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Research Prominence

Images showcase the beauty and creativity of Queen’s research

  • 50th Anniversary Prize – Faculty of Education
    50th Anniversary Prize – Faculty of Education: Learning to Live (Not Walking in Line) - Theodore Christou, Faculty, Faculty of Education, Thessaloniki, Greece. Description: The history of research and scholarship in education is a record of our efforts to make sense of the world. How ought we to live? What should we learn, embrace and resist? From antiquity to anarchism, or, from Aristotle to Pink Floyd, we have known that we should never confuse schooling with education. Schools, whether they are traditional, progressive, colonial or transgressive, have all been instruments of oppression as well as resistance.
  • 125th Anniversary Prize – Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
    125th Anniversary Prize – Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science: A New Light - Robert Cichocki PhD student, Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering Lab, Queen's. Description: Tired of seeing roads being dug up to replace aging pipe infrastructure? Civil engineering research at Queen’s is bringing a new light to innovative, no-dig rehabilitation techniques. In this image, a UV light train is being prepared to help rehabilitate the adjacent corrugated steel pipe. The inside of the pipe has been lined with a fabric fiberglass tube embedded with UV cure resin. When the light train passes through the tube, the UV cures the resin solid and transforms the fabric tube into a solid liner. The new liner and pipe will further undergo buried experiments that will bring new insight into the structural behaviour of these systems.
  • People’s Choice
    People’s Choice – Nano-dendrite Collision - Hannah Dies, MD/PhD student, Chemical Engineering, Dupuis Hall, Queen's. Description: This scanning electron microscopy image depicts branched gold nanostructures (“nano-dendrites”) growing from planar microelectrode tips and crashing halfway, buckling upwards to create a third dimension of nano-features. The structures assemble from gold nanoparticles under the influence of an applied electric field, similar to how iron filings assemble under the influence of a magnetic field. The gold nanoparticle building blocks are 50nm in diameter – about 5000 times smaller than a human hair. The branched network formed by these nanostructures promotes incredible sensitivity for small molecule detection by means of Raman spectroscopy. At the QuSENS laboratory, and with the startup company Spectra Plasmonics Inc., we use these nanostructures to detect illicit drugs, pesticides and explosives at ultralow and societally relevant concentrations.
  • Art in Action
    Art in Action – Keep Cool Boy - The Jets Aloft in West Side Story: Tim Fort, Faculty, Dan School of Drama and Music, Weston Playhouse, Weston Vermont. Description: In a rare moment, before a Franz Kline inspired setting, the Jets achieve a perfectly synchronized lift-off in this production of West Side Story mounted in celebration of Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday. After 46 seasons at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont, this production also represented my 60th (and final) happy entanglement directing mostly musical theatre works on the playhouse's historical stage. Twenty-seven performers – from newly-minted conservatory graduates to Broadway veterans – enabled this epic work to fly.
  • Community Collaborations
    Community Collaborations – Women in Mathematics - Stefanie Knebel , PhD student, Mathematics and Statistics, Jeffrey Hall, Queen's. Description: Mathematical thinking is about finding patterns and structure. As a woman in the mathematics PhD program, I hope to inspire young women to follow their passion and find beauty in mathematics. At Queen’s we offer the MathQuest camp for high school girls. As captured in the photo, I am brainstorming ways to teach game theory and linear algebra. This is also a part of my research with Dr. Peter Taylor, where we work with teachers across Ontario looking for innovative ways to incorporate mathematical thinking in education. We hope to change the math curriculum by making it a more engaging, positive and memorable experience.
  • Best Description
    Best Description – Lights, Camera, Action: Wolfie’s Story - Marian Luctkar-Flude, Faculty, School of Nursing, Glaxo Wellcome Clinical Education Centre, Queen’s. Description: "Lights, Camera, Action: Wolfie's Story" is a photo depicting the filming of a virtual simulation game about an older gay man grieving the loss of his partner of over 30 years. The game is part of the "Make it Better for All" Developing and Evaluating Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Nursing Virtual Simulation Games project, led by Dr. Marian Luctkar-Flude, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing. This innovative CIHR-funded research project aims to develop and evaluate a series of virtual simulation games to provide education for nurses and nursing students on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). Four full games and four mini-games will be hosted on the SOGI-Nursing website along with other resources to promote cultural humility in nursing interactions with LGBTQI2S persons.
  • Out in the Field
    Out in the Field – First Emergence - Ivana Schoepf, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Biology, Queen's University Biological Station. Description: My research focuses on the effects that avian malarial parasites have on female reproductive success and offspring quality. To assess how malarial infection affects mothers and their offspring, I spent the spring and summer in the field at the Queen's University Biological Station catching female, adult red-winged blackbirds and treated them with either an antimalarial medication or a control solution. Female reproductive success was determined by looking at a variety of parameters, including incubation behaviour, which was measured using I-buttons (as seen in the photo). If experimental reduction of infection leads to higher reproductive success in females, I expected to find medicated females to be able to spend more time incubating their eggs. Our preliminary analysis shows that this was indeed the case.
  • Invisible Discoveries
    Invisible Discoveries – Love under the Microscope - Dalila Villalobos, Postgraduate Medical Education, Anatomical Pathology (MD, Resident), Kingston Health Sciences Centre. Description: As pathologists in training, we are constantly reminded that both human cellular responses and the most deadly medical conditions can be unexpectedly beautiful under the microscope. We are trained to be detail oriented and to understand disease in all its forms because abnormalities will only present to the eye that knows what to look for. This photo captures a normal prostatic gland with its characteristic double layer and irregular branching. The moment we diagnose a benign condition in a patient that is anxiously awaiting for results is always rewarding. But, if, on top of that, we see heart-shape glands, it is inspiration.

It was a record-breaking year for the Art of Research photo contest. The 2019 contest received more than 100 submissions from Queen’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni, who took up the challenge of capturing their research programs in engaging and thought-provoking ways.

Hosted by the Office of the Vice-Principal (University Relations), the Art of Research is an annual competition that provides a unique and accessible method of sharing and celebrating the ground-breaking research happening at Queen’s. With submissions this year representing each faculty, the contest showcases the beauty and creativity of research across all disciplines.

“The Art of Research is central to our efforts to raise awareness of the breadth and depth of critical research happening at Queen’s,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “The success of this year’s competition is a testament to the permeation of this campaign, and we are delighted to be able to share with results with the campus community, and beyond.”

Prizes were awarded to the top submission in the six categories of Community Collaborations, Invisible Discoveries, Out in the Field, Art in Action, Best Description, and People’s Choice. An adjudication committee of representatives across the university selected the winners and an online poll (1,100 votes) of the Queen’s community determined the People’s Choice winner.

The 2019 contest also celebrated the significant anniversaries of two Queen’s faculties by awarding special prizes. To celebrate its 125th anniversary of engineering education at Queen’s, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science prize was awarded to the submission that best demonstrates how engineering-specific pursuits are likely to affect positive change in our daily lives. Additionally, the Queen’s Faculty of Education prize, to commemorate the faculty’s 50 years of excellence, was awarded to the photo that celebrates the photography of students, faculty, staff or alumni as they pursue research in education.

Part of the university’s integrated research promotion campaign, the Art of Research is showcased across a variety of research initiatives, including campus beautification displays, research collateral and other materials. Past winners of the contest are featured in a travelling pop-up photo exhibit, which has travelled to over 25 locations and events since September 2018, including the Canadian Science Policy Conference and alumni events.

For more information on the contest, and to view past winners, please visit the website or contact researchcommunications@queensu.ca

The Conversation: Remembering minorities amid Eastern Europe’s centenary celebrations

[Lithuania Celebration]
People gather in the streets in Vilnius, Lithuania to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country’s statehood.

Over the past year, states across central and eastern Europe have been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the creation or re-creation of their countries.

Some will continue to do so through 2019 and 2020 as they mark 100 years since maps were redrawn and nation-state status was granted to groups that were formerly part of vast, diverse empires.

Amid the festivities and fanfare, let’s not forget to include minority views and voices in the dialogue. A centenary is an important moment for these states, no doubt. It is also important for citizens — including minority citizens, many of whom remember the events of 1918 to 1920 from a different perspective. What they tend to remember of those years are grievances, losses of status, forced migration and changed homelands.

Different memories

During my field work in the region, speaking with minority and majority groups, I learned that minority members tend have different interpretations and contrasting memories of the events of 1918-20, many of them painful. So they were not likely to participate in the centenary celebrations. More often, they were celebrating occasions of national and cultural significance to their particular group.

There are about 400 minority communities in Europe today, comprising more than 100 million people. “Minority” refers to groups that are distinct in ethnicity, culture and language from the group that is numerically dominant in the state. They are also in a politically non-dominant position within the state.

Some of these groups became minorities through displacement and forced migration amid the upheaval of war. Some became minorities through the arbitrary redrawing of lines on maps, meaning they suddenly found themselves living in another country as “accidental diasporas”. In other words, minorities can arise when people move across borders, or when borders are redrawn around people.


The First World War brought about the collapse of large multi-ethnic empires and the formation of several nation-states in their wake.

Recognition of these new states was based upon the famous, or perhaps infamous, idea of self-determination, promoted at the Paris Peace Conference and in post-war treaties. Recognition was also based on the principle of nationality, which advocated and justified the notion of states created of and for particular nations. The logic was: one ethno-cultural group per country, one nation per state. In reality, none of these states was entirely homogenous.

Stately celebrations

For Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, the events of 1918-20 signify the recognition of statehood. The years 2018-2020, therefore, mark the centenary of this stately occasion. The governments of these countries have put a lot of time and resources into the celebrations.

There are countless special events and programming such as “100 Years” walking tours, speeches, concerts, flag and firework displays, museum exhibitions, patriotic parades, youth marches, military tributes and bonfires.

The national colours of each state are visible in public squares and streets, and at night they light up historic buildings and landmarks. National anthems are played, and national poetry and literature recited, as each nation-statehood is observed.

The Pope visited the three Baltic states in September 2018 in a gesture seen to acknowledge their struggle for independence. There have even been Twitter hashtags, 100 Year playlists on Spotify and restaurants serving centennial meal specials. It’s the spectacle of a national holiday but amped up several times.

[Map of Europe 1920]
Map of Europe, post First World War. (The European Institute, copyright 2009)

What about the minorities?

The fanfare is exciting for the dominant groups in these states. But what about the groups that are not dominant — the minorities? Where do they fit in all of this? Are they celebrating?

In Romania, members of the Hungarian minority view the 100th anniversary of Romania’s “Great Unification” as more of a division – as a historical tragedy rather than triumph. The 1.2 million Hungarians in Romania today are there mainly because lines on the map were redrawn.

In 1920, Hungary was carved up by the Treaty of Trianon, and some Hungarians suddenly found themselves living in the new state of Romania. The Hungarian minority now constitutes 6.5 per cent of the population of Romania, concentrated in the northwest in the region of Transylvania.

This community tends to celebrate Hungary’s annual National Day over Romanian national days, and to partake in Hungarian Cultural Days.

An anniversary that may resonate for Romania’s Hungarians in 2020 is the proposed and very political Trianon Memorial Year. Trianon resulted in Hungary losing two-thirds of its territory and population. Today, many Hungarians still view the Trianon “dismemberment” as a violation of Hungary’s sovereignty and national integrity.

It remains one of the most traumatic events in Hungarians' collective memories, and a recurring issue in Hungary’s domestic politics and regional relations.

[Signs of congratulations in Vilnius]
In a creative display outside a school in Vilnius, several countries express their congratulations and greetings to Lithuania on its 100th anniversary of statehood. Atkurtai Lietuvai means Restored Lithuania.

In Lithuania, members of the Polish minority associate the years 1918-20 more with the re-emergence of the Polish state than the restoration of the Lithuanian state. Poland experienced three territorial partitions, in 1772, 1793 and 1795, and effectively disappeared from the map until 1918.

Similar to Hungarians and Romanians, Poles and Lithuanians have had a long and contested relationship over borders, history and identity. The Polish minority constitutes 6.6 per cent of the population in Lithuania, concentrated in the southeast in the Vilnius region.

This community strongly celebrates the annual Polish Diaspora and Poles Abroad Day with a ceremonial march through the streets of Vilnius . Though the parade is a sea of red-and-white Polish flags, the red, yellow and green of the Lithuanian flag can be seen as well. There are celebrations on May 3, the day when the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth proclaimed a Constitution in 1791, and also Polish Culture Days in Vilnius.

The Russian-speaking minorities in the Baltic states haven’t had much of a presence at the centenary celebrations. These groups have different memories of the years following the First World War. Russia withdrew from the war in 1917 and then civil war broke out between the Bolsheviks and the White Guard.

Amid these grand celebrations in places like Bucharest, Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius and Warsaw, let’s look for whether and how minorities are celebrating. Their voices and perspectives are an important part of the story. Just as the armistice is commemorated differently in western Europe and eastern Europe, the years 1918-1920 mean different things to different national groups across the continent.

______________________________________________________The Conversation

Alexandra Liebich is a PhD candidate and teaching fellow in the Department of Political Studies at Queen's University.

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

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.  


Rising waters

New research suggests that glaciers are disappearing and sea levels are rising.

Excluding the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the Canadian Arctic hosts the largest area of glaciers and ice caps in the world, covering an area of 145,000 square kilometres. (Photo: Laura Thomson)

As part of an international research collaboration, Queen’s University scientist and lead Canadian researcher Laura Thomson examined the contribution of Canadian glaciers and ice caps to global sea level rise. The research shows that, with the exception of the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets, the Canadian Arctic has become the largest contributor to global sea level rise in recent years (2006-2016).

Taking into account statistical uncertainties, the findings suggest the mass loss of glaciers may be larger than previously reported.

Dr. Thomson, who leads the new Snow and Ice Research Laboratory in the Department of Geography and Planning, says the Canadian Arctic is currently responsible for 30 per cent of meltwater added to the oceans each year, which amounts to approximately a 1.1 millimetre sea level rise every five years.

Climate variables measured at weather stations are used to determine the key processes responsible for glacier response. (Photo: Laura Thomson)

“This study incorporates more than 50 years of observations by Canadian glaciologists, including federal scientists and university researchers who contribute their findings to the World Glacier Monitoring Service,” Dr. Thomson explains. “Since Canada hosts the largest area of glaciers outside of Greenland and Antarctica, a study like this requires collaboration and contributions from many researchers. In addition to collecting field-based observations, my contribution includes collecting and assimilating measurements from Canadian ice masses for the World Glacier Monitoring Service.”

University of Zurich Professor Michael Zemp, and colleagues including Dr. Thomson, used observational data collected from over 19,000 glaciers using two different methods to determine mass changes between 1961 and 2016. From this the research shows that glaciers contributed around 27 millimetres to global mean sea-level rise over this period.

“By combining field methods with satellite-based observations of glacier thinning, this study updates and improves upon previous estimates of glacier and ice cap contributions to sea level rise,” says Dr. Thomson. “This integrated approach also accounts for and corrects a previously existing bias associated with traditional field-based methods, allowing us to more accurately determine regional glacier losses from point measurements.”

The authors of the paper then calculated the mass-change rates for glaciers from 2006 to 2016 and found that during this decade alone they contributed nearly one millimetre each year to sea-level rise.

“Based on our findings, we suggest that glaciers could almost disappear in some mountain ranges by 2100 (including the Caucasus, Central Europe, Western Canada and the USA, and New Zealand),” Dr. Thomson says. “However, regions with many glaciers like the Canadian Arctic will continue to contribute to sea-level rise beyond this century.”

The new research was recently published in Nature.

The Conversation: Perverse passions that will not die

[Bela Lugosi as Dracula]
Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula in Tod Browning’s 1931 horror film is influenced by John Polidori’s tale of terror, ‘The Vampyre,’ first published — suggestively — on April Fools’ Day 1819. Universal Pictures

Vampires have stalked humans for thousands of years, but it was just 200 years ago that a young English doctor named John Polidori introduced the modern version of the ancient demon.

Although far less well-known than Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Polidori’s The Vampyre was first published — suggestively — on April Fools’ Day 1819. This brief tale of terror set the pattern for all future representations of the vampire, including Stoker’s, and it launched a vampire craze that after two centuries still retains its ability to grab us by the throat.

It is hard to imagine, but The Vampyre as well as Frankenstein, two of Western literature’s most enduring myths, were the results of the same ghost story writing contest.

Vampires today inhabit a wide realm of the popular imagination in everything from novels, films and television shows to cartoons, video games, comic books and advertisements. They are also a powerful metaphor for conceiving and representing all manner of cultural practices and social problems, from the spread of sexually transmitted disease, through the mental and bodily pains of drug addiction, to the many ways in which technology and social media penetrate our daily lives.

The writing contest

Handsome, arrogant, and hot-tempered, Polidori was educated at a Catholic boarding school and then at the University of Edinburgh, where in 1815 he received his medical degree at the age of just 19. Less than a year later, the course of his life changed dramatically when Lord Byron, the most famous literary man of the day, hired him as his travelling companion and personal physician.

Quick to see the commercial potential of the arrangement, Byron’s publisher, John Murray, commissioned Polidori to keep a diary of his time with the notorious poet, whose passionate interest in young men and scandalous love affair with his half-sister Augusta had hastened his departure from England.

Polidori immediately saw the predatory side of Byron’s personality.

“As soon as he reached his room,” Polidori wrote from Belgium in April 1816, “Lord Byron fell like a thunderbolt upon the chambermaid.”

Shortly thereafter, Byron and Polidori took up residence at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva. Polidori saw himself as a rival to Byron and relations between them soon deteriorated.

“What is there excepting writing poetry that I cannot do better than you?” Polidori demanded.

“First,” Byron snapped in reply, “I can hit with a pistol the keyhole of that door – Secondly, I can swim across that river to yonder point – and thirdly, I can give you a damned good thrashing.”

The aristocrat and his doctor were soon joined by a like-minded trio of literary and sexual renegades: the radical poet and free-love advocate Percy Bysshe Shelley, his 18-year-old lover Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont, also 18 and Byron’s most recent amour. It was an extraordinary meeting of minds and bodies.

Bad weather kept the group indoors, and in mid-June Byron challenged each of them to write a ghost story. Claire defaulted. Shelley may have produced a brief verse fragment as his contribution to the competition. Byron started but did not complete the short tale of terror now known as Augustus Darvell.

The winners are…

Godwin (the future Mary Shelley) and Polidori each produced a finished and immensely influential work. She created Frankenstein. He composed The Vampyre.

These spectacular results make the competition the most famous in all of English literary history. It is a striking thought that the same writing contest gave us both Frankenstein and The Vampyre, the two most enduring myths of the modern world.

Before Polidori, vampires were very different creatures. Shaggy, fetid and bestial, they preyed on family members, neighbours or livestock in nocturnal raids that in many accounts approached both the risible and the revolting. Polidori changed all that.

His vampire was highly resourceful and haunted, not the village or the district, but the drawing rooms of polite society and the pleasure dens of international travellers. What is more, instead of the peasant-turned-ghoul of ancient folklore, Polidori elevated the vampire to the ranks of the aristocracy, where as a hypnotically handsome predator he seduced beautiful young women and sucked their life away.

Polidori’s tale centres on fatal vows, paralysis, isolation, betrayal and the return of the dead. He clearly models his vampire, Lord Ruthven, on Lord Byron, for the two have in common good looks, callousness, high rank, mobility, wealth and keen sexual appetites. Aubrey is Ruthven’s friend and travelling partner, and his relationship with Ruthven is usually read as Polidori’s own complex fascination with Byron — a fascination that both attracts and appalls him.

In the tale, Ruthven sucks strength from Aubrey as their relationship declines, but he takes a much more deadly interest in Aubrey’s unnamed sister and Aubrey’s close friend, Ianthe, both of whom he dispatches with his insatiable fangs:

“Upon her neck and breast was blood, and upon her throat were the marks of teeth having opened the vein: – to this the men pointed, crying, simultaneously struck with horror, ‘a Vampyre, a Vampyre!’”

A scene from the 1922 silent horror classic, ‘Nosferatu,’ influenced by Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula.’

A 200-year-long fascination

There have been many more sophisticated and explicit renderings of vampiric lore in the two centuries since Polidori’s tale first appeared. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu popularized the female vampire in his tale of terror Carmilla (1872), Stoker took the lordly fiend to new heights in Dracula (1897) and over the course of the last 100 years novelists, poets, playwrights, artists, movie makers and screenwriters have returned obsessively to vampires.

Polidori’s tale touched off this fascination. Two centuries ago he corrected the drastic deficiencies of the folklore and reimagined the vampire as a suave, mysterious, sexually dynamic elite who defies time and place, who consumes ravenously and without guilt, and who represents perverse passions that will not die.

But the spread of vampirism does not end there. Vampires terrify us now because, in the hands of the countless writers and artists who have drawn their creative lifeblood from Polidori’s reincarnation, they serve as potent and protean representations of whatever we most fear about foreignness, sexuality, selfhood, disease, the afterlife, history and much else. They represent our undying urge for gratification. They embody the monstrous return of what we bury both in ourselves and in our collective past.The Conversation


Robert Morrison is a professor of English Language and Literature at Queen's University. 

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

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.  

Queen’s University alumna named Gairdner laureate

Connie Eaves (Artsci'64, MA'66) earns the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for her work in cancer research.

Queen’s University alumna Connie Eaves (Artsci'64, MA'66) has been honoured with the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for her pioneering work and leadership in the study of hematopoietic, mammary and cancer stem cells and her dedicated advocacy for early-career investigators and women in science.

[Connie Eaves]
Connie Eaves (Artsci'64, MA'66) is the 2019 recipient of the Canada Gairdner Awards. (Supplied Photo) 

The Canada Gairdner Awards are widely considered to be one of the world’s top medical awards. They celebrate breakthroughs in medical research and are awarded annually to scientists around the globe.

“On the 60th anniversary of the Canada Gairdner Awards, the Gairdner Foundation continues to uphold the tradition of honouring the best and brightest researchers from around the world,” says Lorne Tyrrell, Chair, Board of Directors, Gairdner Foundation. “Whether it is the field of global mental health, stem cell biology or fundamental cell biology and DNA replication, the work of each of this year’s laureates is both critical and extraordinary.”

Dr. Eaves received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry and a master’s degree in biology from Queen’s in 1964 and 1966.

She then pursued doctoral training at the Paterson Laboratories of the Christie Hospital and Holt Radium Institute and obtained a PhD from the University of Manchester in England in 1969.

Dr. Eaves’ research has focused on leukemia and breast cancer and the normal tissues in which these diseases originate. Her scientific findings have been paradigm-shifting, driving the field of stem cell research forward.

Throughout her career, she has demonstrated national and international leadership. Dr. Eaves co-founded the Terry Fox Laboratory in the British Columbia Cancer Agency, was a leader in the Canadian Stem Cell Network and held multiple senior roles in the National Cancer Institute of Canada, where she spearheaded the establishment of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance to create the first national source of breast cancer research funding in Canada.

Dr. Eaves is also a passionate advocate for the advancement of women in science, a commitment that led to her recognition as a Status of Women Canada Pioneer.

For more information visit the website.

It’s the People’s Choice

2019 Art of Research Adjudication Committee
Nadya Allen, Manager, International and Programs, Education
Jennifer Chen, Coordinator, Research Activities and Communications, OVPR
Bernard Clark, Photographer
Anja Cui, PhD Candidate, Psychology
Alexandra da Silva, Rector
Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations)
Robin Moon, Digital User Experience Manager, University Relations
Kevin Mumford, Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
Kent Novakowski, Associate Vice-Principal (Research)
Julian Ortiz, Associate Professor, Mining
Dave Rideout, Senior Communications Officer, University Relations
Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor 
Vanessa Yzaguirre, Special Projects Officer, Human Rights and Equity Office

Have your say in promoting the beauty and creativity of research happening at Queen’s. Voting is now open for the ‘People’s Choice’ category of the fourth annual Art of Research photo contest.

The contest provides a unique and accessible method of sharing and celebrating ground-breaking research in all settings, from the summit of a mountaintop to a microscope slide. More than 100 submissions were received this year from faculty, staff, students and alumni.

This year, along with winners selected in the categories of ‘Community Collaborations,’ ‘Invisible Discoveries,’ ‘Out in the Field,’ ’Art in Action’ and ‘Best Caption,’ two anniversary prizes were offered to celebrate the milestones of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Faculty of Education. Images selected for the ‘People’s Choice’ vote were entries that generated discussion and were shortlisted by the adjudication committee. All prizes come with a monetary prize of $500.

A preview of this year’s ‘People’s Choice’ selection can be seen in the slideshow below. Images vary in subject and theme, but they each celebrate the outstanding research happening at Queen’s.

Voting closes on April 9 at 4 pm. Visit the survey to vote for your favourite image.

  • Hunting for Tourists - Norman Vorano
    Hunting for Tourists - Norman Vorano, Professor, Art History: While in Pond Inlet, Baffin Island, Nunavut, to de-install an art exhibition, we took a break to watch a recently arrived cruise ship offload passengers under the watchful gaze of the Canadian Coast Guard ship, Henry Larsen (left). High above the tideline, an old wrecked wooden rowboat was in its final resting place. Like the boats that plied these waters during the whaling era, it was likely used by an Inuit hunter to support his family. The juxtaposition of the three boats was a stark visual metaphor of the region's changing economy and warming climate. The whalers, long gone, are replaced by the tourists.
  • Porous Plastic Particle - Ross Jansen-van Vuuren
    Porous Plastic Particle - Ross Jansen-van Vuuren, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Chemistry: The photograph is of a water-swollen hydrogel particle created in our chemistry laboratory, taken with an instrument called a Scanning Electron Microscope, which allows us to zone in and see important details on the surface of the hydrogel. A hydrogel is essentially a plastic material that is able to absorb very large volumes of water (up to 800 times its weight!) – much like a baby diaper, swelling as it does so. From the image, the surface of the hydrogel is seen to possess large, distinctive pores, which help us to understand how and why hydrogels absorb so much liquid.
  • Nano-dendrite Collision - Hannah Dies
    Nano-dendrite Collision - Hannah Dies, MD/PhD, Chemical Engineering: This scanning electron microscopy image depicts branched gold nano-structures (nano-dendrites) growing from planar microelectrode tips and crashing halfway, buckling upwards to create third dimension of nano-features. The structures assemble from gold nanoparticles under the influence an applied electric field, similar to how iron filings assemble under the influence of a magnetic field. The gold nanoparticle building blocks are 50 nm in diameter – about 5000 times smaller than a human hair. The branched network formed by these nano-structures promotes incredible sensitivity for small molecule detection by means of Raman spectroscopy. At the QuSENS laboratory, and with the startup company Spectra Plasmonics Inc., we use these nano-structures to detect illicit drugs, pesticides, and explosives at ultralow and societally relevant concentrations.

Seminar fosters discussions and lasting connections


[RSC Semninar Speakers]
Three Queen's faculty members – Heather Stuart, John McGarry, and Joan Schwartz – will be presenting aspects of their research at the Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar of the Royal Society of Canada on Saturday, April 13. (University Communications) 

Members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities will have the opportunity to hear four of Canada’s leading researchers speak about their experiences and discoveries as the university hosts the Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar of the Royal Society of Canada on Saturday, April 13.

For academics in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, being elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) – either as a Fellow or a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists – is one of the highest honours they can achieve.

At the seminar, four RSC members – three from Queen’s and one from University of Ottawa – will provide insights into their work and experiences.

The schedule of presentation includes:
- 10 am: Heather Stuart, Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair, Queen’s — The Nature and Nurture of Mental Illness Related Stigma
- 11 am: John McGarry, Sir Edward Peacock Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Political Studies, Queen’s — ‘The Diplomat’s graveyard’:  Why Resolving the Cyprus Problem is not Easy
- 2 pm: Jamie Benidickson, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa — Sewage Then and Now: Public Health Challenges and Climate Change Opportunities
- 3 pm: Joan Schwartz, Department of Art History and Art Conservation, Queen’s — Rethinking Discursive Origins: Alexander von Humboldt, Photography, and the Pursuit of Geographical Knowledge

The annual event is organized under the guidance of co-chairs John Burge (Dan School of Drama and Music), a Fellow of the RSC, and Amir Fam (Civil Engineering), a Member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

“Each year this seminar brings together researchers who are leaders in their fields and this year’s group is no exception,” says Dr. Burge. “The sharing of intellectual ideas can be a great stimulus for one’s own creativity and this seminar is a great opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and knowledge base.”

Another goal of the Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar is to bring together leading researchers and community members to foster fascinating discussions and lasting connections.

“At the heart of the seminar is the common quest for knowledge and the sharing of perspectives,” says Dr. Fam. “By bringing together speakers from across disciplines the seminar helps foster new contacts and new paths of thought for not only the audience but the presenters as well.”

All events take place at the Queen’s University Club (168 Stuart St.) and talks are open and free to the public. Following the first two presentations a luncheon is being hosted by Principal Daniel Woolf. Registration is required for the luncheon, which costs $30. Registration for the luncheon by Friday, April 5 would be appreciated. RSVP by phone, 613-533-6000 x78797 or email: FEAS.ResearchAdmin@queensu.ca.

For more information about the presentations, visit the Royal Society of Canada website.

Minister Bains tours Mitchell Hall ahead of opening

  • Navdeep Bains meets SpectraPlasmonics
    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains and Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen speaks with two members of Spectra Plasmonics.
  • Navdeep Bains at Beaty Water Research Centre
    Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, and Principal Daniel Woolf listen to Pascale Champagne, Director of the Beaty Water Research Centre.
  • Navdeep Bains, Kevin Deluzio, Kimberly Woodhouse
    Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kevin Deluzio speak with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains during his tour of Mitchell Hall.
  • Navdeep Bains and students
    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains stops for a photo with a pair of Queen's students during his tour of Mitchell Hall.
  • Navdeep Bains and tour group
    From left: Vice-Principal (University Relations) Michael Fraser; Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney; Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen; Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains; Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Kevin Deluzio; and Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse.

Principal Daniel Woolf welcomed Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains and Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen for a tour of the newly-renovated Mitchell Hall, on Thursday March 28.

Joined by Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, Kim Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research), Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations), and Kevin Deluzio Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the tour included stops at the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, the Côté Sharp Student Wellness Centre, and the facility’s Technology-Enabled Active Learning Spaces.

Minister Bains also visited the Beaty Water Research Centre, touring the lab spaces alongside director Pascale Champagne and some of her students. The tour wrapped up with a brief visit to the future home of Ingenuity Labs.

The construction of Mitchell Hall was supported in part by an investment from the Government of Canada under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (PSI-SIF). Queen’s will host the grand opening of Mitchell Hall on Saturday, March 30.

Putting a focus on water-related issues

Water-related issues are increasingly becoming a driving force for economic growth, social well-being, and a healthy population in Canada and around the world. This critical interest is reflected in the diversity of water-related research and education initiatives at the Beaty Water Research Centre (BWRC), which recently moved into its state-of-the-art research facilities in Mitchell Hall, the result of a generous gift from geologist and entrepreneur Ross J. Beaty.

The BWRC encourages collaborative interdisciplinary research, education and outreach, spanning traditional water-related disciplines, as well as non-traditional and emerging disciplines. Recent highlights include new research funding and the launch of the BWRC’s first on-line interdisciplinary graduate program in Water and Human Health (WHH GDip)

[Pascale Champagne]
Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering), director of the Beaty Water Research Centre, and her master’s student Nicole Woodcock, recently received research funding from the NSERC Engage and the Ontario Centre of Excellence Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I (VIP I) programs. (University Communications)

Collaborative research to prevent tailing mine failures

BWRC Director Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering) and her master’s student Nicole Woodcock recently received research funding from the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Engage program ($20,000), and the Ontario Centre of Excellence Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I (VIP I) program ($25,000), to assess the feasibility of using microbially-induced calcite precipitation (MICP) to improve the deposit performance of tailings.

[BWRC]“This research is crucial given that tailing dam failures risk human life, destroy property and communities, contaminate rivers, fisheries and drinking water,” Dr. Champagne says. “Earlier this year hundreds lost their lives in the tailings dam collapse in Brazil which was just one of many major tailings dam disaster in the last decade.”

Tailings are by-products from mining operations. Mine tailing particulates easily diffuse into the surrounding environment, leaching acidic drainage and heavy metals to surface and groundwater. Without treatment these tailings can take several hundred years to consolidate due to their poor water-releasing properties, and, in some cases failure to consolidate has led to catastrophic disasters.

[Nicole Woodcock]
Nicole Woodcock

“Recent studies suggest biologically-catalyzed reactions can be used to increase the geotechnical strength of soft soils,” Woodcock says. “The application of this process to tailings has the potential to remediate and reduce the risk of tailing dam failures.”    

“The Beaty Water Research Centre encourages partnerships with industrial and non-industrial partners to tackle import issues,” adds Jyoti Kotecha, Associate Director Research & Business Development for BWRC. “Our state-of-the-art facilities in Mitchell Hall allow us to increase the scale of our research activities. We are looking forward to working with BGC Engineering Inc. on this important research.”

BGC Engineering Inc. is a private, employee-owned Canadian company with expertise in mine waste engineering and mine closure planning and design.

Preparing the future workforce

With support from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the BWRC is launching a new online, interdisciplinary graduate diploma program in Water and Human Health (WHH GDip), in May 2019.

“The Water and Human Health program will provide enhanced training for students from different disciplines and highlights a cross disciplinary approach to issues related to water and health,” says Dr. Champagne. “The program is the first of its kind in Canada, and positions Queen’s as a leader in interdisciplinary graduate education.”

The WHH GDip program can be completed on a full-time basis in four months through four online courses. Upon successful completion participants will receive a graduate diploma from Queen’s, giving them a competitive edge in their future careers. The diploma, although a standalone offering, can also be applied to course-work required for a course-based or research master’s program offered in a number of departments and faculties at Queen’s.

“This program will offer in-depth knowledge related to the chemical, biological and physical components of water, while also capturing global environment policy implications, to provide participants of the program a better understanding of the impacts of water on public health,” says Dr. Hall, Associate Director of Education & Outreach for BWRC. “The WHH GDip program is the first of several interdisciplinary graduate diploma programs that BWRC will be launching over the next five years.”

Find out more about the Beaty Water Research Centre.

[Water and Human Health]


Recognizing research outreach

Queen’s researcher Oyedeji Ayonrinde garners outreach award for efforts to educate Canadians about the risks of cannabis.

Oyedeji Ayonrinde (Psychiatry) has received the 2019 Biomedical Science Ambassador Award from Partners in Research Canada (PIR). This national award recognizes the work of biomedical researchers who have undertaken significant outreach education efforts for the benefit of the Canadian public.

[Oyedeji Ayonrinde (Psychiatry)]
Oyedeji Ayonrinde (Psychiatry) is the recipient of the 2019 Biomedical Science Ambassador Award from Partners in Research Canada. (University Communications)

Dr. Ayonrinde garnered the award on the strength of his efforts to educate Canadians about cannabis. His work in this area has focused on both teaching the public about the potential risks of cannabis use, especially for youth, and educating other health care professionals about the latest developments in cannabis research.

“I owe this award to and share it with all the young people, families, educators and clinicians striving relentlessly for the greater good of our youth,” says Dr. Ayonrinde, the Medical Director of the Early Psychosis Intervention Program in South Eastern Ontario, Heads Up!

Dr. Ayonrinde has developed educational programs that he has delivered to a variety of audiences, including teenagers, parents, secondary school teachers, postsecondary students, hospital staff, and emergency first responders. He has also led awareness sessions with the Indigenous leaders at Tyendinaga and the Canadian Armed Forces, and recently testified to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs on cannabis use and veterans.

In addition to leading these traditional classes, Dr. Ayonrinde has also raised awareness through webinars, social media, and other innovative methods. With Professor John-Kurt Pliniussen (Smith School of Business), he has worked with Queen’s students to develop marketing campaigns about the risks of cannabis for high school-aged students in Eastern Ontario.

“Children, youth and young adults are key to the future of all societies and deserve to have the best mental wellbeing they can,” Dr. Ayonrinde says. “Frequent, heavy use of high potency cannabis at an early age is a high risk factor for the development of psychiatric disorders. While genetic factors also contribute to the risk of psychosis, cannabis is a risk we can mitigate or even eliminate.”

PIR is a registered Canadian charity founded in 1988 to help Canadians understand the significance, accomplishments and promise of biomedical research in advancing health and medicine. Since its genesis, PIR has broadened its scope to encompass all areas of academic and applied research as fields of discovery and study for Canadian students. For more information about the Partners in Research national awards, visit the website.


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