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Fostering international collaboration

Dr. Karol Miller from the University of Western Australia talks about his research during the School of Computing Distinguished Speaker Seminar on Monday, July 18. (University Communications)

Through his research, Karol Miller, a professor at the University of Western Australia and the director of the Intelligent Systems for Medicine Laboratory (ISML), is hoping to create methods and tools which will enable “a new era of personalized medicine.”

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Queen's In the World

The ISML, which aims to improve “clinical outcomes through the appropriate use of technology,” specializes in computational biomechanics in the areas of surgical simulation and image-guided surgery. Professor Miller is also a director of Computational Geomechanics Laboratory.

This has led Dr. Miller to collaborate with partners such as Gabor Fichtinger (School of Computing), the director of the Laboratory for Percutaneous Surgery (Perk Lab), which is a world leader in the development of enabling technology for image-guided medical procedures.

During a recent visit to the Queen’s University, Dr. Miller delivered a School of Computing Distinguished Speaker Seminar on Monday, July 18. The visit was supported by the Principal’s Development Fund.

As Dr. Miller explains, the work of the two labs is complementary.

“(Dr. Fichtinger’s) lab is truly the world’s best in what I call mechatronics integration in the operating theatre – getting all these various pieces of technology to work reliably together. This is not a trivial thing,” he says, adding that the modern operating room is an increasingly complex, technological theatre. “This is great for us because our expertise is in the computational biomechanics for medicine and numerical methods. So we can provide leading methods in computational science which potentially blend with Gabor’s work because then he can then make all this connect to (devices) within the operating theatres.”

Dr. Miller is a leading expert in the biomechanics of soft tissues such as the prostate, breast, liver and kidney, and is the world’s most cited author in computational biomechanics of the brain. Surgery involving soft tissues, such as the removal of tumours, is extremely difficult as the tissue moves even with the insertion of a needle, making pre-operative diagnostic images, such as an MRI, inapplicable.

“We were just talking about breast surgery for tumours and then subsequent radiotherapy. (The Perk Lab has) developed outstanding methods for surgical guidance and surgical navigation. We are able to contribute additional modules based on computational mechanics which compensate for soft tissue motion, because we can compute in real time how the breast deforms during the surgery,”Dr. Miller says. “Of course with the movement of the breast, the deformation of the breast, the target of the lesion moves so it creates a challenge for the surgeon. You don’t want to dissect something that is not the tumour.” 

Helping to foster the ongoing collaboration is that Queen’s and UWA are both members of the Matariki Network of Universities, an international group of seven universities that focuses on research partnerships and undergraduate teaching. Dr. Fichtinger, also the Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair, says that the network has helped create opportunities for further collaboration as well as the exchange of ideas and students and personnel.

Canadian politics, up close

The two-week program offers on-campus educational sessions and experiential learning opportunities through a number of field trips.

  • [Tony Clement with students]
    Students participating in the Queen's University Political Studies Summer Institute had the opportunity to speak with MP Tony Clement, current leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada. (Supplied photo)
  • [Students check-in to residence]
    Students stayed at Watts Hall residence during the Queen's University Political Studies Summer Institute. (Supplied photo)
  • [Students check out Niagara Falls]
    Students from China and Australia had the chance to visit some of Canada's most notable landmarks including Niagara Falls. (Supplied photo)

Australian and Chinese university students who want to learn more about Canadian politics have come straight to the source this summer.

Eleven students – eight from Australian National University (ANU) and three from different institutions in China – are attending the first-ever Queen’s Political Studies Summer Institute (QPSSI) from July 9-24.

The two-week program offers on-campus educational sessions and hands-on learning opportunities through a number of field trips. A highlight so far was a visit last week to Parliament Hill, where students met MP Tony Clement, a current Conservative Party leadership candidate.

Himangi Ticku, who is studying international relations at ANU, says she was intrigued by the summer institute because it offers a more dynamic learning experience than traditional lectures and readings.

“Back home maybe I wouldn’t have the time or opportunity to do a course on Canadian politics,” she says. “The summer institute was a good way to study Canadian politics in Canada, as well as travel around and make practical observations.”

Jonathan Rose, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Studies, and Elisha Corbett, a summer research student, developed the summer institute. As a visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai last year, Dr. Rose was asked if Queen’s offered any summer programs. Those conversations sparked the idea for the summer institute, and he moved ahead with the project with support from his colleagues and graduate students.

“Campus is underutilized in the summer, so we wanted to expand what is offered while at the same time combine experiential learning with traditional classroom instruction,” Dr. Rose said. “Our goal was to create a program where international students could examine Canadian politics, society and culture and explore how they interact and influence each other.”

The summer institute was a good way to study Canadian politics in Canada, as well as travel around and make practical observations.
— Himangi Ticku, Australian National University student

Faculty members, graduate students and invited guests lead the educational sessions. Brittany Shales, a Queen’s political studies master’s student, delivered the lecture on Canadian foreign relations last week. She welcomed the opportunity to share her research and learn more about China and Australia from the students.

“I’ve studied in France and lived and worked in Croatia. I really wanted to give back and share the international perspective I’ve gained from so many people,” she said after the lecture. “The students surpassed all of my expectations. They are bright and really want to be here. They challenged me to answer questions about Canada that I hadn’t thought of before, and it was a fantastic opportunity.”

Adding Australia

While the idea for the summer institute was born in China, the Faculty of Arts and Science worked to include students from ANU, which has an exchange agreement with Queen’s. As ANU prepared to launch a new learning-abroad program geared for first-year students, the university approached Queen’s about serving as the exclusive Canadian destination.

“We saw this as a great opportunity to raise Queen’s profile abroad,” said Hugh Horton, Interim Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “Queen’s campus is beautiful this time of year and quite welcoming for international students. Furthermore, our location near major centres enables an enriched student learning experience through interesting field trips. The response to the summer institute has been great so far, and we hope it is offered again next year.”

Last weekend, students visited Montreal to see the influence of French in Canada. The institute concludes this weekend with a trip to Toronto. Students will tour Queen’s Park and City Hall on Friday before enjoying free time on Saturday.

Visit the Department of Political Studies website for more information about the summer institute. 

Reaching out to Ukraine

[Queen's in the World]
Queen's in the World

Queen’s faculty members have offered their expertise to a Ukrainian humanitarian group that is working to improve physical and psychological rehabilitation services for that country’s wounded veterans.

“The need is great in Ukraine right now due to recent and ongoing conflict,” says Heather Aldersey, an assistant professor in Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy and director of the AHEAD project in the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR). “The School of Rehabilitation Therapy and ICACBR have helped develop academic programs in conflict areas or areas marked by poverty in the past, and we are always open to considering new international connections such as this one with the Guardian Angels Ukraine project.”

The GAU project is an initiative of the League of Ukrainian Women (LUCW), a Canadian non-governmental organization.  GAU originally made a connection with the university through the Queen’s-based Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR). Col. Dr. Vsevolod Stebliuk, chair of GAU’s experts working group and a special advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Defence for Medical Issues, spoke at last year’s Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) forum about the challenges the country faces as it reforms its veterans’ health-care system.

We gratefully acknowledge Queen’s significant cooperation for this initiative, and the faculty members’ ongoing support, advice and assistance in facilitating professional collaboration on curriculum development for Ukraine.
— Lisa Shymko, Chair, Guardian Angels Ukraine project

“Col. Stebliuk’s presentation was a call to the entire physiotherapy academic community to help,” says Dr. Alice Aiken, Scientific Director, CIMVHR. “They have enormous rehab needs and no way to meet them. We have an outstanding educational system, and we were pleased to help.”

As the project’s leaders sought to develop the first master’s-level program physical therapy in Kyiv, Ukraine, they approached Queen’s for advice and guidance. Ten School of Rehabilitation Therapy faculty members agreed to share their course outlines with GAU, which will help inform the development of the master’s program. Dr. Aldersey and other faculty members also sent emails to contacts in their networks to share information about the initiative and alert them to possible teaching opportunities in the new program.

“We gratefully acknowledge Queen’s significant cooperation for this initiative, and the faculty members’ ongoing support, advice and assistance in facilitating professional collaboration on curriculum development for Ukraine,” says Lisa Shymko, Chair of the GAU project.

Visit the ICACBR and CIMVHR websites to learn more about their work.

Chemistry connections

[Conference participants pose for photo]
Queen's University recently hosted more than 150 scientists whose research interests involve the chemical element boron. This year marks the first time the Boron in the Americas conference has been held outside of the United States. (Supplied photo)
[Queen's in the World]
Queen's in the World

Queen’s University recently hosted two significant international gatherings of chemistry researchers.

[Joint symposium participants pose for photo]
Canadian, Japanese and German researchers gathered at Queen's University to share their latest discoveries related to catalysis and materials chemistry based on main-group elements. The symposium received support from the Queen's Research Opportunities Fund. (Supplied photo)

More than 150 scientists whose research interests involve the chemical element boron and its compounds travelled to Queen’s for the biggest-ever Boron in the Americas (BORAM) conference June 25-28. Held for the first time ever outside of the United States, the conference provided a forum for researchers to share their discoveries and ideas in boron-related chemistry with other scientists and partners. BORAM also gives students and post-doctoral researchers the opportunity to discuss their work with faculty members and industry representatives.

Queen’s Professor Suning Wang, a leader in the field of boron research, organized the conference with assistance from Professors Cathleen Crudden and Victor Snieckus. The conference featured 57 oral presentations and 55 poster presentations as well as several networking events on campus and around Kingston.

One day following the BORAM conference, Drs. Wang and Crudden hosted the inaugural Canada-Japan-Germany joint symposium, where researchers presented their latest discoveries related to catalysis and materials chemistry based on main-group elements. Seven research teams from Japan, three from Germany, and four from Queen’s gave 19 oral presentations in total at the symposium, which received support from the Queen’s Research Opportunities Fund.

This joint symposium developed as a result of the research network established between Nagoya University, Kyoto University, Münster University, Technische Universität Berlin and Queen’s. The research networks serves to facilitate joint research activity and support student exchanges to partner laboratories to gain valuable international experience. 

Recognized for promoting peace

Political Studies Professor John McGarry named to Order of Canada for work in world’s most conflicted regions.

John McGarry, a professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s, was named today as an Officer of the Order of Canada, for his efforts to promote peace and stability in some of the world’s most dangerous and conflicted regions.

John McGarry (Political Studies) has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his "scholarly contributions to the study of ethnic conflict and for designing governance frameworks that promote peace."

"I first discovered that something pleasant might be in the offing when I received a voicemail, asking me to call the Chancellery of Honours in the Governor General's Office,” says Dr. McGarry. “I was floored when, upon calling, I was informed that I had been appointed to the Order of Canada. It’s an incredible honour for me to be recognized by my country.”

Over the past 30 years, Dr. McGarry has been a leading expert in the study of how political systems are ordered in countries or regions facing deep divisions along racial, ethnic, or religious lines. He has been sought as an adviser or expert by governments and agencies around the globe. Most recently, he has served as lead adviser on power-sharing and governance in the UN-backed negotiations in Cyprus that aim to reunify the island.

“The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement and dedication to the community and to Canada,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “As a leader in the study of power-sharing and governance, Dr. McGarry’s  research has contributed to peace in some of the world’s most divided countries and his expertise has been called upon by the United Nations to help solve ethnic and sectarian disputes around the world. On behalf of the Queen’s community, I congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition. ”

Dr. McGarry, who was born in Northern Ireland, says that receiving an appointment to the Order is a particular honour for him, as an adopted citizen of Canada.

“We are all very lucky to be Canadians,” says Dr. McGarry. “This is the best country in the world."

Dr. McGarry and his fellow appointees will be formally presented with the Order of Canada insignia by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston (Law’66), Governor General of Canada, at a ceremony to be held at a later date. Other members of the Queen's community appointed to the Order of Canada in today's announcement include TIFF director Piers Handling, Arts’71, Hon. Warren Winkler, LLD’13, (Honorary), Isabel Bassett, Arts’60, Harriet MacMillan, Meds’82, Michel Picher, Law’72, Deborah Poff, Artsci’77, and Glenda Yeates, Artsci’80, MPA’81

For more information about the Order of Canada, please visit the website.

Fostering connections in France, Belgium

Principal Daniel Woolf is taking part in the delegation of U15 executive heads to Paris and Grenoble, France this week as the group explores the French innovation ecosystem and its linkages to higher education.

[Daniel Woolf and Lawrence Cannon]
As part of the delegation of U15 executive heads to France, Queen's Principal Daniel Woolf met with Ambassador of Canada to France, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon. (Supplied Photo) 
Queen's in the World

During the four-day trip, which began June 26, the U15 executive heads will meet with Thierry Mandon, State Minister for Higher Education and Research, and the Ambassador of Canada to France, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon. They will also be introduced to several Belgian university presidents during their visit.

“This trip presents us with a unique opportunity to learn from and build relationships with our French and Belgian counterparts who have a strong research presence,” says Principal Woolf, who is also the U15’s vice-chair. “The meetings in Paris will surely highlight strategies we can take at Queen’s to help increase our research prominence on the world stage, which is a continuing priority for the university.”

The U15 executive heads will also visit the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the premier public research organization in Europe, which has been home to 20 Nobel Prize laureates and 12 Fields Medal winners. The group will then take part in a roundtable at Sorbonne Université, and later meet with the Coordination of French Research Intensive Universities (CURIF), a group of 16 of France’s top universities.

The trip will wrap up on June 30, after the executive heads meet with representatives of the institutions of the Université Grenoble Alpes, and visit the MINATEC innovation campus –home to more than 3,000 researchers, 1,200 students and 600 business and technology experts. 

At the top of the class

A Nobel Prize, the new Dan School, a Rembrandt, and $50-million to the Smith School of Business.
An exceptional year. Just one of 175. 

[175th anniversary logo]

As summer approaches, high school students from across Canada are deciding where they will pursue post-secondary studies. For many students, their choice will be based on where they will receive the best education and career opportunities. Others will be drawn by the chance to take part in innovative and exciting research opportunities with faculty members who are at the leading edges of their fields.

As one of Canada’s oldest degree-granting institutions, Queen’s has – for 175 years – offered students excellence in undergraduate studies, innovative graduate programs, and a supportive and dynamic learning environment.

From envisioning and designing cutting-edge technology to unlocking the mysteries of the universe, Queen’s is at the forefront of providing a top research and educational experience for students from across the country and around the globe.

This past year saw a number of unprecedented successes for Queen’s:

Dr. Arthur McDonald received the Nobel Prize for unlocking the mysteries of neutrinos.

Stephen J.R. Smith’s generous donation to the Smith School of Business helped transform business education.

The donation of a third Rembrandt painting by Alfred and Isabel Bader solidified Queen’s as a destination for the study of European art.

The naming of the Dan School of Drama and Music bolstered Queen’s reputation as a pre-eminent centre for the study of music theatre.

Learn more about how Queen’s promotes excellence in both the classroom and the laboratory: Pairing world-class facilities with talent and funding in The Globe and Mail.


It’s no surprise that our students are inspired to achieve their fullest potential at Queen’s.

Queen’s first-year undergraduate retention and graduation rates are among the highest in the country, as 94.3 per cent of first-year undergraduates remain at Queen’s for their studies.

Most importantly, when students graduate, they enter the job market with the skills employers look for and are able to start their careers on the right track.

With 175th anniversary celebrations beginning this fall, Queen’s will keep the momentum of the past year going, and build upon the university’s position as one of Canada’s premier educational institutions. The university encourages faculty and students to strive to achieve their best and aims to continually cultivate an environment that nurtures curiosity and thirst for knowledge.

By building on past successes, Queen’s will continue to provide top-quality education for students, while retaining our place as one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities.

A leading voice in gender training

Queen’s researcher receives NATO grant to design gender training program

Queen’s University defence expert Stéfanie von Hlatky (Political Studies) has received a NATO Science for Peace and Security Grant to fund a two-year multi-national project to create a gender training program for military and civilian NATO staff.

Dr. Stéfanie von Hlatky, an assistant professor of political studies and the director of the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy, has received a NATO Science for Peace and Security Grant to develop a gender awareness and sexual harassment course tailored for both civilian and military staff members at NATO. (Photo by Greg Black)

“This project emerged from conversations I had with members of the International Military Staff’s Office of the Gender Advisor at NATO,” says Dr. von Hlatky, Director for the Centre for International and Defence Policy. “There wasn’t baseline knowledge on gender across the organization, crossing the civilian–military divide, so I decided to propose a project on this.”

Partnering with Heidi Hardt, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. von Hlatky will work to develop a gender awareness and sexual harassment course tailored for both civilian and military staff members at NATO. As the grant supports collaboration with non-NATO member partner institutions, the pair will collaborate with the Australian Defence Force - which has, in recent years, been seen as a successful case study in integrating gender perspectives and training in an operational environment.

Dr. von Hlatky says that, while the lack of an organization-wide gender training package is not surprising, NATO’s military branch has been very engaged when it comes to the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

“The gender training course we are developing will complement rather than replace existing tools, such as those offered by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia,” says Dr. von Hlatky. “Moreover, there are international best practices to draw from. NATO itself is an incredibly diverse organization, where you have representation from 22 – soon to be 29 –member states. Our goal is to provide a system through which NATO staff can incorporate a gender perspective as part of their day-to-day work, from policymaking to operational planning.”

In the meantime, Dr. von Hlatky will be hosting a high-visibility conference at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. The event will draw representatives from NATO, the EU and Australia to continue the discussion on gender training.  Dr. von Hlatky is also slated to deliver a speech at the NATO Experts Conference at the 2016 Summit in Warsaw in July on nuclear assurances within the alliance. The speech draws on the theme of her latest book, The Future of Extended Deterrence: NATO and Beyond.

The NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme provides funding, expert advice and support to security-relevant activities jointly developed by academics and researchers from both NATO members and partner countries. Over the past five years, the programme has initiated 450 collaborative activities in more than 40 partner countries, on topics ranging from cyber security in Jordan to defence against CBRN agents and energy security in Ukraine.

Leading the conversation on healthcare

More than 100 experts gathered at Queen’s to discuss a national ‘innovation’ agenda for the sector. 

Canada has a healthcare system that costs $315 billion a year, and involves 14 provincial, territorial and federal governments. What would a national healthcare "innovation" agenda look like?

Dr. Peter Vaughn Deputy Minister, Department of Health and Wellness (Nova Scotia) speaks during the Deputy Ministers Panel at the 2016 Queen’s Health Policy Change Conference in Toronto, Ont. (Supplied Photo)

Last week, Queen’s brought together more than 100 senior leaders from business, government, academia and healthcare delivery from across Canada in Toronto to address this critical issue at the 2016 Queen’s Health Policy Change Conference: Transforming Canadian Healthcare through Innovation: The Agenda.

“The Queen’s conference model is unique in Canada,” says Scott Carson, Stauffer-Dunning Chair and Executive Director, Queen’s School of Policy Studies. “We bring together a unique group of senior leaders from a wide spectrum of healthcare sectors for an in-depth dialogue focused on innovation and change in healthcare policy.”

A Canadian innovation agenda was examined from many perspectives: supply chain management, funding systems, managing waste and duplication, corporate innovation, entrepreneurs, specific populations (military, elderly, mental health), and government leadership.

“For many Canadians, our healthcare system is a central part of what defines Canada, but despite popular opinion, our system is very expensive and not performing well at all when compared internationally,” says Dr. Carson. “Through this series, we bring the substantial academic strength of Queen’s University to the table to lead this important national conversation for Canada.”

More than 40 leaders and experts led the discussions, including: David Naylor (former president, University of Toronto); David O’Toole, CEO, Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI); Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services; Neil Fraser, President of Medtronic; and deputy ministers of health from Health Canada, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Participants from Queen’s included: Health Sciences Dean Richard Reznick; Chancellor-Emeritus David Dodge; Elspeth Murray, Associate Dean from Smith School; Chris Simpson, past-president of the Canadian Medical Association; and from Queen's Policy Studies, Don Drummond, David Walker and Duncan Sinclair. In addition, the conversation was informed by Queen's professors, John Muscadere, Scientific Director, Canadian Frailty Network, and Alice Aiken, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), as panellists.

This was the fourth Queen’s Health Policy Change Conference, a joint venture of the School of Policy Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences and Smith School of Business. The series has brought together more than 500 leaders from Canada and the world, and has resulted in nearly three dozen publications. Two books resulting from previous conferences, Toward a Healthcare Strategy for Canadians and Managing a Canadian Healthcare Strategy are available on McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Long-time friends share international award

John McGarry receives prestigious prize alongside high school classmate.

Queen’s Political Studies Professor John McGarry has been named the co-recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration Studies section of the International Studies Association (ENMISA) for their research on the political institutions of some of the world’s most divided states. Making the selection all the more exciting for Dr. McGarry is his long-standing personal and professional relationship with his co-recipient, Brendan O’Leary (University of Pennsylvania).

“The award is an honour for me, as some of the previous winners are people I’ve greatly admired and who have had a tremendous impact on my work,” says Dr. McGarry. “I’m particularly happy that the other co-winner is a long-time friend and co-author. Brendan and I went to high school together and we’ve been collaborating, more or less, ever since.”

The Distinguished Scholar Award is given to a senior scholar who has had an international impact on the study of ethnicity, nationalism or migration.  Dr. McGarry’s research has focused on the design of political institutions in countries or regions facing deep divisions along racial, ethnic, or religious lines.  He and Dr. O’Leary are seen as two of the leading academic exponents of “power-sharing,” an approach based on the view that inclusion is a moral and political necessity in deeply divided societies.

Dr. McGarry’s research has taken him around the world, from Northern Ireland to Bolivia, Israel, South Africa and the Philippines. Currently, he is lead adviser on power-sharing and governance in the UN-backed negotiations in Cyprus. He has worked extensively with his co-recipient, including on books on the conflict in Northern Ireland, Iraq, and on the effect of European integration on national minorities.

At the February 2017 annual meeting of the International Studies Association in Baltimore, the ISA will host a roundtable event to discuss Drs. McGarry and O’Leary’s work.  The award will be presented at a reception during the conference. For more information on the ENMISA Distinguished Scholar Award, please visit the website.



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