial team for four workshops for researchers and graduate students.

This year, 69 Queen’s researchers published 76 articles and garnered over 1.7 million reads on The Conversation. Some of our most read articles covered topics like the impacts of housework imbalance in women’s sexual desire, the power of routines, the relationships between eating rhythms and mental health, and the causes for lung damage in COVID-19.

[Art of Research photo: The Tiniest Tree of Life by Dr. Elahe Alizadeh]
Queen's Art of Research photo contest winner: The Tiniest Tree of Life by Dr. Elahe Alizadeh, Staff (Queen's CardioPulmonary Unit [QCPU]), Queen's University.

Mobilizing research

At Queen’s, we believe inspiring new generations of researchers, gearing research processes towards more equitable and inclusive ones, and bringing together the academy and our community is as important as doing outstanding research. We are proud of our efforts to support Black Excellence in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine/health) and women’s participation and leadership in Engineering.

In 2022, our annual photo contest, Art of Research, was reimagined to focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and placed a spotlight on the intrinsic connection between research and social impact.

Our researchers and students have also been working to bring their expertise to the public via outreach events, art installations, short presentations, and connecting with the global community to discuss urgent matters like the crisis in Ukraine – in April, we hosted a panel discussion about the origins and the impact of the conflict featuring experts in political studies and law.

[Art of Research photo: Polar Bear Denning by Scott Arlidge]
Queen's Art of Research photo contest winner: Polar Bear Denning by Scott Arlidge, Graduate Student (School of Environmental Studies), Coral Harbour, Nunavut.

 

New Postdoc Initiative Fund launched

The new fund created by the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs provides support to postdoctoral fellows as they work to advance their careers.

Queen's hosts approximately 200 postdoctoral fellows across all faculties and departments, and they are integral to the university's research community. As outlined in the Queen’s Strategy, the university’s global impact is strengthened by supporting its outstanding postdoctoral fellows. The School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (SGSPA) has now launched the Postdoc Initiative Fund to assist these exceptional scholars and their broader endeavours. The program provides funding to postdocs organizing events that enhance their professional development, research growth, and leadership and community building. The SGSPA is dedicated to helping postdocs advance in their careers, and this fund further demonstrates this commitment.

"Postdoctoral fellows are essential contributors to Queen's research excellence and the production of new knowledge,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean, SGSPA. “The SGSPA continues to develop tools and strategies to broaden our support for this critical group of future leaders embarking on answering questions of global significance. Our new Postdoc Initiative Fund represents merely one of the many ways in which Queen’s works to augment the postdoc experience. Fellows are always welcome to contact our office's Coordinator, Postdoctoral Affairs, to learn more about our offerings."

The Postdoc Initiative Fund complements the SGSPA's Postdoc Travel Award, which provides funding for fellows who share their research at conferences and symposia, communicating Queen's work to the wider world.

More information about the new Postdoc Initiative Fund, the Postdoc Travel Award, and other resources for fellows can be found on the SGSPA website.

Supporting the next generation of leading researchers

Eight Queen’s students and researchers have been recognized nationally with Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships.

[Photo collage - clockwise: Fateme Babaha, Mackenzie Collins, Jessica Hallenbeck, Joshua Kofsky, Sandra Smeltzer, Jodi-Mae John, Michael P.A. Murphy, Chloe Halpenny.]
Clockwise: Fateme Babaha, Mackenzie Collins, Jessica Hallenbeck, Joshua Kofsky, Sandra Smeltzer, Jodi-Mae John, Michael P.A. Murphy, Chloe Halpenny.

Canada’s top funding agencies have announced the recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, two of the most prestigious national awards for doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Eight Queen’s students and fellows are among this year’s recipients recognized for their exceptional research achievements and leadership skills.

"The Government of Canada continues to make record investments in science and research because we know it’s key to creating a more equitable future for all," says the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. "This year’s recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships represent the highest calibre of researchers in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. They will bring new voices and new insights to help ensure that cutting-edge discoveries continue to propel Canada as a global leader."

Jointly funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), these awards recognize students who have demonstrated exceptional scholarly achievement and leadership in their research fields. This year, more than 200 students and fellows across Canada will be receiving an investment of $34.7 million in funding over three years to support their top-tier research.

"Queen’s is honoured to host this year’s Vanier and Banting scholars, students whose academic excellence and leadership have been recognized at a national level," says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. "We are tremendously proud of these individuals, who embody Queen’s aim to foster a culture of bold knowledge production and reflective new thinking and learning in pursuit of a better future."

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program provides $140,000 of funding over two years to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to Canada’s economic, social, and research-based growth. Queen’s recipients include:

Jessica Hallenbeck (Cultural Studies) – Flow: Film as a method for decolonial digital publishing

Michael P.A. Murphy (Political Studies) – Active teaching, assessment, and evaluation in political science

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program provides $150,000 of funding over three years to doctoral students who demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences, and/or engineering and health. Queen’s recipients include:

CIHR

Fateme Babaha (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) – Evaluation of a novel native enhancer element from the factor 8 locus to improve adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivered FVIII transgene expression

NSERC

Sandra Smeltzer (Chemical Engineering) – Polymeric materials as a replacement for toxic surfactants in waterborne coating production

Mackenzie Collins (Collaborative Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering) – Developing a prototype of an eye-gaze based system for emotion identification in children with cerebral palsy

Joshua Kofsky (Chemistry) – Synthesis of complex O-glycans for probing glycan-protein binding interactions

SSHRC

Jodi-Mae John (Geography and Planning) – Exploring Kanyen'keha:ka (Mohawk) values and relationship building with healthcare providers in Kenhte:ke (Tyendinaga)

Chloe Halpenny (Kinesiology and Health Studies) – She works hard for the money: A critical feminist analysis of social assistance in Ontario

For more information on this year’s recipients, visit the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada website.

Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs advisory committee announced

Fahimul Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, will complete his five-year term on June 30, 2023.  Dr. Quadir has indicated he would like to stand for a second term.

In accordance with the Appointment of Deans procedure established by Senate, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane is calling upon the Queen’s community for submissions of opinion on the direction and leadership of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. Submissions should be directed to the email provost@queensu.ca

Those submitting their views in writing are to state whether they wish to have their letters shown, in confidence, to members of the Advisory Committee. Principal Deane has asked Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Teri Shearer, to chair the Principal’s Advisory Committee that will make recommendations to Principal Deane on the appointment.

Principal Deane would like to thank the following individuals who have agreed to serve on the Advisory Committee:

  • Sandra den Otter, Vice-Provost (International)
  • Mark Walters, Dean, Faculty of Law
  • Colette Steer, Manager, Graduate Experience, School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
  • Steven Smith, Deputy Vice-Principal Research for Health Research, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Dre Choi, Equity Advisor, Human Rights and Equity Office
  • Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)
  • Lynnette Purda, Professor and Associate Dean (Graduate Programs), Smith School of Business
  • Stefanie von Hlatky, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Amir Fam, Professor and Vice-Dean (Research), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Graduate Student Representative, Emils Matiss, Graduate Student Senator 

As stipulated by the Senate procedures, Principal Deane will also be writing directly to members of Graduate Studies Executive Council (GSEC) to invite them to submit their views on matters pertaining to present administration and future development.

All community members are encouraged to fully engage in this process. Principal Deane thanks all for their time and consideration.

Participate in Science Rendezvous Kingston 2023

Each year, the Queen’s research community comes together to provide Kingstonians with a day of interactive and family-friendly science activities. As one of the longest-running and most successful outreach events in Canada, Science Rendezvous Kingston provides an opportunity for our faculty, students, and staff to give back to the community while exercising their ability to communicate with the public. The Vice-Principal (Research) Portfolio is now calling out for researchers or groups interested in having a booth in Science Rendezvous Kingston 2023. The event will be hosted on May 13 at the Leon’s Centre.

During the annual event, thousands of visitors have first-hand opportunities to engage with scientists: asking questions, doing experiments, exploring artefacts, and using equipment. All activities are free, thus providing quality exhibits to families for whom costly museums, zoos, nature and environmental programs, and other science-rich experiential opportunities are out of reach.

From virtual tours of SNOLAB to birding guides, activity booklets, instructional guides, book recommendations and teaching modules, Science Rendezvous Kingston strives to educate, engage, and inspire learners of all ages to become aware of and trust science as well as the people behind it. After a virtual edition in 2021 and a hybrid one in 2022, the initiative is ready to go back to a full in-person event, while maintaining a website with educational resources available year-round.

Science Rendezvous Kingston is part of Science Odyssey, a national campaign created by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to celebrate Canadian achievements in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Welcoming new and exciting experiences

A limited number of booths are available for 2023. Individuals, labs and departments at Queen’s who would like to be a part of this exciting and impactful public education event are welcome to complete the application form by December 1, 2022 at 4:30 p.m.

Applicants are reminded that the event is family focused. While there is no fee for a booth, it is the responsibility of the booth coordinator to ensure that there are sufficient consumable materials and volunteers for the full day of activities.

Successful applicants will be advised of their place in the program by January 13, 2023.

Any questions, contact Lynda Colgan, Coordinator, Science Rendezvous Kingston and Executive Director, Science Rendezvous at Lynda.Colgan@queensu.ca

Communicating research beyond the academy

In-person workshops with The Conversation Canada will help Queen’s researchers reach bigger audiences with their expertise.

[graphic image] Queen's University & The Conversation workshops

Researchers are experts in their fields and know how society could make use of their expertise to support critical thinking and daily decision making related to a range of topics – from climate change, health, politics, technology, to the economy, and many other topics. But communicating evidence-based knowledge has its challenges: what platform to use? Which aspects of the research are the most interesting to the public? How to address complex issues in a language everyone can understand?

In two workshops hosted by University Relations, the editorial team of The Conversation Canada will walk researchers through these and other questions. The in-person, hands-on workshops will feature what makes a good article, how to explain your research effectively, and how to work with The Conversation to boost research promotion across mediums.

The workshops will be held on Thursday, Oct. 20 at Mitchell Hall (see sidebar to learn more). Faculty members, post-docs, and graduate students are welcome to participate. In the afternoon session, there will be a focus on how to promote research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Seats are limited to 40 participants in each session. Refreshments will be provided.

The Conversation and Queen’s

The Conversation, an online news platform created in Australia in 2011, pairs academic experts with experienced journalists to write informed content that can be shared and repurposed by media outlets worldwide. Following its success in Australia, regional editions began appearing worldwide and, in 2017, The Conversation Canada launched with support from some of the country’s top universities, including Queen’s, and Canada’s research funding agencies.

As a founding member of The Conversation Canada, the Queen’s research community has embraced the platform as a unique tool for sharing their research expertise and engaging with the media. Almost 270 Queen’s researchers have published 425 articles that have garnered over 8 million views via The Conversation Canada’s website. Through the platform’s Creative Commons Licensing and newswire access, hundreds of major media outlets, including The National Post, CNN, TIME, The Washington Post, The Weather Network, Today’s Parent, and Scientific American, have republished these pieces.

From cryptocurrencies to how eating rhythms impact our mental health, Queen’s researchers have written on a variety of timely and timeless topics. Some of our most-read articles looked at the physical symptoms caused by pandemic stress, the drama of Haitian children abandoned by UN fathers, the extinction of a bird species, the rising popularity of spirituality without religion, and the negative effects of salting icy roads on aquatic ecosystems.

The Conversation Canada and Queen’s University Workshops

Thursday, Oct. 20

Session 1:
10 to 11:30 a.m. (Click to register.)

Session 2 (STEM research):
2 to 3:30 p.m. (Click to register.)

Rose Innovation Hub Space,
Mitchell Hall

For any questions, contact researchcommunications@queensu.ca

The Conversation is a powerful tool for community engagement, bolstering the efforts of our researchers to share their expertise and build profile,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “We have seen participation from every faculty, and Queen’s continues to show leadership in contributing to the platform among Canadian peers.”

The workshops: How to write for The Conversation

The workshops will be led by Scott White, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, and Nehal El-Hadi, the Science + Technology Editor of The Conversation Canada. The in-person program will highlight the changing media landscape, the role of The Conversation and researchers as credible news sources, and how to craft the perfect pitch. Participants will develop pitch ideas and can receive real-time editorial feedback.

Science exposed

Four Queen’s graduate students are finalists in NSERC’s national research photo competition.

How does science look like? Researchers across Canada are showcasing their work in compelling images that provide the public with a new perspective on what goes on inside labs or in field research.

Featuring science across all fields, the Science Exposed contest is organized annually by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). In 2022, four Queen’s students are among the finalists, with their images selected for public voting.

“Researchers are being more frequently asked to share their work with the public, and images are an effective, relatable way to share scientific knowledge; they can convey emotion, beauty, and even surprise, while also fostering curiosity,” says the contest webpage.

Public voting is open until September 18 and the image voted as people’s choice will receive a $2,000 award. A jury will also select three winners for prizes of $2,000 each.

Learn more about the images shortlisted from Queen’s:

Blue-green algal blooms

Malignant brushstrokes (Haolun Tian, PhD student, Biology)

Human activity drives the intensity and frequency of blue-green algal blooms, which threaten aquatic biodiversity and the drinking water supply of millions. The transient and rapid emergence of these blooms into our lakes in late summer makes them difficult to monitor on short notice, particularly in smaller waterbodies. This drone image, taken from 100 m above the ground, shows my collaborators collecting water samples from an algal bloom in Dog Lake, a waterbody on the historic Rideau Canal system. The beautiful paint-like whorls seen from above hide a fetid and noxious “pea soup” that will eventually suffocate fish and other aquatic life when it decomposes in the fall. Using a combination of drone and environmental DNA monitoring, we are able to quickly assess the scale, movement and composition of a small bloom at the fraction of the price of satellite imaging or toxin assessment.

Metalens, an array of nanostructure optical elements

Fabricated nanostructures of a metalens (Masoud Pahlevaninezhad, PhD student, Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Metalens, an array of nanostructure optical elements, is a promising technology that could revolutionize optics by replacing conventional bulky lenses. By adjusting the shape, size and position of nanostructures, metalens can be used for complex imaging settings where conventional lenses fail to provide high-quality focusing. Our group, in collaboration with Harvard University, designed a metalens to incorporate into an endoscopic setting for live tissue imaging of internal organs. One-to-one comparisons of tissue images from both metalens and conventional lenses show metalens’ ability to capture images with noticeably higher resolution and more issue details. This research will ultimately enable a more sophisticated assessment of pathological changes, which could otherwise be easily overlooked by conventional lenses, at early stages of diseases like cancer.

Magnesium sulfate salt crystals

Microfluidically generated salt crystal (Phillip Hillen, MSc student, Chemistry)

Microfluidics is the study and manipulation of fluids at a microliter scale. Droplets can be manipulated using a surface with different wetting characteristics. We generated magnesium sulfate salt crystals by evaporating a droplet of salt water on a microfluidically modified surface, and this image shows a perfectly circular salt crystal, five hundred microns in diameter. While the image is coloured as a result of quality enhancements, salt crystals aren’t colourful.

Aletsch Glacier

Deep blue ICE (Wai Yin Cheung, PhD student, Geography)

Since 2016, Queen’s annually organizes The Art of Research, a photo contest to showcase the work done by faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The competition is aimed at providing a creative and accessible method of sharing the ground-breaking research being done by current and past Queen’s community members and celebrating the global and social impact of this work. Click to learn more.

While working as a glaciological student on Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in Europe, I simply enjoyed the freedom of being by myself without the limitations of physical time. I’m amazed by the power of the vast ice field, as it grinds rock off of mountains, erasing the surface of the earth. This experience has taught me to be as firm and as brave as crystal blue ice for any future challenges I may face.

To see other finalist images and cast your vote, visit the Science Exposed webpage.

Pitch competition celebrates a decade of innovation and entrepreneurship

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre invites startups to join the competition with up to $100,000 prize pool. 

DDQIC participant makes a presentation on stage in Mitchell Hall
This year's Summer Pitch Competition, hosted by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC), will be held Thursday, Aug. 18 at Mitchell Hall. (Queen's University)

For the past decade, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) has been bringing together emerging entrepreneurs to develop their skills, innovate, and share solutions to modern-day challenges.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the QICSI, this year’s Summer Pitch Competition will be returning to a hybrid format after two years of virtual pitching. With 15 for-profit teams from Kingston, the Queen’s community, and Africa participating, the event will feature the largest slate of competitors to date.

Entrepreneurial teams spent the summer tackling a problem, creating and validating solutions, and building a business venture. Participants will have seven minutes to pitch their business to judges, followed by a six-minute question-and-answer session.

Judges with entrepreneurship experience will assess presentations and business ideas to determine which teams will earn a share of the seed funding and prizes. In addition to the judges’ evaluation, participants will also be partaking in the Wisdom of the Market Award poll, which awards extra seed funding to the team with the most votes.

“I want to congratulate this year’s entrepreneurs for their hard work throughout the summer, regardless of the outcome of the pitch competition,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. “We’re thrilled to be returning to an in-person competition, re-establishing the program’s embeddedness in the Kingston community. Watching the ventures’ performance this summer reminds us of the impact of collaboration and what it truly means to be part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

This year’s teams include startups participating in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), Build2Scale Health (B2S), Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellows, and regional ventures. The event will wrap up with an awards announcement where the top ventures will find out who will be awarded prizes from a pool of up to $100,000, including a grand prize of around $30,000 in seed funding.

Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship

Among the participants for the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship are eight finalists who will be pitching virtually from across Africa. The nine-month program helps fellows develop entrepreneurial skills and encourages them to develop the drive to make a social or financial impact.

Build2Scale Health

Build2Scale Health is an accelerator program for entrepreneurs who are responding to unmet needs by developing and delivering new health policies, systems, products and technologies, and services in the health sector. In previous years, the program has led to creative solutions that improve accessibility and quality of care.

Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative

Each year, the Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative selects ambitious individuals with a demonstrated interest in entrepreneurship, innovation, or social impact. Participants gain access to resources and mentorship which provide an environment where ideas can grow into successful startups.

List of Finalists

Pocket Clinic
Founders: Amir Hossein Omidvar, Atena Amanati, and Golnaz Morovati
Pocket Clinic is a smart injection system for insulin-dependent diabetics that is controlled with a smartphone to solve under- and overdosing. The smart injection system adheres to the skin and provides automatic microinjections of insulin as needed by the user.

Foot Truck
Founders: Maria Pieroni and Amanda Pieroni
Foot Truck is a mobile clinic for people who lack transportation and/or have some kind of mobility impairment, allowing them to receive foot care assistance at home.

Arke News
Founders: Abigail Kingswood (Comm‘19), Divya Makkar (MSC‘19)
Arke News is a news aggregator that measures the holistic bias present in the news that users read through their platform, having access to a real-time bias profile personalized to each user's news consumption.

InvestA
Founders: Alieu Jallow (MMIE’22), Matthew Sordo (MMIE’22), Alex Crawford (ArtSci’22)
InvestA offers an investment portfolio management dashboard tool for Venture Capitalists and Angels. The dashboard allows investors to easily track key metrics of startups.

CO2L Tech
Founders: Tu Nguyen Anh Tran-Ly, and Cao-Thang Dinh
CO2L Tech offers a direct solution for carbon dioxide elimination by making devices to convert carbon dioxide into formic acid and derivatives, which are widely used in feedstock antimicrobials and other industries, using readily abundant solar energy and seawater.

Verus
Founders: Adam Steven Clark, Vinicius Porfirio Purgato Robinson Grant (BSC’25), Fabio Ynoe de Moraes
Verus is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software where hospitals (and potentially other businesses) can automate their processes of billing and registering patients, minimizing the number of human errors, and increasing the overall productivity of doctors and staff.

Armistice Biotherapeutics
Founders: Andrew Lingard (MD ‘19)
Armistice is developing DIPLOMAT, a cell therapy which has been designed to drive tolerance to transplanted tissues. DIPLOMAT cells are modified to appear as if they are undergoing “programmed cell death” or apoptosis, a strongly immunosuppressive state.

Strictly Diabetic
Founders: Fadzai Muramba, Dr. Life Zambezi, and Wadzanai Muramba
Strictly Diabetic helps type 2 diabetics manage their blood sugar levels at a minimal cost to prevent diabetic-related complications in the future. Their services include an online community platform and a 28-day program.

DMB Translation Services Ltd
Founders: Joan Bayega, Namaganda Maggie, Murindanyi Sudi, Mugarura Allan
DMB Translation Services Ltd is a social enterprise working to inspire inclusive societies by creating affordable and modern assistive technologies for persons with disabilities. A sign language translation mobile and web application that translates sign language to speech and text — and vice versa.

Ileemore
Founders: Precious Isola, Isola Tolu, and Sonibare Kayode
The platform enables students to take tests on certificate examinations past questions and get well-detailed answers. We present the solutions in an understandable, conversational, and interactive way with the aid of diagrams and animations to drive home the point. 

CampusBuy
Founders: Emmanuel Williams, Naomi Etoni Dango, and Samuel Chinonso Archibong
CampusBuy is an e-commerce venture focused on offering the broadest range of general students’ goods and services on a single platform at the best rates in Nigeria. Students earn, invest, learn, and work while they shop on their platform.

Canva Soap
Founders: Prince Archimedes and Muhoozi Gift
Canva Soap makes both liquid and bar soap for people who have difficulty accessing health products and are victims of the negative impacts of poor health. 

Kwela Brews
Founder: Reitumetse Kholumo
Kwela Brews helps homebrewers of traditional African beer produce their product efficiently and safely by providing a low-cost brewing machine and safe and affordable brewing ingredients for their brewing needs. 

Tawi Health
Founders: Victor Kenneth, Arthur Kennedy, Brenda Nyaringiita, and Dr. Andronick Chebsy
Taxi Health aims to increase equitable and inclusive access to healthcare services in Africa. They provide a software tool to people living with non-communicable diseases to allow them to connect with doctors remotely.

Lotanna
Founders: Ewaoluwa Olasoji, Catherine Olasoji, Seun Denagan, and Amara Udeorji
Lotanna is an Afrocentric fashion company that aims to provide timely solutions to the clothing style needs of professional working women and female business executives. Their clothing is made solely from the diversity of handmade African prints produced across Africa.

The DDQIC originally began as a pilot program launched by the Smith School of Business and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science under the name Queen's Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) in 2012. After a successful inaugural running of the initiative, the Queen’s Innovation Connector  (QIC) was created as a new unit at the university to advance entrepreneurship. In 2016 QIC was renamed the DDQIC following a significant gift from the Dunin Foundation and the Deshpande Foundation.

The event will be held in the Mitchell Hall Atrium at Queen’s University beginning at 2 pm on Thursday, Aug. 18 and will also be live streamed through Zoom.

Faculty members honoured for excellence in graduate student supervision

Samantha King and Stéphane Courteau are being recognized for their mentorship by the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Excellence in academic supervision is a hallmark of the Queen’s graduate student experience. Productive supervisory relationships promote a thriving university research culture where students are supported to make meaningful contributions to their field of specialization and address pressing challenges facing our communities and society.

The School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs annually recognizes two leading graduate supervisors with the Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision. The 2021 recipients are Samantha King (Kinesiology and Health Studies) and Stéphane Courteau (Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy).

“We are humbled by the caliber of nominations we receive each year recognizing faculty members who exemplify the highest standards of graduate supervision at Queen’s,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. “The School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs congratulates all nominees for their exceptional commitment to leadership and mentorship, and for their continued contributions to enriching the academic experience of our graduate student community”

Learn more about this year’s recipients:

Samantha King

Samantha KingA professor of Kinesiology and Health Studies where she works on the politics of bodies, health, and sport, Dr. King has supervised 19 master’s students and 14 PhD students since 2003. The research projects completed by these graduate students traverse a diverse range of topics within the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Gender Studies and Cultural Studies, yet share the pursuit of more equitable, inclusive, and accessible conceptions of health, sport, and the body. In addition to working with her own students, Dr. King has served on the committee of a large number of Master’s and PhD students at Queen’s and other institutions.

Dr. King is deeply committed to helping her students succeed, improve, and thrive as researchers, teachers, and, more importantly, as responsible global citizens. She is highly regarded by her peers as an eminent scholar in sport, health and illness, and social movements. Through her advanced program of research, she creates a thriving environment for graduate learning, where her students are able to work collaboratively on scholarly research with social impact. In addition to consistently providing a supportive context for learning, she ensures each student's needs are met and attends to their personal growth trajectories. Students repeatedly comment on her personalized attention to their professional and personal interests, needs, and aspirations.

Many of her students have praised her ability to remain a compassionate and caring supervisor in addition to challenging them academically, often guiding them through difficult times outside of the academic arena. Dr. King values her students outside of their research and works to ensure her students feel fully supported, believing that this has a fundamental impact on their success. 

Stéphane Courteau

With large numerical simulations and the biggest telescopes in the world, Stéphane Courteau, a professor in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy, and his students study the structure of galaxies, the distribution of visible and dark matter in the universe, and develop original tests to elucidate fundamental theoretical and/or empirical puzzles in extragalactic astronomy. He has supervised nine PhD and 25 Master’s students – many of whom have secured permanent positions at major institutions across North America. His very first PhD student won the Plaskett Medal for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics in 2005. As the Queen's Observatory director since 2009, Dr. Courteau has also mentored numerous observatory coordinators, many of whom have gone on to rewarding careers in science outreach in Canada.

Dr. Courteau's dedication and care for his students, before and after graduation, are well established. His individual mentorship style, fostering a sense of family with all of his students, and research projects tailored to each student, are key to their success. In addition to sharing his passion for astrophysics, science, and discovery, he insists on comprehensive professional development, exposure to scientists in other research centers and the pursuit of intellectual opportunities around the world, creative thinking, and acquiring a global vision for post-graduation success. Through the Astronomy Seminars and Journals Club series, which he has led since his arrival at Queen's in 2004, he encourages graduate students to think about the “big picture'” and the importance of their research relative to the field. Overall, Dr. Courteau has devoted his career to advancing graduate education, providing unique and exciting opportunities for graduate students at Queen's and those across Canada, and, most importantly, advancing the careers of his students.

Drs. King and Courteau will be recognized and presented their award at the 2022 University-wide Teaching Awards Celebration in the fall.

About The Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision

The Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision recognizes supervisors who demonstrate outstanding excellence in advising, monitoring, and mentoring graduate students. Excellence is judged on the quality of supervision and mentorship in facilitating the acquisition of skills and resources needed for students to succeed as scholars and professionals. The criteria for the award reflect supervisors who inspire students to push scholarly boundaries, pursue their career and academic goals, offer quality feedback and guidance, and support broadly a culture of supervisory excellence within their school/faculty and/or university. Preference is given to faculty members who have displayed sustained mentorship activity over many years.

Nominations sought

The SGSPA is currently accepting nominations for the 2022 Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision, deadline to submit packages is Wednesday, Aug. 31. For more information about eligibility and the application process, visit the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website. 

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