University of Saskatchewan

August 22, 2014   

Research News Issue 46 April 30, 2008

April 30, 2008

Produced by Research Communications for the University of Saskatchewan

April 30th, 2008 Issue 46

in this issue

U of S Research Helps China's Small Farmers Meet Global Market Demands
U of S Digitizes Father of Modern Sociology's Personal Library
Toxicology Centre Awarded $1.59 M to Develop Innovative Test
SHRF Awards $2.6 M to U of S-led Health Research
New Non-Profit Company to Fast-Track Vaccine Development
U of S Science Ambassadors Reach out to Aboriginal Communities
Innovative Research-Based Teaching Relief at the Edwards School of Business
CLS Conferences and Workshops
Deadlines Approach for External Awards
AUCC Accepting Applications for International Science Fellowship
Explore Now Online
Research Communications Wants Your Input

U of S Research Helps China's Small Farmers Meet Global Market Demands

(above) This hog barn was able to expand because of the new co-operatives. (below) New co-op members speaking with U of S staff and students.

A team of U of S researchers is helping to alleviate poverty in rural China by providing advice and training in setting up small producer co-operatives.

Working with the Rural Development Institute, a research centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, the team has spent the past five years advising on successful co-operative development and developing training materials. Last year, the Chinese government passed legislation allowing co-ops to be established.

Recently, Edwards School of Business professor Lou Hammond Ketilson, who directs the U of S Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, and PhD student Zhao Jun visited China to learn how the newly formed co-ops are progressing.

Jun, originally from Beijing, expects to complete his doctoral thesis this year on the creation of co-operatives in rural China.

"His findings could have policy implications for the Chinese government," says Hammond Ketilson, an Edwards School of Business professor.

The multi-disciplinary team also includes Murray Fulton, Gary Storey, Dan Ish, Brett Fairbairn, and Roger Herman. More information is available at:


U of S Digitizes Father of Modern Sociology's Personal Library

Library Dean Vicki Williamson announced April 16th that the personal library of Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin, forerunner of modern sociology, will be added to the library's digital collection.

Sorokin founded the sociology department at Harvard University and is considered the father of modern sociology. Included in his personal papers are manuscripts, annotated books, and personal correspondence with the likes of Albert Einstein and former United States president Herbert Hoover.

"The web collection will be a full-text online resource," says Linda Fritz, head of research services at the library. "It will allow scholars all over the world to work with the U of S to create a comprehensive picture of Sorokin's scholarship."

The collection is expected to be fully online by the end of July 2008, augmenting the library's already extensive online resources, which has over 50 web collections.

U of S professor Richard DuWors, a former Sorokin student, and former head librarian David Appelt, recognized the collection's value and spearheaded its acquisition in 1968. Although Sorokin had no direct link to the U of S, he was looking for a "neutral and safe" home for his papers, explains Fritz.


Toxicology Centre Awarded $1.59 M to Develop Innovative Test

Karsten Liber (left) poses with MP Brad Trost and John Giesy.

On April 4th, Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost $1.59 million announced from the Government of Canada for the U of S Toxicology Centre. The funding will go toward new equipment and staff to further develop a cutting-edge research technique that assesses toxic chemicals' potential impact on human and environmental health.

Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology John Giesy and research scientist Markus Hecker have developed a test (bioassay) that can determine the effects of chemicals on steroid-producing enzymes and hormone production without using animals as test subjects.

"Global validation of this bioassay is already underway and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is expected to grant approval within the next 12 to 24 months," said Karsten Liber, the Toxicology Centre's director and project's co-principal investigator.

OECD approval would make the bioassay, known as the H295R steroidogenesis assay, the primary test sanctioned for use by member countries to screen chemicals for their endocrine (hormone) disrupting activity.


SHRF Awards $2.6 M to U of S-led Health Research

On April 8th, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) announced $2.6 million for U of S projects exploring vaccinations, obesity, nerve re-growth, mental health and addiction in the Aboriginal population, and stem cell cancer research.

Andrew Potter leads the Research Alliance for the Prevention of Infectious Disease (RAPID), which was awarded $2.4 million through SHRF's Health Research Team fund. Located at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), the Saskatoon Health Region, and the University of Calgary, the multi-disciplinary team develops technologies and infrastructure to immunize people against diseases such as West Nile virus, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C.

Four research teams received $50,000 each from SHRF's Research Group Development Program, an amount matched by the U of S. Recipients are: Karen Chad's obesity research group (kinesiology), Daniel Chen's tissue engineering group (mechanical engineering), John DeCoteau and Ron Geyer's cancer stem cell initiative (medicine), and Raymond Tempier and Colleen Dell (medicine), who lead the Saskatchewan Team for Research and Evaluation of Addictions Treatment and Mental Health Services (STREAM).


New Non-Profit Company to Fast-Track Vaccine Development

Scientific leaders from three of Canada's foremost public health vaccine research agencies will gather on campus May 2nd to celebrate the launch of the $25.5-million Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise (PREVENT), a new national vaccine commercialization consortium based at U of S.

PREVENT was formed to accelerate early-stage vaccines through the development pipeline. The new company involves three partners -- VIDO, the BC Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver and the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Halifax.

The company has its own board and will be housed within existing space at VIDO and its partners in Vancouver and Halifax. VIDO Director Andrew Potter is the company's chief executive officer. Ten to 15 staff will be hired, including three director-level positions.

PREVENT's approach is expected to reduce the risk that currently limits the commercial uptake of vaccine candidates, and strengthen the competitiveness of the Canadian vaccine industry.

PREVENT will play a key role in co-ordinating Canadian graduate student training in vaccinology. At the U of S, the recently established School of Public Health and the graduate program in vaccinology and immunotherapeutics will help train highly qualified individuals.


U of S Science Ambassadors Reach Out to Aboriginal Communities

Physics graduate student Danielle Anderson will spend April and May as a "Science Ambassador" in The Pas, Manitoba, as part of a program designed to support science education in Aboriginal communities.

"The most rewarding part is when I overhear 'science is fun!' or 'I'm going to try this at home,' as well as when kids refer to me as 'the science lady' when they pass me in the halls," shares Anderson.

Anderson is the second student to participate in the Science Ambassadors program, which was launched last year with funding support from the College of Engineering, Cameco, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The program places graduate students with degrees in science or engineering in Aboriginal communities to assist teachers in the classroom and with extracurricular activities. Their work is aimed at children in grades five to twelve, critical years that determine whether students develop an interest in science and pursue science education in later years.

"What makes this program unique is the duration of the support our students provide," says professor Julita Vassileva, NSERC-Cameco Prairie Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. "Unlike most other programs, our science ambassadors spend extended periods of time in the community, either for one or two days every week, or for two entire months."


Call for New Canada Research Chair Theme Areas

The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Advisory Committee invites colleges and schools to recommend theme areas for new CRCs at the U of S.

The committee favours collaborations among colleges and departments which fit with the CRC Strategic Research Plan, as well as institutional and college integrated plans.

Submissions should include the theme areas proposed for search and justification for a U of S investment in that theme area. This rationale should include the potential impact a CRC will have on research capacity, collaboration, and training, as well as how the suggested position will help achieve goals identified in the strategic plans.

Deadline for submission is May 25th. Please forward documentation to

Procedural questions can be directed to


Innovative Research-Based Teaching Relief at the Edwards School of Business

The Edwards School of Business is implementing the second year of its Research-Based Teaching Relief (RBTR) policy, which has significant implications for ensuring workload equity and increasing research activity.

Through the policy, faculty can qualify for a reduced teaching assignment for a three-year period if they are publishing in peer-reviewed journals or engaged in other scholarly work. The policy plans on faculty becoming more research active by providing a reduced teaching assignment for one year based on planned research. Faculty applying for teaching relief under the planned research category must show significant progress to obtain the remaining two years of the relief term.

The ESB Executive adjudicates to ensure the RBTR policy is applied consistently across departments.

"This policy has been embraced by the faculty and has proven to be a great success," says Associate Dean Nola Buhr.

The policy can be seen at: Please contact Nola Buhr at for further information.


CLS Conferences and Workshops

  • Engineers and scientists wanting to hear more about advances in synchrotron research and development around the world can attend the Fifth International Workshop on Mechanical Engineering Design of Synchrotron Radiation Equipment and Instrumentation (MEDSI) and the Fifteenth Pan-American Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI) Conference in Saskatoon from June 10th to 13th.

    Early registration for the conferences closes May 1st. For more information, contact or visit
  • Researchers who wish to add synchrotron techniques to their skill set can attend the Saskatoon Synchrotron Summer School III (S4III) from August 18th to 22nd. Information will be presented through lectures, case studies, and hands-on experience collecting and analyzing data.

    Early-bird deadline for applications is June 20th. Forms for registration will be online starting next week. For more information contact or visit
  • CLS earth and environmental science community members can engage with experts from around the world to discuss the future direction of our national synchrotron facility in the molecular environmental sciences at the Canadian Light Source Earth and Environmental Science Workshop, taking place May 5th to 6th.

    To register, visit, or for more information contact


Deadlines Approach for External Awards

  • Applications for Canada Council Killam Research Fellowships are due May 15th. Valued at $70,000, they provide two years of release from teaching and administrative duties to scholars in: humanities; social sciences; natural sciences; health sciences; engineering; or studies linking any of the disciplines within these fields. See:
  • Nominations for the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering are due June 1st. The prize recognizes outstanding Canadian research teams who combine multidisciplinary expertise to produce internationally significant research in the natural sciences and engineering. See:
  • NSERC awards up to six Steacie Fellowships each year to individuals who have obtained doctorates within the last 12 years and hold an NSERC grant. Successful fellows are relieved of teaching and administrative duties for two years to devote time and energy to their research. Candidates must be nominated by senior members of the Canadian science and engineering community by June 30th. See:

For assistance with faculty nominations for external awards, prizes and fellowships, contact the U of S Awards Facilitator, contact


AUCC Accepting Applications for International Science Fellowship

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) is now accepting applications for the UNESCO-L'Oréal for Women in Science International Fellowships. The $20,000 awards -- open to doctoral and post-doctoral students -- are offered to women in the life sciences who are studying abroad or intending to do so. Four applications will be submitted by the AUCC to represent Canada at the international level. Final selection will be made by an international jury.

Postmarked application packages must be sent to the AUCC on or before June 15th. For more information, visit:


Explore Now Online

The inaugural issue of Explore, the U of S research magazine, is now online. Readers can turn the pages of an interactive version or view an html copy with exclusive online content. Academica Group listed the launch as one of its top ten news stories in March.

This month's online exclusive features John Giesy, a toxin sleuth who has developed an animal-free test to find harmful chemicals in everyday consumer products like plastic water bottles.

The online magazine developed by U of S Research Communications, in collaboration with EMAP (Educational Media Access and Production), is available at:


Research Communications Wants Your Input

Research News is seeking feedback to ensure that the newsletter is meeting the needs of its readers. Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey by May 16th. For those who wish to participate, there will be a draw for a free lunch for two at the U of S Faculty Club.


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