Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Queen's University Queen's University
    Search Type

    Search form

    Arts and Science

    William Leggett receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

    Dr. William Leggett.

    William Leggett, professor emeritus in the Department of Biology and Queen's 17th principal, has received the H. Ahlstrom Lifetime Achievement Award from the Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions to the fields of larval fish ecology.

    The American Fisheries Society is the biggest association of professional aquatic ecologists in the world, with over 9,000 members worldwide.

    "œIt feels good to be singled out by such large group of people who I respect so highly," says Dr. Leggett. "œI didn'™t expect to receive this award so it'™s a big honour and thrill to get it."

    Dr. Leggett'™s research focuses on the dynamics of fish populations and his work as a biologist and a leader in education has been recognized nationally and internationally. A membership in the Order of Canada, a fellowship from the Royal Society of Canada, and the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education are just some of the awards he has received for outstanding contributions to graduate education and marine science.

    The Early Life History Section of the American Fisheries Society recognized Dr. Leggett'™s "œexceptional contributions to the understanding of early life history of fishes that has inspired the careers of a number of fisheries scientists worldwide and has led to major progress in fish ecology and studies of recruitment dynamics."

    The award was recently presented in Quebec City at the 38th annual Larval Fish Conference held in conjunction with the 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.


    Dalitso Ruwe joins global research organization

    Dalitso Ruwe

    Dalitso Ruwe, assistant professor of Black Political Thought in the Department of Philosophy and the Black Studies Program, has been named a Azrieli Global Scholar by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), a Canadian-based global research organization.

    The Azrieli Scholars are provided two years of unrestricted research funding and access to a community of interdisciplinary global collaborators to advance their work on pressing questions facing science and humanity. A total of 16 scholars were announced, including Élise Devoie, assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, marking the second time Queen’s researchers have received the honour from CIFAR.

    “It’s an incredible honor to be named a Global Scholar,” Dr. Ruwe says. “The opportunity to join a program that values interdisciplinary research while asking new questions about how the sciences and humanities can help us make sense of contemporary societal challenges is exciting. Personally, I'm excited to be learning from emerging and renowned scholars who have made an active commitment to public facing problems.”

    The Azrieli Global Scholar community includes more than 400 researchers from 161 institutions in 18 countries and its fellows, chairs, scholars, and advisors are among the most highly cited researchers in the world.

    Currently Dr. Ruwe is conducting research on how Eurocentric scientific discourses, from the 17th through 21st century, have not only dehumanized Black men but justified their deaths as well. He is exploring negative caricatures of Black masculinity that emerge in scientific narratives and addressing how these depictions and stereotypes have normalized anti-black violence.

    He is also working on a manuscript titled Horrors of the Flesh: Black Misandric Violence and the Dehumanizing Logics of Western Sciences.

    “I see this award as an opportunity to strengthen more pathways and connections to amplify research in Africana philosophy, Critical Race Theory and Black Male Studies in the field of philosophy in Canada.”

    Learn more about Dr. Ruwe and Dr. Devoie and the award on the CIFAR website.

    This article was first published by the Faculty of Arts and Science.

    Working together to advance health innovation

    Three Queen’s teams have secured more than $5 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

    [Photo collage of Drs. Karen Yeates, James Reynolds, Lucie Levesque]
    Drs. Karen Yeates (Medicine), James Reynolds (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), and Lucie Lévesque (Kinesiology and Health Studies).

    The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have announced their latest round of Team Grants. Intended to support interdisciplinary and collaborative research that optimizes health outcomes during transitions in care, team grants are funded around specific healthcare issues facing Canadians. As part of this announcement, three projects led by Queen's researchers have received $5.71 million to advance their innovative health research.

    “Finding effective solutions for complex health challenges requires multiple perspectives,” says Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal (Research).“We will benefit from the expertise of academic partners, governments, and Indigenous communities, who will help our research teams tackle health issues to improve outcomes within Canada and globally.”

    Learn more about the funded projects:

    Karen Yeates (Medicine) has been awarded $2.5 million from the CIHR and Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) call for research into Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Prevention. The funding over five years will support her team’s STOP NCDs project focused on the development of health resources within remote Tanzanian communities. The team of Canadian and Tanzanian researchers along with policy makers and decisions makers from Tanzania’s Ministry of Health will evaluate and adapt HIV treatment strategies, extending them to treat cardiovascular diseases through the identification of individuals displaying risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

    The program aims to provide low-cost health insurance to those with cardiovascular risk factors and connect patients to interventions through text messaging and voice recordings. Regional nurses will be provided with cost-effective digital training, allowing them to identify cardiovascular risk factors and track patient progress. Nurses will also be provided with further training to allow them to prescribe medications and treat patients through risk factor management. This collaborative effort with Tanzanian public health officials will support the use of the most cost-effective and sustainable strategies to impact health outcomes.

    James Reynolds (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) and collaborators are receiving $1.25 million over five years to fund the Infant and Early Mental Health (IEMH) Care Pathways Project. Supported by CIHR’s call to develop Mental Health in the Early Years Implementation Science, his team will evaluate the effectiveness of IEMH Care Pathways model in Canadian communities in the prevention and treatment of early childhood mental health disorders. The program will incorporate decades of previous research regarding early mental health and its importance in long-term wellbeing.

    This research effort will also assess the IEMH Core Component Framework, a tool used by community organizations to determine the strength of their own IEMH programs and prioritize areas of improvement. The critical analysis will be used to create a more effective and systematic framework for Canadian communities to follow when developing their own IEMH pathways. As a result, this research will enable a better understanding of the necessary responses to support children displaying risks of poor mental health outcomes.

    Lucie Lévesque’s (Kinesiology and Health Studies) team has been awarded close to $2 million over the next five years from CIHR’s Diabetes Prevention and Treatment in Indigenous Communities: Resilience and Wellness Team Grant titled Mobilizing Resilience through Community-to-Community (C2C) Exchange. Her team will use a community-engaged approach grounded in a Haudenosaunee Two Row Wampum perspective to study their community-to-community mentorship model of type 2 diabetes (T2D) prevention. 

    A partnership between six Indigenous communities throughout Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, several Indigenous partner organizations including the Kahnawà:ke Schools Diabetes Prevention Program, and researchers from three universities will collaborate to enhance community mobilization for T2D prevention and existing community resilience. Communities will interact through community exchanges, video storytelling, social media, and gatherings to share knowledge and wise practices. The research seeks to understand how community resilience can impact the success of the C2C model, as well as how the C2C model promotes community mobilization for T2D. Information gathered through various qualitative and quantitative methods will be used to develop sustainable T2D prevention with Indigenous communities across Canada.

    For more information about the CIHR Team Grants, visit the website.

    Queen’s places 3rd worldwide in 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

    University secures its best performance to date with third consecutive top-10 finish.

    [Illustrative aerial drone photo Queen's University campus]

    For the third straight year, Queen’s has ranked among the top 10 in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings – earning third place worldwide and first place in North America out of over 1,700 universities. Queen’s is the only Canadian university to achieve three top-10 placements since the rankings began in 2019.

    The THE Impact Rankings are a global measurement for assessing universities’ performance in advancing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were established by UN member nations in 2015 to guide global action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure shared peace and prosperity for all people by 2030.  

    "It is an honour to be recognized for our institution’s ongoing contributions to advancing the SDGs. These goals are reflective of the university’s mission and our desire to be recognized as a global institution," says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. "The Impact Rankings have played an instrumental role in bringing together our community by creating a focus on the numerous ways Queen’s is engaged in solving the world’s most pressing challenges. Our performance in the rankings tells us that we are on the right track, and our efforts are having an impact."

    The 2023 rankings reviewed institutions from 117 countries, including 26 Canadian universities, and saw an overall increase of 11 per cent in worldwide participation over last year.

    "It’s really impressive what Queen’s University is doing to meet the goals and is a testament to how seriously it takes those critically important goals and how the whole sector is united in pursuit of a sustainable future for us all," says Phil Baty, Chief Global Affairs Officer with Times Higher Education. "The rankings are vital for millions of prospective students who are increasingly demanding to see evidence that the universities they consider for their education are committed to sustainability and to helping them to become sustainably minded citizens."

    Our performance

    The Impact Rankings evaluate universities’ activities across four important areas – research, teaching, outreach, and stewardship – using hundreds of quantitative and qualitative data points.

    Once again Queen’s submitted evidence for all 17 SDGs, and scored outstanding marks, in particular for advancing SDGs 2, 11, and 16. The university placed first in the world for its contributions to SDG 2: Zero Hunger; second in the world for SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; and seventh for SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

    "Our performance in this year’s rankings confirms that Queen’s is realizing its aspirations to be a university that effects real, positive change at the local, national, and global level," says Principal Deane. "Our community is working together to improve our world and to help shape a better future for all of us and the planet."

    Queen’s submitted more than 400 pieces of evidence this year, highlighting institutional operations, policies, research, and strategy, and involving collaborative work by dozens of units across the university. Some examples of the evidence provided and evaluated this year include:

    • SDG 2 – Swipe it Forward Queen’s, an initiative to help address food insecurity on campus and provide short-term, immediate support to students in need. All students on meal plans have the option to donate up to five meals per semester to a student in need.
    • SDG 2 – The new Queen’s PEACH Market, a ‘pay what you can’ model where untouched food is packaged and made available to members of the university community.
    • SDG 16 – The John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy in the Department of Economics informs policymaking in Canada and abroad by focusing on policy-relevant research in economics and related fields.
    • SDG 16 – Queen’s Model Parliament (QMP) is the oldest and largest model parliament in Canada. The student-led event sees about 300 students take over Canada’s House of Commons where they experience the legislative process by forming political parties, running for office, drafting bills, and debating them on the floor.
    • SDG 11 – Queen’s is committed to recording and preserving aspects of cultural heritage such as local folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge. Our Office of Indigenous Initiatives – Art on Campus program has installed artwork across campus from many different Indigenous nations, as well as an outdoor plinth that identifies the Indigenous land the university sits on.
    • SDG 11 – The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, or "The Isabel" as it is fondly known, hosts public performances, bringing local, national, and internationally renowned artists and performers of all genres to the local community, including musicians and performing artists.
    • SDG 11 – The Sustainable Transportation Sub-Working Group provides recommendations for the implementation of alternative transportation such as public transit options, parking pass options, and active transportation with a focus on benefits for the environment, human health, and the economy.
    • SDG 15 – The Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS) is one of the premier scientific field stations in Canada. For almost 70 years, researchers and students have gathered at QUBS to conduct leading-edge research and participate in courses spanning ecology, evolution, conservation, geography, and environmental science.
    • SDG 15 – Sustainability and biodiversity initiatives are core to the mandate of Queen’s Bader College (UK). The campus acts as a living laboratory, where students collect samples and perform experiments on the rich variety of ecosystems and land forms that are present.

    Learn more about Queen’s University’s performance in the 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings and contributions to the SDGs.

    Basic income could help create a more just and sustainable food system

    A guaranteed basic income is a promising tool for contributing to sustainability and justice across agriculture and fishing sectors.

    A farmer at the Roots Community Food Centre urban farm in northwestern Ontario harvests Gete-Okosomin squash in summer 2021. (C. Levkoe), Author provided
    A farmer at the Roots Community Food Centre urban farm in northwestern Ontario harvests Gete-Okosomin squash in summer 2021. (C. Levkoe), Author provided

    Canada’s food system is experiencing ongoing stresses from supply chain disruptions, price inflation and extreme weather events. Canadians are feeling the effects of these stresses: in 2021, nearly 16 per cent of provincial households experienced some degree of food insecurity.

    The Conversation logoFederal programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the recent grocery store rebate point to the impact direct government income interventions can have on ensuring equity in times of emergency, including access to food.

    Some have discussed the new grocery store rebate, which is to be delivered through the GST/HST tax credit system, as closely aligned with proposals for a basic income guarantee. But a basic income guarantee would involve regular payments, not just a one-time rebate.

    A basic income guarantee could play a key role in reducing individual and household food insecurity among society’s most vulnerable and ensure everyone can meet their basic needs with dignity.

    What the research says

    There is general support among basic income advocates in Canada for implementing income-tested basic income, which would involve delivering cash transfers to individuals whose incomes fall below a certain threshold.

    As sustainable food systems experts, we suggest that a basic income guarantee could not only be an important tool for addressing economic access to food, but also in supporting sustainability across the food system.

    We draw on our research with Coalition Canada, a network of basic income advocacy groups. Our research brought interdisciplinary teams of scholars and practitioners together to develop a series of case studies examining basic income through the lens of different sectors. These sectors include the arts, finance, health, municipalities and the criminal justice system.

    Our work focused on the agriculture and fisheries sectors and involved members of the National Farmers Union, Union Paysanne, EcoTrust Canada and the Native Fishing Alliance.

    Overall, our research suggests that a basic income guarantee could have a significant impact on the economic uncertainties faced by farmers and fishing communities in Canada. It could also contribute to a more just sustainable transition in the food system.

    Reducing economic uncertainty

    One potential impact of a basic income guarantee would be reducing economic uncertainty for the most vulnerable agriculture and fisheries workers.

    People employed in food and fish processing and as farm labourers are especially vulnerable to seasonal unemployment, low wages, uneven employee benefits and unsafe working conditions, including high rates of occupational injury and illness.

    A basic income guarantee could offer individuals more financial security and control over their employment choices, and thus address the racialized, classed and gendered disparities prominent in food systems labour.

    Supporting new fishers and farmers

    A second potential impact of a basic income guarantee could be supporting new entrants in agriculture and fisheries. Across Canada, the commercial fishing and farming workforces are aging.

    Supporting new farmers and fishers, especially those using more socially and ecologically sustainable practices, is an essential part of building a more resilient food system.

    New entrants face substantial barriers related to high entry costs, such as access to land and equipment or purchasing a boat and fishing license, combined with uncertain and fluctuating prices for their goods.

    While a basic income guarantee alone can’t address these challenges, it could provide greater economic stability for new farmers and fishers when they invest in infrastructure and training.

    Preparing for future stressors

    A basic income guarantee could also be a step towards building resilience against ongoing stressors, like the climate crisis and extreme weather events, along with preparing for future emergencies.

    The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that those with more stable incomes and flexible work arrangements are better able to adapt to unexpected shocks. For example, during the pandemic, boat-to-fork seafood businesses better weathered seafood chain disruptions because of their adaptable supply chain configurations and proximity to consumers.

    At present, small-scale farmers and fishers tend to receive the least support, because most subsidies go to larger industrial enterprises. However, these small-scale producers play a crucial role in supplying food for regional and local markets, which can serve as important buffers during times of crisis and reduce the stress of long-distance supply chains.

    Establishing a basic income guarantee would be a proactive step in supporting equitable livelihoods for small-scale farmers and fishers.

    Next steps for the food system

    Although a basic income guarantee has the potential to bring about many positive impacts, it shouldn’t be a substitute for existing government-funded agricultural and fisheries programs such as grants, public research, and training and skills development programs.

    A basic income guarantee also shouldn’t replace contributory programs, like the Employment Insurance fishing benefits. A basic income guarantee would offer support to fishers whose earnings are too low to qualify for employment insurance, or who are unable to go out on the water.

    Further research and policy efforts will be crucial for gaining a fuller understanding of how a basic income guarantee might intersect with other financial supports like insurance, loans and climate funding.

    Additional research will also be crucial for understanding how a basic income guarantee could support migrant workers brought in through the Temporary Foreign Worker program. Migrant workers are an essential part of fisheries processing and meat and horticulture production.

    There is also a need to think systematically and holistically about the role of basic income across the food system. The only way to accomplish this is with further input from farming and fishing communities and Indigenous communities in collaboration with anti-poverty, food sovereignty and food justice organizations.

    We believe a basic income guarantee is a promising tool for contributing to sustainability and justice across agriculture and fishing sectors, while encouraging the development of cross-sectoral networks, research and policy agendas.

    The authors would like to acknowledge the author teams of Coalition Canada’s Case for Basic Income Series for their contributions to this article.The Conversation


    Kristen Lowitt, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, Queen's University and Charles Z. Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems, Lakehead University

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

    The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Director, Thought Leadership and Strategic Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.

    Biology professor Paul Grogan receives top teaching award

    Paul Grogan teaches a biology class
    Paul Grogan, a professor in the Department of Biology, is the 2023 recipient of the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award. (Supplied Photo)

    Throughout his career at Queen’s University, Paul Grogan, a professor in the Department of Biology, has received numerous teaching awards from students, and from his fellow faculty members.

    Now, Dr. Grogan is the 2023 recipient of the university’s top teaching award – the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award – which recognizes undergraduate, graduate, or professional teaching that has had an outstanding influence on the quality of student learning at Queen’s. 

    “I’m literally thrilled! It’s a huge honour and it makes me think of all those who have contributed directly and indirectly – ‘it takes a village,’” Dr. Grogan says. “My family (passed and present), my academic colleagues and friends, my course program associates and graduate teaching assistants, the instructional staff at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and the Queen’s administration – all these people have in one way or another contributed to what I teach, and how I teach. And there’s one last all-important group – the students. Their enthusiasm and curiosity over the past 20-plus years have truly inspired me along this journey of mutual learning.”

    Dedication to students

    During his time at Queen’s, Dr. Grogan has won or been nominated for a number of teaching awards, including receiving the Biology Department Student Council Award of Excellence in Teaching in 2010-11 and 2021-22 and has been nominated multiple times for both the Frank Knox Excellence in Teaching and Barnes Teaching Awards. He is also a two-time recipient of the Biology Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012-13 and 2021-22, voted upon by other faculty members.

    “Paul Grogan’s teaching practices, along with his ability to encourage and inspire others to be excellent teachers, make him an ideal recipient of the Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award,” says John Pierce, former Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and chair of the 2023 Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award Adjudication Committee. “He has shown dedication to his students through innovative pedagogy, commitment to his department by providing educational leadership to his peers, and engagement in the support for curriculum development at Queen’s.”

    Promoting progressive teaching practices

    In the classroom and lecture hall, Dr. Grogan sees himself as a facilitator – providing guidance rather than lectures to classes; advising rather than supervising thesis students. His goal, he adds, is to facilitate deep learning – to move students beyond ‘being told what to do or memorize’ by helping them to develop their potential for critical thinking and independent learning. To achieve this, he engages students with a broad question or problem, focusses the theme down into a central foundational concept or mechanism, and then guides them to explore the implications of that concept or mechanism in a broader context, including making links to bigger ‘real world’ environmental and life issues.

    “As I have noted several times in our annual/biannual reports, Dr. Grogan is the most reflective faculty member that we have, always seeking ways to improve his teaching and student experiences, incrementally and consistently,” says Brian Cumming, professor and head of the Department of Biology, in his nomination letter for his colleague, adding that Dr. Grogan uses innovation as a teaching practice and continues to educate himself in new ways of teaching.

    “For example, Dr. Grogan was utilizing learning outcomes before they were required, encouraging active learning through problem-solving and breakout groups, and more uniquely, using contemplative practices in upper-year courses,” Dr. Cumming says.

    During this past academic year Dr. Grogan created a guidance document on ‘Teaching practices to help promote Indigenization – Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism (I-EDIAA)’ to raise awareness and promote progressive teaching practices. The document provides guidance and resources specific for the Department of Biology but also more general guidelines to help all teachers integrate I-EDIAA practices into their curricula.

    “Each time I stand up to speak in a big lecture course, or to lead a small seminar course discussion, I’m consciously aware that every member of my audience is a fellow human being deserving the very best I can offer,” he says

    That awareness, Dr. Grogan explains, is his primary source of inspiration.

    “I genuinely consider being a professor as an enormous privilege, and therefore that it confers on me a profound responsibility to continue striving to advance the quality and depth of the learning experiences I offer,” he says. “For me at this stage in my life, people and relationships are what matter most – and I’ve recently realised that teaching is a natural extension of that philosophy. The Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award is a huge boost to my confidence and energy, and I hope for many more years on this wonderful journey.”

    Science Rendezvous Kingston returns

    Queen’s researchers and community partners will showcase their science and outreach activities at the family-oriented event on May 13.

    [Photo of a student learning about static electricity]

    Each year in mid-May, Queen’s researchers and students take over the Leon’s Centre and The Tragically Hip Way in Downtown Kingston for a full day of science outreach activities featuring topics in biology, chemistry, geology, psychology, engineering, health, and many others. For over a decade, thousands of children, youth and their families have interacted with the displays and queried the researchers to learn about their work.

    This year, Science Rendezvous returns to Kingston on May 13. The festival, which is free of charge, will be the biggest one yet, with over 400 volunteers spread across 50 booths featuring research discoveries and interactive activities.

    "We are proud to see so many of our researchers, students and community partners invested in sharing knowledge with young people and their families," says Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal (Research). "Events like Science Rendezvous help us translate the impact of Queen’s research and inspire the next generation of scientists."

    The theme of this year’s event is CREATE, showcasing how discoveries are made and new knowledge is built in different research settings, from labs to cities, from underground to outer space, from forests to hospitals.

    Highlights of the day include Queen's CardioPulmonary Unit (QCPU) showcasing a mini CT-scanner which will allow visitors to view real-time scans of QCPU’s mascot, Dr. Squeak. Queen’s Ingenuity Labs will introduce audiences to their robot dogs, Boston Dynamics Spot and Unitree Go 1, who allow engineers to safely and effectively navigate challenging terrain.

    New to Science Rendezvous this year is Kingston Fire and Rescue, who will demonstrate hydraulics and water supply with a fire hydrant and truck, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, in partnership with Queen’s Art Conservation Program, who will introduce the tools and techniques used by museum professionals to study and preserve artwork and heritage objects.

    Also, for the first time, Science Rendezvous Kingston will feature a Sensory Friendly Science Zone designed for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, social and emotional mental health needs, and other sensory-related or physical disabilities.

    [Photo of a student looking through a telescope]

    "Our goal is to be increasingly inclusive, ensuring everyone gets the opportunity to experience science and fun," says Queen’s Professor Emerita Lynda Colgan, founder and coordinator of Science Rendezvous Kingston. "We want to show children that scientists come in all colours, genders, and ages, and that anyone can be a scientist if they want to."

    Dr. Colgan highlights how important it is to provide a fully free event in a post-pandemic world where the costs of taking a whole family to a science museum are out of reach for so many people.

    Science Rendezvous Kingston is part of the Canada-wide, not-for-profit initiative Science Rendezvous, the largest one-day science festival in the country, happening in over 30 cities in 10 provinces and two territories. The event is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). On March 8, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson, on behalf of Kingston City Council, proclaimed May 13, 2023 to be "Science Rendezvous Kingston Day" in the city.

    Highlights of Science Rendezvous Kingston 2023

    • Research Casting International (RCI) is mounting a cast skeleton of Saurophaganax, a large carnivorous Allosaur that lived in North America during the late Jurassic period (about 151 million years ago)
    • A giant, interactive floor map brought by the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition will allow visitors to experience the ocean and waterways with augmented reality
    • A Chemistry Magic Show will be presented by Queen’s Department of Chemistry on the main stage at 10:30 am and 1:45 pm
    • Award-winning Canadian authors will give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at how authors create STEM books out of cutting-edge science
    • Queen’s Plant Sciences Research Group will share knowledge about flowers, vegetables, grains, and oilseeds

    Visit the website for a full list of booths and for more information on the event, or follow Science Rendezvous Kingston on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).

    Funding boost for frontiers research

    Nine Queen's programs will receive a total of $3 million from the federal government.

    [Aerial photo of Queen's campus]
    [Photo by Allen Tian]

    On April 25, the Government of Canada announced support for high-risk, high-reward research projects that address some of Canada's and the world's most pressing challenges with a multidisciplinary, innovative approach. Nine Queen’s-led programs were granted a total of $3 million through the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF).

    The successful applications were responding to two calls from the NFRF: the 2022 Special Call, looking for research projects with a focus on post-pandemic recovery, and the 2022 Exploration competition, which invited researchers to go beyond their own disciplines to inform bold new perspectives.

    The six projects supported by the Exploration competition received $250,000 each, while the three projects on the Special Call each received around half a million dollars.

    "As a society we are faced with complex challenges that require input from multiple perspectives," says Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal (Research). "Support from the New Frontiers Programs allows our researchers to take risks and think big to maximize potential impact. I look forward to seeing how these projects evolve."

    NFRF 2022 Exploration competition

    Christopher Lohans (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Carlos Escobedo (Chemical Engineering), Aristides Docoslis (Chemical Engineering), and Prameet Sheth (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) will develop a new diagnostic device to quickly diagnose antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Many current methods rely on bacterial culturing, which can take a couple of days – a time during which infections can worsen. But the new ultrasensitive method will be able to detect resistant bacteria in just one hour, directly from patients’ blood or urine samples using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Researchers also expect the technology can be used to deepen our understanding of the degradation and metabolism of antibiotics and other drugs.

    Farhana Zulkernine (School of Computing) will work with long-term care facilities to adapt voice assistant bots (e.g., Amazon Alexa) to the needs and preferences of senior citizens. This research program will leverage interdisciplinary approaches from computer science, psychology, and cognitive neuroscience to address the struggles of aging adults in using this type of technology. By developing and testing bot adaptations with and for senior users, the project aims to support safe aging in a home environment, including assisting with medication reminders, offering guidance with challenging tasks, or even providing a form of companionship.

    Amer Johri (Medicine) and Nazanin Alavi (Psychiatry) are planning to establish a national remotely supervised virtual point-of-care ultrasound (Tele-POCUS) program. While this revolutionary technology can facilitate clinical examinations by providing the ability to assess the heart, lungs, and other organs immediately at the bedside and live-stream images from remote regions directly to experts thousands of kilometres away, it also poses challenges related to technology access, inclusion, and human-to-system interactions. The team of psychosocial, medical, and digital experts will look at the implementation and sustainability of the new technology and work with remote and Indigenous communities on impact assessment.

    Parvin Mousavi (School of Computing) and David Maslove (Medicine & Critical Care Medicine), along with colleagues from business, critical care, computing and surgery will aim to improve the management of intensive care unit (ICU) patients across Canada using machine learning methods coupled with large-scale physiologic data. They will explore strategies to identify and anticipate important clinical events, with an emphasis on personalized therapeutic strategies, integration with clinical workflows, as well as the ethical and equitable deployment of artificial intelligence-based systems.

    Xiaolong Yang (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) and Shetuan Zhang (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) will look at how to increase patient survival rates of heart failure. Myocardial infarctions or hypertension-related cardiac hypertrophy result in decreased oxygen flow to the heart tissue, causing cardiac muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) to die, resulting in heart failure. However, available treatment strategies only target symptoms, and there are currently no clinically approved drugs that promote cardiomyocyte survival and/or regeneration. This research program will focus on developing new therapeutical drugs for heart failure using artificial intelligent and biosensor technologies and testing them on pre-clinical models. Specifically, it will deliver small molecule drugs to heart tissue to inhibit cardiomyocyte death caused by LATS, an enzyme that is upregulated during the heart failure process.

    Ryan Alkins (Surgery) and team will explore new therapies for glioblastoma, the most common type of central nervous system tumour in adults, combining two cutting edge technologies: therapeutic ultrasound and cellular immunotherapy. They will test if available immunotherapies using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T or Natural Killer (NK) cells can have their efficacy enhanced by using ultrasound and microbubbles to activate brain endothelial cells – an approach that will pave the way for new treatment paradigms.

    NFRF 2022 Special Call: Research for Postpandemic Recovery

    Elijah Bisung (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) aims to enhance evidence-informed policy-making and practice to promote the health, wellbeing and economic empowerment of poor women in a pandemic recovery world in sub-Saharan Africa. This research program will look at the impact of cash transfer and complementary water services on the work and health of poor women in Ghana. The team will use community based participatory and action-oriented research approaches to critically explore opportunities and barriers to gender transformative policy making and programing across multiple sectors (education, health, agriculture).

    Jacqueline Galica (School of Nursing) and Erna Snelgrove-Clarke (School of Nursing) will focus on organizational compassion and how it could be fostered and used to facilitate post-pandemic recovery, such as post-traumatic stress experienced by front-line healthcare providers. The team will investigate how workplace characteristics impact workers’ mental health, with special attention to organizational- and unit-level mechanisms rooted in social support, respectful culture, and compassion role modeling by managers. The goal is to formulate a plan to promote organizational compassion to mitigate stress among front-line workers, and disseminate results and recommendations to multiple decision-making groups, including policy makers and professional organizations. This research program will be carried out both in Canada and in Ethiopia.

    Li-Jun Ji (Psychology) is partnering with researchers from China to address mental health challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to healthcare workers. Their approach involves a cutting-edge online intervention that is anonymous, flexible, time-efficient, accessible, and scalable. The intervention consists of a series of writing exercises that use AI-guided art generation to help people express their emotional responses to the pandemic in a culturally acceptable manner. With participants’ permission, some of the writings will be shared with peers and the public to allow for a broader understanding of healthcare workers’ perspectives.

    For more information on the NFRF announcement, visit the website.

    Understanding human-machine connections

    New funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund will provide York University and Queen’s with over $105 million to advance understanding of how technology is transforming society.

    [Illustrative photo of two people facing each over with a brain overlaid]

    New and emerging technologies are changing the way we live and work, and how we interact with each other. While the benefits of AI and disruptive technologies are often touted as life enhancing, there are also risks and questions of access and equity to understand and evaluate.

    Connected Minds brings together researchers across eight faculties at York and three faculties (Health Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Arts and Science) at Queen’s. The Queen’s research team, includes:

    Core team
    • Gunnar Blohm, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience Studies
    • Catherine Donnelly, School of Rehabilitation Therapy
    Extended team
    • Susan Boehnke, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience Studies
    • Fernanda De Felice, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience Studies
    • Ali Etemad, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ingenuity Labs
    • Douglas Munoz, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience Studies
    • Stephen Scott, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience Studies
    • Amber Simpson, School of Computing, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Centre for Health Innovation

    Today, the Government of Canada has pledged $105.7 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund to support a new interdisciplinary research initiative, Connected Minds: Neural and Machine Systems for a Healthy, Just Society, which will assess the potential risks and benefits of technology for humanity. The project is led by York University, who will receive $82.8 million in support, in partnership with Queen’s, whose activities are being supported with $22.8 million of the federal funds. Additionally, with institutional and multi-sector contributions, the seven-year initiative will see an overall investment of $318.4 million to advance these major research questions.

    "The Connected Minds project builds on a history of partnership and collaboration between Queen’s and York," says Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s. "Each institution brings unique but complementary research strengths to bear on the important challenges and opportunities that come with disruptive technologies and their impact on Canadian and global citizens."

    The techno-social collective

    Connected Minds identifies that the world is moving to a new social collective comprised of both human and artificial intelligence agents. This "techno-social collective" is reflective of how disruptive technologies are entangled with our daily lives and interactions, bringing extensive benefits but also unknown consequences. The program’s proposed projects include explorations into a more inclusive metaverse, understanding how virtual reality can be leveraged for community organizing, developing neurotechnologies for healthy aging, supporting Indigenous data sovereignty, and understanding how brain function changes when people interact with AI versus other humans. Community-engaged research will be woven throughout these projects as well as an overarching decolonization, equity, diversity, and inclusion (DEDI) strategy.

    To tackle these core research questions, Connected Minds will bring together field-leading experts across multiple disciplines. York’s leading expertise in human science, disruptive technologies, and social justice will be paired with Queen’s established strengths in advanced computing, AI, human health, and ethics. For instance, one of the Queen’s teams will study how networks of neurons, people and smart devices interact in order to develop next generation technologies. The Connected Minds project will also engage over fifty community partners and research collaborators, including leaders from industry, health care, and government, and Indigenous community partners.

    "York is an international leader in interdisciplinary research involving artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies, social justice, and human science like neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. The government’s substantial investment will unite York’s incredible strengths with Queen’s health specialties to chart new territory in socially responsible, community-engaged research for a rapidly changing digital world," says Amir Asif, Vice-President, Research and Innovation at York.

    Building research capacity

    [Photos of Drs. Gunnar Blohm and Catherine Donnelly]
    Queen’s researchers Gunnar Blohm and Catherine Donnelly are members of the core research team for Connected Minds. Dr. Blohm will also act as the project’s Vice-Director.

    Connected Minds will also support 35 new faculty hires, including six new Canada Research Chairs and three new Ontario Research Chairs, and 385 positions for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will be created. While most of these positions will sit at York, Queen’s has committed to hiring nine tenure-track faculty positions and supporting 50 graduate trainees and 27 postdoctoral fellows. These positions will enhance the contributions of the Queen’s Centre for Neuroscience Studies, the Centre for Health Innovation, the Health Services and Policy Research Institute, and Ingenuity Labs Research Institute to the Connected Minds program.

    "I look forward to working with our Indigenous, community and industrial partners to develop more equitable and socially responsible research outputs for the benefit of all," says Dr. Gunnar Blohm, Professor in Computational Neuroscience and Queen's Vice-Director of Connected Minds. "I am also excited about the many educational and outreach opportunities that Connected Minds will produce – from school programs to graduate training and professional skills development. We want to democratize education and access to knowledge, with the aim of spreading a new culture of innovation for a more equitable, inclusive, and healthy society."

     Visit the website and associated press release for more information on the Connected Minds program and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund announcement.

    [Promotional graphic including York University and Queen's University logos; Text: Connected Minds Esprits Branches]


    Queen’s remembers Professor Emeritus Pierre Gobin

    The Queen’s community is remembering Pierre Gobin, a professor in the Department of French Studies for nearly 40 years, who died April 16 at the age of 94.

    Dr. Gobin arrived at Queen’s in 1955 and would continue to teach students and conduct research until his retirement in 1993.

    During his time at Queen’s he authored “Le Fou et ses doubles, figures de la dramatique québécoise’ (The Madman and His Doubles: Figures of Québécois playwriting), as well as numerous articles on French drama and theatre in Canada.

    “A researcher of legendary erudition and great benevolence, Pierre Gobin is one of the pioneers of our department. He will be sincerely missed,” says Johanne Bénard, professor in the Department of French Studies.


    Subscribe to RSS - Arts and Science