Scientists Find Plant Gene that Affects Stress Resistance
A U of S team of scientists has isolated a gene that has never before been identified in helping plants resist stress.
The study -- published this month in the top-ranked plant journal The Plant Cell -- could pave the way for development of agricultural and forestry crops that are more tolerant to environmental stresses such as ultra-violet light and other types of radiation.
"Our next step is to see if plant genes we’ve isolated also play a similar role in fighting infections," said U of S microbiologist Wei Xiao. "In previous research, our team and others have shown that similar genes in human and animal cells play an important role in protection against both viral and bacterial infections."
In an unusual collaboration, Xiao teamed up with U of S biochemist Hong Wang, two post-doctoral fellows and three graduate students on the study. Doctoral student Rui Wen is lead author on the paper.
"This study demonstrates for the first time that we can study this group of genes at the whole organism level, rather than just at the cellular level, which could have applications down the road for human and animal medicine in fighting cancer and infections," said Xiao. Read more...
CIHR Awards $1.76 M for Saskatchewan Aboriginal Health Research
The Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre has been awarded $1.76 million over three years by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to further its work in aboriginal health.
IPHRC is a partnership among FNUC, U of S and U of R, with strong support from Saskatchewan First Nations and Métis communities and organizations.
The new funding comes from the CIHR's Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research (NEAHR) program. The 17-member research team is led by principal investigators Eber Hampton (U of R), Carrie Bourassa (FNUC) and Caroline Tait (U of S).
Highlights of IPHRC's accomplishments include the funding of 16 PhD, 18 Masters, and 59 undergraduate students. Among them is Bourassa, a U of R student, who received her PhD last Friday. A total of 31 research grants have been awarded to First Nations and Métis communities in Saskatchewan.
The NEAHR funding will build upon this success, helping to increase aboriginal-directed health research and transfer research findings to improve the health of First Nations and Métis peoples.
There will be an afternoon of discussion on sustainability Jan. 25, presented by the departments of geography and native studies in conjunction with the Office of Sustainability and the School of Environment and Sustainability (SES).
Lectures include "Backcasting from Sustainability: An Introduction to the Natural Step Framework" by John Purkis of the Natural Step Canada (1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Arts 256), as well as a Green Building Forum, followed by a tour of the new Law addition (2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Arts 256).
The Natural Step Framework is a methodology for successful organizational planning towards sustainability. It is based on systems thinking, recognizing that what happens in one part of a system affects every other part. With this principle in mind, the SES hopes to bring operations and academics together
on issues of sustainability and to encourage the development of partnerships
with external units to promote campus-wide environmental sustainability.
Interactive Web Forum Invites Discussion on Agriculture
A new blog initiated by the U of S Knowledge Impact in Society project invites people interested in the challenges facing agriculture and rural communities to use their intuition and imagination to look into the future. Current entries include topics such as "Whither Biofuels?" and "Farm Organizations…Is a Future Futile?"
The Illative Blog is open to anyone to participate. The word "illative" means "relating to or having the nature of inference"; hence, the discussion in blog entries and comments uses inferences as a basis for the discussion. Visitors to the site can read entries, share opinions on the inferences drawn by the authors, and suggest new topics for future postings, as well as subscribe to an RSS feed for all the latest updates.
KIS is one of 11 projects across Canada focused on connecting academic researchers and community participants in discussion and dialogue.
New CFI Competition: Leading Edge Fund and New Initiative Fund
With total funding of $400 million, the CFI has announced the next Leading Edge Fund (LEF) and New Initiative Fund (NIF) competition. The CFI will fund up to 40 per cent of total project cost.
The deadline for the awards is Oct. 28. However, interested researchers and research groups are invited to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to the Innovation Programs Unit by noon, Jan. 28. Successful applicants will be asked to develop a notice of intent for internal submission by April 11.
The CFI website states: "This competition seeks innovative and transformative infrastructure projects covering the full spectrum of research and development activities that will lead to breakthroughs and advantages for Canadians. All projects submitted in this competition must demonstrate world-class excellence." EOI forms can be downloaded on the U of S Research site. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Twenty-three recipients of CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund grants were honored at a Jan. 17 ceremony at the Faculty Club. Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost brought greetings from the Government of Canada, while CFI board member Liz Harrison spoke on behalf of the CFI.
In his remarks, President Peter MacKinnon noted that since CFI's inception in 1997, the U of S has received more than $153 million through various CFI programs, and that this investment has leveraged roughly another $300 million from other sources, mainly matching frunds from the Government of Saskatchewan supplemented by industry partners.
"This investment is indisputably helping us to build a vibrant and sustainable U of S research enterprise that positions us among the best in the country -- and as world leaders in select areas of pre-eminence," he said.
Photos and a complete list of recipients are available at: http://www.usask.ca/research/research_services/innovation/lof.php
Environmental advocate Severn Cullis-Suzuki will headline U of S International Week with a Jan. 31st public talk entitled "Who's the Revolutionary?" Her keynote lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in the Neatby-Timlin Theatre.
Cullis-Suzuki, an Earth Charter Commissioner for the UN, is much in demand as a speaker on the importance of understanding our interconnections to a globalized world and recognizing our responsibility in it. She recently finished a master's in ethnoecology with Kwakwaka'wakw Chief Adam Dick, learning about the natural world, traditional knowledge, science, societal trends and the politics of Northwest Coast interests.
With the theme of Bridging Global Communities, International Week -- Jan. 28 - Feb. 8 -- will include sessions on research projects in Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Uganda.
For more information on the week's activities, visit the International Students website or contact International Research Manager Anne Neufeld, Manager at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research Communications has partnered with CJWW Radio to highlight the impact of U of S research. To commemorate the university’s Centennial, reporter Jim Mattern selected four Canada Research Chairs and Vido/Intervac Director Andrew Potter to highlight in his series. He also briefly interviewed President Peter MacKinnon. He called the series "Research That's Making a Difference to Your World." The station is heard throughout Saskatchewan.
The sound clips are available on the Research Communications website along with photos and short descriptions of the researchers.
History department head and future Provost Brett Fairbairn will present a seminar entitled "A Rose by Any Name: the Thorny Question of Social-Economy Discourse in Canada" Thursday Jan. 31 at 3 p.m. in Agriculture 1E80.
The lecture discusses the concept of the social economy in a historical and contemporary sociopolitical context. He will explore the roots of the term and its philosophical relationship to concepts such as the co-operative/voluntary sector and community economic development, as well as how the social economy discussion has changed in light of federal politics.
The lecture is presented by the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.
On Jan. 25 veterinarian Dr. Colette Wheler will present a lecture on peri-operative nursing care for research rodents.
Approximately 1.3 million rodents are used for research and teaching each year in Canada, and many undergo anesthesia and surgery. Good peri-operative nursing care of these animals facilitates a rapid return to normal function, which, in turn, enhances the validity of the research being performed. Training animal-users how to provide support, in addition to educating them on why it is important, is the key to ensuring good nursing care is consistently provided.
The lecture, presented by University Committee on Animal Care and Supply, will take place in room B6, Health Sciences, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
Bright Future for Saskatchewan Diamond Exploration
Saskatchewan is home to the largest diamond-bearing kimberlite field in the world, and if feasibility studies and regulatory approvals go as planned, there could be a diamond mine in the Fort à la Corne area east of Prince Albert in the next few years.
To a packed audience at Convocation Hall on Jan. 22 that included many geology students, Shore Gold Senior Vice-President George Read shared his extensive knowledge of diamond exploration and the history of diamonds in his presentation for the annual Harry Toop Memorial Science for Saskatchewan Lecture.
According to geological science head Kevin Ansdell, enrolment in U of S geology and geophysics programs is growing. In 2007, 70 per cent of the graduates from these programs obtained jobs in the Saskatchewan mineral exploration and mining industry.
Harry Toop, an alumnus of the U of S, sponsors the annual lecture to highlight current scientific developments of potential importance to the Saskatchewan economy.
To hear the taped lecture and view the slides, click here: http://www.usask.ca/research/communications/saskdiamonds.php
Effective Feb. 1, Jim Thornhill will assume the part-time position of Special Advisor to Beth Horsburgh, Associate Vice-President Research - Health for the U of S and Vice-President Research and Innovation for the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR).
While maintaining his Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies duties in the College of Medicine, Thornhill will help develop the vision and policies related to health research and innovation at SHR and the U of S, including the new Academic Health Sciences Centre. He will also assist in administering the Saskatchewan-CIHR Regional Partnership Program. The appointment is for three years.
The U of S, SHR and the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation have pooled resources to create the new office with joint commitments for health research and innovation. The overarching purpose is "to support excellence in health research and innovation and to create synergies among the respective organizations through common goals."
Additional OVPR Staffing Changes
Effective Jan. 21, Arnold Blackstar assumed the position of Contracts Officer in the Office of Research Services. A former senior policy advisor with the Aboriginal Policing directorate, he succeeds Deborah Houston, who left ORS to take up a position as Health Research Development Officer in the Office of the Associate VP Research - Health. Donna Mitchell, previously half-time with ORS handling clinical trial contract administration and half-time Acting Director at the Saskatchewan Drug Research Institute, will become the full-time director of SDRI effective Feb. 1. The function of clinical trial agreement negotiation and administration will move with Mitchell to SDRI.
In December, three new faces also joined the OVPR. Oksana Moshynska took up a term position as Grants Officer (SSHRC, CIHR and related disciplines), filling Nicole Benning's position while Benning is away on a maternity leave. Noor Syed became Manager of Research Contracts, and Jolana Bishop joins the main office in reception.
March 3 Nomination Deadline for $250,000 NSERC Award
The NSERC John C. Polanyi Award for A Recent Outstanding Canadian Advance in the Natural Sciences or Engineering includes a medal and a $250,000 research grant. Nominees must be researchers or research teams supported at least in part by NSERC. For specific details regarding nominations, see their website. For assistance in developing nominations, contact Mary Walters, U of S Awards Facilitator, 966-2499. email@example.com
The Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada will be accepting applications for grants Feb. 1 - Mar. 31. The foundation grants funds to support research into the causes, potential cures and prevention of prostate cancer. They will consider research proposals in the categories of basic, clinical and translational research. Grants of up to $60,000 will be awarded to Canadian-based research.
Grant applications will be available on their website from Feb. 1. Successful applicants will be notified during the 1st week of July.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org