University of Saskatchewan

September 22, 2014   

Research News - Issue 8

June 30, 2005
University of Saskatchewan Research News


Karen Chad Appointed Associate Vice-President Research

Kinesiology professor Karen Chad has been appointed Associate Vice-President Research for a five-year renewable term beginning July 1, 2005. She has served as Acting AVPR since July 2004. Since then, she has led a number of important initiatives including helping to define areas of pre-eminence at the U of S, assembling proactive research administration teams, establishing an Awards Facilitator office, and launching a U of S Conference Fund.
She will now continue to provide leadership in key areas, including the Canada Research Chairs renewal process, strategic support to the University’s tri-council research coordinators, and strategic support for research centres.

U of S Awarded $6.9 M for Newborn Vaccine Research by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Grants

On June 27, the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) was awarded $6.9 million (Can.) to develop and improve vaccines for newborns through the Grand Challenges in Global Health competition, an initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Competing with approximately 1,500 teams from 75 countries, VIDO – one of three Canadian grant recipients – has secured funding for five years to develop technologies to make existing and new vaccines suitable for delivery to newborns. VIDO’s internationally recognized team, led by Lorne Babiuk, includes researchers from U of S, the University of British Columbia, Dalhouse University, and the International Vaccine Institute (Korea).

Franklin Joins Team Saskatchewan at BIO 2005

U of S Vice-President Research Steven Franklin (seen here with Tyler Bradley of Ag West Bio Inc.; Anne Charles, Canadian Consul General, Chicago; Colin Barry, Canadian Trade Commissioner, Chicago; and Troy Juror from the Illinois Farm Bureau) was part of the provincial government’s Team Saskatchewan trade mission to BIO 2005, the world’s largest biotechnology conference, held this year in Philadelphia from June 19 to 22. Nearly 19,000 delegates from 56 countries attended.
The aim of the mission was to promote Saskatchewan as “biotech central” in Canada, with unparalleled life sciences research capacity including major academic, government, and commercial research institutions centred on the University of Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan contingent met with officials from Australia, New Zealand and Chile, as well as representatives from several major multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences companies. The team also visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other research centres in Boston and Chicago.

Michel Desautels appointed Chair of Bio-Medical Research Ethics Board

Dr. Michel Desautels, acting head of the department of physiology in the College of Medicine, has been appointed Chair of the U of S Bio-Medical Research Ethics Board for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2005. He succeeds Dr. Barry McLennan of the department of biochemistry in the College of Medicine.
As Chair, Dr. Desautels will work with the Board to review proposed or ongoing U of S research involving human subjects. For the past two years, he has worked as a member of the Board, helping to ensure that the safety and comfort level of patients participating in U of S-associated research remains paramount. He will provide leadership and management to the REB, and maintain the integrity and confidentiality of the ethics review process.

World-leading Environmental Toxicologist to Join U of S

John Giesy, a world-renowned expert in industry-created persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and their effect on people and the environment, has been appointed Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology.
Giesy, currently Distinguished Professor of Zoology at Michigan State University, will assume his position with the U of S department of veterinary biomedical sciences in May, 2006. His work, based at the U of S Toxicology Centre, will be aimed at developing rapid, sensitive, and cost-effective tools to test for POPs in the environment, particularly in regions such as Canada's Arctic where fragile ecosystems and a heavy reliance on native foods make populations especially vulnerable. Ultimately, these tools and the knowledge generated will guide policy makers and regulators in prescribing more environmentally sustainable practices.

Canadian Light Source Director Named to CIHR Governing Council

Canadian Light Source executive-director Bill Thomlinson is one of three new members named to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Governing Council on June 14. Thomlinson joins Patrick John McGrath, Professor of Psychology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, and H. Arnold Steinberg from investment holding company Cleman Ludmer Steinberg, Inc. on the council.
The council manages CIHR's property, business and affairs, including developing strategic directions, goals and policy, evaluating performance, approving budget and establishing peer review processes for research proposals. It also establishes policies for consulting and collaborating with partners with an interest in health research, and appoints directors and advisory board members for the various Health Research Institutes.

Dephytinization Process Receives European Patent

A process invented at the U of S to remove phytate from plant-based animal feed products has been granted a European patent.
Henry Classen in the department of Animal and Poultry Science and co-inventors David Maenz and Rex Newkirk received notification that a European patent filed by the University of Saskatchewan passed safely through the nine-month opposition period, with no oppositions being filed against it. The patent provides broad coverage in Great Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Phytate is an anti-nutritional factor that interferes with nutrient absorption. The process, being developed by U of S startup MCN BioProducts Inc., allows production of high-quality dietary products for animals.

Physics: Past, Present and Future

In celebration of the World Year of Physics 2005, the department of physics and engineering physics is hosting a symposium in Arts 241 (formerly the Place Riel Theatre) on October 5 and 6, bringing together alumni, current faculty and students of physics at the U of S.
Two afternoon sessions are planned, with seminars from alumni of the 1950s, current faculty, and students. There will be a poster session in the conference area. Contributions for oral and poster sessions are invited. There will be a public lecture on the evening of October 5th. Highlights include historical tours of the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, as well as a public lecture by Dr. Al Cameron, astrophysicist, professor emeritus at Harvard University, and the first person to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan. Contact Chary Rangacharyulu at 966-6412 by August 15 to propose a seminar for the symposium.

Engineering research to look at water treatment with microwaves and visible light

A novel project to design and develop a small-scale water treatment method using microwave energy and visible light has been awarded $107,000 over the next three years from the Communities of Tomorrow, a Regina-based initiative to develop best practices and technologies for sustainable communities.
The research, led by Venkatesh Meda in the U of S department of agricultural and bioresource engineering, is the first of its kind to partner faculty from the colleges of engineering at the U of S and University of Regina in association with Center for Sustainable Communities. It will look at using a combination of microwaves and photocatalysis to treat water. Photocatalysis is the ability of certain metals such as titanium dioxide to degrade and decompose organic contaminants when exposed to visible light. If successful, the research will lead to a simple, compact unit that can be retrofitted to any community drinking water treatment facility.

U of S Filmmaker Wins Golden Sheaf in Yorkton

U of S English master’s student Tasha Hubbard took home the Golden Sheaf award for “Best Aboriginal Film” at the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival this month.
Hubbard’s documentary, Two Worlds Colliding, produced by the National Film Board, chronicles the story of Saskatoon’s infamous “freezing deaths,” and the divide between a fearful, mistrustful Aboriginal community and a police force that had to come to terms with a shocking secret. “I’m pleased the film and its content has been recognized in this way. Police-Aboriginal relations continue to need work and I hope the film can contribute to dialogue in this area,” said Hubbard. The film was also nominated in the documentary category.

Pathology Student Accepts Fellowship at Mt. Sinai Hospital

U of S pathology doctoral graduate Stuart Scott has been accepted as a clinical molecular genetics fellow at Mt. Sinai hospital in New York City, one of only two fellows working in cancer research at Mt. Sinai. At the U of S he studied aberrant epigenetic silencing in leukemia. The fellowship, offered through the American Board of Medical Genetics (ABMG) and the Canadian College of Medical Genetics (CCMG), provides Scott with an opportunity to learn all the molecular techniques offered at Mt. Sinai, one of the oldest and largest voluntary teaching hospitals in the U.S. Following the training and a national exam, he will be qualified to run a DNA diagnostic lab in a hospital setting. He hopes to return to Saskatoon to continue his cancer research.

Michael Smith Award Celebrates Science Promotion

The Michael Smith Award honours individuals and groups who make outstanding contributions to the promotion of science in Canada through activities encouraging popular interest in science or developing science abilities. Up to five recipients (individuals or groups) may be selected for the award each year. Awards include personal awards of $5,000 to individual recipients, and $10,000 to winning organizations to further science promotion activities. Deadline for nominations is September 1, 2005.
For help in developing nominations of U of S faculty members, contact Mary Walters, U of S Awards Facilitator at 966-2499.

“Ege heads” Play Major Role in Manuscript Exhibit

Amie Shirkie (M.A. English) and Eve Townsend (Art and Art History) are part of a student team essential to the presentation of Scattered Leaves: The Otto Ege Medieval Manuscript Collection.
The group, unofficially known as the “Ege Heads,” is profiled this month on the Student Research News website. The online version of Scattered Leaves is available at

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