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The Conversation: The latest disease to fuel mistrust, fear and racism

COVID-19
In response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), China has implemented large-scale efforts to contain its spread, including the massive quarantine of millions of people. (Photo by Unsplash)

With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, stories of courage and strength have captured our collective attention as the disease spreads.

We have also seen large-scale efforts in China to combat coronavirus, including the construction of new hospitals and facilities in provincial areas as well as the massive quarantine of millions of people.

While efforts to address the disease move forward, the outbreak has also revealed the darker side of human nature and our responses to new diseases and other catastrophic events: mistrust, fear and outright racism.

Here in Canada, we have seen racism and stereotyping of the Chinese community as the number and location of cases of coronavirus have spread and fear of the outbreak festers.

The surge of fear and racism in the face of this latest outbreak is similar to previous experiences in the wake of other diseases, such as the Ebola and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) viruses.

Yet the prevalence of racism and scapegoating in the face of catastrophes and disasters has a much longer history than these more recent outbreaks.

This history provides important context and is worth reflecting upon. It reminds us that disasters and catastrophes are not exclusively natural phenomena, and are also a result of the economic, political and social decisions that create vulnerability to risk.

Importantly, discrimination, racism and scapegoating has been used to distract from the underlying economic, political and social decisions that produced vulnerability to disaster and disease in the first place.

Earthquake damage
A man surveys the damage surrounding his house following an earthquake. (Photo by Kim Sunyu / Unsplash)

Disasters aren’t natural

While many headlines highlight “natural” disasters in the aftermath of the latest catastrophe, researchers in the field of disaster studies have long demonstrated the social construction of these events.

This means that catastrophes, whether they’re the latest earthquake, hurricane or outbreak of disease like the coronavirus, are fundamentally connected to underlying factors that affect which areas and individuals are vulnerable and why.

Given these links, we must understand that there are specific interests, usually associated with the exercise of power, involved in how we view these connections or how we’re distracted from them.

In the case of the coronavirus, the recent death of Dr. Li Wenliang, who was censured by police over his early warnings about the disease, is an example of how power operates. He was reprimanded and silenced by the police in Wuhan and was forced to sign a letter saying he had made “false comments.”

It reminds us that accepting the relationship between economics, politics and the production of risk and vulnerability means that catastrophic events aren’t just natural phenomena — they are also political phenomena.

Tied into this political nature, disasters often result in people placing blame upon certain communities and groups for the event in question. This scapegoating diverts attention away from the underlying causes connected to economic, political and social decisions as well as the exercise of power.

Ebola
The ebola virus as seen through a microscope. (Photo by CDC / Unsplash)

Ebola fears

A similar epidemic of fear followed the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which resulted in the racist targeting of certain individuals and communities as the crisis worsened.

This discrimination suggested there was no understanding of the Ebola outbreak within the larger history of the region.

Powerful global players, including the United States, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, pushed various West African governments to adopt Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) to reduce deficits and make those states more attractive to investors and the global capital markets.

In order to achieve this, SAPs required spending cuts to the health-care systems of those states, ultimately increasing the vulnerability of those populations to outbreaks of diseases like Ebola.

As with the current outbreak of COVID-19 in China, scapegoating and racist fearmongering pointed the finger of blame at the Ebola victims themselves, not the underlying factors and decisions by the powerful that contributed to the crisis.

The racism seen in the case of COVID-19 is just the latest example of how power is used to politicize and manipulate disasters.

Long history

Scapegoating, discrimination and victim-blaming have been prevalent in the aftermath of other catastrophic events.

They are also related to religious or spiritual understandings of disasters and disease as divine retribution or punishment.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 resulted in various versions of this phenomenon. Many prominent conservative Christians blamed the hurricane on the LGBTQ+ community and the city’s “sinful” reputation.

The narratives surrounding Hurricane Katrina also reinforced racist stereotypes and tropes through media coverage on survivors based on their race: Black survivors were routinely characterized as “looting” in the aftermath of the storm, while white survivors were described as “finding supplies.”

This harmful and false narrative was hardly unprecedented.

Going back even further, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 led to racist pogroms, or massacres, against some 6,000 Koreans living in Japan due to rumours that they were setting fires that spread in the aftermath of the quake.

These Japanese-Korean tensions flared up decades later, in 2017, when Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike refused to send the annual eulogy for victims of the pogroms, suggesting there was doubt that the massacres occurred.

Koike’s decision demonstrates how disasters and discrimination are tethered to the operation of power and control over how these events are understood, even a century later.

Disasters clearly foment discrimination. And so we should expect these types of responses to future catastrophes and take proactive steps to address them.

Furthermore, we need to be mindful of how certain narratives and understandings of disasters act to distract us from far more important elements — including those that leave all of us vulnerable to disasters and disease.The Conversation

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Korey Pasch is a PhD Candidate in Political Science and International Relations at Queen's University, Ontario.

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

Going for Baroque

Late philanthropist Alfred Bader’s passion for the artistic style has helped Queen’s experts to thrive.

Alfred Bader in 2007 with Head of a Man in a Turban, the second Rembrandt painting he donated to Queen’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Michael Lea/Kingston Whig-Standard)
Alfred Bader in 2007 with Head of a Man in a Turban, the second Rembrandt painting he donated to Queen’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Michael Lea/Kingston Whig-Standard)

Baroque art and style swept Europe and the world between 1580 and 1750, moving onlookers with its emotion, movement, and vitality. Fittingly, a lifetime of support from visionary philanthropist Alfred Bader has elevated the celebrated style even further by championing Baroque art researchers to pursue specialized study at Queen’s University.

A passion for Rembrandt

“It was the offer of my dream job,” says Stephanie Dickey, Professor of Art History, reflecting on the moment in 2005 when she was asked to accept the Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art at Queen’s. Dickey was teaching a broad range of courses in art history at Indiana University at the time and leapt at the chance to focus her teaching and research on a period of art for which she held a deep passion – particularly the works of baroque icon, Rembrandt.

“At any museum exhibition, people line up for Rembrandt,” she says. “His work is relatable, expressive, and powerful, capable of representing the most idolized religious figures in the most human way. His depictions of emotion have managed to move viewers for centuries.”

Stephanie Dickey, Bader Chair in Northern Baroque, Queen's University.
Stephanie Dickey, Bader Chair in Northern Baroque.

The late Dr. Bader’s passion for Rembrandt and his contemporaries inspired him to work with Queen’s to create the Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art in 1991 to fund scholarly research and teaching. Over the years, he and his wife Isabel entrusted nearly 200 European paintings from their personal collection to the university’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre, including three Rembrandt paintings. Dr. Bader’s son Daniel Bader and his wife Linda later donated a fourth Rembrandt to the Agnes in his honour.

“Alfred was a published art historian as well as a collector, and his enthusiasm and commitment to advancing our understanding of European art, especially the work of Rembrandt and his circle, have supported my work greatly,” says Dickey. “With Bader funding, I’ve been able to convene five international conferences since 2009 that bring the field’s leading experts to the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle – I like to think of them as Rembrandt incubators. Discussions that started there have led to groundbreaking publications, interdisciplinary research projects, and global exhibitions. It is especially gratifying to hold these events at the BISC, which was also a gift to Queen’s from Alfred and Isabel Bader.”

Dickey’s sixth conference is slated to take place at the BISC next year, and will reflect on discoveries stemming from exhibitions and events happening worldwide in 2019 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death.

Baroque style around the world

Dr. Bader’s interest in Baroque art knew few bounds. In 2002 he worked with Queen’s to create a complementary chair role to explore the impact of the style in Southern Europe and beyond.

Queen’s Professor of Art History, Gauvin Alexander Bailey, came to Queen’s eight years ago as the Bader Chair in Southern Baroque. He cites the role’s support as providing him freedom to think outside the box and stretch his scholarship in new directions.

Gauvin Bailey, Bader Chair in Southern Baroque, Queen's University.
Gauvin Bailey, Bader Chair in Southern Baroque.

“Although extremely helpful, major grants are, more often than not, project-specific,” says Bailey, whose study of Baroque art focuses primarily on Italy, South America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. “Bader funds, however, have allowed me to widen my scope to explore lesser-known or unexpected avenues as they arise.”

With the assistance of Bader funds, Bailey has published four new books and 29 scholarly articles on global Baroque art, formed fruitful international collaborations, and examined historic sites and artifacts as far away as Bolivia, Ghana, and Suriname. His current projects involve studies of Louis XIV’s embassies to the King of Siam in the 1680s, a French Baroque palace in 18th century India, and the Saigon Opera House.

Enhancing education

Together, the Bader Chair appointments in the Department of Art History and Art Conservation are advancing our academic understanding of Baroque art and its influence across the globe. That said, both Dickey and Bailey underscored another area of growth that benefitted significantly from Bader support – the Queen’s student learning experience.

The Bader Collection, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University
Queen's students exploring the Bader Collection at Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

“Best of all, the Baders’ generous support for my research translates into a better learning experience for my undergraduate and graduate students,” says Bailey. “I am able to include fresh research perspectives from archival and field work, and from my international colleagues, as well as up-to-date photographs in my lectures and seminars. Combined with the Bader Collection at the Agnes – where I take my classes often – students have expressed new levels of curiosity and inspiration.”

Dickey expressed similarly: “As I’ve watched many of my former graduate students go on to become accomplished curators and researchers, I continue to gain appreciation for the educational opportunities provided by Bader philanthropy, not only here on campus, but also through fellowship funding that enables our PhD students to conduct original research in Europe and elsewhere around the world.”

Those looking to experience Baroque artworks in person can pay a visit to Queen’s University’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Man with Arms Akimbo, an imposing portrait painted by Rembrandt in 1658, is currently on display, while three smaller works by the master are part of an exhibition traveling to art museums in Edmonton, Regina, and Hamilton.

Critical funding for health research

Canadian Institutes of Health Research funds $3.95 million in grants to seven Queen’s Researchers.

Seven Queen’s University researchers are contributing their knowledge in the areas of melanoma, intensive care unit survivors, postoperative pain, diabetes medication, Indigenous public health, and depression thanks to funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

RESEARCH@QUEEN’S
Did you know that the university recently launched a new central website for Queen’s research? From in-depth features to the latest information on the university’s researchers, the site is a destination showcasing the impact of Queen’s research. Discover Research@Queen’s.

Queen’s received a total of $3.95 million from the Fall 2019 CIHR Project Grant competition, a program that helps advance health-related research. With an eye on collaboration, the competition funds both individuals and groups of researchers at any career stage in all areas of health-related research.

“Congratulations to the Queen’s researchers successful in garnering funding in an increasingly competitive funding environment,” says Kent Novakowski, Acting Vice-Principal (Research). “I look forward to hearing about the progress of their research projects designed to innovate in human health research and to benefit the population.’’

The successful researchers are:

  • John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Science) $573,750 – Dr. Allingham’s research focuses on understanding how certain human fungal pathogens become multi-drug resistant, leading to major medical challenges in hospitals and long-term care facilities around the world. His aim is to learn how to preserve the efficacy of our existing antifungal agents, and to inform development of new therapies, by identifying drivers of drug resistance.
  • Christopher Bowie (Psychology) $673,200 – Dr. Bowie is examining how early life experiences interact with cognitive abilities, decision making, and reward processing to predict both the recurrence of depression and the degree and timing of functional recovery after the first episode of depression.
  • J. Gordon Boyd (Medicine) $562,275 - Dr. Boyd’s multi-centre study will inform on how to better manage patients when they are at their most sick in the intensive care unit, in order to improve their long-term brain function and quality of life.
  • Robert Campbell (Ophthalmology) $130,000 – The goal of Dr. Campbell’s project is to assess the newer diabetes drugs now available and the development of severe diabetic retinopathy, the most common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment in working-age adults.
  • Janet Dancey (Canadian Cancer Trials Group) $1,303,560 – Dr. Dancey is leading the Canadian component of an international multicentre patient-centred clinical trial investigating the use of smaller surgical margins in patients with Stage 2 melanoma. Larger margins result in disfigurement, wound discomfort, and time away from work and, if positive, will change practice in Canada and around the world.
  • Jeffrey Masuda (Kinesiology and Health Studies) $612,000 – Dr. Masuda’s team has created a research partnership that will strengthen a coalition of local- to -national Indigenous organizations who are organizing tenants living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to address the colonial harms resulting from the twin housing and overdose fatality crisis in their community.

Successfully earning bridge funding was Nader Ghasemlou (Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, $100,000) who is working to understand why and how pain occurs during inflammation caused by postoperative wounds. His group has identified a novel inflammatory pathway regulating the pain response and are now working to develop new health care strategies to prevent or treat pain in those undergoing surgery.

For more information on these granting programs, visit the CIHR website.

Queen’s Indigenous health researcher named Indspire Award winner

Assistant professor Karen Lawford honoured for outstanding career achievements in health.

Karen Lawford leading a beadwork class at Queen's Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre.
Karen Lawford (third from right) leading a weekly beadwork class at Queen's University's Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre.

The first Indigenous midwife in Canada to earn a doctoral degree will be recognized with a 2020 Indspire Award – the most prestigious career excellence award bestowed by the Indigenous community on its own people. Queen’s University’s Karen Lawford has been named one of this year’s 12 outstanding Indigenous leaders, and will be honoured with the Indspire Award for Health at a nationally-televised ceremony on March 6.

Queen's assistant professor Karen Lawford.

“I am incredibly honoured to have my career achievements recognized by Indigenous Peoples and by Indspire,” says Dr. Lawford, a registered midwife, Aboriginal midwife, and assistant professor in the Department of Gender Studies engaged in research examining the provision of maternity care on reserves in Canada. “My achievements, however, are not accomplished without meaningful relationships and trust from Indigenous peoples. I strive to continue working with Indigenous communities to bring to light the discrepant health care services that are provided to those who live on reserves and outside of large urban settings.”

Closures of birthing units in rural and remote Indigenous communities across Canada have resulted in medical evacuation to southern, urban medical centres becoming normal practice. Dr. Lawford’s most recent study looked at Health Canada’s evacuation policy for those living on reserves in Manitoba.

“These sorts of policies are exacerbating the maternity health crisis facing our communities nationwide,” says Dr. Lawford, who is from Lac Seul First Nation. “I do hope my research and policy contributions are considered by decision makers so that Indigenous peoples are able to grow their families and communities in a manner that supports their specific health and wellness needs.”

Dr. Lawford also examines Indigenous women and Two Spirit leadership in health care and health science as part of her research.

“There have been concerted efforts to dismantle the governance systems of Indigenous peoples, with specific efforts to destroy the roles of women and Two Spirt community members,” she says. “My research in this area aims to begin the restoration of their roles, and to amend this imbalance of representation in health care and health science. Currently, health care does not represent the populations they serve. We need leadership to shift more quickly so that systemic change can be realized.”

In reflecting on her career up until now, Dr. Lawford says that her most meaningful career accomplishment culminated in earning a tenure-track faculty role at Queen’s, which signaled institutional support of her research.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure Indigenous academics and Indigenous midwives are supported within the academe,” she says.

Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane expressed his congratulations to Dr. Lawford on behalf of the university.

“Dr. Lawford’s research profoundly informs our collective understanding of the challenges faced by Indigenous communities with respect to access to health care, particularly maternity care, in Canada. Her work brings to light inequities still to be addressed and is a shining example of how research can facilitate necessary change,” he says.

To learn more about Karen Lawford’s Indspire Award win and the full list of this year’s winners, visit the Indspire Awards website. Following the award ceremony on March 6, it will be broadcast Sunday, June 21 on CBC, APTN, and CBC Radio One.

Capturing the Art of Research

Celebrating its fifth year, the Art of Research photo contest is open for submissions until March 12.

  • "Love Under the Microscope" by Dalila Villalobos, MD, Resident (Anatomical Pathology)
    "Love Under the Microscope" by Dalila Villalobos, MD, Resident (Anatomical Pathology)
  • "Santa Fina" by Una D'Elia, Faculty (Art History and Art Conservation)
    "Santa Fina" by Una D'Elia, Faculty (Art History and Art Conservation)
  • "A New Light" by Robert Cichocki, PhD Student (Civil Engineering)
    "A New Light" by Robert Cichocki, PhD Student (Civil Engineering)
  • "Window on a Window to the Universe" by Mark Chen, Faculty (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy)
    "Window on a Window to the Universe" by Mark Chen, Faculty (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy)
  • "Platinum Surface Electrochemistry" by Derek Esau, PhD Student (Chemistry)
    "Platinum Surface Electrochemistry" by Derek Esau, PhD Student (Chemistry)
  • "Keep Cool Boy - The Jets Aloft in West Side Story" by Tim Fort, Faculty (Dan School of Drama and Music)
    "Keep Cool Boy - The Jets Aloft in West Side Story" by Tim Fort, Faculty (Dan School of Drama and Music)
  • "Nano-dendrite Collision" by Hannah Dies, MD/PhD Student (Chemical Engineering)
    "Nano-dendrite Collision" by Hannah Dies, MD/PhD Student (Chemical Engineering)
  • "Exploring Worlds at Home" by James Xie, Undergraduate Student (Engineering Chemistry)
    "Exploring Worlds at Home" by James Xie, Undergraduate Student (Engineering Chemistry)

Researchers … ready your cameras. Returning for its fifth year, the Art of Research photo contest is looking to celebrate and creatively capture the research conducted by the Queen’s community.

RESEARCH@QUEEN’S 
Did you know that the university recently launched a new central website for Queen’s research? From in-depth features to the latest information on the university’s researchers, the site is a destination showcasing the impact of Queen’s research. Discover Research@Queen’s.

Hosted by the Office of the Vice-Principal (University Relations) and open to Queen’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni, the Art of Research provides a unique and accessible method of sharing ground-breaking research happening at the university. It also represents the diversity of Queen’s research, with winners representing multiple disciplines and submissions highlighting research happening at all career stages.

The contest is an opportunity for researchers to mobilize their research and spark curiosity. Visuals can create a more compelling and accessible research narrative. By looking at research from a different perspective, it is possible to find the beauty and art in any project.

Eligibility and Prizes

Any current Queen’s faculty, staff, student, or alumni are eligible to participate. Research depicted in the submissions must have been completed at Queen’s or while the submitter was affiliated with the university. More information about contest rules can be found on the Research@Queen’s website.

In addition to promotion across institutional channels and platforms, prizes of $500 will be awarded for the top submission in each of these categories:

Category Prizes

  • Community Collaborations: Research that partners with or supports communities or groups
  • Invisible Discoveries: Research unseen by the naked eye, hiding in plain sight, or only visible by using alternative methods of perception
  • Out in the Field: Research where it occurs, is documented, or discovered
  • Art in Action Prize: Research that is aesthetically or artistically transformed or research in motion as it happens
  • Best Description: To recognize the most creative and accessible description for an image
  • People’s Choice: Determined by an online vote by members of the Queen’s community

In honour of the fifth anniversary of the Art of Research photo contest, four special prizes of $500 each will be awarded to celebrate the diversity of research happening across the university.

  • The Innovation, Knowledge Mobilization, and Entrepreneurship Prize will be awarded to the submission that best demonstrates research that encompasses a spirit of the applied practices of innovation, entrepreneurship, and knowledge mobilization. (Sponsored by Partnerships and Innovation)
  • The Graduate Studies Prize will be awarded to the image submitted by a Queen’s graduate student or post-doctoral fellow that best embodies the School of Graduate Studies’ motto “Create an Impact.” (Sponsored by the School of Graduate Studies)
  • The Health Sciences Prize will be awarded to the image that best represents the Faculty’s mission of “ask questions, seek answers, advance care, and inspire change.” (Sponsored by the Faculty of Health Sciences)
  • The KGHRI Prize will be awarded to the image that best represents patient-oriented and clinical research. (Sponsored by Kingston General Health Research Institute (KGHRI))

The contest closes on March 12, 2020. The submission form can be found here and winning images from previous competitions are located on the Research@Queen’s website

A star on and off the ice

Slater Doggett receives the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation from Assunta Di Lorenzo, Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor of Canada.
Slater Doggett receives the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation from Assunta Di Lorenzo, Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor of Canada.

Former Queen’s Gaels hockey player Slater Doggett (Artsci’19) was recently honoured as one of the Top 8 Academic All-Canadians during a ceremony hosted at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada.

Doggett received the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation for the 2018-19 season, one of the highest honours for varsity athletes in the country.

At the reception he was presented with the award by Assunta Di Lorenzo, Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor of Canada.

Every year the Academic All-Canadian Commendation is presented to a group of eight exceptional athletes. Recipients must have maintained an average of 80 per cent or more over the academic year while playing on at least one university varsity teams.

“The Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation is one of the highest honours a student-athlete in Canada can receive, with just eight recipients recognized from over 3,500 student-athletes across the country who achieve Academic All-Star status each year,” says Leslie Dal Cin, Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation at Queen’s. “Outstanding leaders, role models and ambassadors, Queen’s student-athlete achievements transcend sport and reach into excellence in the classroom and impact in our community. Slater had an incredibly successful four-year career at Queen’s, and it has been our privilege to have him in our Gaels community.”

Among his many accomplishments, Doggett was named a U SPORTS All-Canadian, the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East MVP and a Randy Gregg Award nominee, and in 2019 led the Gaels to their first Queen’s Cup title since 1981. Queen’s Athletics recognized him with the Jenkins Trophy as the university’s top male athlete last spring.  The star forward also won a bronze medal for Canada at the 2017 International University Sports Federation’s Winter Universiade in Kazakhstan, and had the opportunity to compete against Hockey Canada's World Junior Prospects with the 2018 U SPORTS All-Stars.

Throughout his time at Queen’s, Doggett was committed to serving his community. He volunteered to help Syrian refugees, was involved in the Autism Mentorship Program and contributed to Nightlight Kingston, an adult drop-in centre. He also spent time with the Running and Reading Program, volunteering once a week at the Molly Brant Public School to support the initiative.

“Slater’s statistics and awards will go into the record books, but they don’t reflect the legacy that he left on the men's hockey program at Queen’s,” says Queen’s men’s hockey head coach Brett Gibson. “He proved you can excel in the three main areas of university life for a student-athlete – academics, athletics, and giving back to the community. I ask our players that when they leave the program to make sure they leave it in a better place. Slater not only did that, but he set the bar for future Gaels to strive for.”:

After graduating from Queen’s, Doggett signed a professional contract with the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League and currently plays professionally for the Vipiteno Sterzing Broncos in the Alps Hockey League.

To learn more about U SPORTS and Academic All-Canadians, visit the U Sports website.

Queen’s remembers Bethany Qun Yi Yan

The Queen’s community is remembering Bethany Qun Yi Yan, who died suddenly on Sunday, Jan. 26.

Bethany Qun Yi Yan, a fourth-year Concurrent Education student and a member of the varsity cheer team at Queen's, died suddenly on Sunday, Jan. 26.

Bethany started at Queen’s University in 2015. She was a fourth-year Concurrent Education student and was pursuing French and History in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Bethany was a member of the award-winning varsity cheerleading team for four years. Her teammates describe “Boat” as a treasured member of the Queen’s Cheerleading family who brought joy to everyone she met. She will be dearly missed by her teammates and the entire cheerleading community.

Bethany’s passion for education was evident to those who knew her, especially her Con-Ed family. She was an enthusiastic teacher candidate and a valuable member of the Con-Ed community. Bethany will be remembered for her love for teaching and desire to make a difference in students’ lives.

Flags on campus will be lowered on Thursday, Jan. 30 in memory of Bethany.

Students in need of support are encouraged to contact the multi-faith chaplain or the other support services available on campus, including Empower Me, and Good2Talk. Faculty and staff in need of support can also access the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), provided by Homewood Health, by visiting the Queen’s Human Resources website. For 24-hour EFAP services call 1-800-663-1142 (English) or 1-866-398-9505 (French).

__________________________________________________________________

To remember Bethany's love for cheerleading and education, the Bethany Qun Yi Yan Memorial fund has been established to financially assist those who dream to become educators and who have a passion for teamwork and cheerleading. Contributions may be made in her memory, through the Queen’s University’s Bethany Qun Yi Yan Memorial Fund. Make your cheque payable to Queen’s University with the Bethany Qun Yi Yan Memorial Fund listed on the memo line. If you’d like Queen’s to notify Bethany’s family of your gift, please include the following note: “notify the family”. Send to Queen’s University, Attn: Gage Benyon, Old Medical Building Room 303, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6. Or visit www.givetoqueens.ca/BethanyYan.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Mount Pleasant Cemetry, Cremation and Funeral Centres, in Toronto (375 Mount Pleasant Rd.) on Saturday, Feb. 1. The gathering will start at 4 pm in the chapel with words of remembrance starting at 5 pm. A reception will be held at 6 pm to 8 pm. 

Read Bethany’s obituary online.

Inspiring budding researchers

IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations will feature talks on neutrinos, fundamental building blocks of the universe, and molecular interactions

[IGnite takes place on January 30, 2020]

Featuring topics from environmental solutions to gender policy, the IGnite lecture series has showcased the diversity of research happening at Queen’s to a captivated audience of campus and community members. On Thursday, Jan. 30 another lecture will take place on the topics of the underground search for neutrinos and the importance of molecular left- or right-handedness.

IGnite is a collaboration between the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and the University Relations portfolio. Each event features two researchers from different fields discussing their projects and research experiences, while also including interactive demonstrations and poster presentations from students and additional researchers. The series offers a public platform where researchers can share what first ignited their curiosity and motivates them to pursue their research.

RESEARCH@QUEEN’S
Did you know that the university recently launched a new central website for Queen’s research? From in-depth features to the latest information on the university’s researchers, the site is a destination showcasing the impact of Queen’s research. Discover Research@Queen’s.

Mark Chen (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) holds the Gordon and Patricia Gray Chair in Particle Astrophysics and is a Fellow at CIFAR. At the SNOLAB, he leads the SNO+ project, repurposing for a new mission the research infrastructure once vital to Queen’s emeritus professor Art McDonald’s Nobel Prize-winning work. Dr. Chen will present on how SNO+ is exploring the nature of neutrino mass and oscillations while also searching for neutrinos generated on Earth called geoneutrinos. His research will help solve physics mysteries such as why the Earth has a “neutrino glow”.  

For Dr. Chen, curiosity is an important part of the research process.

“Asking simple questions, asking big questions – that’s what research is about,” he says. “I’m always delighted to talk about where curiosity has led us in our understanding of the world around us, and what questions we are still seeking answers to.”   

Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) will present on the topic of molecular left- or right-handedness. Her research investigates how organic compounds interact with metals to develop new catalysts important to pharmaceutical and biosensor innovations. In understanding how carbon-to-metal bonds can be significantly more stable than metal-to-organic linkages, her research group focuses on films 100,000 times thinner than human hair and nanoscopically ordered particles. Understanding which "hand" a molecule uses can make all of the difference in whether they work as intended when interacting with certain materials.

The event will take place Thursday, Jan 30, 6:30-9 pm at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library Central Branch (130 Johnson St.).

Registration is free on Eventbrite and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on the series, visit the McDonald Institute’s website.

 

New internal funding for research

Queen's Vice-Principal (Research) launches Wicked Ideas Competition.

Wicked problems are issues so complex and dependent on so many factors that it is hard to grasp what exactly the problems are or how to tackle them. Wicked ideas are needed to solve these problems, and demand the input of multiple disciplines, multiple perspectives, and relevant practical expertise.

The Vice-Principal (Research) has launched the Wicked Ideas competition as a pilot initiative to fund and support research collaborations that respond to local, national, and global challenges. Aligned with the concept of the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration program, the competition “seeks to inspire projects that bring disciplines together beyond traditional disciplinary or common interdisciplinary approaches by research teams with the capacity to explore something new, which might fail but has the potential for significant impact.” Along with both disciplinary and interdisciplinary funding streams, the competition offers a “global challenge” stream, featuring climate change as a global challenge area.  Teams of researchers are invited to submit notices of intent by Feb. 3, 2020.

“This funding is designed to remove some of the financial barriers to high-risk, high-reward research, allowing scholars to push the boundaries of knowledge into uncharted territory,” says Dr. Kent Novakowski, Acting Vice-Principal (Research). “I greatly look forward to hearing about some of the paradigm-shifting ideas that come out of this new exploratory opportunity.”

Up to 15 teams will be awarded $75,000 each in the first phase of the competition in spring 2020. The 15 teams then will be eligible to compete for one of an additional five awards of up to $150,000 in the 2021 Wicked Ideas competition. The competition is open to all Queen's faculty across all disciplines. Co-investigators and team members also must be Queen's faculty members.

This is just one of several internal funding programs that have been launched by the Vice-Principal (Research) recently.  Other programs include the Queen’s Research Opportunities Fund (QROF) Post-doctoral Fund, as well as the Catalyst Fund – designed to enhance areas of research excellence by giving scholars an opportunity to accelerate their research programs.

A revised Prizes for Excellence in Research competition, which has recognized scholarly achievement at Queen’s since 1980, is set to launch soon.

More information about all of these programs, including terms of reference, is available on the Vice-Principal (Research) website.

Bird droppings provide clues to environmental change

Queen's University researchers John Smol and Matthew Duda have identified concerning trends in a vulnerable seabird.

Led by Queen’s researchers, a collaborative research team of Canadian universities (Queen’s University, University of Ottawa, Memorial University of Newfoundland) and government scientists have identified concerning trends in the population size of Leach’s Storm-petrels, a vulnerable seabird that mainly lives on Baccalieu Island, 64 km north of St. John’s, Nfld.

The study led by Matthew Duda, and co-authored by John Smol, suggests that marine wildlife, including the Leach’s storm-petrel, are not only confronting a range of recent human-induced pressures, but are also responding to longer-term environmental factors.

A sediment core collected from Baccalieu Island. (Photo by Matthew Duda)

“The seabirds act as ‘environmental engineers’ by depositing large volumes of nutrient-rich feces and other refuse, thereby changing the aquatic and terrestrial landscape,” says Dr. Smol, a biology professor and the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University. “By taking sediment cores from storm-petrel impacted ponds, we can reconstruct past population trends going back centuries or millennia, where many important clues lay hidden.”

The researchers took advantage of the fact that storm-petrels build burrow nests on islands, often around freshwater ponds. Therefore, the ponds’ sediments preserve the effects of changes in the amounts of seabird fecal matter and provide a ‘history book’ of past changes in the environment.

Using a variety of biological and chemical indicators in dated sediment cores, the researchers could track changes in seabird populations going back more than 1,700 years.

Ongoing observations indicate that the seabird population has been declining in recent decades, but that striking changes have also occurred in the past, prior to human impacts.

“Our approach identified striking changes in the colony size of storm-petrels on Baccalieu Island," says Matthew Duda, Queen’s University doctoral candidate in the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL). "First, we confirmed that the population has been declining since the 1980s. More surprisingly, however, we determined that the current colony underwent marked changes in the past, including rapid growth in the early-1800s. Furthermore, we identified an earlier colony about 1,500 years ago that declined without the influence of human stressors. So now in response to the ever-increasing pressure imposed by human activity, the situation is likely even more risky for this important oceanic bird.”

The authors caution that their paleoecological data further reinforce the fragility of seabird colonies and the critical need for evidence-based management.

The research was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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