Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
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Featured stories from the (e)AFFECT Magazine.

Strength in Numbers: The Canadian Cancer Trials Group

Patients facing a cancer diagnosis invariably have many questions, but one tops the list – what is theLogo of the Canadian Cander Trials Group best treatment? Answering that question is the compelling goal of medical research that is testing new treatments for similarly-diagnosed patients in carefully monitored and controlled ways. Such studies, known as clinical trials, have been instrumental in altering and improving the way cancer is now approached.

BIG Data: Transforming Medicine

Today, some of the most significant advances in medicine stem from digital information - ranging from detailed genetic data to high-level administrative data - captured during a patient's various encounters with the medical system. By capturing and comparing these diverse data holdings, medical researchers are learning more about disease and developing more effective drugs and treatment protocols.

Mathemagic! Lynda Colgan

“You’ll hear people say all the time they can’t do math, and they think this is okay,” says Lynda Colgan, associate professor of education at Queen’s and director of the Community Outreach Centre. “In contrast, it’s socially unacceptable not to be able to read.” Colgan thinks one reason for the tolerance of math illiteracy is that most of the math that people do on a daily basis is invisible. Invisible math is a problem.


From Bones to Bits: Saving the Raw Material of Research

painting of Hamlet with skull of YorickFor more than five decades, Nancy Ossenberg has been taking stock of skulls. Now a professor emeritus in the School of Medicine, she devoted her entire career to gathering and analyzing skull measurements from North America and beyond. Since 1960, she has amassed records for more than 8000 skulls, noting dozens of distinctive physical features for each and applying those data to describe the ebb and flow of various populations around the world.

Young talent at the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute

Most cancer patients in Kingston and the surrounding area receive treatment at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, a shiny new facility attached to Kingston General Hospital that houses facilities for radiotherapy and chemotherapy, dietary counselling and other cancer support services. What these patients may not know is that, steps away, is the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, a four-storey building full of physicians and scientists who, on the front lines and behind the scenes, are figuring out how cancer works and improving the quality of cancer care in Canada and around the world.

The Ostrich: An Unexpected Allegory

Dr. Una D’Elia reading a large bookThe ostrich, the world’s largest and heaviest bird, is quite a curious looking creature with its long and skinny neck, small head, prominent eyes and legs that seem to go on for miles. For centuries, the strange form and habits of this flightless bird known as the Struthio camelus or “sparrow camel” both baffled and amazed ancient, medieval, and Renaissance scientists who encountered it. They viewed the peculiar creature as a hybrid – half bird, half beast.

Creating a Circular Economy: Warren Mabee

Warren Mabee standing in front of forestWarren Mabee taps his desk with two fingers as he talks.

Partly it’s for emphasis. But mostly it’s to draw my attention to the desk. “It’ll last forty to fifty years,” he says. “Then it’ll just go into a landfill. You can’t even burn it because it’s full of phenol formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen.”  Mabee wants to change the way we think about objects like this desk. Think of it, or the wood that makes it up, differently. See it as something that can be taken apart and put to other purposes.

Canada's Waste Flow

Myra Hird with a ball of rubber bandsMyra Hird, sitting in a friend’s kitchen, reaches into her bag and pulls out a fist-sized ball made of elastic bands wrapped around each other. It took her six months to collect the elastics, which she found on the ground.

Waste touches virtually every aspect of our lives,” says Hird. ”How we deal with it is a matter of democratic importance.”