Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Health Sciences

Researcher lands on exclusive list

Communications Staff

Queen’s University researcher Ian Janssen (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Department of Public Health Sciences) has earned a place on Thomson Reuters’ Highly Cited Researchers list. He is the only Queen’s professor to make the list and one of only 88 researchers working in Canada on the 3,215 member list.

The international list includes scientists and researchers whose work is most often cited in other research papers.

Queen's University professor Ian Janssen.

“This is a reflection of the volume and quality of work I have done in my field,” says Dr. Janssen, the Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Obesity. “It shows that the research I have published has had a significant impact on other researchers. It is very gratifying to have made the list.”

Dr. Janssen and other researchers on the list earned the distinction by writing the greatest number of “highly cited papers” as determined by Essential Science Indictors. Those papers rank among the top 1 per cent most cited in their subject field from 2002 to 2012. Dr. Janssen, who completed his master’s and doctorate degrees at Queen’s, has published close to 200 research papers since 1999. He was among 177 people nominated in the general social sciences category.

“Although my name appears on the Highly Cited Researchers list, this honour is primarily a reflection of the many talented and hard-working people I have worked with.  I want to recognize the tremendous contributions made by the 30+ graduate students I have supervised and the dozens of researcher colleagues I have collaborated with.”

The original Highly Cited Researchers list issued in 2001 identified more than 7,000 researchers and the list was updated again in 2004. The latest version features only 3,000 researchers whose work was deemed to be influential internationally.

Current issue of For the Record now online

The July 10 issue of For the Record has been posted online.

Inside this issue:

  • Appointments — Faculty of Health Sciences 
  • Human Resources — Successful candidates
  • Nominations — Honorary degrees
  • Notices — Renewal, tenure, promotion applications
  • PhD Oral examinations

For the Record provides postings of appointment, committee, grant, award, PhD examination and other notices set out by collective agreements and university policies and processes. It is the university’s primary vehicle for sharing this information with our community.

The next issue of For the Record will be published Thursday, July 24. The deadline for submitting information is Tuesday, July 22. Please consult the publication schedule.

Submit For the Record information for posting to Senior Communications Officer Mark Kerr by the scheduled deadline for each issue. 

NSERC funding supports grad student exchange

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

An international research program that includes three Queen’s professors recently received $1.65 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through its Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grants program.

Nikolaus Troje (Psychology), Doug Munoz and Gunnar Blohm (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) are members of The Brain in Action research group headed by Doug Crawford from York University. The funding will support trans-Atlantic supervision and exchanges of graduate students and research fellows as well as non-academic collaborations and internships.

Niko Troje is part of an international research team working with graduate students.

“The principal investigators are mentors for the graduate students in the program,” explains Dr. Troje. “All of the funding goes to the graduate students to provide them with unique research opportunities working with some of the top experts in the world.”

The Brain in Action program allows graduate students to study the connection between perception and action and to apply these findings to real world settings. For example, some students are studying how eye movement and vision work while walking outdoors.

Internships will allow students to apply their knowledge of vision and eye-hand co-ordination in areas including advertising and smart phone design.

The Brain in Action team includes 11 researchers at Queen’s, York and Western University and 11 primary investigators from Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen and Philipps-Universitat Marburg in Germany.

James Low, six alumni named to Order of Canada

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Queen’s University emeritus professor James Low has been named a member of the Order of Canada for his contributions as an academic and as the founder of the Museum of Health Care.

The award is the second highest honour of merit in Canada and is given to those who make a major difference in Canada through lifelong contributions in their field.

“The award is actually more for the museum than for me,” says the ever-humble Dr. Low, who has volunteered at the museum since it opened as a non-profit institution in 1991, served as its executive director until the end of 2012, and now works as its advancement officer. “We have created a unique cultural resource.”

James Low poses with one of the only remaining original iron lungs used at Sick Children's Hospital in 1937.

Dr. Low was also the head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Queen’s from 1965 to 1985.

“This is the only mission-specific museum of health care in Canada,” says Dr. Low. “We have two missions: develop a complete collection highlighting all health care disciplines, and tell the health care story to enhance public understanding. The past is the foundation on which the present is built. Preserving the health care legacy is important.”

In his role as advancement Officer, Dr Low works with the museum's Board of Directors to find new patrons and donors which help preserve the museum's history.

“James Low has contributed greatly to Queen’s University and its medical program since coming to Kingston nearly 50 years ago,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “Earning the Order of Canada is a true honour and rewards the years Dr. Low spent establishing the Museum of Health Care, the only one of its kind in Canada.”

Six Queen’s alumni were also appointed to the Order of Canada. Named as officers of the order are:

Harold Jennings, OC,  MSc’61, PhD’64 (Chemistry), Distinguished Research Scientist, National Research Council of Canada,  for his contributions to carbohydrate chemistry, notably in the development of a pediatric vaccine used internationally to prevent the most common strain of meningitis.

Veena Rawat, OC, PhD’73 (Electrical Engineering), past president of the Communications Research Centre, for her contributions to telecommunications engineering and for her leadership in establishing the global regulatory framework for radio spectrum management.

Shirley Tilghman, OC, Artsci’68 (Chemistry),  DSc’02, a molecular biologist and past president of Princeton University,  for her contributions to molecular biology, for her leadership in university education and for her influential efforts to champion women in science and engineering.

Named as members of the order are:

Jim Leech, CM, MBA’73,  former president and CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and current Queen’s chancellor, for his contributions as an innovator in pension management, for his writings on the subject of retirement funding, and for his community involvement.

Bruce McNiven, CM,  Artsci’76 (History), lawyer and founding member and treasurer of the Trudeau Foundation, for his broad and sustained commitment to the preservation and flourishing of Montreal culture and heritage.

Donna Stewart, CM, Meds’67, chair of women’s health for the University Health Network and U of T, for her contributions to women’s health as a nationally renowned leader in the field.

Women’s health research earns Basmajian Award

By Andrew Carroll, Gazette Editor

An associate professor at Queen’s whose research is focused on women’s health is this year’s recipient of the Mihran and Mary Basmajian Award for Excellence in Health Research.

Chandrakant Tayade’s most recent work has primarily focused on endometriosis, a painful gynecological disorder. He is also researching how fetuses are lost during gestation.

Dr. Chandrakant Tayade

Dr. Tayade receives a $5,000 grant but more important is the recognition from his peers at the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences who select the winner each year. The Basmajian Award is handed out to the full-time faculty member “judged to have made the most meritorious contribution to health research during the previous year or several years."

“I am actually humbled and quite thrilled that we got recognition from the Faculty of Health Sciences. It’s a good feeling, it’s absolutely rewarding,” says Dr. Tayade, who recently marked five years at Queen’s. “This award is very special as you are working at Queen’s and it’s the Queen’s peers that thought you were doing something meaningful that deserves to be rewarded. I think that’s a really great feeling.”

As Dr. Tayade points out, there remains no solid treatment for endometriosis and that even with surgery to remove the lesions more than 50 per cent of women will see a recurrence of the disease.

“There is an absolute need to develop new therapeutic strategies and what we are doing is targeting the blood vessels, that the endometriotic lesions need in order to develop,” Dr. Tayade says. “If you target that then probably lesions won’t survive and if they don’t survive you won’t hopefully get the disease. That is the long-term futuristic approach we have.”

The award was established by Dr. John Basmajian, former head of the Department of Anatomy at Queen’s, in memory of his parents.

High demand for Queen's programs outpaces Ontario university trend

By Communications Staff,

The number of students choosing Queen’s University is outpacing the provincial trend, reflecting strong demand for Queen’s undergraduate education and quality programs.

According to data recently released by the Ontario University Application Centre, the number of confirmations—students who have accepted Queen’s offer of admission—is up 11 per cent for the 2014 academic year. That compares to an overall decline of 1.3 per cent across Ontario universities. Queen’s continues to have one of Canada’s highest entering averages at 88.4 per cent.

“Top students choose Queen’s not only because of its world-class academic programs, but also because we offer a welcoming community where faculty and staff do everything they can to ensure our students succeed,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Thanks are due to our recruitment staff, faculty and alumni who talked to prospective students about our outstanding living and learning environment and the benefits of a Queen’s education.”

Queen’s is highly regarded for its student learning experience, performing very well in the National Survey of Student Engagement’s (NSSE) key benchmarks, including enriching educational experience and level of academic challenge. 86 per cent of senior-year Queen’s students surveyed by NSSE report their entire educational experience as “excellent” or “good”, which puts Queen’s among the top institutions in Ontario.

“Queen’s offers a unique value proposition to prospective students,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “We have all of the benefits of a mid-sized, residential university focused on an exceptional undergraduate education, within the context of a research-intensive institution where innovation happens on a daily basis.”

The growing interest in Queen’s extends beyond Canada’s borders, with international students expected to make up 6.3 per cent of the 2014 incoming class.

New Queen's National Scholars announced

By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer

Heather Aldersey and Norman Vorano have been appointed as the newest Queen’s National Scholars (QNS).

“The QNS program is a signature piece in the university’s commitment to ongoing faculty renewal, designed to attract early- or mid-career faculty who demonstrate exceptional promise as researchers and teachers,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “Both Drs. Aldersey and Vorano are exceptional individuals who will bring compelling, interdisciplinary research programs to Queen’s in support of two growing fields.”

Heather Aldersey, Queen's National Scholar in international community-based rehabilitation. (Photo supplied)

Dr. Aldersey has been appointed Queen’s National Scholar in international community-based rehabilitation and will join the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. She brings significant international research and field experience, having undertaken extensive study of disability and support in African contexts. She holds an interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Kansas and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at McGill’s Douglas Mental Health University Institute, where she is studying the experience of recovery from severe mental illness among Montreal’s culturally diverse populations.

Dr. Vorano has been appointed Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous visual and material cultures of the Americas and will join both the Department of Art and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. He earned a PhD from the University of Rochester’s program in visual and cultural studies and brings an impressive track record of fieldwork, research, teaching and curatorial work with a focus on Inuit art. He is currently curator of contemporary Inuit art at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) where he has led major research projects resulting in scholarly publications, exhibits and public programing.

Norman Vorano, Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous visual and material cultures of the Americas. (Photo supplied)

The QNS program was first established in 1985, with the objective to “enrich teaching and research in newly developing fields of knowledge as well as traditional disciplines.” Since then, over 100 QNS appointments have been made in a wide variety of disciplines, and the appellation of Queen’s National Scholar has become synonymous with academic excellence.

The 2014-15 round of the QNS program is now open for initial expressions of interest, which can be submitted by academic units no later than Nov. 3. More information on making submissions, including the expression of interest template, is available on the Office of the Provost’s website.

Gender differences could mean more risk for cardiovascular death

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Queen’s University assistant professor Pendar Farahani (Department of Medicine and Department of Public Health Sciences) is advocating the use of gender-based treatment for mitigating the cardiovascular risk factors related to diabetes.

Research has shown women with Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol are less likely than their male peers to reach treatment goals to lower their bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Women living with diabetes are less likely than men to reach their treatment goals.

“The findings suggest the need for gender-based evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors in these patients,” says Dr. Farahani. “We need further study into the gender disparities to tailor drug interventions and we need to increase the inclusion of women in clinical trials.”

With treatment, only 64 per cent of women lowered their LDL cholesterol to the recommended level compared with 81 per cent of men, the investigators reported. Research has shown women have poorer adherence to taking their statin medication to treat high cholesterol, perhaps due to somewhat dissimilar pharmacological properties in a woman’s body than a man’s. For example, women often have more side effects such as muscle pain, explains Dr. Farahani.

“The finding that women were not able to lower their so-called bad cholesterol sufficiently is a concern,” he says. “Women with diabetes have a considerably higher rate of cardiovascular-related illness and death than men with diabetes. This pattern is likely related to poorer control of cardiovascular risk factors.”

Dr. Farahani’s research also discovered access to medication is not responsible for this difference. All patients, who were in a database from pharmacies in four Canadian provinces, had social insurance and could afford their medications.

To evaluate whether biological sex influenced the results of cholesterol-lowering drug treatment, Dr. Farahani included nearly equal numbers of men and women (101 and 97) in the study. The average age of participants was 65 years for men and 63 years for women. All patients had Type 2 diabetes and had filled prescriptions for statin medication to treat high cholesterol between 2003 and 2004.

The results were presented on Saturday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

Award-winning prof values student involvement

By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer

Catherine Donnelly (OT’95, PhD’13), the first female recipient of the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching in 15 years, refers to a Chinese proverb to summarize her teaching philosophy: “Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”

[Catherine Donnelly]Catherine Donnelly, the recipient of the 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, is committed to developing new teaching and learning strategies. Photo by Bernard Clark

“The quotation embodies my deep value of student involvement and engagement in learning,” says Dr. Donnelly, whose School of Rehabilitation Therapy colleague Terry Krupa was the last female recipient in 1999. “From observing students apply their knowledge to complex and dynamic clinical situations, I am continually reminded of the power of student involvement and contextual learning.”

Dr. Donnelly began teaching at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy in 2004. Her current teaching focuses on the physical determinants of occupation, the lived experience of disability and clinical reasoning.

While she has always been committed to active learning, Dr. Donnelly is now more confident in her ability to develop new teaching and learning strategies and move away from traditional lecture-based formats. She also draws on her experience as an occupational therapist with the Queen’s Family Health Team – Belleville to show students ways they can integrate theory into practice.

“I get an incredible amount of satisfaction watching students as they move through the process of being exposed to new ideas and then applying and integrating this knowledge,” she says. “It is such a privilege to be part of their journey and I am continually struck by my own learning that occurs.”

Ally Reneau (OT’15), the student who nominated Dr. Donnelly for the award, says she was impressed by her professor’s ability to engage the entire class.

“Her lectures were interactive as she frequently fostered opportunities for class discussions and encouraged students to ask questions when clarification was needed,” says Ms. Reneau. “Additionally, she catered to various learning styles by utilizing different mediums.”

In addition to teaching and clinical work, Dr. Donnelly conducts research in the interrelated areas of primary care, knowledge translation and interprofessional education, and collaborative practice. She says teaching, clinical work and research all influence one another.

“My in-class teaching is enhanced by relevant clinical examples and research, just as my teaching and clinical work help me ask meaningful research questions,” she says. “Ultimately, I hope it is the patients who most benefit from the integration of teaching and research.”

The Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1975 as the university’s first campus-wide teaching honour. 

Tackling inequality in Tanzania

By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

She might work at Queen’s, but Karen Yeates’ heart is in Tanzania. She is using mobile phone technology to improve health care and save the lives of women and children living in the African country.

“I started volunteering in Tanzania in 2006 and found that women are often forgotten in countries like this,” says Dr. Yeates, co-director of the Queen’s School of Medicine’s Office of Global Health. “I wanted to help make a difference. The inequality in health care made me angry. It’s not rocket science but we still can’t figure it out.”

Karen Yeates meets with workers at a medical clinic in Tanzania to explain the bed nets program.

Dr. Yeates’ first research project in Tanzania was implementing a cost-effective method of screening for cervical cancer using a cellphone. The Kilimanjaro Cervical Screening Project was funded by Grand Challenges Canada as part of the Rising Stars in Global Health program.

With that project wrapping up in July, Dr. Yeates is working with the Ontario-based Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) to distribute insecticidal treated bed nets to pregnant women and determine why only 70 per cent of women are putting the nets on their beds. Pregnant women and children under the age of five are at the most risk of dying from malaria in developing countries.

“When the pregnant woman receives the voucher number for her bed net, her mobile number is recorded and entered into a server that will track the redemption of the net voucher and will also send her text messages to remind her to redeem the voucher and pick up her net if she hasn't done so,” explains Dr. Yeates. “She will also get health promotion messages to encourage her to use the net properly, on her bed where she and her children sleep.”

Seven million bed nets have been distributed in Tanzania through this e-voucher program.

Karen Yeates (l) says the nurses in the clinics are critical for the success of the e-health programs.

Researchers can also track where the bed net vouchers are being redeemed and can match that against malaria hot spots. A second Grand Challenge Canada grant and MEDA funding will help move this phase of the research project forward.

“Cellphones are ubiquitous in countries like Tanzania, they live their lives through their cellphones,” says Dr. Yeates. “It only made sense to use the technology to improve health care. People in Tanzania don’t have paper medical records but we can work toward those records being stored right on their phones. There is so much more we can do.”

Dr. Yeates' work in Africa continues. She is also studying the rapidly rising rates of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure. She and colleagues will use the same mobile phone technology in a clinical trial to distribute subsidized blood pressure medications to those who cannot afford them. The patients will also receive text messages about their blood pressure and how to improve the disease to prevent long term complications such as stroke, heart and kidney disease.


Subscribe to RSS - Health Sciences