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Research Prominence

National research funding announcement on May 16

A national funding announcement for graduate and post-doctoral research will be made at Queen’s University on Thursday, May 16 at 10 am.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, will make the announcement at Mitchell Hall. Attendance is welcome.

A livestream of the event will be available through the Queen’s University Facebook page.


Funding new scientific frontiers

New Frontiers in Research Fund fuels Queen’s research in topics ranging from Lyme disease to climate change.

Early-career researchers are the backbone of Canada’s research infrastructure. Recognizing this area of research strength and its potential, the Government of Canada has launched the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) to support early-career researchers as they pursue the next great discovery in their fields.

[Minister Kirsty Duncan]
Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Seven Queen’s University projects earned a $1.72 million portion of the $38 million in NFRF funding announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, earlier this week. The successful Queen’s researchers are: Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) and Mark Ormiston (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Robert Colautti (Biology), Samuel Dahan (Law), Lindsay Morcom (Education), Jessica Selinger (Kinesiology and Health Science), Kevin Stamplecoskie (Chemistry), and Laura Thomson (Geography and Planning).

“I am pleased today to celebrate the very first researchers to benefit from the New Frontiers in Research Fund. Our government’s vision is for our researchers to take risks and be innovative,” says Minister Duncan. “We want our scientists and students to have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, and we want the halls of academia to better reflect the diversity of Canada itself. This new fund will help us achieve that vision.”

Drs. Capicciotti and Ormiston are studying how cancer cells change the sugars that they express on their surface to avoid detection by the immune system. The researchers will work to develop technology to screen hundreds of sugar structures, with the ultimate goal of creating new cancer therapies that function by boosting an individual’s immune response.

As a member of the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (CLyDRN) based at Queen’s, Dr. Colautti is leading a diverse and multidisciplinary group of researchers to disrupt the way that tick-borne diseases are identified and managed in Canada. Their approach includes the use of handheld DNA sequencers and cloud computing for rapid detection of known or potential tick-borne pathogens, summarizing this information into a risk assessment framework for medical practitioners, public health officials, and the general populace.

Professor Dahan, in collaboration with Xiaodan Zhu (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and a team of 25 data scientists, Artificial Intelligence researchers, and law students, is working on an open source AI-tribunal for small claims in Ontario. This digital dispute-resolution platform will provide predictive legal services and negotiation support for self-represented plaintiffs. The NFRF funding will help develop the first stage of the product, focusing on severance pay and termination negotiation.

Using the skills of an interdisciplinary team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and visual and digital media artists, Dr. Morcom and her team will work to create a network of virtual reality spaces across the country. The newly-created spaces will be used to stage cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and cross-generational encounters.

Dr. Selinger has formed an interdisciplinary team that combines expertise in fundamental human biomechanics, clinical rehabilitative medicine, and applied robotic control. The research has the potential to revolutionize the next generation of rehabilitation strategies by focusing on how people re-learn to walk after a stroke.

Focusing on a new area of research, Dr. Stamplecoskie and partner Guojun Liu (Chemistry), are researching new electrochemical devices, capable of capturing the tremendous amount of energy available in rainfall, waves, and evaporating water. The research is working to create new devices capable to meeting global energy demands.

Dr. Thomson has amassed an interdisciplinary team that will integrate modern glacier research practices and inter-generational perspectives on climate, to improve environmental monitoring in Canada’s high-Arctic. This initiative will provide open-access, real-time climate data for the first time in this part of the Arctic, and provide public access to rare historic data.

All of the Queen’s projects are funded under the Exploration stream of the NFRF program. The second stream is the Transformation stream that provides large-scale support for Canada to build strength and leadership in interdisciplinary and transformative research. The third stream, International, will come online later, according to Minister Duncan.

“Through the NFRF program, early-career researchers at Queen’s are bringing new ideas and methodologies to critical issues from Lyme disease to climate change,” say Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Importantly, they are increasing the potential impact and application of their work by collaborating across disciplinary boundaries.”

For more information, visit the NFRF website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities listserv.

Queen’s researcher in precision medicine receives international honour

[Parvin Mousavi]
Parvin Mousavi (School of Computing) was presented with the C.C. Gotlieb Computer Award during the IEEE Canada Awards Gala on May 6. (University Communications)

Precision medicine is an emerging approach, which takes into account various factors impacting a person’s overall health status, including genetics, while recognizing that a one-size-fits-all model in diagnoses and treatment no longer applies to the provision of optimal care. Parvin Mousavi’s (School of Computing) research on machine learning focuses on creating better solutions for diagnosing disease, treating patients, and clinical interventions that are patient-specific. The availability of large amounts of data at many resolutions and from many sources, as well as the huge boost in machine learning and deep learning algorithms in the past five years further drive Dr. Mousavi’s goal of making precision medicine a greater reality.

Recently, Dr. Mousavi’s work in this area was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology. Dr. Mousavi is the recipient of the IEEE’s 2019 Canada C.C. Gotlieb Computer Award, a prize awarded to outstanding Canadian engineers recognized for their important contributions to the field of computer engineering and science.

“I’m very happy and humbled that the IEEE and my colleagues have acknowledged the contributions I’ve made in this field,” says Dr. Mousavi. “I think my research is making computers more accessible and more relevant in disease diagnosis, clinical interventions and surgeries. I am also thrilled that the IEEE has recognized the increasing impact and potential of computing and engineering innovations in bettering our health and the outcomes from medical interventions.”

Dr. Mousavi’s work has added greater depth to detection of disease, and determining appropriate treatments by combining machine learning with multifaceted data from medical images, bio-signals, and genomic markers. The applications of these methodologies help inform earlier and more accurate diagnosis of cancer, early interventions in critical care, and appropriate treatments while enabling patient-specific decision-making. 

Over the years, the field of computing has evolved and become ever more pervasive and complementary to various industries; the medical field is no exception.

“Computing is changing clinical decision making, especially with machine learning,” says Dr. Mousavi. “In today’s world, computer scientists have the opportunity to impact many aspects of our daily lives, augmenting critical, highly complex problem solving requirements such as those in the field of medicine. This is quite different to the role computing has played previously, or portrayed.” 

 Dr. Mousavi’s work has not only changed the nature of diagnosis and treatment of disease, she has also gained recognition as an inspirational woman in technology, as seen in her recent feature in Computer Vision News.

“I would like to see more women in computing win these awards,” says Dr. Mousavi “I hope as we see more women engaged in computing in our younger generations and students, we will also see more recognition for their contributions.”

As the Queen’s School of Computing celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Dr. Mousavi is greatly supported by her colleagues and students at Queen’s University.

“No one can work in my field in isolation,” says Dr. Mousavi. “It is a field that requires support from a group including undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, other faculty members, colleagues and collaborators. I feel that I could not have achieved any of this without being part of the School and Queen’s, and so well supported.”

Dr. Mousavi was presented with the award during the IEEE Canada Awards Gala on May 6. For more information on the IEEE, visit the website.

A day of learning and exploring with Queen’s Research

  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019, part of NSERC’s Science Odyssey campaign, was the largest and most successful event to date with 5,200 visitors and 400 volunteers learning more about the groundbreaking STEAM research happening at Queen’s and in Kingston. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Canadian Astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16), former commander of the International Space Station and Queen’s alumnus, was the special guest at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    An exciting performance at the Chemistry Magic Show with Queen’s Chemistry graduate students and faculty researcher Kevin Stamplecoskie at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Grade school participants of the Ask an Astronaut Q&A with Astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16), former commander of the International Space Station and Queen’s alumnus, at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Queen’s Faculty of Education professor, Lynda Colgan, co-coordinator of Science Rendezvous Kingston, attends the opening ceremonies of Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019 with Ingenuity Lab robot, Husky. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    An attendee learns about the anatomical sciences with Queen’s Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    Mark Gerretsen, MP for Kingston and the Islands, celebrates the opening of Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019 on Saturday, May 11. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019
    An attendee learns more about bee health and pollination with the Limestone Beekeepers’ Guild at Science Rendezvous Kingston 2019. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

As part of NSERC’s Science Odyssey campaign, Science Rendezvous Kingston was the largest and most successful to date with 5,200 visitors and 400 volunteers learning more about the groundbreaking STEAM research happening at Queen’s and in the Kingston community.

Hosted at the Leon's Centre, the day featured three headline events. Attendees had an opportunity to meet Astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc’16), former commander of the International Space Station and Queen’s alumnus at the Ask an Astronaut Q&A. Upon entering the event space, visitors were greeted by Dippy the dinosaur, a casting of a Diplodocus standing over four metres high and 26 metres long. There was also an opportunity to learn about bee health and pollination with the Limestone Beekeepers’ Guild as they demonstrated a working beehive.

About 75 per cent of the researchers exhibiting at Science Rendezvous Kingston were Queen’s affiliated. Some of the highlights of the free, family-oriented event included hands-on exhibits from Queen’s Anatomy, Hexagon Magic Puzzles, the Art of Research pop-up photo exhibit, demonstrations from Ingenuity Labs, and the Chemistry Magic Show.

For more information about Science Rendezvous Kingston, visit the website.

Connecting Canada’s brightest researchers

Funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is helping Queen’s researchers create partnerships to tackle global problems.

New funding for research partnerships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is helping Queen’s University researchers preserve the Arctic landscape, make our online communications safer, and improve human health.

Announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sports, the funding from the Strategic Partnerships Grant program is earmarked for 75 projects across the country that will connect Canada’s brightest researchers with industry, government, and other partners to transform fundamental science into tangible benefits for Canadians. Areas of focus include the environment, agriculture, communications technologies, natural resources, and energy.

By partnering with Canadian companies, researchers will also receive the training and experience they need to be labour market-ready.

“Partnerships with government, communities, and industry help to fuel the translation of research and knowledge into applied practice and products with benefits to Canadian and global citizens,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).

Three Queen’s researchers have received a total of almost $2 million in funding from the Strategic Partnerships Grant program:

Hossam Hassanein

Hossam Hassanein ($593,000) (Computing) is working on resource management in 5G networks, the next generation mobile network that is anticipated to provide ultra-reliable, high-speed communications infrastructure to connect more than 30 billion devices. Partnering with Ericsson, the carrier of 40 per cent of the world’s mobile traffic, Dr. Hassanein’s interdisciplinary research team will feature three PhD students, four MSc students and two postdoctoral fellows. They will receive training in machine intelligence and analytics for network management, which will prepare them for today’s job market.


Kerry Rowe

Kerry Rowe, Richard Brachman and Fady Abdelaal, ($587,351) (Civil Engineering) are studying the use of geosynthetic liners in the harsh environment of the Arctic. The extraction of mineral resources in the Arctic contributed $56 billion to Canada’s economy in 2015 but little research has been done in regards to protecting surface and groundwater supplies and the Arctic ecosystem from contaminated water emanating from mining operations. Drs. Rowe, Brachman and Abdelaal have formed a partnership between university researchers, engineering consultants, and geosynthetic manufacturers to design geosynthetic liners better suited for the Arctic environment.


Richard Oleschuk

Richard Oleschuk’s ($734,600) (Chemistry) laboratory features new cutting-edge technology that will help researchers better analyze a large array of samples including saliva, urine, and blood. Partnering with SCIEX, who provided the mass spectrometer to the university, Dr. Oleschuk says the new technology allows one to feed samples into the machine by simply touching the probe to the sample. Thousands of droplets will be analyzed within seconds and researchers can determine what’s on the paper. Dr. Oleschuk says the technology could be used to analyze suspicious packages passing through the mail or during surgery to analyze tissue samples.

For more information, visit the NSERC website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities listserv.

Queen’s names first Distinguished University Professors

Recipients recognized for international research and teaching excellence.

2018-19 Distinguished University Professors
2018-19 Distinguished University Professors: (Left to right) Top row: Donald H. Akenson, Stephen Archer, Nicholas Bala. Middle row: Susan P. C. Cole, Cathleen Crudden, John McGarry. Bottom row: Ram Murty, R. Kerry Rowe, Suning Wang.

Queen’s University recently awarded its highest research-related honour to nine faculty members internationally recognized for contributions to their respective fields of study. Each recipient was named a Distinguished University Professor for exhibiting an outstanding and sustained research record, teaching excellence, and significant and lasting contributions to Queen’s, Canada, and the world.

“The work being done here at Queen’s in many different academic disciplines is contributing to our understanding of the world and the overall global body of knowledge in many fields,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “To celebrate this level of world-class excellence in research and teaching, it is my pleasure to designate nine of our most accomplished faculty members as Distinguished University Professors.”

The group of individuals chosen are the first to receive designations under the Distinguished University Professor Program, which was made official by the university’s Senate in 2017-18. Each year, the program’s advisory committee will invite nominations from the campus community, review the submissions, and make recommendations to the principal, who then determines successful nominees.

“Choosing this year’s recipients, from what was an impeccable pool of nominees, was no easy task,” says Principal Woolf. “That said, it served as a wonderful opportunity for me to learn even more about the breadth of work taking place here at Queen’s, and the incredible faculty driving it forward.”

Each recipient will soon add an honorific name to their title, to be selected from a list of Senate approved names. For the first set of designates, this process will take place shortly.

The inaugural group of Distinguished University Professors includes:

  • Donald H. Akenson, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History
  • Stephen Archer, Distinguished University Professor, School of Medicine
  • Nicholas Bala, Distinguished University Professor, Faculty of Law
  • Susan P. C. Cole, Distinguished University Professor, Queen’s Cancer Research Institute
  • Cathleen Crudden, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Chemistry
  • John McGarry, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Political Studies
  • Ram Murty, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • R. Kerry Rowe, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
  • Suning Wang, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Chemistry

Visit the Principal’s website to learn more about the Distinguished University Professors Program, its advisory committee, and selection of honorific names.

A Hall of Fame career

This article was first published on the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Blog.

On May 2, I had the thrill of attending the induction ceremony for the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. This is one of my favourite annual events, and this year’s ceremony was especially meaningful because I was able to see a true legend of the Queen’s School of Medicine get inducted: Dr. Jackie Duffin.

From 1988 to 2017, Dr. Duffin was the Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at Queen’s, and in this role she taught all of our medical students to place our profession in a broader historical context and also to think critically about the ways in which medical knowledge is produced.

A number of the lessons she created for our curriculum became rites of passage for our students. I think almost everyone who studied here while Dr. Duffin taught for us has vivid memories of reading the original Hippocratic Oath with her during orientation and thinking hard about the concepts of “heroes” and “villains” in medical history during their first semester. Many students also traveled around Canada and the United States with her, as she arranged yearly field trips to medical museums in both countries.

Dr. Duffin’s students were so devoted to her that some of them created a conference in her honour the year after she retired. The Jacalyn Duffin Health and Humanities Conference has now run for two years, and it has been an outstanding success both times.

In its citation for Dr. Duffin’s induction, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame says, “A haematologist and historian, her enduring contributions to medical research and education deepen our understanding of how the humanities inform balanced, effective medical training.”  

[Dr. Jackie Duffin]
Jackie Duffin, seated, front row, last on right, was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame on May 2. (Supplied Photo)

It is so terrific to see Dr. Duffin honoured for the way in which she has so effectively brought the humanities into medical education because, at Queen’s, we’ve been seeing for decades the positive effects that this kind of teaching can have on students.

Because I know how beloved she always was by our students, I reached out to a few to ask for their thoughts on Dr. Duffin and what she has meant to them. Here’s what they had to say.

“Dr. Duffin’s History of Medicine curriculum has provided an essential building block to the medical education of thousands of medical students,” Kate Rath-Wilson says. “She provided us with the critical reasoning tools to be skeptical when necessary and righteous in our advocacy. Learning about the history of our profession, its triumphs and tragedies, through Dr. Duffin’s critical lens was at once humbling and empowering. Her teaching discouraged us from becoming complacent in our responsibilities as health care advocates in our future careers.”

"There are few generalizations that are true in life but I can say without any reservation that Dr. Jacalyn Duffin is loved and cherished by ALL her students,” says Hissan Butt. “That's why Meds 2015 established the Jacalyn Duffin Student Award and students from Meds 2020 and 2021 started an eponymous health humanities conference. It's been an absolute privilege to learn from her and ask important questions about medicine and society."

I’d also like to point out that Hissan was also in Montreal for the induction ceremony, as he was receiving a Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award. These awards recognize terrific work being done by a student at each medical school in Canada, and all of us in the School of Medicine are very proud of Hissan for being this year’s recipient from Queen’s.

“I always cherish moments in the lecture hall with Dr. Duffin,” Yannay Khaikin says. “She teaches with a kind of energy and honesty that reverberates for decades in the minds of medical students, residents, and faculty who have been fortunate to hear her speak. Her commitment to preserving the study of philosophy and history in medicine is relentless, unapologetic, and utterly unique.”

“Dr. Duffin has been the most influential and impactful teacher in both my medical and non-medical education,” Chantal Valiquette says. “She is a resilient, passionate, and brilliant historian/physician who is a constant source of inspiration to her students. Her dedication to her students is unparalleled, and her support for history of medicine has inspired generations of students to realize the impact our history has on our present day understandings of medicine and medical education. There is no one more deserving of an induction to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.”

“Equipped with a colourful scarf, her signature round glasses, a pair of neon sneakers and an exuberance that knows no bounds, Dr. Jackie Duffin is unlike any other professor I have ever had,” Harry Chandrakumaran says. “It is obvious to even the least attentive student that she is unapologetically in love with her job. I cannot imagine a more deserving candidate for induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Many doctors have testified in court. Rarely have they had their testimony result in the canonization of a saint. Even more impressive than meeting the Pope, Dr. Duffin manages to engage a hundred medical students while discussing the intricacies of 16th century anatomical illustrators. Perhaps that is why she is so fondly remembered by a generation of physicians.”

 The Hannah Chair is funded by a program that was established by Associated Medical Services (AMS) to promote the history of medicine in curricula at medical schools across Canada. AMS funds eight Hannah Chairs at Canadian universities: six in Ontario, one in Alberta, and one in Quebec.

The Hannah Chair program is a fantastic contribution to Canadian medical education, and, at Queen’s, we have always been proud to host a Chair. While Dr. Duffin no longer teaches our students, they are still learning just as much about the history of medicine through our new Hannah Chair: Dr. Jenna Healey.

As I said, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame induction ceremony is a tremendous event every year. I have fond memories of hosting the event in Kingston in 2014, and this year had the pleasure of sitting with Dr. Duncan Sinclair, a former dean at Queen’s and a 2015 inductee into the Hall of Fame. Thanks to everyone at the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for hosting a wonderful evening in Montreal and for all of the work you do to recognize medical achievements in Canada.

If you're curious to read Dr. Duffin's thoughts on being inducted, please check out her most recent blog entry.

Dean Reznick thanks Andrew Willson for his assistance in preparing this blog. 

Queen’s economist wins second Donner Prize

Award for book on Indigenous rights makes Thomas J. Courchene the first two-time recipient of top Canadian public policy writing honour.

Left to right: David Dodge, Donner Prize, Jury Chair; Thomas J. Courchene; Deborah Donner, Governor, Donner Canadian Foundation (Photo by: Will Putz)
Left to right: David Dodge, Donner Prize, Jury Chair; Thomas J. Courchene; Deborah Donner, Governor, Donner Canadian Foundation (Photo by: Will Putz)

Two decades after winning the first-ever Donner Prize for best Canadian public policy book, economist and Queen’s Professor Emeritus Thomas J. Courchene has done it again. On May 1, 2019, his latest book Indigenous Nationals, Canadian Citizens: From First Contact to Canada 150 and Beyond was recognized by award jurors as a “masterful work on one of the most important themes of our country’s public policy history” – securing Courchene the top prize and $50,000.

“The Donner Prize serves as a beacon for aspiring writers, so when I won it the first time it was truly an inspiration,” says Dr. Courchene. “In being recognized a second time, I sincerely hope the publicity will allow my book to contribute to a greater, broader understanding of the challenges and policies that affect the lives of Indigenous peoples of Canada.”

The book, published by the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations in the Queen’s School of Policy Studies, examines the historical, legal, and socio-economic evolution of Canadian policy initiatives relating to Indigenous peoples. In doing so, Dr. Courchene puts forth a new policy prescription that seeks to reconcile the goal of recognizing Indigenous rights with that of promoting Canadian economic and resource development. Jurors lauded the book’s compelling case for significant change and its vision for a brighter future.

“My work has long been a blend of economic analysis, political reality, and constitutional perspectives, so I always felt that my public policy research had to, at some point, address issues facing First Peoples,” says Dr. Courchene, who is also a founding member of the School of Policy Studies. “In the final chapter of my book I propose we depart from existing models in which Indigenous Canadians are effectively under the control and stewardship of another political authority, and move to one that would give them provincial powers on their own lands.”

The Donner Prize, awarded annually by the Donner Canadian Foundation, encourages and celebrates excellence in public policy writing by Canadians, and acknowledges the role good public policy plays in the country’s success.

“To win the Donner Prize a second time, two decades after being recognized with their inaugural award, speaks to the rich and enduring quality of Dr. Courchene’s academic work,” says David M.C. Walker, Executive Director of the Queen’s School of Policy Studies. “On behalf of the School of Policy Studies, I want to commend him for crafting a truly impactful book; one that not only embodies the spirit of our school’s mission, but that can also inform and inspire public policy that advances the well-being of Canadians.”

The award results were announced during a gala at The Carlu event space in Toronto. Dr. Courchene was selected over four other finalists, chosen from more than 70 submissions. Chairing the Donner Prize jury was David Dodge, who served as Queen’s University Chancellor from 2008 to 2014.

Community readies for Science Rendezvous

Astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc'16returns to Kingston to take part in the annual science and technology event.

Ancient bones, buzzing bees, and the ultimate birds-eye view. That is what the public can expect at the ninth annual Science Rendezvous taking place at the Leon’s Centre on Saturday, May 11, a fan-favourite event that highlights the diversity of research happening at Queen’s and in the community

When the doors open, attendees will be greeted by Dippy the dinosaur who stands over four meters high and is 26 meters long, nearly as long as the Leon’s Centre itself. The Diplodocus roamed the earth about 150 million years ago and its neck alone measured 6.5 meters long. Research Casting International in Trenton has recreated this gentle giant.

Canadian astronaut Drew Feustel is attending this year's Science Rendezvous at the Leon's Centre.

After peering into the past, guests can then make their way to meet Canadian astronaut Drew Feustel (PhD’95, DSc'16). On April 6, 2018, the Queen’s alum participated in a live event hosted at the university, communicating with people here on campus while floating around on the International Space Station.

During Science Rendezvous, Dr. Feustel is hosting two question and answer periods starting at 11:30 am on the main stage and will be on hand for the rest of the day to greet the public.

Visitors to the event can also view a working bee hive, meet members of the Limestone Beekeepers Guild, and take home a jar of sweet honey.

“We’re very excited to be bringing Science Rendezvous back for the ninth straight year,” says Lynda Colgan, professor in the Faculty of Education and lead event organizer. “Though the past few years have been exciting, we are over the moon, pun intended, to welcome Drew Feustel to the event. The public will have a chance to chat with a real life astronaut and also meet Dippy the Diplodocus, one of the largest creatures ever to walk the earth.”

Along with the three headline events, the free, family-oriented show will feature a fascinating range of hands-on exhibits, including Queen’s Anatomy, Hexagon Magic Puzzles at the Math Midway, the Art of Research pop up photo exhibit, demonstrations from Ingenuity Labs, and the ever-popular Chemistry Magic Show. Visitors will learn more about and experience the groundbreaking STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) research at Queen’s as about 75 per cent of the researchers exhibiting are Queen’s affiliated.

Science Rendezvous is part of NSERC’s Science Odyssey, a national campaign that celebrates Canadian achievements in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, featuring fun and inspiring experiences in museums, research centres, laboratories and classrooms from coast to coast. Every year in May, hundreds of science outreach leaders deliver fun, engaging and inspiring activities to Canadians of all ages. This year, 310 cities are hosting over 1,000 Science Odyssey events, and Kingston’s Science Rendezvous attracts the most attendees of all events nationally.

“There is something for everyone at Science Rendezvous,” says Dr. Colgan. “Whatever your interests, we try to share a wide variety of thought-provoking exhibits designed to delight and excite the young and young at heart.”

The event runs from 10 am to 3 pm and more 4,000 people are expected. The first 2,000 families will receive a take-home booklet filled with experiments that can be done at the kitchen sink, on the kitchen table, or in the backyard, as well as a free tote bag, some of which will contain additional surprises such as math puzzle kits, colour-changing pencils and much more.

For more information, visit the website.

The interdisciplinary green team

Four leading researchers from Queen’s University have been awarded the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for their work in building a sustainable future.

NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering
The winners of the 2019 Brockhouse Canada Prize, from left: Michael Cunningham, Pascale Champagne, Philip Jessop, and Warren Mabee.  

Engineering a sustainable future requires input from multiple approaches and perspectives. Four leading Canadian researchers from Queen’s University have been awarded the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering for their work in enhancing the value and sustainability of our natural renewable resources though collaboration.  

Given annually to only one research team across Canada, the award supports the late Nobel Laureate Bertram N. Brockhouse’s vision of interdisciplinary teamwork and collaboration as a way to propel scientific discovery in Canadian research. Dr. Brockhouse won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1994. 

“The NSERC Brockhouse is one of the most prestigious and competitive research honours available to Canadian researchers,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “We are proud of our Queen’s recipients, and proud that the university is a space that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration as a means to address critical challenges.” 

Pascale Champagne
Pascale Champagne is the Canada Research Chair in Bioresources Engineering.

The cross-faculty research team consists of Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering), Michael Cunningham (Chemical Engineering, Chemistry), Philip Jessop (Chemistry) and Warren Mabee (Geography and Planning, School of Policy Studies), each affiliated with the Beaty Water Research Centre and an accomplished scientist in their respective field.  With the funding provided by the NSERC Brockhouse ($250,000), the team will work in unison bringing their unique but complementary expertise to designing solutions to address myriad problems caused by climate change.  

The four team members share a passion for sustainable use of natural resources and the development of green industrial processes. Dr. Champagne is an expert in biofuels and utilization of water resources; Dr. Cunningham is a specialist in green engineering; Dr. Jessop works in the area of green chemistry while Dr. Mabee brings his experience with policy issues and assessing the sustainability of renewable energy and material systems.  

All four researchers are affiliated with the Beaty Water Research Centre. Drs. Champagne, Jessop and Mabee are Canada Research Chairs. Dr. Cunningham was the Ontario Research Chair in Green Chemistry from 2010-2015.

“We pursue research on issues of critical importance to Canadians, including the development of alternate wastewater management strategies and environmentally sustainable approaches, green chemistry and engineering, and renewable energy policy,” says Dr. Champagne, the project’s principal investigator. “We are grateful to NSERC and the Government of Canada, for their ongoing support and understanding that Canadian leadership in complex research areas such as environmental sustainability, and true advances are only possible through collaborations that incorporate knowledge from different disciplines to create innovative and timely solutions.” 

The team has been involved in projects that explore the feasibility of using algal systems for wastewater treatment and biofuel recovery. These integrated systems hinge on devising strategies that facilitate nutrient removal, disinfection and carbon dioxide fixation, enhancing algal growth and oil production, and reducing the environmental (carbon, energy, GHG, water) footprint; and evolving biomass conversion approaches to generate biofuels and bioproducts in an integrated carbon and energy recovery scheme.  

They have also worked extensively on the use of carbon dioxide as an innovative and green “trigger” for stimuli-responsive materials. In addition to being abundant, inexpensive, nontoxic and environmentally benign, it does not accumulate in a system upon repeated cycles. They have explored and invented innovative methods to use carbon dioxide-switchable technology to address practical problems, including recent work on developing carbon dioxide-switchable materials for water treatment technologies. 

For these and other projects, the successful integration and implementation of their research within existing Canadian infrastructure and industry remains a key challenges and can only be achieved through interdisciplinary research.  

“Our research thrives because all four of us realize that we are not as capable individually as we are as a team. For our society to move towards a sustainable future, we need to abandon traditional academic silos and tackle these problems together,” says Dr. Champagne. 

For more information on the award, visit the NSERC website



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