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Arts and Science

Seminar to highlight RSC researchers

[RSC Seminar]
Queen’s University’s John Burge, left, Pascale Champagne and Ian McKay will be presenting their research at the Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar of the Royal Society of Canada, being held Saturday, April 11 at The University Club.

A special event featuring four recent additions to the Royal Society of Canada will offer a vast array of research being done at universities in eastern Ontario.

Four researchers – three from Queen’s and one from the University of Ottawa – will make presentations on their work at the Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar of the Royal Society of Canada, being held Saturday, April 11 at The University Club.

The topics are wide-ranging from microalgal biofuels and a closer look at the life of an “engaged intellectual,” to coronary artery disease and the links between architecture and music.

John Burge, of Queen’s School of Music, will be presenting “What I Mean when Describing Architecture in My Music?”

As he explains there are similarities in various art forms, including structure.

“While structure in music can really be quite an abstract concept, it is not uncommon to borrow analogies from other art forms such as the visual arts or literature to explain the organization of a composition's musical form,” he says. “Recently, in my own composition Cathedral Architecture, an almost 40-minute work for organ and orchestra, I found myself making tangible connections between the architectural design of a cathedral and the resultant musical work's form.”

His lecture at 2 pm will incorporate recorded examples that will help demonstrate the connections he has found in his approach.

He also points out that the seminar offers an opportunity to meet others who are passionate about their research and are leaders in their field of study.

“As a creative artist, I know that I continually find a spark of inspiration in the unlikeliest of moments and the sharing of intellectual ideas can be a great stimulus for one's own creativity,” Dr. Burge says. “I certainly look forward to this opportunity to broaden my own horizons and knowledge base.”

Others taking part in the seminar, and the times of their presentation, are:

• Ian McKay – Department of History – Queen’s – The Embattled Liberalism of C.B.Macpherson: Reflections on the Life of an Engaged Intellectual (10 am)

• Pascale Champagne – Department of Civil Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering – Queen’s – Microalgal Biofuels: What Makes Them Green? (11 am)

• Ruth McPherson – Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Ottawa Heart Institute – The Genetics of Coronary Artery Disease (3 pm)

Organizers expect that the event will once again help with the sharing of ideas, for the speakers as well as those who attend.

“Participants, including our four speakers each year, make fruitful contacts among each other and the audience; contacts which stretch between the four universities represented and which cross disciplinary lines,” says Pierre du Prey, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Art History and a co-chair of the event with Mike Sayer, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. “Overarching themes emerge as if by magic from the diverse papers presented and the discussion that follows them. In this way arts and science become reunited by the common quest for knowledge.”

The forum, hosted by Queen's and actively encouraged by the RSC, gives New Scholars and Fellows of the Society, as well as members of the general public, a chance to benefit from discourse at the highest level, Dr. du Prey adds.The presentations are open and free to the public and start at 10 am at The University Club. Individuals can attend any or all of the talks. A lunch is held for Fellows of the RSC and guests for a cost of $30. Registration for the lunch is required through Dr. Sayer at sayerm@physics.queensu.ca.

Queen’s is also scheduled to host the Royal Society of Canada’s annual general meeting in 2016. The Royal Society of Canada was established by an Act of Parliament in 1882 as Canada’s national academy. The organization helps promote Canadian research and scholarly accomplishment, and advises governments, non-governmental organizations and Canadians on matters of public interest.

Homecoming for new Canada Research Chair

Alan Jeffrey Giacomin has been named the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Rheology, and for him, it’s a homecoming. Born just a few blocks from campus, the position has brought him back to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Dupuis Hall where his university studies began.

“After nearly 30 years of professorship in Texas and Wisconsin, the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Rheology has lured me back to Canada,” says Dr. Giacomin (Sci’81). “The research funds attached to the CRC chair will help me build my rheology dream lab.”

Rheology is the study of sticky, runny elastic liquids, like moulded melted plastics, and how the motions of molecules make liquids gooey. Rheometers help us decipher how these liquids change shape.

Queen's three new Canada Research Chairs, from left: Alan Jeffrey Giacomin, Grégoire Webber and Jordan Poppenk.

Along with Dr. Giacomin, Queen’s has two new Tier 2 CRCs and five renewals. Jordan Poppenk (Psychology) has been named the Tier 2 NSERC Chair in Cognitive Neuroimaging and Grégoire Webber (Law) is the new Tier 2 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Chair (SSHRC) in Public Law and Philosophy of Law.

Dr. Poppenk’s research focuses on bringing memories to life. Using emerging brain imaging methods, he observes how memories interact and links these interactions to participants’ brain anatomy.

 “In my research, I attempt to explain how our particular memory abilities help to shape our many traits - for example, our personalities,” says Dr. Poppenk. “To support this work, I draw upon novel biomarkers derived from computationally intensive analysis of brain scans. CRC funding will contribute the research focus I need to consolidate these domains, while also helping me attract and support a world-class team of trainees to engage with my research program.”

Dr. Webber’s research program on human rights, public law, and authority and obligation explores the foundations of law and government.

“It is a special privilege to be awarded the Canada Research Chair in Public Law and Philosophy of Law,” Dr. Webber says. “The chair's two research areas build on strengths at Queen's and promote the existing interactions between colleagues in law, philosophy and political studies.”

Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

“By supporting the most skilled and promising researchers, the CRC program facilitates cutting-edge research and advances Canada as a world leader in discovery and innovation. It also allows us to both attract and retain leading researchers in their respective fields” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research).   “Our success in garnering three new chairs and five renewals is demonstrative of  Queen’s leadership in research areas that address some of the most challenging and complex problems facing the world today – from public law and climate change to the development of power electronics.”

The five CRC renewals include:

Praveen Jain - Tier 1 NSERC Canada Research Chair in Telecom Power Electronics. Dr. Jain is researching a smart microgrid platform that will address a growing demand for more eco-friendly energy sources.

Ian Moore - Tier 1 NSERC Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Engineering. Dr. Moore’s research focuses on Canada’s huge pipe replacement and repair burden by establishing the remaining strength of deteriorated culverts, sewer and water pipes and determining the best way to repair them.

Douglas Munoz - Tier 1 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience. Dr. Munoz is using eye movements to assess brain function in health and disease and searching for novel biomarkers to accelerate the development of novel diagnostic procedures and treatments.

Ugo Piomelli - Tier 1 NSERC Canada Research Chair in Turbulence Simulation and Modelling. Dr. Piomelli is studying turbulence through computer simulations.

John Smol - Tier 1 NSERC Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change. Dr. Smol will continue to develop and apply paleolimnological approaches (the study of sediment) to examine environmental issues including climate change.

For more information visit the website.

Exercise, prescribed

Exercise-Rx was designed to increase physical activity in patients in Kingston and Amherstview.

What started out as a class project is now changing the way doctors issue exercise prescriptions.

Exercise-Rx is a computerized exercise prescription program developed by Erica Pascoal and Aaron Gazendam during their time in KNPE 463, an undergraduate course in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. The program was created in collaboration with the Queen’s-established Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative and is now used daily by the Loyalist Family Health Team in Amherstview.

Exercise-Rx aims to increase physical activity amongst patients in Kingston and Amherstview primarily through discussions and prescriptions between doctors and their patients.

Patients with diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could all receive prescriptions for exercise, along with their medication prescription.  For example, a patient with type 2 diabetes might find him or herself with a two-part exercise prescription that could include: aerobic training four days per week and two days per week of strength training, adding up to 150 minutes of activity per week as per the recommended Canadian physical activity guidelines.

“All doctors know that physical activity is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” says Ms. Pascoal, Artsci’14, now a medical student at the University of Toronto. “We’ll be collecting data each year to analyze the results of this program, and checking to see if physical activity is affecting blood glucose levels in patients.”

For Ms. Pascoal and Mr. Gazendam, their decision to explore exercise prescriptions as a focus for their KNPE 463 project was based on their love of being active and their desire to keep exploring how physical activity can treat and prevent diseases.

“Previous research has shown that receiving written exercise advice from a physician can significantly increase the number of people participating in physical activity when compared to receiving verbal advice alone,” says Mr. Gazendam, Artsci’14, also a medical student at the University of Toronto.

Having this type of prescription available electronically increases its accessibility for health practitioners and their patients. As a complement to Exercise-Rx, the Loyalist Family Health Team has begun offering a monthly class with an occupational therapist to give those who are new to exercise a place to start and a place to help mobility-impaired people adapt the exercises to their capabilities. In addition, the health team has also begun promoting exercise across its clinic and on its website through how-to videos and “Walk with your Doc” – days where community members are invited to take a walk with their physicians and health team members.

Lucie Lévesque, KNPE 463 instructor and an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, says that the outcomes of the initiatives developed in this community service learning course have real-world benefits.

“Initiatives like Exercise-Rx are important for everyone. Students get the opportunity to gain some experience in program development, implementation and evaluation and even publish their results and patients are able to easily access physical activity recommendations,” says Dr. Lévesque.

To read the full research paper, please follow this link.

More information on Exercise is Medicine.

Outdoor play keeps the doctor away

Turn off the TV, grab the kids and send them outside for some playtime.

That’s the main message Ian Janssen (Kinesiology and Health Studies) will deliver on April 13 at the second annual Queen’s University Heart and Stroke Foundation Lecture Series.

Researcher Ian Janssen is encouraging children to get outside and play. -Lars Hagberg

“My talk will provide an overview of why physical activity and outdoor active play are vital for a child’s health,” he says. “I will also discuss the barriers to getting children outside more, including fears that outdoor play is dangerous, and a lack of recognition that unstructured activities, like play, are important for healthy growth and development.”

Dr.  Janssen, the Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Obesity, focuses his research on giving children the best start for a long and healthy life. During his lecture, Dr. Janssen will also discuss new research that he is undertaking thanks to generous funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Queen’s University Heart and Stroke Foundation Lecture Series
Monday, April 13, 4:30 pm
Queen’s Medicine Building (15 Arch St.) in the Britton Smith Foundation Lecture Hall.
Free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

“As part of this study we are developing a new technique to measure active play in an objective way.  This technique relies on motion sensors to measure physical activity and global positioning system loggers to measure where the children are when they are getting their activity,” he says. “Using this new technique we will be able to assess, for the first time, how much active play children get and the places they get this play.”

The annual lecture series highlights Queen’s researchers receiving funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Using research grants from the foundation, Dr. Janssen and his team are addressing a number of health issues. They are working to understand more about the sedentary behaviours children should avoid, the types of physical activity children need for good health, and the features of a child’s physical and social environment that promote physical activity and healthy eating.

Scottish scholarship sends students to St. Andrews

Emma Sawatzky (Artsci’15) had always wanted to study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She was drawn to the school’s strong reputation for international relations and her Scottish grandparents had always told her about the country they’d emigrated from.

Emma Sawatzky hopes to pursue a graduate degree in international relations. 

“I grew up hearing their stories, their histories and all about their love of Scotland,” Ms. Sawatzky says. When she heard about the Canadian Robert Tyre Jones, Jr. Scholarship, she jumped at the chance to apply and, after being accepted with three other Queen’s students, went on exchange to St. Andrews for the 2013-14 academic year.

Named for the 20th century American golfer, the scholarship supports students from select Canadian universities to go on exchange to St. Andrews, offering them $6,000 to help fund their travel and tuition costs. Queen’s began taking part in the scholarship in 1996, extending offers to students with excellent academic achievement who are strongly committed to the university community. To qualify, students have to write a letter explaining their desire to go to St. Andrews and comparing their life to that of the late Mr. Jones.

Not just a golfing star, Mr. Jones was a man of many talents. He had a wide range of academic interests and held degrees in English literature, mechanical engineering and law. Later in life he combined his skills to found and help design Augusta National Golf Club, the home of the annual Masters Tournament.

“You have to work a little harder to get there, so it makes the exchange that much more special,” says Ms. Sawatzky. “Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to manage going to St. Andrews.”

The exchange was a welcome shift.

“It was a definite jump moving overseas, but I was so excited. It was one of the best decisions I made here at Queen’s,” she says. “People sometimes feel afraid to go on exchange because they’re worried what will happen when they come back, but when I returned, it was like I’d never disconnected.”

Since getting back to Queen’s, Ms. Sawatzky has been putting her international experience to good use. She volunteers at the International Programs Office, helping students decide if and where they should pursue exchange opportunities. She’s also a regular at the International Centre’s English language conversation group, where volunteers help students improve their grammar and pronunciation.

To top it all off, she’s served this year as the director of Queen’s Model United Nations Club, recruiting members and organizing a conference for students from across Canada and the US.

When she graduates this April, Ms. Sawatzky plans to pursue a graduate degree in international relations, specializing in conflict mediation and arbitration.

“Seeing different parts of the world has encouraged me to overcome barriers and find commonalities to solve problems,” she says. “I thrive in that kind of environment.”        

The Canadian Robert T. Jones, Jr. Scholarship Foundation supports student exchanges from Queen’s University and Western University to the University of St. Andrews. The Foundation was established thanks to the support of its founder Roger N. Thompson and others, who admired the timeless sportsmanship and character of Robert Jones. 

Computing students flex creative muscles

  • [Spencer Delaney]
    Spencer Delaney, who will begin his studies in the School of Computing this fall, travelled from Brockville to attend the Creative Computing event. He had the opportunity to try a project developed by current students Liam Collins, Stefan Eylott and John Ledale.
  • [Music orb]
    Fourth-year student Tom Henbest (left) checks out the sound orb project developed by Kevin Laporte, Artsci'17, (right) and Amanda Baker.
  • [Alice Volinksi and Derek Sanders]
    Alice Volinski, Artsci'18, and Derek Sanders, Cmp'17, participate in the sound art project "Wave Walk" developed by Rui Jie Wang, Maddie Peters and Emma Irwin, students in the Computing and the Creative Arts course (COCA201).
  • [Joseph Landy]
    Joseph Landy, Cmp'18, tests a game where all of the interaction occurs through natural and intuitive hand gestures. Students Mallory Ketcheson, Bernard Cheng and Jordan van der Kroon developed the game titled "Corgi Defense."

“That’s really neat” was a common refrain overheard in the Biosciences Complex on April 1 as undergraduate and graduate students showcased their work at the annual Creative Computing: Art, Games, Research event hosted by Queen’s School of Computing.

The hands-on demonstrations, presentations and posters spanned a variety of topics including game design and technology, computing and the creative arts, human-computer interaction, and more. 

Queen's remembers Carley Allison

Members of the Queen’s community are remembering first-year student Carley Allison, whose brave fight against throat cancer ended on March 31. She lived in Watts Hall on campus.

[Carley Allison]
Carley Allison

Ms. Allison captured the public’s attention in March 2013 after she posted a video to YouTube of her singing a One Direction song while breathing through a breathing tube. She went to sing the national anthem twice at Toronto Maple Leaf hockey games and appear at several cancer fundraising events in Toronto.

Through her blog and music, Ms. Allison was able to share her journey and raise awareness and money for the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto where she received treatment.

Ms. Allison was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour outside her trachea in February 2013. She underwent tracheal surgery and chemotherapy treatments that helped push the cancer into remission.

In August 2014, a few days before she arrived on Queen’s campus, she was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma in her lungs. She continued to take courses online after she returned to Toronto for treatments.

Flags on campus are lowered in memory of Ms. Allison.

Anyone in need of support is encouraged to contact Health, Counselling and Disability Services at 613-533-6000 ext.78264 and/or University Chaplain Kate Johnson at 613-533-2186. After hours, students are encouraged to contact Campus Security at 613-533-6080 or the Good2Talk post-secondary student helpline at 866-925-5454.

Tracking the elusive eel

Queen’s University researcher Colleen Burliuk is diving deep into the world of the endangered American eel, in hopes of unravelling the mystery of its life.

Working with Queen’s researcher and supervisor John Casselman (Biology), Ms. Burliuk has been tracking the eels living in the St. Lawrence River to learn more about their little-known winter habitat requirements as part of the research that will be used in her graduate program.

Colleen Burliuk holds the elusive and mysterious American eel that is now listed as endangered.

“The American eel population has been in decline for a while,” explains Ms. Burliuk, who is conducting winter fieldwork for her graduate studies. “They are mysterious creatures and nothing is really known about their winter habitat. This research can help us learn more about eels and improve their habitat to increase the population.”

Last fall, Ms. Burliuk implanted small radio-acoustic transmitters into six American eels. She used that technology to track their movements in the river over the winter months. Though the data is preliminary at this point, she will continue to gather data this spring and add another dozen eels to her current tracking project.

Stabilizing and increasing the American eel population is important for a number of reasons. “These eels are a very ancient fish with large cultural significance. If abundant, they would control such invasive populations as gobies and keep the river ecosystem balanced.”

Along with gaining new knowledge into the local eel population, Ms. Burliuk hopes to spawn new interest in the American eel in the younger generation. She herself didn’t become interested in the eel until she joined Dr. Casselman’s lab. Now she is giving presentations to early grade school classes and asking them to pass their new knowledge along to others.

Policy series celebrates inaugural director's legacy

As the inaugural director of Queen’s School of Policy Studies (SPS), Tom Courchene strived to bring together the academic and professional policy communities through the school’s programs, conferences and lectures.

Queen's School of Policy Studies has developed a speakers series to honour Tom Courchene, the school's inaugural director and a distinguished member of the Canadian public policy community.

SPS has recognized the former director’s enduring legacy by establishing the Tom Courchene Distinguished Speakers Series. The Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair, commissioner and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), will give the first lecture in the series this Friday at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

The speaker series is supported by the Margie and Tom Courchene Endowment Fund. It was established in 1999 with an initial gift by the Courchenes. Since that time, generous donations from Dr. Courchene’s colleagues at Queen’s and across the country have supplemented the fund.

“This speaker series will provide our students, and the Queen’s community more broadly, with a bridge between academics and policy-makers,” says Kim Nossal, Director, Queen’s School of Policy Studies. “This series will encourage an on-going discussion on critical issues, in particular Indigenous policy and governance, a policy field Tom has been increasingly engaged with in recent years.”

The Tom Courchene Distinguished Speakers Series
“What do we do about the legacy of Indian Residential Schools?”
The Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair, Commissioner and Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Friday, March 27, 11:45-1:15 pm, Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (390 King St. West) Transportation available More information

Dr. Courchene came to Queen’s in 1988 as the Stauffer-Dunning Chair in Public Policy and the first director of the new School of Policy Studies. From 1991 until his retirement in 2012, he held the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Professorship in Economics and Financial Policy at Queen’s, where he was a member of the Department of Economics, the School of Policy Studies and the Faculty of Law.

Dr. Courchene has written more than 300 articles and authored or edited 60 books. The recipient of many awards and accolades, Dr. Courchene is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada. 

Justice Sinclair was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge and the second Aboriginal judge in Canada. He has received numerous honours for his work in the field of Aboriginal justice. Justice Sinclair chairs the TRC, which was established in 2007 with a mandate to inform all Canadians about the 150-year history residential schools, and guide and inspire a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.

Testimony on the Hill

Dr. Christian Leuprecht

Queen’s professor Christian Leuprecht testified yesterday on two different bills before Parliament.

Dr. Leuprecht spoke to the Senate of Canada’s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence about Bill-C44 and later that day to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on National Security about Bill C-51. He is one of just 48 witnesses who have been called to testify on Bill C-51.

“As an academic, I was honoured to be called to testify at both a Senate and a House Committee on the same day, and on bills as controversial as these,” says Dr. Leuprecht, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Political Studies and School of Policy Studies.

Bill C-44 is an act to amend the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Act to give greater protection to CSIS human sources and to more effectively investigate threats to the security of Canada. Bill C-51, an anti-terrorism bill, would authorize government institutions to share information that could undermine the security of Canada and amend the Criminal Code with respect to terrorist activity or a terrorism offence.

As an academic, I was honoured to be called to testify at both a Senate and a House Committee on the same day, and on bills as controversial as these.
- Dr. Christian Leuprecht

“In general, I’m sympathetic to the strategy and the ends of both bills and so I expressed support for the broad rationale and the gaps they fill,” says Dr. Leuprecht. “I stressed the way Bill C-51 actually makes good on Canada’s obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1373, 1624, and 2195 on preventing radicalization leading to politically motivated violent extremism, prohibiting incitement of terrorist violence and recruitment for such purposes, disrupting financial support for terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters, interdicting travel by foreign terrorist fighters.  I also made concrete proposals to make the review process of intelligence activities more robust and effective.”

First, in regards to both Bill C-44 and Bill C-51, Dr. Leuprecht proposed that the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) be able to follow CSIS intelligence throughout federal agencies to ensure that intelligence is handled in accordance with the law and the Constitution. Second, he pointed out that CSIS is already the most reviewed security intelligence service in the world but suggested enhancing SIRC’s effectiveness by adopting the UK model of a separate parliamentary committee composed of select Members of Parliament, including the opposition, who have been security-cleared to be briefed by SIRC as well as the Commissioner of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).  

Dr. Leuprecht recently laid out his position in two editorials published in the Globe and Mail: “Will Bill C-51 protect or imperil Canadians?” And “Done right, C-51 can balance freedom and security.”

Follow these links to hear Dr. Leuprecht’s testimony on Bill C-44 and Bill C-51.

As well as being a professor at Queen’s, Dr. Leuprecht is a Fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy and the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations. Dr. Leuprecht is also the associate dean at the Faculty of Arts at the Royal Military College of Canada and a professor in the Department of Political Science.

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