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Engineering and Applied Science

Graduate student team SWIM’s into AquaHacking Challenge final

Beaty Water Research Centre’s student innovation team is developing a new technology to detect and track sewage overflow due to high rainfall events.

[Sensing Wastewater with Infrared Monitoring (SWIM) team]
The Beaty Water Research Centre's Sensing Wastewater with Infrared Monitoring (SWIM) team of, from left, Shuang Liang, Alexander Rey, Maraika De Groot and David Blair, have qualified for the finals of the AquaHacking Challenge. (Supplied Photo)

A team of students from Queen’s University’s Beaty Water Research Centre (BWRC) has qualified for the finals of the AquaHacking Challenge in Toronto.

The Sensing Wastewater with Infrared Monitoring (SWIM) team competed Saturday, June 9 in the annual event that aims to create innovative solutions for water-related issues in the Great Lakes region. After an entire afternoon of pitching to individual judges in related business, technology and water industry, SWIM was selected as one of five teams proceeding to the final pitching round later this year.

[BWRC Logo]
Beaty Water Research Centre

SWIM is developing a new technology, comprised of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with an HD visible spectrum camera and an infrared sensor. It will be used to detect and track sewage overflow, providing rapid results related to sewage overflow and contamination.

During high rainfall events, untreated sewage is discharged into nearby rivers, lakes, and oceans through combined sewer overflow to prevent sewer back-ups and flooding. In Ontario, there are over 800 registered beaches to monitor and last year, within the Ottawa River valley alone, there were over 65 closures at local beaches. SWIM will work towards helping protect the public from exposures to sewage pollution through monitoring beaches and pinpointing areas impacted by sewer overflows.

The SWIM team is a student-led, interdisciplinary group comprised of four graduate students. David Blair is a master’s candidate in Civil Engineering, with a chemical engineering degree and a background in wastewater treatment. Maraika De Groot is completing her Master’s of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with previous experience in business development. Shuang Liang is master’s candidate in Civil Engineering, with an environmental science background and experience with UAV operations and procedures. The fourth member, Alexander Rey, is completing his PhD, with a background in hydrodynamic modeling and computer programming.

“SWIM’s vision is to empower municipalities by providing rapidly delivered sewage discharge data so that the public can make well-informed decisions about water-related activities,” says Ms. Liang.

SWIM uses the turbidity and heat signature of untreated sewer overflow transmitted from the UAV, to detect, quantify and monitor discharge events. The platform, in addition to providing close to real-time data, provides targeted and high-resolution data for the assessment of water quality. This technology will employ Watson’s Discovery API technology, developed by IBM, for visual recognition and data processing.

“The SWIM technology is novel and creative, with enormous potential for future application. It will assist municipalities through data collection, analysis, and reporting, allowing them to more easily locate and identify sewage overflows,” says Pascale Champagne, Director of BWRC.

The BWRC supports interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach. 

As one of the five finalists the team receives $2,000 in funding to refine their innovation and is invited to participate in a two-day, all-expense paid expedition on Lake Ontario to engage with various stakeholders. The team will compete in the AquaHacking Challenge finals Oct. 25. The winners will receive $25,000 towards initial capital and a spot at an incubator. 

Honorary degrees for spring ceremonies

The presentation of honorary degrees is one of the many traditions of convocation. This spring, seven recipients will be honored during the ceremonies. All recipients were selected by Queen’s community members for their contributions to the local community, Canadian society, or the world.

The honorary degree recipients this year include:

Phil Gold, Doctor of Science DSc

[Phil Gold]
Phil Gold

Ceremony 2: Thursday, May 24 at 2:30 pm

Phil Gold is the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and the Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Oncology at McGill University. He has served as the Inaugural Director of the Goodman Cancer Centre, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at McGill, and Physician-in-Chief at the MGH.

Dr. Gold’s early research led to the discovery and definition of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), and the subsequent CEA blood test. In 2006, the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine was inaugurated at McGill University. Dr. Gold was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010, and also received the Life Time Achievement Award from McGill University and the inaugural McGill University Faculty of Medicine Global Achievement Award in 2011.

Dr. Gold has received national and international recognition throughout his career, including the Gairdner Foundation Annual International Award (1978), Medizinische Hochschule, Germany (1978), the Johann-Georg-Zimmerman Prize for Cancer Research (1978), the Isaak Walton Killam Award in Medicine of the Canada Council (1985), the National Cancer Institute of Canada R.M. Taylor Medal (1992), the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2002), and many other accolades, including honorary degrees from a number of universities.

Isabel Bassett, Doctor of Laws LLD

[Isabel Bassett]
Isabel Bassett

Ceremony 5: Friday, May 25 at 4 pm.

Professionally, Isabel Bassett was Chair and CEO of TVOntario, MPP and Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation for the Ontario Government, and host and producer of award winning documentaries on CFTO TV, which focused on social issues such as sexual abuse, mental health, and teen gangs.

Now retired, Ms. Bassett is a facilitator using her know-how and connections to work for gender parity. She advocates to get young people more involved in politics and for more diversity on boards and in senior management positions. She is now adding her voice in support of the McMichael Gallery to awaken the public to Canada's little known treasure house of Canadian Art.

Indira Samarasekera, Doctor of Science DSc

[Indira Samarasekera]
Indira Samarasekera

Ceremony 12: Thursday, May 31 at 4 pm

Indira Samarasekera served as the twelfth President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta from 2005 to 2015. She also served as Vice-President (Research) at the University of British Columbia from 2000 to 2005. She is currently a Senior Advisor for Bennett Jones LLP and serves on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Magna International, and TransCanada. Dr. Samarasekera was appointed by the Prime Minister to serve as a Federal Member to the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments until 2017.

Dr. Samarasekera is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading metallurgical engineers for her ground-breaking work on process engineering of materials, especially steel processing. Dr. Samarasekera was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 for outstanding contributions to steel process engineering. In 2014, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in the US, the profession’s highest honour.

As a Hays Fulbright Scholar, she earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976 and a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1980. She has received honorary degrees from the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and from Western University in Canada, as well as Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland.

Valerie Tarasuk, Doctor of Science DSc

[Valerie Tarasuk]
Valerie Tarasuk

Ceremony 13: Friday, June 1 at 10 am

Valerie Tarasuk is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Tarasuk’s research includes Canadian food policy and population-level dietary assessment, but much of her career has focused on income-related problems of food access in Canada. She played a pivotal role in the implementation of food insecurity monitoring in Canada and has helped spearhead efforts to use monitoring data to inform programming and policy decisions. Dr. Tarasuk has led PROOF, an interdisciplinary research program investigating household insecurity in Canada, since 2011. In 2017, Dr. Tarasuk was honored by the Canadian Nutrition Society with the Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition.

John Baird, Doctor of Law LLD

[John Baird]
John Baird

Ceremony 14: Friday, June 1 at 2:30 pm

John Baird served as a senior cabinet minister in the Government of Canada. Mr. Baird spent three terms as a Member of Parliament and four years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also served as President of the Treasury Board, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. In 2010, he was selected by MPs from all parties as Parliamentarian of the Year. He is currently a Senior Business Advisor with Bennett Jones LLP.

An instrumental figure in bilateral trade and investment relationships, Mr. Baird has played a leading role in the Canada-China dialogue and worked to build ties with Southeast Asian nations.

Mr. Baird holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s. He volunteers his time with Community Living Ontario, the Prince's Charities, and is a board member of the Friends of Israel Initiative.

Hugh Segal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Hugh Segal]
Hugh Segal

Ceremony 15: Monday, June 4 at 10 am

Now the fifth elected Principal of Massey College and a strategic advisor at the law firm of Aird and Berlis, LLP, Hugh Segal has spent his career in such public service roles as the Associate Cabinet Secretary (Federal-Provincial Affairs) in Ontario and the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister.  In Ontario, he was involved in the negotiations to patriate the Canadian constitution and create the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Mr. Segal chaired the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Special Senate Committee on Anti-Terrorism between 2005 and 2014.  He served as Canada's Special Envoy to the Commonwealth and a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group on reform and modernization, human rights, and rule of law.

A former President of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal, a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Global Affairs, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs, the Queen's School of Policy Studies, and the Smith School of Business at Queen's, Mr. Segal holds honorary doctorates from the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Ottawa.

Douglas Cardinal, Doctor of Law LLD

[Douglas Cardinal]
Douglas Cardinal

Ceremony 21: Wednesday, June 6 at 2:30 pm

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Douglas Cardinal's architectural studies at The University of British Columbia took him to Austin, Texas, where he achieved his architectural degree and found his passion for human rights initiatives. Mr. Cardinal has become a forerunner of philosophies of sustainability, green buildings, and ecologically designed community planning.

Mr. Cardinal has received many national and international awards, including 20 Honorary Doctorates, Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia, and an award from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for best sustainable village. He was also titled an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards that can be given to a Canadian, and he was awarded the declaration of “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” by the International Association of Architects.

Introducing our new faculty members: Ravi Prakash

Ravi Prakash is a new member of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

This profile is part of a series highlighting some of the new faculty members who have recently joined the Queen's community as part of the principal's faculty renewal plans, which will see 200 new faculty members hired over the next five years.

Ravi Prakash (Electrical and Computer Engineering) sat down with the Gazette to talk about his experience so far. Dr. Prakash is an assistant professor.

[Ravi Prakash]
Ravi Prakash is a new member of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. (Photo by Rob Whelan)
Fast Facts about Dr. Prakash

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hometown: Delhi, India

Alma mater: University of Calgary (Doctor of philosophy and master of science in electrical and computer engineering), IIT Madras (undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering)

Research area: Disposable sensors and micro-actuators, organic transistors, label-free biosensors, bio-engineering

Unwinds with: Tennis, squash, swimming, hiking, walking the dog

Dr. Prakash’s web bio
Why did you decide to teach?
My perspective has always been to solve a research challenge. I feel like I have always been a mentor, even during my undergraduate studies. I was engaged in activities where I could help students in junior years.
When I started my masters and had some teaching assistant responsibilities, I thoroughly enjoyed assisting undergraduates. Everyone has their calling, and it seemed like research and instruction is mine. I have enjoyed it so far – I must be doing something right.
What got you interested in electrical engineering?

I think what attracted me to engineering most was the eagerness to deliberate about real-world challenges, and growing up in resource-limited settings offered an excellent vantage point for that.

When I was doing my bachelor degree in mechanical engineering at IIT Madras, I opted for a minor degree in biomedical engineering and was looking to develop microsystems for biomedical applications. I realized there are more electronics to these systems than mechanics. I had a good background for the transition when it appeared the best possible department to continue research would be electrical and computer engineering.

In my past research, I have developed advanced chip technologies for conducting bio-assay and biochemical tests. If you think of any nucleic acid test, for example, you go to a clinical laboratory where they take a blood or other bio-fluid sample, and they do a host of clinical tests using expensive bench-top instruments to identify bacterial, viral, or other kinds of infections.

During my PhD and my NSERC postdoctoral fellowship, I designed molecular diagnostic microchips that did not require such large, expensive clinical equipment, allowing for potential low-cost and point-of-care applications.

[Ravi Prakash]
Dr. Prakash examines a polymer biosensor device. (Photo by Rob Whelan)
What do you hope to achieve in your research?

My research is more focused on physical and chemical sensors now, and less on biomedical devices.

I am looking to create disposable, flexible sensors and soft-wearable devices where a polymer patch on skin can detect analytes such as glucose level, lactate level, or levels of stress induced hormone cortisol for biomonitoring applications. Two of my current students are working on cortisol detection in sweat and saliva, and detection of different kinds of enzymes and antibodies using novel label-free organic biosensors, in collaboration with faculty members in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre.

There is a health management aspect to monitoring these bio-molecular concentration levels, but there are many devices already available to track glucose. What we are trying to do is offer a multitude of tests within the same device through smart, multi-modal sensor integration and implementing new data analytic tools. Let’s say you’re doing athletic conditioning – these devices could help monitor lactate, pyruvate, glucose levels, measure breathing rate, exhaled air composition and the like. Or we can monitor acute or chronic stress conditions in workplaces, such as the military or healthcare facilities, where chronic stress and associated conditions are a major concern.

I also have some tangential research interests in clean tech energy sources. We are developing bio-supercapacitors with a company in Ottawa which will use a sustainable bio-electrolyte product in small and large footprint energy storage systems. I have recently started working on a geophysical sensing project – which is more of a civil engineering and environmental engineering domain – but my interest is focused on enhancing near-field sensing methods for testing geomembrane integrity as part of my sensor research.

Are you teaching as well?

I have taught a few technical electives, such as sensors and actuators, and core courses in electronics and digital electronics. This fall, I believe I will be teaching graduate courses in biological signal analysis.

This term, I had a large class with about 270 students, which can be a bit overwhelming administratively. But I love being in the classroom, and I enjoy being in front of the avid learners at Queen’s who are both intelligent and willing.

[A photosensitive chip]
Flexible organic transistors like these are sensitive to the environment and must be handled with care. (Photo by Rob Whelan)
What are you most proud of?
I completed my undergraduate degree at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. IITs are world-renowned institutions and, if you have some idea of the population of India, you know the competition to get in is really rigorous. I believe we had about two million students take exams per batch. Only a handful – less than 2,500 – are selected. I was ranked around 700th nationwide.
I am also proud of some of the research I led during my PhD. We were developing some superhydrophobic coating for new lab-on-chip tests and other biological assays. At the time, creating such coatings was rather expensive. I connected with a research team in Athens, Greece and worked with them on optimizing a relatively low-cost technique. We ended up coming up with a very novel way of developing superhydrophobic coatings. 
Doing a successful, interdisciplinary project where I was heavily involved gave me a lot of confidence. I was able to combine my various experiences into fruitful research outcomes.
Since that time, I have formed new research collaborations in Greece, as well as some in the U.S. and Germany. I have exceptional collaborations across Canada, particularly in Ontario.
[Ravi Prakash]
Dr. Prakash sits on the steps outside of his lab in Walter Light Hall. (Photo by Rob Whelan)
How are you liking Kingston?
I love Kingston. There is so much history in this town…and I call it a town. It’s not really a city, is it? Coming from Calgary at least, it seems like a town…but there is so much culture and history here.
I love the Victorian architecture, the limestone buildings and the gorgeous waterfront. I miss hiking though, being in Calgary and near the Rockies, but I am planning to head to Québec City at some point this summer to get some hiking in. 
I liked the weather in Kingston last year. This year, not so much.
It’s still a transition as my wife transitions her work from Calgary to Kingston – when you leave a city where you have been for eight years, it takes time!
Other than hiking, any hobbies or interests?
I love swimming. I haven’t made it to the beach yet but I look forward to checking that off my list.
I enjoy racket sports – tennis outdoors, squash indoors. I also have a 11-month old black Labrador retriever which means a lot of training, walking, and other outdoor activities.

Faculty Renewal

Principal Daniel Woolf has identified faculty renewal as a high priority for reinvestment by the university in support of the academic mission. The five-year renewal plan will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the past six years.

Faculty renewal supports Queen’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by giving the university the opportunity to seek, proactively, representation from equity-seeking groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized individuals. It will also build on Queen’s current areas of research strength.

To learn more about the Principal’s faculty renewal plans, read this Gazette article. Stay tuned for additional new faculty profiles in the Gazette.

Queen’s rises to the World’s Challenge Challenge

A team of Queen’s students will compete this summer at a social enterprise competition hosted at Western University.

[James Hantho, Karina Bland, and Mitch Sadler of ClimaCube]
James Hantho (Comm'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18) celebrate their win at the local World's Challenge Challenge competition. The international finals take place in June in London, ON. (Supplied Photo)

Hot off the heels of their win at the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) Winter Pitch Competition, ClimaCube will represent Queen’s at an international competition designed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.

The World’s Challenge Challenge (WCC) is a competition started at Western University in 2014, and expanded to include other institutions last year. The mission of the competition is to bring together students from a wide range of institutions, cultures, and continents to create potential solutions to significant global issues. Past winners include a team from Dalhousie University who planned to 3D print prosthetics in developing countries from recycled materials, and a team from The Netherlands who created a knapsack to help Indonesian anglers keep their catches cold. There are four prizes up for grabs this year, including a grand prize of $30,000.

Queen’s recently held a local competition, supported by the DDQIC, aimed at selecting a team to represent Queen’s at the WCC. Galvin Niu (Sc’19) and Jacob Riha (Sc’18) ran the local competition, which concluded this past weekend.

ClimaCube includes James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). The team is developing portable cold storage units to maintain the quality of items such as samples or vaccinations and extend the cold lifetime (or 'cold chain') as they are in transit.

As the winning team, ClimaCube earns the right to represent Queen’s at the WCC and their costs to attend the conference will be picked up by the DDQIC.

ClimaCube is also being sponsored to attend the MassChallenge Awards with DDQIC in October 2018, which is the grand finale to the MassChallenge accelerator program in Boston. On past trips, DDQIC has taken students to lectures at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), visited local incubators, and networked with the startup community at MassChallenge – all opportunities that ClimaCube may receive this fall.

“We are all very excited about this next step in our venture’s journey,” says Ms. Bland. “Competing at The World’s Challenge Challenge at Western University in June has further motivated our team to speed up our prototyping process, which we think can greatly contribute to our success in the competition. Additionally, as Queen’s students we are excited to compete against our rival Western University.”

Members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities served as judges for the local competition, including Dirk Rodenburg, a lecturer and educational consultant; Pavel Graymason, Executive Director of Sustainable Kingston; and Chloe Beisheim of the DDQIC.

"I have judged a few of these competitions at Queen's, and it is always a refreshing and exciting experience," says Mr. Graymason. "I believe innovation is implementation, and in that respect these students are way ahead of some seasoned professionals - they have big ideas and they make them happen. All the ideas presented were great and demonstrated significant creativity and it is an honour to support them."

When scoring the proposals, judges followed criteria set by WCC organizers which looks at the strength of the proposal’s argument, its financials and feasibility, potential partners, some recognition of the origins of the problem, and three other categories.

Four teams applied to represent Queen’s at the WCC this year, and the DDQIC hopes to attract even more competitors in the future. Two runner-up teams will receive a one-year membership to SparQ Studios, a makerspace on campus designed to help these entrepreneurs further develop their ideas.

The World’s Challenge Challenge international finals take place June 3 to 8 in London, Ont. For more information, visit www.worldschallengechallenge.com

New Vice-Principal (Advancement) and Interim Vice-Principal (Research) appointed

Karen Bertrand and Kimberly Woodhouse to begin appointments on July 1, 2018.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf announced two senior appointments today following unanimous approval by the Board of Trustees.

Karen Bertrand
Karen Bertrand (Artsci’94) has been appointed as the next Vice-Principal (Advancement). 

Karen Bertrand (Artsci’94) will serve as Vice-Principal (Advancement), succeeding Tom Harris who will be stepping down from the role he has held since 2010.

“I am delighted to welcome Karen Bertrand to Queen’s and look forward to the expertise and enthusiasm she will bring to this important role,” says Principal Woolf. “She has an incredible track record of success in post-secondary fundraising and she is well placed to work closely with our alumni, donors, and friends to ensure Queen’s remains a premier destination for students and faculty across Canada and internationally.”

Ms. Bertrand joins Queen’s from the University of Guelph where she has worked in progressively senior positions. Beginning in 2012, Ms. Bertrand led a team that successfully raised $200 million in the BetterPlanet Project campaign. In 2014, she was appointed as Associate Vice-President, Major Gift Advancement, overseeing teams for major gift fundraising, stewardship and donor relations, prospect management, and financial services. Prior to her time at Guelph, she was with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario for 11 years

“I am thrilled to be joining Queen’s University at this exciting time,” says Ms. Bertrand. “As a proud alumna of Queen’s I know the passion people feel for their alma mater and I look forward to working collaboratively to build upon the extraordinary success of the recent Initiative Campaign, and inspire life-long relationships with and unprecedented support from alumni, benefactors, and volunteers."

Ms. Bertrand says her advancement career is rooted in her experience at Queen’s as an undergraduate. In addition to serving on several senate committees as a student and being an active member of the Queen’s International Affairs Association and the Queen’s Model United Nations – serving as Secretary-General in her fourth year – she worked in the advancement call centre during her first year on campus. As a first-generation university graduate, she also benefited from student scholarships created by the extraordinary generosity of private donors.

Ms. Bertrand will begin her continuing appointment as Vice-Principal (Advancement) on July 1, 2018.

Principal Woolf also announced today that Kimberly Woodhouse has accepted a two-year appointment as Interim Vice-Principal (Research), succeeding John Fisher who has been in the  position since March 1, 2017.

Kim Woodhouse
Kimberly Woodhouse has been appointed as the next  Interim Vice-Principal (Research). 

Dr. Woodhouse is currently a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, after serving as dean of that faculty for two five-year terms from June 2007 to 2017.

“The Vice-Principal (Research) is one of the university’s most important positions and I am delighted Dr. Woodhouse has agreed to take on this challenge,” says Principal Woolf. “Thanks to her experience in her previous position, Dr. Woodhouse will provide leadership that ensures the highest standards of scholarship and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Dr. Woodhouse’s appointment begins on July 1, 2018. She will work with the Principal and the Board of Trustees to define the broader research portfolio and clarify the growing relationship between research and innovation at Queen’s and the resources that will support it. Once this work is complete, the university will be in a better position to recruit for this critical vice-principal role and set the chosen candidate up for success.

“There is a growing recognition of the important role played by research and innovation on the national stage,” says Dr. Woodhouse. “I am excited to continue the work undertaken by Dr. Fisher to help Queen’s accelerate our performance in research and to help create an even stronger research culture across the campus, one that also embraces innovation.”

Dr. Woodhouse is a professional engineer, holds several patents, and co-founded a biotechnology company. In addition to her academic background, Dr. Woodhouse has almost a decade of experience in private sector manufacturing and experience with the granting councils, in particular the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), chair of a Canadian Institutes for Health Research grants panel, and the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board. She has also received numerous awards, including the Premier’s Research Excellence Award and the Professional Engineers Ontario Engineering Medal. She is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

“I look forward to welcoming both Karen and Kim to their new positions at Queen’s. Both are proven leaders and innovators in their fields who will help us in our efforts to deliver an outstanding student learning experience in a comprehensive research-intensive environment,” says Principal Woolf. ”At the same time, I’d like to thank John Fisher for his excellent work over the past year in, among other things, guiding the development of the next Strategic Research Plan. And I am very grateful to Tom Harris for eight and a half years of outstanding leadership of our Advancement operations, including his leadership of our successful Initiative Campaign”.

The Queen’s Board of Trustees approved both the appointments of Ms. Bertrand and Dr. Woodhouse in a special meeting on March 29, 2018.

Six budding businesses boosted

A pitch competition organized by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre resulted in cash for some innovative ideas. 

The ClimaCube team, from L-R: James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). (University Communications)
The ClimaCube team, from L-R: James Hantho (Comm'18), Leigh-Ann McKnight (Sc'18), Karina Bland (Sc'18), and Mitch Sadler (Sc'18). (University Communications)

Queen’s students are applying their skills to tackle global challenges both small and large – from better Lyme disease testing to ensuring protection of medical samples while in transit.

These are just a couple of the ideas that were on display at a recent pitch competition organized by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). The centre invited student entrepreneurs to present their ideas for a chance to win funding, and potentially to enter the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) bootcamp beginning in May.

“The pitches were excellent, and there was quite a remarkable diversity of technologies and ideas,” says Anton Toutov (Sc’11), chair of the Los Angeles node of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Global Network and one of the event’s judges. “These businesses were primarily in the idea stage, but the thought process and care was quite good and the quality was high. I want to congratulate all those who pitched.”

Ten teams sought funding in the competition, and in the end six of them will each be receiving between four and five thousand dollars in seed money. ClimaCube, a team which is developing portable cold storage units to maintain the quality of items such as samples or vaccinations and extend the cold lifetime (or 'cold chain') as they are in transit, was one of the successful competitors.

Successful pitches:
eBridges - A multi-vendor e-commerce platform that provides small businesses and independent merchants in developing countries with direct access to the global marketplace. Received $5,000.
Lymelight Genetech - Developing a diagnostic to provide reliable, accessible, and affordable Lyme disease testing. Received $5,000.
BearCloud Games - A digital game studio specializing in mobile and virtual reality games. Received $4,000.
ClimaCube - Developing portable cold storage units to extend the quality of products as they are in transit, such as samples or vaccinations. Received $4,000.
Leash Technologies - A small device that will alert you if you have left your phone behind at home or any public place. Received $4,000.
Sicana - A text message encyclopedia that allows students in countries with limited internet access the ability to text basic search questions and receive an answer. Received $4,000.

The ClimaCube team recently returned from a social enterprise competition in Dubai known as the Hult Prize. The team gained great experience going through that process, which helped prepare them to pitch at the QICSI competition. Both presentations were great learning experiences, says Karina Bland (Sc’18).

“This presentation was a fantastic experience for us, as the judges were highly engaged and provided helpful feedback,” says Ms. Bland, one of the team members behind ClimaCube. “We appreciated the fact that the QICSI presentations were short and there was a longer question period, which allowed us to clarify some aspects of our product. With this funding, we aim to produce a prototype of our portable active cooling system.”

Ms. Bland says, thanks to this win, she and her three co-founders will all be participating in the competitive QICSI bootcamp this summer – providing them a further leg up as they develop their business.

“As I come from a technical background, I am excited to learn a lot about business and benefit from the experience of the QICSI mentors,” she says.

The QICSI bootcamp runs from May to August and features intensive instruction designed to help student entrepreneurs build stronger businesses. The program ends with a pitch competition where the start-ups bring their best pitches to try and earn seed funding. Forty-seven students will be attending this year’s bootcamp after competing in the spring and fall pitch competitions. One team is also attending QICSI after winning the Kingston Mayor’s Innovation Challenge.

Other funded pitches at the spring competition include eBridges, Lymelight Genetech, BearCloud Games, Leash Technologies, and Sicana. For these six, and for the four who did not receive funding this time, Dr. Toutov has the same advice.

“Win or lose, successful or unsuccessful in this competition, the network available to these entrepreneurs is amazing,” he says. “Talk to people within the Queen’s community to get connected to others in your field to avoid landmines and de-risk your business. Don't hesitate to make those connections.”

For more news from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, visit queensu.ca/innovationcentre/newsandevents

Engineering support for international students

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) welcomes Mofi Badmos to the Student Services Team this month as its first international student experience associate.

 [Mofi Badmos, International Student Experience Associate, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science]
Mofi Badmos is the first international student experience associate for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. 

“I feel like it’s very progressive of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to provide this unique position dedicated to international students,” says Badmos. “With my lived experience as a former international student, I look forward to providing valuable support to the students and the faculty.”

Badmos will be developing and providing transitional and ongoing support services specifically to international and/or racialized engineering students here at Queen’s. For now, though, Badmos encourages students to connect with her by email or to visit her in student services in Beamish-Munro Hall Rm. 300.

“There’s never too much support, and I’m here to support,” says Badmos. “If students are just looking for someone they can talk to, someone who can help answer questions, someone to make them feel comfortable on campus, a friend in the community, that’s what I’m here for. I’m hoping to create a sense of community for international engineering students within the faculty.”  

Badmos previously worked at the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) as an International Programs Assistant. She holds a Bachelor’s in Forensic Psychology and a Master’s in Immigration and Settlement Studies.

This article was first published on the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science website.

Alumnus astronaut safely arrives at International Space Station

[Expedition 55 blasts off]
Drew Feustel and the rest of the Expedition 55 crew launch from Kazahkstan on Wednesday afternoon for a two day journey to the International Space Station. (Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

 

March 23, 2018 update: Drew Feustel and the crew of Expedition 55 have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS). The Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft docked onto the ISS at 3:43 pm EST after a two day journey from Earth. This was a flawless docking executed by the teams, according to the NASA live feed. Check out footage of the ISS capturing the Soyuz MS-08 below, and other details about the mission, and Dr. Feustel’s many connections to his alma mater.
 

March 21, 2018 update: Drew Feustel and the crew of Expedition 55 have safely launched into low-Earth orbit and are en route to the International Space Station. They will arrive at the ISS on Friday, March 23, at 3:41 pm EST. Check out the photos below of the launch and the Queen's viewing party, hosted by the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering.

  • [Expedition 55 crew prepare for launch]
    Expedition 55 flight engineer Drew Feustel of NASA, top, flight engineer Ricky Arnold of NASA, middle, and Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, bottom, wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft for launch, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)
  • [Astronauts keep track of vital systems during launch]
    The Expedition 55 crew keep track of the ship's vital systems during launch. (Photo credit: NASA live feed)
  • [Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering hosts launch viewing party]
    Students from the Department of Geological Science and Geological Engineering watch the launch of Expedition 55. (University Communications)
  • [Students watch the launch]
    Geological Science and Geological Engineering students got to witness Drew Feustel, an alumnus of their program, launch into low-orbit over Earth. (University Communications)
  • [Alex Braun shows students model shuttle]
    Alex Braun (Geophysics) shows Geological Science and Geological Engineering students a model of the shuttle, with a scale replica astronaut to show the immense size of the spaceship. (University Communications)
  • [Closeup of spaceship and lander model]
    A closeup of the model ship and lander that Alex Braun (Geophysics) brought to demonstrate the scale of the spaceship. (University Communications)

Blasting off to the International Space Station

On Wednesday, Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16) left Earth and began his journey into orbit as the next Canadian to live and work aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Queen’s alumnus and astronaut is the Flight Engineer for Expedition 55 and will stay on the ISS for six months, taking over as Commander of the ISS in June for Expedition 56.

“We’re excited for Dr. Feustel’s third mission to space, on an expedition overseeing hundreds of experiments over six months,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “From astroparticle physics to clean tech, many of the tests he and his team will perform will contribute to research here on Earth and align with many areas of research excellence here at Queen’s.  We wish him the best for his expedition.” 

Students will get the chance to ask Dr. Feustel questions during a Queen’s-hosted Education Downlink event, Ask an Astronaut, on April 6. More details about this special event will be available soon.

Dr. Feustel’s journey to Queen’s and beyond

Dr. Feustel grew up in Michigan, and came to Kingston to complete a PhD in Geological Sciences at Queen’s in the nineties. He and his wife Indira, a speech-language pathologist from Ontario, met while both were studying at Purdue University. Dr. Feustel attained his Canadian citizenship while in Kingston, and moved to Houston after his PhD to pursue a career in geoscience. Their children, Ari and Aden, were born in Kingston and the family is still closely connected to the area through family and friends.

Dr. Feustel dreamt of becoming an astronaut since childhood, and became interested in the opportunity after watching the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) astronaut search in 1992. He then reached out to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield while in Houston who encouraged him to pursue his dream. Dr. Feustel applied to become an astronaut with NASA in 2000, and was selected on his first try. Expedition 55 will be his third mission to space.

Back on Earth, Dr. Feustel enjoys auto restoration, car and motorcycle racing, guitar, tennis, and water and snow skiing. It’s still unknown if he’ll bring any of his favourite hobbies with him to the ISS.

About the mission

At least two spacewalks are planned during the mission. Some of the planned experiments during Expedition 55 include:

  • studying thunder and lightning to learn more about the role of severe thunderstorms in Earth’s atmosphere and climate,
  • studying materials, coatings, and components in the harsh environment of space,
  • testing microgravity’s impact on bone marrow, and
  • simulating gravity aboard the ISS and testing on samples such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, and protein crystals.

An alumni connection through music

Dr. Feustel has another connection with Queen’s: Rob Baker (Artsci’86), lead guitarist with The Tragically Hip.

“About 12 years ago, we were touring in the States and had an upcoming gig in Houston, and we got the call from Drew Feustel, asking if we’d be interested in having a tour of NASA’s facilities,” says Mr. Baker. “It was out of the blue to us, but we grew up in a certain time when the Apollo missions were front and centre in our childhoods growing up, so we were all excited to check it out. We rode the shuttle simulator, got to ask questions and saw them training in this gigantic pool, got a tour of the space arm – it was fantastic, and Drew was amazing with us.”

The two bonded over a shared love for music, and have stayed close friends since.

“He was in a band with a bunch of astronauts at NASA, playing in the same bar that we were. He said they played the greatest hits of the sixties, seventies, and the Tragically Hip,” says Mr. Baker. “I think he gets excited around musicians, but we get pretty excited around an astronaut.”

Mr. Baker wished his friend well on the voyage, and couldn’t wait to hear about everything he’ll get up to on the ISS.

“He’s not just a Canadian in space – he’ll be the Commander of the space station. He’s the king of space! It’s special, and a great connection for Queen’s.”

[Drew Feustel]
Dr. Feustel listens to a reporter’s question during the crew’s final day of qualification exams for Expedition 55 on Feb. 21, 2018, in Star City, Russia.
(Photo credit: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center/Andrey Shelepin and Irina Spektor)
[Drew Feustel with googles]
The Virtual Reality Laboratory at Johnson Space Center is an immersive training facility that provides real time graphics and motion simulators integrated with a tendon-driven robotic device to provide the kinesthetic sensation of the mass and inertia characteristics of any large object being handled.

Follow the journey

Keep this page bookmarked for updates as the launch approaches, and read more at:

Follow Dr. Feustel’s journey on social media:

[Drew Feustel]
Drew is picured here at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, an astronaut training facility located near the Johnson Space Center. Its main feature is a large indoor pool in which astronauts can perform extravehicular activity (EVA).

 

Provincial funding to strengthen Queen’s research teams

The Ontario government announces funding to support new Queen’s research teams and laboratory operations.

A total of 17 Queen’s researchers are receiving a combined $2,942,914 in funding from the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure programs and Early Researcher Awards – efforts designed to bolster the capacity of research teams and laboratories.

“Today’s funding announcement speaks not only to the ongoing research excellence demonstrated by our faculty, but also to the future potential their work holds in addressing exciting challenges in Ontario,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research), Queen’s University. “On behalf of the university, I would like to thank the Government of Ontario for continuing to support the growth of research capacity and innovation at Queen’s, and at institutions across the province.”

Three of the winning faculty members received Early Researcher Awards, providing up to $140,000 to support the creation and operation of new research teams. This funding is used to hire personnel to assist in research experiments, including undergraduates, graduate students, technicians, associates, and others.

Additionally, 14 researchers were awarded support through the ORF Small Infrastructure Fund which helps cover the cost of acquiring or renewing research equipment, specimens, computer software, and other operational technology for laboratories.

“Innovative research is essential for future economic growth and I am thrilled with the investments being made in projects in Kingston and across Ontario,” says Sophie Kiwala, MPP for Kingston and the Islands. “The world-class research being conducted at Queen’s University is an immense source of pride for myself and our region and I look forward to seeing the results of this funding.”

ORF - Early Researcher Award recipients:

Frances Bonier (Biology) – $140,000
Carlos Escobedo (Chemical Engineering) -- $140,000
Madhuri Koti (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $140,000

ORF - Small Infrastructure Fund recipients:

Janet Dancey (Canadian Cancer Trials Group), David LeBrun (Pathology and Molecular Medicine), Lois Shepherd (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) – $197,065
Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $125,000
Peter Davies (Biochemistry), John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $100,192
Amer Johri (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) – $120,000
Lysa Lomax (Medicine) – $139,914
Susan Lord (Film and Media), Dylan Robinson (Art History; Cultural Studies), Rosaleen Hill (Art History and Art Conservation) – $400,000
Jacqueline Monaghan (Biology) – $125,641
Lois Mulligan (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute), Andrew Craig (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Peter Greer (Pathology and Molecular Medicine)  – $124,040
Diane Orihel (Biology/School of Environmental Studies) – $167,602
Michael Rainbow (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $400,000
David Rival (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $76,520
R. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) – $316,000
Graeme Smith (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Amer Johri (Medicine) – $63,540
Zhongwen Yao (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) – $167,400

More information is available on the Ontario Research Fund – Early Researcher Awards and Research Infrastructure Funds websites.

Investing in innovative ideas

Teams of Queen’s and St. Lawrence College students will be receiving internships and other supports to implement their city-building ideas.

Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)
Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07) poses with Gurraj Ahluwalia, Nick Kuhl, Anna Geladi, and Mac Fitzgerald, members of a winning team from the Master of Planning program. The team pitched a winter cycling network that includes a pilot project for a two-way bike lane along Johnson Street. (Supplied Photo)

The City of Kingston will be investing in projects to potentially make it easier to get around town, and make it easier to find out what’s going on.

On Friday, the winners of the first Mayor’s Innovation Challenge were announced. This new competition was designed to garner innovative ideas which could address local challenges. Postsecondary students from across Kingston were invited to submit proposals and pitch before a panel of judges for the chance to win support for their ideas.  

“We saw wonderfully creative and innovative ideas come forward through this inaugural Mayor’s Innovation Challenge and I am looking forward to seeing the winning ideas come to life through the internships awarded,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson (MA’01, PhD’07). “We have so much talent in our community and I am proud this challenge has allowed us to showcase and harness this talent to address challenges we face while supporting and launching the careers of youth in Kingston.” 

A team of four Master of Planning students took away the top prize through their proposal for a pilot project to develop a multi-seasonal cycling network. The student team, including Anna Geladi, Nick Kuhl, Mac Fitzgerald and Gurraj Ahluwalia, will receive internships with the City, a $10,000 budget and support from City staff to help implement their project.

“The four of us came together to take on the Mayor’s Challenge because of our shared passion for active transportation,” says Mr. Fitzgerald. “It is both exciting and validating to have won the competition, knowing how much work we put into our proposal and that our ideas resonated with the judges and the City. We are all looking forward to seeing some of our suggestions come to fruition this summer and eager to become even more involved with active transportation planning in Kingston through our internship.”

Two proposals, each focused on enhancing local attractions and learning opportunities for youth through event applications, tied to win the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI) internship sponsored by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC). During the pitches, it became clear that there were strong synergies and complementary strengths between the two groups, and the judging panel encouraged them to merge and join the QICSI program as a team of four.

These teams, consisting of Queen’s students Skyler McArthur-O’Blenes (Artsci’19) and William Medeiros (Sc’18) and St. Lawrence College students Mark Mathieu and Brandon Crausen, will receive $7,000 stipends per team member for the summer and $4,000 in seed capital for their ideas.

“I'm incredibly excited to have the opportunity and the resources to realize an idea that just a few months ago was nothing more than brainstorming over paper plates of pad thai,” says Mr. Medeiros. “I'm incredibly appreciative to the judges for recognizing the synergy between the original teams and proposing a merger. I think we'll do great work together.”

James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC, was one of the judges and says there was a palpable dynamic of excitement and sense of purpose in council chambers during the pitches.

“I’m very pleased and excited to be working with the City of Kingston on these social innovation projects,” says James McLellan, Academic Director for the DDQIC. “As a “townie” myself, I am impressed and grateful for the commitment that Mayor Patterson has shown to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in the Kingston region, and I’m excited to see the close collaboration with the City of Kingston growing.”

The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge was made possible through partnership and collaboration with Bell Canada, Queen’s Centre for Advanced Computing, the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the Queen’s Centre for Social Impact, Royal Military College, and St. Lawrence College.

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