University of Saskatchewan

April 21, 2014   

Research News - Issue 12

September 30, 2005
University of Saskatchewan Research News

UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN  September 30 , 2005  Issue 12

International team to tackle mystery of “hothouse ice age”

U of S geochemist Chris Holmden and an international team have been awarded $557,000 over five years from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the Hirnantian glaciation about 430 million years ago. This ice age coincided with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 12-16 times higher than today – a situation that should have led to high temperatures through the greenhouse effect.
The collaborative effort, led by Chuck Mitchell of the University of Buffalo – SUNY, will use the tools of the Saskatchewan Isotope Lab at the U of S to tease out clues from samples gathered from China, England, Russia, and the Czech Republic.
The successful NSF proposal was aided by a Proposal Development Award through the U of S Office of the Vice President Research.

Vassileva named to Cameco NSERC Prairie Chair for Women in Science and Engineering

Computer science professor Julita Vassileva has been named to the Cameco NSERC Prairie Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. She will work to identify barriers that deter females from pursuing careers in science and engineering and support and mentor young women in the sciences. Current research explores online communities and identifying rewards and incentives that encourage participation, especially among women.
The five-year, $1.16 million Chair is one of only five awarded across the country. It is supported with $350,000 from Saskatoon-based Cameco Corporation as part of its gift to the U of S Thinking the World of Our Future campaign. This is matched with $350,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), with the balance made up by the University.

Expert Commentary Program offers public podium for U of S expertise

Through an arrangement with the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Research Communications offers an Expert Commentary Program. Through op-ed columns, university experts offer their insights on issues of the day and contribute to public debate. The latest example was a two-part series written by Mark Partridge, Canada Research Chair in the New Rural Economy and Rose Olfert, associate professor in the department of agricultural economics. The columns, which ran September 15 and 16, took a look at the “centennial cousins” of Alberta and Saskatchewan, contending that differences in prosperity have little to do with resource wealth and more to do with amenities, geography, and political climate. Ideas for the Expert Commentary Program can be directed to research.communications@usask.ca, or the Research Communications office at 966-2427.
Research Communications also identifies other opportunities to showcase U of S expertise, such as the independent production Late Harvest, a documentary on Saskatchewan's changing landscape and the forces that are drawing people here. Partridge and fellow Canada Research Chair Ingrid Pickering were interviewed for this production to air on SCN in 2006.

Youth gambling focus of SSHRC doctoral fellowship

Corina Farbacher, a PhD candidate in sociology, will receive a $60,000 doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to study the effects of gambling on at-risk youth such as those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Her work should shed light on how gambling effects the lives of youth, whether directly through participation in gaming activities, or indirectly such as when a parent siphons off critical resources to feed a gambling habit. The project is also supported by Saskatchewan Health and SPHERU.
Farbacher’s project is one of 36 fellowships and graduate scholarships received by Saskatchewan students, collectively worth $1.06 million. The national program this year will spend $96 million to support the work of more than 2,300 students across the country. A complete listing is available on the SSHRC website.

Prairie Swine Centre cleans up at CSAS awards

Prairie Swine Centre staff took three of five prestigious awards this year from the Canadian Society of Animal Science. Lee Whittington, manager of information services, won the Animal Industries Award in Extension and Public Service, while Martin Nyachoti, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba and a former research associate at the Centre, won the Young Scientist Award. President and CEO John Patience won the Award of Excellence for Research in Nutrition and Meat Science.

CPHR Fall Seminar Focuses on Health of Aboriginal Peoples

Kathi Wilson, assistant professor of geography from the University of Toronto, is featured presenter at Geographies of Exclusion: Addressing the Health of Aboriginal Peoples, this fall’s seminar presented by the Community and Population Health Research Training Program (CPHR). Wilson’s research focuses on the intersections of health and place. She has a long-standing interest in various dimensions of population health, including use of and access to health care services, determinants of Aboriginal peoples' health, and links between neighbourhood environments and well-being.
The seminar runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on October 20 in the Royal University Hospital Mall Lecture Theatre. The event is hosted by Sylvia Abonyi, U of S Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Health. For information call 966-7942.

Eat your veggies, boys!

Hassanali Vatanparast and colleagues in the College of Kinesiology have found fruits and vegetables are essential for building strong bones in childhood and adolescence.
The team looked at 85 boys and 67 girls aged eight to 20 over seven years. They found that boys who ate the most fruit and vegetables showed the greatest accumulation of mineral in their bones. While there was no difference detected for girls, this may have been due to girls habitually under reporting how much they eat, thus skewing results for their gender.
While most participants ate enough dairy products, the researchers found most of them didn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, which contain minerals required to control acid levels in the body and prevent bone loss, as well as containing vitamin K, essential for forming bone cells. The work appears in the September 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Composer Lemay and saxophonist Guay to explore Musical Form

Composer Robert Lemay and saxophonist Jean-François Guay will present the 90th lecture in the Fine Arts Research Lecture Series in Music on October 6 at 7:30 p.m in Convocation Hall. This free public lecture will look at Lemay’s music, specifically the compositions “Sarajevo” and “Solitude oubliée.” Lemay is a former visiting professor in composition at the U of S, and is now a sessional instructor in music at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. Guay is professor of saxophone at College Marie-Victorin, Université de Montréal and president of the Association des Saxophonistes du Québec.
Guay will also play Lemay's compositions in a concert the next evening, October 7 at 7:30 p.m., also at Convocation Hall. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. For more information, contact Walter Kreyszig at 966-6184.

Genome Prairie funds cold tolerance, health systems research

Crop science professor Brian Fowler and political studies professor Peter Phillips have received backing from Genome Prairie to study cold tolerance in cereal crops, intellectual property, and the ramifications of genomics knowledge on health care.
Phillips will work on a $2.2 million, four-year project looking at genomics in health systems. Specifically, public and private partnerships in protecting and mobilizing traditional knowledge, and new models for governance. He will also participate in a project to related to new oilseed varieties, including regulation, marketing, and intellectual property.
Fowler and his team will work on a $6 million effort to investigate cold weather tolerance in wheat, barley, and rye. They will draw on extensive genetic data and tools within the wheat and barley species and close relatives to better understand the low-temperature responses of these crops in order to develop hardier crops.

Stem cell pioneers earn major medical award

Canadian stem cell pioneers James Till (left) and Ernest McCulloch have received the Lasker Award, the highest medical honour in the U.S. In the early 1960s, the two collaborators at the Ontario Cancer Institute found the first stem cells – undifferentiated cells that have the potential to multiply into any of the body’s over 200 tissue types. Till, a U of S alumnus (MSc, Physics, 1954), cautioned that an enormous amount of work remains to be done if stem cell research is to deliver on the promise of its hype. Boosters of stem cell research assert that it could allow replacement of virtually any damaged tissue, from heart to bone to brain, allowing treatment for hitherto incurable ailments.

New SHRF Grant Program Supports Formation of Health Research Groups

A new Research Group Development Grant Program from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) supports the formation and development of health research groups with potential to evolve into highly productive and sustainable research teams. The program, an extension of SHRF's former Research Group Facilitation Grant Program, provides up to $25,000 per year per group, to be matched by the group’s home institution.
Details are posted on the SHRF website; questions should be addressed to Lori Ebbesen, Ed.D., Program & Development Officer, at 975-1685.

US $1 Million Dan David Prizes Nomination Deadline November 30

Three Dan David Prizes are awarded annually on an international basis for achievements with outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world. Each year fields are specified for each of the three time dimensions. This year’s fields are 1) Past: Preserving Cultural Heritage (Individual Contributions); 2) Present: Journalists of Print Media; 3) Future: Cancer Therapy.
For help in developing awards nominations for U of S faculty, contact Mary Walters, Awards Facilitator at 966-2499.

New hires at Research Services replace outgoing staff

Research Services is back to full strength after three new hires to replace outgoing staff.
As programs officer, Ann Smith will provide specialized support to the Innovation Programs Unit, including administration of the Canada Research Chairs and Canada Foundation for Innovation programs. Her previous posting was senior project officer with the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Program in Saskatchewan (CARDS) and the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Saskatchewan Program (ACAAFS). Ann is working toward her Certified Management Accountant designation.
Erin Wasylow will provide clerical services to support the associate director and contracts unit. A graduate of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology office assistant program, she is working toward a BA in English as a part-time Arts & Science student . She has held various administrative positions over the years with the most recent being at the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute.
As Research Facilitator - Natural Sciences and Engineering, Tom Porter will help principal investigators develop and close funding proposals for research projects of strategic national and international importance to the University. Tom has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the U of S and has written many papers and publications. He owns B.C. Consulting Services, is the founding president and CEO of Five Star Specialty Meats Ltd. and is founding manager of Living Sky Agri-Value Products Co-operative Ltd.

Produced by University of Saskatchewan Research Communications
Phone: (306) 966-2427
Website: www.usask.ca/research
To subscribe or contribute to the newsletter: research.communications@usask.ca

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