Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Research Prominence

Feustel ready to phone home

The Ask an Astronaut: NASA Educational Downlink event on Friday will feature a live chat with an astronaut alumnus in space and on-Earth expert speakers.

The Queen’s and Kingston community is invited to a one-of-a-kind event in Canada.

The Ask an Astronaut: Educational Downlink event set to launch on Friday, April 6, will feature a 20-minute NASA Educational Downlink with astronaut and Queen’s alumnus Andrew (Drew) Feustel (PhD’95), live from the International Space Station. The space-to-Queen’s conversation will last 20 minutes, during which selected members of the Queen’s and Kingston community will ask their questions about space, researching aboard the International Space Station, and the journey to become an astronaut.

Astronaut and alumnus Andrew Feustel (PhD’95) poses above the Earth. (Photo: @Andrew_Feustel on Twitter)
Astronaut and alumnus Andrew Feustel (PhD’95) poses above the Earth. (Photo: @Andrew_Feustel on Twitter)

There will be plenty of action before the downlink, featuring presentations from experts across a wide range of space-related specialties, including Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald, NASA Postdoctoral Fellow and Planetary Scientist Michelle Thompson (Artsci’11, Sc’11), Nathalie Ouellette (MSc’12, PhD’16) of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC), and Nandini Deshpande from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

Other festivities include astronaut cut-outs to take a photo with Dr. Feustel or as an astronaut in space, signing banners to wish Dr. Feustel luck, and tables featuring displays from Graduate Studies and the Queen’s Reduced Gravity group.

Doors open at Grant Hall at 10:30 am and seats will be limited. There are three additional locations that will offer a livestream of the event when Grant Hall fills to capacity at the Athletics and Recreation Centre Student Lounge, Goodes Hall Commons, and in the Faculty of Education on west campus.

The event will be broadcasted on NASA TV and streamed on the Queen’s website and on Facebook live. To view the livestream on your computer or phone, register through the Queen’s Research page.

Check out the Queen’s Facebook page for more information about the event.

Panel to highlight research excellence and impact

Five recipients of Prizes for Excellence in Research to engage in panel discussion with Scott White, editor of The Conversation Canada.

[2017 Prizes for Excellence in Research]
 In Conversation with the Prizes for Excellence in Research Recipients will feature 2017 awardees, from left, Denis O’Donnell (Medicine), Cathy Crudden (Chemistry), Liying Cheng (Education), Sam McKegney (English Language and Literature), and Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering).

The five recipients of the 2017 Prizes for Excellence in Research (PER) will be sharing their research stories during an exciting panel discussion on Tuesday, April 3.

Trading stories and knowledge during “In Conversation with the Prizes for Excellence in Research Recipients” will be Denis O’Donnell (Medicine), Cathy Crudden (Chemistry), Liying Cheng (Education), Sam McKegney (English Language and Literature), and Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering).

[Scott White]
Scott White, editor of The Conversation Canada, is the moderator for In Conversation with the Prizes for Excellence in Research Recipients. 

The panel will be moderated by Scott White, editor of The Conversation Canada. With more than 30 years of journalism experience, Mr. White has previously served as editor-in-chief of The Canadian Press and vice-president, content strategy and business development, at Postmedia Network.

“This should be a fascinating evening,” says Mr. White. “These five Queen's professors bring a unique perspective to important issues facing our communities and the country as a whole. I look forward to discussing their research with them and learning more about the projects they’re currently working on.”

This year’s panel discussion is a new format, adapted from previous years where recipients would give short lectures. Instead, each researcher will give a brief overview of their work, and Mr. White will engage the group in a discussion about pressing topics in research today. Audience members will also be able to ask questions. The discussion is intended to demonstrate the connections between research and the world at large, as well as between different disciplines.

The event will take place in the BioSciences Complex Atrium (116 Barrie St.) on Tuesday, April 3. There will be a reception beginning at 6:30 pm, and the event will start at 7 pm. Refreshments will be available, and this discussion is open to the public.

Awarded annually in five areas (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and health sciences), the Prizes for Excellence in Research have been the signature internal research prize since 1980, and represent an important investment by Queen’s in recognizing research and scholarship.

More information about the prize winners and their research accomplishments can be found in the original announcement.

For further information, visit the website for the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research).

World-class sex researcher joins Queen’s

Leading human sexuality and gender scholar, Sari van Anders, named Canada 150 Research Chair.

 

Renowned sex researcher Sari van Anders is joining Queen’s University as the Canada 150 Research (C150) Chair in Social Neuroendocrinology, Sexuality, and Gender/Sex, an appointment that grants her $2.45 million in research funding over the next seven years. She is one of only 26 C150 research chairs appointed nationwide by this competitive, one-time federal government initiative designed to recruit top-tier academic talent from around the world to conduct their work at Canadian post-secondary institutions.

“Being selected as a Canada 150 Research Chair is an incredible honour and a very personal one as a Canadian. I’m so excited to be able to come back to do my research, and to join Queen’s University to do so,” says Dr. van Anders. “Queen’s is such a vibrant university, and it’s a privilege to be able to join one of Canada’s leading research institutions.”

Dr. van Anders is a Torontonian who has been a professor in Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan for the past decade.

“It's truly remarkable that Canada highlighted research as one of its priorities for celebrating and nation-building,” she says. “To be included in that national celebration with a research program focusing on feminist and queer science as well as gender and sexuality is an honor that seems uniquely Canadian. Canada is an international leader on gender equity and sexual diversity and I'm excited to be a part of this.”

“To be included in that national celebration with a research program focusing on feminist and queer science as well as gender and sexuality is an honor that seems uniquely Canadian.”

Dr. van Anders’ own research involves an interdisciplinary study of human sexuality, gender, and sex. She has created sexual configurations theory  a new way to conceptualize, measure, and explore how people experience their genders, sexes, and sexualities. She also is a leader in social neuroendocrinology, which seeks to understand how social behaviours influence hormones in social context – such as how sexual behaviours, erotic thoughts, or gender socialization change testosterone levels in the body, for instance.

Dr. van Anders is also a sex researcher and explains: “I see my research contributing to our understandings of sexual phenomena like orgasm, fantasy, desire, and pornography – as well as larger related constructs like gender and sexual diversity. Some of this research connects to hormones like testosterone, and some of it is to understand sexuality on its own as important phenomena in people’s lives and our culture.”

The Canada 150 Research Chair funding will bolster understanding of these and many more areas of Dr. van Anders' interdisciplinary work, including how social norms, gender roles, and power dynamics affect the body’s physiology, and how laypeople and scientists can conceptualize gender and sexuality.

“Dr. van Anders is a world-class scholar whose work, including her role as editor of the esteemed Annual Review of Sex Research, has continually expanded and shaped our understanding of human sexuality,” says Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science. “Joining Queen’s as part of the prestigious C150 program, she will significantly bolster an already-impressive sex and gender research portfolio at the university.”

Dr. van Anders’ move to Queen’s will see her join other leading international sex researchers, including female sexuality expert Meredith Chivers and sexual function/dysfunction expert Caroline Pukall.

“As part of our academic evolution, Queen’s will see its faculty grow, diversify, and strengthen over the next five years,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf. “Dr. van Anders’ expertise will lend significantly to our institution’s research capabilities, and many aspects of her work exemplify the diversity, equity, and inclusion we value. The Canada 150 Research Chair project is certainly bringing the world’s brightest to our country.”

Dr. van Anders’ appointment as a Canada 150 Research Chair was made official at a ceremony in Ottawa on March 29, 2018. She assumes her new role at Queen’s University in the Department of Psychology with cross appointments to the Department of Gender Studies and the Centre for Neuroscience Studies in July 2018.

Live from space

[Feustel in space (Photo: NASA)]
Drew Feustel (PhD’95) is a Queen’s alumnus and astronaut, currently living on the International Space Station. (Photo credit: NASA)

Drew Feustel (PhD’95), Queen’s graduate and NASA astronaut, has been hard at work since his arrival at the International Space Station (ISS) on March 23. But coming soon, Dr. Feustel will be taking a break from his space walks and zero gravity experiments to talk to a live audience right here at Queen’s.

The Ask an Astronaut: NASA Educational Downlink event on Friday, April 6, will include a 20-minute conversation with Dr. Feustel, featuring questions gathered earlier in the month from the Queen’s and Kingston community. During this unique event, the audience will hear directly from the astronaut himself about the challenges of researching in zero gravity, day-to-day life aboard the ISS, and what it’s like to perform a spacewalk. This is the first time NASA has granted a Canadian school the opportunity to hold an educational downlink live from space.

“The research work we are doing about the International Space Station is truly expanding the boundaries of our knowledge of space and I’m very excited to be able to speak to students and the entire Queen’s community about what we are learning and what life is like aboard the station,” says Dr. Feustel. “I’m also looking forward to talking about my own path and how it brought me to where I am now so the next generation can see that no goal is too great for them to achieve.”

Along with Dr. Feustel, the Ask and Astronaut event will also feature stellar talks about the many aspects of space research from special guests, including Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald, NASA Postdoctoral Fellow and Planetary Scientist Michelle Thompson (Artsci’11, Sc’11), Nathalie Ouellette (MSc’12, PhD’16) of the Canadian Particle Astrophysics Research Centre (CPARC), and Nandini Deshpande from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

“This is a rare opportunity for people to gather and interact with a scientist who is helping to carry out an impressive number of research projects each day aboard an international space station,” says John Fisher, Vice-Principal (Research). “As an exciting complement to Dr. Feustel’s downlink, the event will also be a chance for people to hear from some top space experts who come from a range of backgrounds and are based here at Queen’s and at NASA.”

Everyone from the Queen’s and Kingston communities is welcome to attend. Doors open at 10:30 am in Grant Hall and seats will fill fast. Admission is free.

Learn more about Dr. Feustel’s journey to the ISS, from his time at Queen’s to the launch of his third mission to space, and the research he and his team will perform while on the ISS here.

You can find more information about the NASA Educational Downlink on the event page.

Creating Royal connections

For academics in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, being elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) is one of the highest honours they can achieve.

Continuing an annual tradition, Queen’s University is once again hosting the Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar of the Royal Society of Canada on Saturday, April 14.

Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar of the Royal Society of Canada
Presenting at this year's Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar of the Royal Society of Canada are, clockwise from top left: Anne Croy; Peter Milliken; Stephanie Belanger; and Craig Walker.

The seminar is an opportunity to hear interesting talks from a range of disciplines and to meet Fellows and Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists elected to the Royal Society of Canada from Queen’s and around Eastern Ontario.

This year’s bill offers speakers from Queen’s and the Royal Military College of Canada presenting on a range of topics.

The schedule of presentation includes:

10 am: Peter Milliken, School of Policy Studies – The Role of the Speaker of the House of Commons
11 am: Stéphanie Bélanger, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, Royal Military College – War Trauma, Culture of War and Soldier Identity
• 1 pm: Anne Croy, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences – Immunological Enigmas of Pregnancy
2 pm: Craig Walker, Dan School of Drama and Music – Evolution as Dramatic Metaphor at the Second Millennium

This event is the first 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, who have taken up the reins from Professor Emeritus Pierre du Prey (Art History) and Professor Emeritus Mike Sayer (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy).

“For 12 years the Eastern Ontario Regional Seminar has brought together leading researchers and community members to foster fascinating discussions and lasting connections,” says Dr Burge. “This tradition, started by Dr. Du Prey and Dr. Sayer, will continue to highlight some of the great research being done at Queen’s and around Eastern Ontario.”

“Our presenters will be speaking on an array of interesting topics, from performing arts and molecular science to the health of military members and an inside view of Parliament from Canada’s longest-serving Speaker of the House,” adds Dr. Fam.

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. RSVP by contacting Jessica Youles (jessica.youles@queensu.ca or 613-533-6000 x78797).

2018 Strategic Research Plan goes to Senate

The Senate Advisory Research Committee (SARC) has reviewed the newly-drafted 2018 Strategic Research Plan and has recommended it for approval to Senate. ​The recommendation will be included as a Notice of Motion on the March 27, 2018 Senate agenda for approval at the April 17, 2018 Senate meeting.

“This has truly been a collaborative effort, through consultation with the community over the past 12 months and the inclusion of their extensive feedback ,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).   “In addition to guiding the future of Queen’s research by outlining areas of strength and priority, the SRP will set the tone for a positive and productive environment through its emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the broadest sense.  I am very pleased with the document, and the way in which it was shaped.”

The SRP is a component of broader integrated institutional planning that includes the Academic Plan, the Strategic Framework, as well as a variety of strategic documents that emerge from individual faculties and elsewhere. It identifies our institutional strength and excellence for further success through engagement with government, industry, and with regional, national and international partners.  It also fulfills the requirements for a variety of funding programs including the federal Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF).

Please visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) for information about how to provide feedback.  

Alumnus astronaut safely arrives at International Space Station

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

 

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

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

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

Blasting off to the International Space Station

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the mission

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

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

An alumni connection through music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the journey

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

Follow Dr. Feustel’s journey on social media:

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

 

Indigenous art collection grows with generous donation

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received a gift of Inuit prints and a bequest from Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78) and her husband.

Mattiusie Manakudluk (QC 1911-Puvirnituq QC 1968), In Summer They Went Camping, In Winter They Went for Seals, 1968, stonecut on paper, 27/30.  Gift of Margaret McGowan Artsci’78, 2017 (60-003.18). (Photo by Bernard Clark)
Mattiusie Manakudluk (QC 1911-Puvirnituq QC 1968), In Summer They Went Camping, In Winter They Went for Seals, 1968, stonecut on paper, 27/30.  Gift of Margaret McGowan Artsci’78, 2017 (60-003.18). (Photo by Bernard Clark)

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received a donation of 23 stone-cut and stencil prints from alumna Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78). Ms. McGowan and her husband have also sponsored a research studentship, and these gifts complement bequests that the couple had previously established.

“As a student at Queen’s, I visited the Agnes regularly to see the exhibits and to enjoy the peace and beauty of the original house,” she says. “Recently, a more immediate opportunity to make a gift presented itself. For years I collected early Inuit prints from Puvirnituq on the east coast of Hudson Bay in northern Québec. I offered the collection of 23 prints to Queen’s, and Professor Norman Vorano was enthusiastic about adding them to the Agnes’s collection. He suggested the prints would offer possibilities for programming, exhibitions, and academic and community-based research.”

The prints span the first decades of printmaking in the Puvirnituq community, from 1961 to 1989. Consisting of 23 works on paper, the donation provides a representative overview of the emergence of printmaking in this community. The prints focus on depictions of birds and animals, show hunting scenes, and life at camp, with a few of the illustrations representing stories from the oral history of the Inuit culture.

In addition to this gift, Ms. McGowan and her husband are supporting a research studentship specific to Indigenous art and with a priority focus on Inuit art. The Research Studentship in Indigenous Art will provide opportunities for Queen’s students to further their studies in art history, art conservation, or Indigenous studies; enable research into the prints of Puvirnituq; and benefit the collections and programs at the Agnes.

To be eligible for the studentship, interested students must submit their applications to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and a committee will decide on the recipient. The studentship will be granted on the basis of demonstrated knowledge, interest, and experience in the relevant disciplines, and the candidate's potential to contribute to the field.

Dr. Vorano, a Queen's National Scholar and Curator of Indigenous Art with the Agnes, says this donation is an excellent complement to the art centre’s existing Inuit graphic arts and resources.

“The McGowan donation will help Queen’s foster and support innovative student research, and enhance the experiential learning possibilities in the gallery and beyond,” says Dr. Vorano. “This donation will help us present a more comprehensive and comparative history of Arctic printmaking, and through the research studentship will also help attract Indigenous students and support a diverse array of graduate and upper-year undergraduate research.”

In addition to furthering scholarship on campus, these new art pieces and the studentship will support Queen’s in its reconciliation efforts. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission task force report called on the university to, among other things, raise awareness of the complex histories of Indigenous Peoples, and to enhance the visibility of Indigenous communities at Queen’s.

The donation
● Twenty-three stone-cut and stencil prints from Puvirnituq, an Inuit community in northern Québec. This donation was provided by Margaret McGowan.

● Ms. McGowan and her husband have also established the Research Studentship in Indigenous Art – an active research studentship focused on Indigenous art with a preference on Inuit art. This is in addition to a research studentship the couple had previously established as part of an estate gift.

● Also as part of the estate gift, a program will be created to provide bursaries for elementary and high school students participating in public and art education programs at the Agnes.

The donations also build on past commitments that Ms. McGowan and her husband have made to the Agnes. The couple had previously established two bequests which will establish a second research studentship, and will create a bursary program that will provide full or partial bursaries for elementary and high school students participating in public and art education programming presented by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 

“I am tremendously grateful to Ms. McGowan and her husband for this generous gift of art, which enables us to better reflect the complex expression of Inuit culture, and for such thoughtful support for related research,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “We look forward to sharing new insights and to presenting these extraordinary prints for all to enjoy, as part of the expanding presence of Indigenous culture on campus and across the wider community.”

A selection of the Puvirnituq prints will be displayed at the Agnes in the spring and summer 2019.

The timing of this donation is also significant, as it comes just as the Master of Art Conservation program announced a $632,000 grant over five years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be used to develop conservation research and online courses with a focus on Indigenous material culture.

For more information on art exhibits at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, visit agnes.queensu.ca.

Provincial funding to strengthen Queen’s research teams

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORF - Early Researcher Award recipients:

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

ORF - Small Infrastructure Fund recipients:

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

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

Fireflies light the way

Queen’s researcher develops biosensor that uses firefly enzyme to monitor cancer cell activity.

Queen’s University researcher Xiaolong Yang and his research team have developed a light emission-based biosensor that uses firefly luciferase (the enzyme that allows fireflies to light up) to monitor cancer cell activity and help find new ways to fight the spread of cancer.

Research has previously shown that changes in Hippo signaling proteins may be responsible for cancer development but there is currently no system to quantify how these proteins change in cancers. This breakthrough discovery could improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Xiaolong Yang (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) has developed a new biosensor that monitors cancer cell activity.

“Our labs have recently shown that aberrant changes in a group of proteins called the Hippo signaling pathway may be involved in cancer development,” says Dr. Yang. “In this study, by using the luciferase enzyme extracted from fireflies as a reporter, we have created a new biosensor tool that allows researchers to measure the activity of the Hippo signaling pathway protein in cancers in real-time.”

Dr. Yang adds that studies show that the Hippo signaling proteins are critical for cancer angiogenesis, a process by which tumours make blood vessels during their growth and spread.

“Almost all people have family members or friends who are diagnosed with or die of cancer,” says Dr. Yang. “Our new tool allows us to detect cancerous cells’ behavior in a new way and will help future development of therapeutic drugs for preventing the most devastating and drug-resistant cancers from growing or spreading.”

More than 90 per cent of cancer deaths are due to spreading of cancer cells to other organs of the body (metastasis) at late stages of cancer progression. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for treating metastatic cancers. Dr. Yang’s novel research findings provide new evidence that targeting the Hippo signaling protein is very effective in cutting the nutrient supply of cancer cells through inhibiting blood vessel formation. This discovery may provide new hope for treating metastatic cancer patients for successful cancer treatment in the future.

Moreover, since defects in angiogenesis also play important roles in many other diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, the new discovery may also provide a new way of fighting these diseases that affect the lives of millions of people around the world.

Working with Dr. Yang on the research were PhD candidates Taha Azad, Helena J. Janse van Rensburg, and Ben Yeung, and research associate Yawei Hao. The research was published in Nature Communications.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Research Prominence