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Research Prominence

Researcher digs deep

The search for dark matter continues in earnest at SNOLAB and the scientific team in Sudbury has a new research ally in Gilles Gerbier (Physics), the newest Canada Excellence Research Chair. In the four months since his arrival in Kingston, Dr. Gerbier has been busy setting up his home base at Queen’s and his lab two kilometres below the surface in the Vale Creighton mine.

Gilles Gerbier is working hard to establish his research facilities at SNOLAB and also at Queen's.

A world-leading researcher in particle astrophysics, Dr. Gerbier is currently setting up a major collaborative project on cryogenic detectors for dark matter discovery, one of the most advanced detectors to date. This international research collaboration is pulling in 20 scientific teams from North America and 15 teams from Europe.

“My own technical contribution involves installing a detector tower test facility at SNOLAB,” explains Dr. Gerbier. “My expectations for the coming year are to start operating my lab at Queen’s, gather the parts needed for the facility and prepare to assemble it starting in 2016. SNOLAB is providing me with excellent opportunities.”

Dr. Gerbier is also preparing a second project of a two metre in diameter gaseous spherical detector at SNOLAB. He has met with research teams from France and Greece and the technical team at SNOLAB to determine the scope of the detector project.

Closer to home, Dr. Gerbier has hired one PhD candidate to work with him and invited two post-doctoral fellows and another PhD candidate to join his laboratory starting in the spring. They are coming to Queen’s from Germany, the United Kingdom and France.

SNOLAB and the Queen’s University Particle Astrophysics group, including Dr. Gerbier, were recently featured in Horizon 2020 report, which describes the European community’s strategic long-term science projects in Europe. SNOLAB is also gaining further international recognition after the DEAP-3600 dark matter detector was featured in National Geographic.

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

Committee formed to review Centre for Neuroscience Studies

In accordance with Queen’s University Senate Policy on “Procedures Governing the Establishment, Reporting and Review of Research Centres, Institutes and Other Entities at Queen’s University,” Vice-Principal (Research) Steven Liss is pleased to announce the membership of the advisory committee for the review of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies (CNS):

  • Dr. John Fisher, Associate Vice-Principal (Research), Committee Chair
  • Dr. Brian Bennett, Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, School of Medicine
  • Dr. Wendy Craig, Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Lynda Jessup, Associate Dean (Research)
  • Dr. Christopher Wallace, Chief, Division  of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery
  • Dr. Andrew Winterborn, University Veterinarian
  • Dr. Kelly Blair-Matuk, Office of the Vice-Principal (Research), Secretary of the Committee                                                                                           

Members of the university community are invited to submit their comments on the present state and future prospects of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies to Dr. Fisher c/o the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research), by Feb. 13, 2015.  Comments may also be sent by email to research@queensu.ca.  Submissions will be shared with the members of the Advisory Committee and will become part of the review process; anonymous submissions will not be accepted.  For more information on the centre, please visit the CNS website.

Advisory committee to review Centre for Studies in Primary Care

In accordance with the Senate policy on “Procedures Governing the Establishment, Reporting and Review of Research Centres, Institutes and other Entities at Queen’s University,” Dr. Roger Deeley, Vice Dean (Research), Faculty of Health Sciences, is pleased to announce the membership of the advisory review committee for the Centre for Studies in Primary Care (CSPC). The committee comprises:

  • Dr. John Fisher – Director of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University, and chair of the advisor review committee
  • Dr. Marcia Finlayson, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, and Director, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University
  • Dr. Sudeep Gill, Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University
  • Dr. Geoffrey Hodgetts, Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Queen’s University
  • Dr. Eva Grunfeld, Giblon Professor and Vice-Chair Research, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

To assist with the review, faculty, staff, students and members of the university community are invited to submit their comments to the committee on the present state and future prospects of the centre by Feb. 6.  Please send to Gladys Smith by email or mail to:

Chair, CSPC Advisory Review Committee
c/o Gladys Smith
Health Sciences Research Office
Queen’s University
Ste300-CRI, 10 Stuart Street
Kingston, ON  K7L 3N6

Submissions will be shared only with the members of the review committee and will become part of the review process; anonymous submission will not be accepted.

Let's talk

Queen’s professor Heather Stuart has helped develop five ways to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness as part of this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign.

Heather Stuart has helped develop five ways to fight mental health stigma.

These five ways to communicate about mental illness and show how the community can help those who struggle overcome their concerns about seeking help:

  • Language matters – pay attention to the words you use about mental illness.
  • Educate yourself – learn, know and talk more, understand the signs.
  • Be kind – small acts of kindness speak a lot.
  • Listen and ask – sometimes it’s best to just listen.
  • Talk about it – start a dialogue, break the silence

“If you were diagnosed with a serious physical illness, you’d expect and almost certainly get emotional and social support from people around you – not the silence, gossip, jokes or discrimination often faced by people with a mental illness,” says Dr. Stuart (Community Health and Epidemiology), Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair. “That stigma is the reality for many Canadians who struggle, but we can all help provide necessary support to family, friends and colleagues by keeping a few straightforward approaches in mind.”

As the current chair holder Dr. Stuart works to increase awareness and understanding of stigma, develops and disseminates best practices in stigma reduction, and engages in applied research collaborations with world leaders in mental health.

Researchers at Queen's are at the forefront of developing best practices in the field of anti-stigma, including the unique approaches undertaken through the Opening Minds Program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and a leadership role in the World Psychiatric Association's Global Anti-Stigma Program.

“We thank Dr. Stuart for her important work in anti-stigma research and for her guidance in developing approaches we can all employ to help break down the stigma,” says Mary Deacon, Chair, Bell Let’s Talk. “It’s an effort supported by leaders like Clara Hughes who speak openly about their own experiences, sharing stories with others who’ve struggled and taking the message of hope to everyone.”

Bell Let’s Talk Day is January 28. To learn more about the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, visit the website.

Established in 2012 with a $1 million grant from Bell Let’s Talk to the Queen's Initiative Campaign, the Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair at Queen’s University is the first research chair in the world dedicated to the fight against the stigma around mental illness.

New chairs take their seats

New chairs in the Faculty of Health Sciences from left to right: Dr. John Rudan (Surgery), Dr. Martin ten Hove (Opthalmology) and Dr. Michael Green (Public Health Sciences, Family Medicine)
New chairs in the Faculty of Health Sciences from left to right: Dr. John Rudan (Surgery), Dr. Martin ten Hove (Opthalmology) and Dr. Michael Green (Public Health Sciences, Family Medicine)

Three brand new chair positions in the Faculty of Health Sciences have been filled by esteemed leaders in the fields of health policy, surgery and ophthalmology.

Michael Green (Public Health Sciences, Family Medicine) has been appointed the Clinical Teachers’ Association of Queen’s Chair in Applied Health Economics/Health Policy, John Rudan (Surgery) is the Britton Smith Chair in Surgery and Martin ten Hove (Ophthamology) is the Edna and Ernie Johnson Chair in Ophthamology.

For Dr. Green, the funds from this chair will support the development of new projects and engaging other clinical teachers in his area of research.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to help increase the capacity for applied health services and policy research here at Queen’s,” says Dr. Green. “I plan to build on my work examining the impact of new models of funding and organizing primary care on both cost and outcomes, as well as the differential impact of these changes for specific population groups including Aboriginal peoples.”

Dr. Green has been a faculty member at Queen’s since 1995. He has also served as a consultant for both the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Health Canada.

Dr. Rudan (Artsci’76, Meds’81) is currently serving his second term as head of the Department of Surgery. “The generosity of this gift facilitates our ability to translate great science into surgical practise to benefit our patients,” says Dr. Rudan.

Dr. Rudan was a leader in the creation of the Clinical Mechanics Group, now known as the Human Mobility Research Centre (HMRC), at Queen's. He has either led or co-investigated studies involving more than $9 million in funding from sources including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

He has served as the vice-chair of the orthopaedics oral examination committee for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and as vice-president and president of the Clinical Teachers’ Association at Queen's.

Dr. ten Hove (Meds’89) is an associate professor and head of the Department of Ophthalmology.

“Being appointed the first recipient of the Edna and Ernie Johnson Chair in Ophthalmology is a true honour,” says Dr. ten Hove. “As a well-respected Department of Ophthalmology for more than 50 years, we are very proud of this named chair and will use it to establish ourselves as a national leader in advancing vision science and vision care.”

Dr. ten Hove is an active researcher in the area of the neural mechanisms underlying visual attention and has served on the examination committee of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and on the Royal College’s specialty committee for ophthalmology.

All three chairs were created with funds donated by generous benefactors. Dr. Ernest A. Johnson, Meds’38, and his wife, Edna, established the Ernie and Edna Johnson Chair in Opthalmology to advance knowledge in the field. The Clinical Teachers’ Association of Queen’s established the Chair in Applied Health Economics/Health Policy to bring focus and attention to the topic of health profession compensation. The Britton Smith Chair in Surgery was established by long-time Queen’s supporter Brit Smith, MC, QC, LLD’09.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Bevy of awards for Queen's in 2014

Royal Society of Canada
Nine Queen’s University faculty members have been elected as fellows to the Royal Society of Canada, the highest number of inductees the university has had in one year. Front from left, are: John Burge (Music); Wendy Craig (Psychology); W. George Lovell (Geography); and Erwin Buncel (Chemistry). Back row: Roger Deeley (Cancer Research Institute); Francois Rouget (French); and Ian McKay (History). Absent: Myra Hird (Environmental Studies) and Peter Milliken (Policy Studies). (University Communications)

A number of Queen’s faculty earned prestigious awards throughout 2014, including a record number being elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

Recognition came in many forms and at various levels; all of them were exciting for the recipients as well as the Queen’s community.

The Gazette takes a quick look at some of those awards:

Royal Society of Canada record

A total of nine Queen’s University faculty members were elected to the Royal Society of Canada, the highest number in one year for the university. Fellowship in the RSC is one of the highest recognitions for Canadian academics in the arts, humanities, and the social and natural sciences. The nine newest fellows from Queen’s brought a wide range of research interests including health, environmental issues, history, bullying prevention and chemistry.

Read the full story

Queen's names Canada Excellence Research Chair

The arrival of Gilles Gerbier at Queen’s University in September shone a little light on the search for dark matter, invisible particles that exist in space. Dr. Gerbier joined Queen’s as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Particle Astrophysics and is working both in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy and at SNOLAB in Sudbury, researching the mysteries surrounding dark matter.

Read the full story

Four new Canada Research Chairs for Queen's

A quartet of Queen’s professors was named Canada Research Chairs in October, while two current Queen’s chairholders had their positions renewed. Chairholders are leading researchers in their areas and improve Canada’s depth of knowledge in the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Read the full story

Research leaders earn prestigious medals

A pair of Queen’s researchers were honoured by the Royal Society of Canada as Guy Narbonne (Geological Sciences) received the Bancroft Award for publication, instruction and research in the earth sciences and his contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of the subject of geology while John McGarry (Political Studies) received the Innis-Gerin Medal for his contribution to the literature of the social sciences.

Read the full story

James Low named member of the Order of Canada

Emeritus professor James Low was named a member of the Order of Canada in July for his contributions as an academic and as the founder of the Museum of Health Care in Kingston. The award is the second highest honour of merit in Canada and is given to those who make a major difference in Canada through lifelong contributions in their field. Six Queen’s alumni were also appointed as officers of the Order of Canada.

Read the full story

Baroque expert elected to Institut de France

Gauvin Bailey (Art History) earned some recognition outside of Canada as he was appointed to the prestigious Institut de France. The Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art, Dr. Bailey was elected as a “correspondant-étranger” (foreign correspondent) of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (Humanities) of the Institut de France, one of the most-respected and oldest learned institutions in the world, having been founded in 1663.

Read the full story

YEAR IN REVIEW: A banner year for research at Queen's

[Queen's Research]
Among the top Queen's University research stories in 2014 are, clockwise from top left: the possible use of technology in the fight against ebola; the search for shrapnel in the sands of Normandy; a new, quicker, more accurate method for identifying human hair; and the 'jellification' of Canadian lakes.

Some of the most interesting stories at Queen’s come out of the groundbreaking research that is conducted at the university.

One of the key drivers of the university’s effort to be a “balanced academy” is research prominence and a quick look at the amazing projects, work, thinking and the people behind it all, shows that Queen’s continues to lead the way.

There are too many excellent research projects to shine a light on but here the Gazette highlights some of the top stories of 2014.

'Aquatic osteoporosis' jellifying lakes

A plague of “aquatic osteoporosis” is spreading throughout many North American soft-water lakes due to declining calcium levels in the water and hindering the survival of some organisms, says new research from Queen’s University.

Read the full story

Queen's professor unveils revolutionary foldable smartphone

Queen’s professor Roel Vertegaal and student Antonio Gomes have unveiled PaperFold, a ground-breaking smartphone technology. The shape-changing, touch sensitive smartphone allows the user to open up to three thin-film electrophoretic displays to provide extra screen real estate when needed.

Read the full story

Queen's technology considered for Ebola fight

AsepticSure co-inventors Dick Zoutman, a researcher at Queen’s, and Michael Shannon met with representatives from a portable shelter company to test whether the technologies could be combined to fight the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. AsepticSure combines ozone and peroxide to create a patented gas that has yet to encounter a pathogen it couldn't destroy.

Read the full story

Queen's researchers patent cutting-edge technology

Queen’s University researchers Cathleen Crudden and Hugh Horton (Chemistry), along with students, postdoctoral fellows and other collaborators have developed a new process that allows organic compounds to bind to metal surfaces. This cutting-edge technology is now being patented and commercialized by PARTEQ and Green Centre Canada.

Read the full story

Physicist sifts through sandy shrapnel

Once the site of some of the Second World War’s fiercest fighting, the beaches of Normandy are now a mecca of sunbathing and swimming. Lurking in the sand, though, is a time capsule of those battles. Kevin Robbie (Physics) is examining the shrapnel-containing sand by using microscopic imaging to take photographs that are both scientific and artistic.

Read the full story

Caught by a hair

Crime fighters could have a new tool at their disposal following promising research by Queen’s professor Diane Beauchemin. Dr. Beauchemin (Chemistry) and student Lily Huang (MSc’15) have developed a leading-edge technique to identify human hair quicker and more accurately.

Read the full story

A new view of the world

New research out of Queen’s University has shed light on how exercise and relaxation activities like yoga can positively impact people with social anxiety disorders. Adam Heenan, a Ph.D. candidate in the Clinical Psychology, has found that exercise and relaxation activities literally change the way people perceive the world.

Read the full story

Painting a picture of history

Queen’s University professor Gauvin Bailey (Art History) is one of only two scholars outside the United States to win the award from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. With the funding, Dr. Bailey is undertaking the first comprehensive study of the arts and architecture of the French Atlantic Empire.

His forthcoming book, Art and Architecture in the French Atlantic World, will be the first book that examines both the artistic and architectural heritage of the French Atlantic Empire and looks at the connections and interactions between its many colonies.

Queen's professor Gauvin Bailey has earned funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

“For almost two decades I have worked on the arts and especially architecture of colonial Latin America, including both the Spanish and Portuguese empires,” says Dr. Bailey, Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art. “But it has always fascinated me that there was a third Catholic empire in the Americas at the same time which covered a similarly vast territory with its own cities, country mansions, and missions, yet which is virtually unknown to Latin Americanists. That empire is the French Atlantic Empire, extending from West Africa to Lake Superior, and from Lake Superior to French Guyana.”

The funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship will allow Dr. Bailey to conduct research travel and visit buildings, museums, and archives in distant places which would not otherwise be possible to visit. One of the really exciting things is that in places like Martinique or French Guyana some of the buildings have never even been researched before.

“They are interested in funding me because I am taking a topic that is generally only studied on a country-by-country basis and moving it beyond geographic barriers,” explains Dr. Bailey. “As in Canada, the United States has a huge French heritage that is frankly very little known and the funding agency probably saw that by placing it in the context of the Canadian, Caribbean, and African heritage that the book would be able to ask larger questions about the nature of this vast empire and the ways in which its arts and architecture expressed particular ideologies and attitudes.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $17.9 million in grants for 233 humanities projects. These include research for a book on a Hollywood-based Jewish spy ring that infiltrated and sabotaged Nazi and fascist groups in the U.S. in the 1930s and 40s, and the conservation of artifacts pertaining to the history of the Ancestral Pueblo people, homesteaders, and the Manhattan Project held by the Los Alamos Historical Society.

For more information on the grant visit the website.

Focus on the Far North

A Queen’s University researcher is part of a team awarded $3 million from Movember for a project aimed at improving the mental health of Inuit, First Nation and Métis boys and men. The team from across Canada and elsewhere will see the development of eight new mental health programs in seven northern Indigenous communities.

Priscilla Ferrazzi (School of Rehabilitation Therapy) will provide insight into the role contemporary mental health rehabilitation can play in the development of an effective criminal justice response to people with mental health issues.

Priscilla Ferrazzi is working to bring mental health programs to the Far North.

“There are some pretty novel aspects to this project that work to address Indigenous mental health,” says Ms. Ferrazzi. “All of the partners in this project are going to contribute to the knowledge of mental health in the Far North and introduce some new and effective programs.”

Ms. Ferrazzi’s own research examines the potential for introducing the delivery of criminal court mental health initiatives in Nunavut, a territory where such initiatives don’t currently exist. During the course of her research, she has gathered and analyzed the experiences of justice personnel, health workers, members of community organizations and other community members. This knowledge will help move the Movember-funded Pathways to Mental Wellness for Indigenous Boys and Men project forward.

 “This funding from Movember is important because it acknowledges there is a need in northern Canada and also because it acknowledges the importance of culture and other factors for mental health there,” she says. “We need specialized researchers in the North who understand these factors.”

This project comprises a series of mental health programs for boys and men in collaboration with Indigenous and international circumpolar partners. Keys to success include reduced rates of suicide in Indigenous communities and reduced rates of substance abuse among Indigenous males.

A pain in the neck

Steven Fischer received the 2014 Major Sir Frederick Banting Award for the best oral presentation related to military health at this year’s Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum.

For 70 per cent of helicopter aircrew in the Royal Canadian Armed Forces (RCAF), a helmet equipped with the necessary night vision goggles and battery pack causes real pains in the neck.

To help alleviate this pain for RCAF aircrew members, Steven Fischer and his research team from the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies have designed a short-term solution in the form of a simple add-on to back of the standard military helmet.

Currently, RCAF aircrew don a large helmet before takeoff. For night-flying, aircrew must also affix night vision goggles to the front of their helmet. Even though it’s only an extra 1.8 kg, the added weight can cause significant neck pain for those flying the helicopter as it causes an increase in the muscular demand of their necks to hold their heads upright.

Helmet
Helmets can cause significant neck strain for the wearer, especially after night vision goggles and a battery pack are fixed to the front of a helmet.

“We’ve designed a device that can be added to the back of the helmet to help support the muscles in keeping head balanced when the extra weight is placed on the front of the helmet,” says Dr. Fischer, who received the 2014 Major Sir Frederick Banting Award for the best oral presentation related to military health, as selected by the Surgeon General, at this year’s Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum.

“Our aim was to be able to reduce the strain on the neck to day flight levels at a minimum. While it’s only a short term solution – a long term solution being a redesign to the entire helmet and night vision goggles system – we needed something practical and easy for pilots to use, that they could wear in the interim.”

After in-lab trials with the device, wearers reported considerably less neck-related pain or fatigue. The team is now working on the device’s ability to adjust/individualize the tension depending on the wearer.

Now that the development phase of this device is completed, the evaluation phase is well-underway with in-flight testing scheduled for the coming weeks.

The research team for this project also includes Jenna Dibblee, Portia Worthy, Joan Stevenson, Susan Reid, and Markus Hetzler.

For more information on the Banting Award, Forum 2014 or CIMVHR, follow this link.

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