University of Saskatchewan

April 20, 2014   

Research News Issue 47 June 6, 2008

June 06, 2008

Produced by Research Communications for the University of Saskatchewan

June 6 , 2008 Issue 47

Research News covers the latest results and benefits of U of S research, scholarly, and artistic work, as well as the services and outstanding faculty, students, and staff that advance the university’s $140-million-a-year research enterprise.

In This Issue

Top Stories
$47 Million for Digital Content to Transform Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities
U of S Researcher Cited in The Economist
Geophysics Technician Helps Canada in Last Great Land Claim
U of S 2008 Distinguished Researcher Finds an SOS Response to Cancer-Causing Agents
Engineering Student Takes First in Sustainable Management Competition
Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Gala Recognizes U of S Technology
New CLS Executive Director to Bridge Industry and Research
Four U of S Employees Named to PREVENT’s Board of Directors
New Book Details Space Research’s Orbit at the U of S
U of S Immunologist Elected to International Allergy Group
Report Reflects WCVM’s Thriving Research Program

New Research Tools

Transportation Centre of Excellence Launched
New Research Data Centre Opens at U of S

Bravo! Research Funding Successes
Tri-council Grants Announced for U of S Research and Scholarships
Funding Pours in for THREATS Water Research
Funding to Advance BSE and Chronic Wasting Disease Research
Million-Dollar Donation Creates Parkinson’s Research Endowment

News from the OVPR

Office of the Vice-President Research Strategic Projects Team Announced
Engaging India Symposium Discusses U of S Research and Involvement
Changes to Ethics Procedures and Submission Forms
New Executive Assistant to Vice-President Research

Calling All Papers
Call for Conference on International Governance Papers and Posters
WUSC Looking For Youth Action and Civil Engagement Presentations

From the Research Newsroom

We Have a Winner!
Just Google U of S
Tell us Your Story

Top Stories

$47 Million for Digital Content to Transform Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities

More than 900,000 researchers, scholars, and students in eight provinces and 67 universities, including the U of S, will gain desktop access to an extensive body of national and international material to a joint $47-million investment announced June 3rd by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

With the click of a button, researchers and students will be able to access, search, sort, and consult a rich digital collection of scholarly content, ranging from books, letters, and historical documents to music scores, maps, artworks, and visual materials. Many of these were not previously accessible, or were only offered with limited access in print.

The investment is the work of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), a consortium of universities dedicated to expanding digital content in support of academic research enterprise in Canada.

For the full news release: http://www.researchknowledge.ca/en/news/index.jsp

U of S Researcher Cited in The Economist

Agriculture economist Richard Gray was cited in the June 5th edition of The Economist, one of the world’s top sources for business and political news.

Gray commented on how biofuels link grain and energy prices in an article titled “Not Just a Breadbasket: Saskatchewan Becomes the New Alberta”.

For the full story, visit:
http://www.economist.com/world/la/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11497012

Geophysics Technician Helps Canada in Last Great Land Claim

Geophysics technician Lloyd Litwin recently went on a northern project that could help Canada claim the Alpha Ridge, a mountain belt on the Arctic Ocean floor.

If Canada can prove the ridge is a continuation of the Canadian continental shelf, it would be able to access the ridge’s oil and other mineral resources.

Litwin, who was on official loan from the U of S, and the Geology Survey of Canada team used explosives to create seismic waves and study the 600 kilometres of the ridge as part of the Arctic Ridge Test of Appurtenance.

"We went up to one of the harshest environments on the planet to work and to live without a shower to secure another 100 to 200 years of oil for the Canadian government," says Litwin. "I did something for my country."

Test results will be available in approximately a year and final results will be presented to the United Nations by 2013.

Litwin’s arctic research trip received media attention from the Star Phoenix, Regina Leader-Post, Arctic Online, and the online World News Network.

U of S 2008 Distinguished Researcher Finds an SOS Response to Cancer-Causing Agents

Microbiologist Wei Xiao has published a paper in the prestigious journal Cell identifying a way to trigger a protein combination called 9-1-1 that sends an SOS signal for cells to fight cancer-causing agents such as industrial toxins, ultraviolet radiation, and X-rays.

"With no exaggeration, this is a result that many in the field have awaited with anticipation for some 20 years," said Michael Ellison, director of the Institute for Biomolecular Design and Project CyberCell at the University of Alberta.

His Cell research finding made national and international news, including Medical News Today, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, and CBC Radio.

The department head and professor in Microbiology and Immunology also received the 2008 U of S Distinguished Researcher Award on May 28th, which recognized his contribution to scholarship through creation, expansion, and critique of knowledge.

For the full news release: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=795&newsid=1

Engineering Student Takes First in Sustainable Management Competition

Civil engineering graduate student Luanne Sirota took first place in a national engineering student competitionby describing a new method for prioritizing repairs to unsafe sidewalks.

Her winning paper suggests that cities should factor in foot traffic and nearby residents’ ages when considering repairs rather than solely focusing on how severely a sidewalk is damaged.

Sponsored by UMA Engineering and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), the inaugural contest asked post-secondary students from across Canada to develop a research paper on the sustainable management of civil infrastructure assets. Placing first earned Sirota $500 cash and $500 toward CSCE’s annual conference.

"I am privileged to be given this award and the opportunity to share my research with not only academic but also industry colleagues across Canada,” said Sirota.

Sirota, who works for the City of Saskatoon’s Strategic Services Branch, completed her graduate studies under the City’s continuing education program.

Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Gala Recognizes U of S Technology

Jackie Presnell (left), Innovation Place, and Doug Gill (right), ILO, present Award of Innovation to Larry Fowke

Presnell (left) and Gill (right) present students Innovation Challenge Award

U of S professor emeritus Larry Fowke and former U of S biology researcher Stephen Attree won the Award of Innovation at the annual Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Gala on May 13th.

The researchers were recognized for their somatic embryogenesis (SE) technology, which produces large volumes of genetically improved conifer seeds to bolster reforestation. In the SE method, tree seed embryos are cloned and grown in greenhouses, reducing the breeding time by 15 to 20 years.

The U of S owns five patents on the technology and has licensed it to CellFor Inc. The university is currently receiving royalties on CellFor sales of seedlings created using SE technology.

Animal science graduate student Sarah Helgeson and pharmacology doctoral student Irving Ramirez-Erosa also came out of the Gala as winners. The two won the 2008 Innovation Challenge Award co-sponsored by the Industry Liaison Office and Innovation Place, as well as $500 each.

The students will move on as the U of S nominees in the national Innovation Challenge Award sponsored by NSERC. The national award, which carries a $10,000 prize for first, will be announced this fall.

New CLS Executive Director to Bridge Industry and Research

Following an 18-month international search, the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and U of S have appointed Josef Hormes as the CLS’s new executive director effective August 15th.

Hormes, who succeeds Bill Thomlinson, is former director of the Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory at the University of Bonn where he was also responsible for technology transfer and university-industry collaborations. From 1999 to 2005, he was director of the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD), a synchrotron at Louisiana State University.

"Professor Hormes' combination of research expertise and management experience is second to none," noted U of S president Peter MacKinnon. "He is ideally suited to guide Canada's national synchrotron as it embarks on the next phase of its life as a global leader in innovation and discovery."

In addition to his directorship, Hormes will also be appointed as a professor in the departments of physics and engineering physics.

Four U of S Employees Named to PREVENT’s Board of Directors

Four U of S leaders have been named to the board of directors for Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise (PREVENT), a new national vaccine commercialization consortium based at the U of S.

VIDO-InterVac Director Andrew Potter is PREVENT’s new CEO. Other U of S board members include: Vice-President of Finance and Resources Richard Florizone; VIDO Associate Director for Business Development Paul Hodgson; and food and bioproduct sciences professor George Khachatourians.

PREVENT will consult with the national public health community and the vaccine industry to identify promising vaccine candidates most likely to meet Canada’s health needs and its commitment to World Health Organization goals. Vaccine products will be marketed to both industry and the public sector.

For more information, visit: http://www.vido.org/news/prevent/index.php

New Book Details Space Research’s Orbit at the U of S

U of S alumni and former assistant professor Gordon Shepherd has written Canada’s Fifty Years in Space: The COSPAR Anniversary, a history of Canadian space research that begins with the author’s experiences on the U of S campus.

Although the book was recently released, Gordon began writing it in Saskatoon during the late ‘70s. He attributes Canada’s space program success to the work done in Saskatchewan—such as SED Systems and Canadarm research—and believes Canada will play a major role in future space research.

"The Minister of Industry just gave a speech about how Canada needs to extend space research, and I’m sure the U of S will play a part in that," said Shepherd.

Shepherd will celebrate his book’s launch at COSPAR’s 50th Anniversary celebration in Montreal next month.

U of S Immunologist Elected to International Allergy Group

U of S immunologist John Gordon has been elected to the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum (CIA), an exclusive council of the world’s leading allergy clinicians and researchers. Only 250 clinicians and scientists worldwide have been elected as members.

Gordon, director of the U of S Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, and his research team have made significant strides in developing a new immunosuppressive dendritic cell therapy for asthma that has had positive results in animal models and with allergic cells in allergy-prone people.

Report Reflects WCVM’s Thriving Research Program

New research facilities, greater funding, and increases in faculty and graduate student numbers have all contributed to make 2007 a banner year for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine’s research program.

You can read all about in the WCVM 2007 Annual Research Report that’s now available on line in PDF format at www.wcvm.com/research or at WCVM News.

For more information, contact Myrna MacDonald.

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New Research Tools

Transportation Centre of Excellence Launched

Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure Minister Wayne Elhard announced an initial $1 million contribution toward the College of Engineering’s new Saskatchewan Centre of Excellence for Transportation and Infrastructure (SCETI) on May 9th.

Janusz Kozinski, dean of the College of Engineering, believes the new centre will be a practical source of help to industry.

"In real terms, this means new road materials, road construction techniques including recycling, new infrastructure management options, and more jobs for engineers," Kozinski said.

The initial $1 million investment by Saskatchewan Highways will be used to hire personnel, form a board of directors, create communications materials, and hold workshops.

The centre will open in September and temporarily be located in the Animal Science Building.

For the full news release: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=794&newsid=1

New Research Data Centre Opens at U of S

Social sciences and health researchers have just received a powerful tool in the Saskatchewan Research Data Centre (SKY-RDC), a new facility that offers access to Statistics Canada surveys and census data in a secure environment at the U of S.

"This facility gives researchers access to highly exclusive information—it's not the kind of data you could find online," said Carl D'Arcy, the Centre's acting academic director. "Now researchers won't have to travel to Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton, or Vancouver to access this kind of data."

SKY-RDC is part of the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre Network, which consists of 15 Research Data Centres, six branch RDCs, and the Federal Research Data Centre in Ottawa.

Housed in the Murray Library, the centre has 11 secure workstations for researchers. Data access takes place in a controlled area to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

To be allowed access to confidential data, researchers must be approved by a joint Statistics Canada-Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) data access committee.

For the full news release: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=799&newsid=1

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Bravo! Research Funding Successes

Tri-council Grants Announced for U of S Research and Scholarships

Tri-council granting agencies announced results from their national grant competitions during May and early June. The U of S NSERC success rate at 69.9 per cent and our CIHR rate of 23.8 per cent are close to or slightly exceeding the national success rates, respectively. Our SSHRC performance at 24 per cent, though below the national success rate, is keeping pace with our institutional average over the past five years.

  • SSHRC Announces $2.1 Million for Violence Prevention Cluster

    Education professor Marie Battiste was part of a Canadian prevention science cluster for children and youth that received $2.1 million in a funding announcement for national knowledge networks. Battiste will use part of the funding to advance violence prevention initiatives in prairie schools.

    SSHRC standard grants will be announced later this month.

  • NSERC Announces $12.6 M in Funds for U of S Researchers

    Over the next five years, 96 U of S scientists will receive more than $12.6 million in Discovery and equipment grants from NSERC, while 104 U of S graduate students will receive a total of $1.8 million in NSERC scholarships.

    For the full release: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=798&newsid=1

  • Researchers Take the Wind out of Respiratory Diseases with CIHR Grants

    U of S scientists are working on a cure for asthma and a needle-free vaccine for a childhood respiratory virus, thanks to $2.5 million in CIHR grants announced on May 7th.

    A complete list of the CIHR projects funded at the U of S is located here. For the full news release: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=792

Funding Pours in for THREATS Water Research

The U of S is in the vanguard of research efforts to help protect Canada’s watersheds—water systems managed by individual groups.

Monique Dubé, a Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Ecosystem Health Diagnosis and a professor at the department of veterinary biomedical sciences and the toxicology centre, was recently awarded $1.6 million by the Canadian Water Network to develop The Healthy River Ecosystem Assessment System (THREATS) software.

This specialized software program will enable scientists to assess and manage the cumulative effects of man-made developments on Canadian freshwaters.

The grant will also allow Dubé and six collaborating universities to implement THREATS in five watersheds across the country.

"What we want to do is develop a whole new way of looking at watersheds as one piece," says Dubé.

During the course of this work, six PhD students will be trained in their own team-based model to encourage a high-performance, collaborative student network across Canada.

For more information, contact Monique Dubé.

Funding to Advance BSE and Chronic Wasting Disease Research

PrioNet Canada has awarded two U of S research teams $1.2 million to work on untreatable, infectious, and often fatal prion diseases that occur when proteins in cells are deformed.

PrioNet Canada, part of the Networks of Centres of Excellence Canada program, brings together the country’s top scientists involved in investigating prion diseases like BSE, CWD, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans.

For the full news release: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=793

Million-Dollar Donation Creates Parkinson’s Research Endowment

Parkinson’s and movement disorder research at the U of S received a boost on May 29th when the Royal University Hospital Foundation announced a $1 million anonymous donation to establish a research endowment fund.

The fund is named the Dr. Ali Rajput Endowment for Parkinson’s Research and Movement Disorders Research after the neurologist and U of S professor emeritus who founded the Saskatchewan Centre for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at Royal University Hospital.

The endowment will provide approximately $45,000 each year in perpetuity for Parkinson’s research.

"We hope to expand and improve on patient care, clinical, and basic science research and get closer to unraveling the mysteries of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders with the ultimate goal being a cure for these illnesses," said Dr. Alex Rajput, associate professor of medicine and director of the centre’s research program.

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News from the OVPR

Office of the Vice-President Research Strategic Projects Team Announced

The Vice-President Research is launching a Strategic Projects Team (SPT) this July.

"This new team will enhance the university’s role as a major contributor to Saskatchewan’s economy and the innovation agenda," said Vice-President Research Steven Franklin.

"Working in partnership with industry, government agencies, international organizations and other postsecondary institutions, the team will provide high-level intensive support to strategic projects in areas for which the university’s research strengths are internationally recognized."

The team’s projects will be determined through existing processes, including the Vice-President Research Executive Committee, Integrated Planning, Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning, President’s Executive Committee, and the Board of Governors.

Bill Thomlinson will be the SPT’s first appointment, serving as a special advisor beginning July 1st. Thomlinson, who is stepping down as the Canadian Light Source’s executive director on June 30th, will provide unique expertise in project development, particularly in securing funding from government and private sector partners, as well as establishing links to the fine arts community.

The SPT will be located at Innovation Place and contact information will be distributed to the campus community once available. More information on this initiative can be found here.

Engaging India Symposium Discusses U of S Research and Involvement

High Commissioner Rajamani Lakshmi Narayan and some of the cultural dancers at the symposium

The U of S and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute co-hosted a symposium on May 26th and 27th showcasing how they are engaging in research and education in India. India’s High Commissioner Rajamani Lakshmi Narayan was one of the symposium’s special guests.

The event included presentations on technology, energy, health, bioresources, information technology, and Canada-India research agendas.

The International Research Office intends to carry momentum from the symposium toward developing a detailed India research action plan to support Canada-India relations at the U of S. This plan will be finalized over the summer with input and consultation from across campus.

For more information about U of S research activities in India, please contact International Research Manager Anne Neufeld at anne.neufeld@usask.ca.

Changes to Ethics Procedures and Submission Forms

Effective June 1st, there will be changes to the current Status Report Form. The original form will be replaced by a Study Renewal Form to be submitted to the Research Ethics Office.

These changes are part of REO’s initiative to improve continuing ethics review at the U of S and helps U of S researchers comply with the tri-council policy statement on continuing ethics review.

All submissions will be reviewed and a Certificate of Re-approval can be granted for up to a year. The Research Ethics Office must be notified if there are changes to the approved protocol or consent process.

A Study Closure Form must also be submitted to the REO when the study is finished.

For questions about the continuing review process or the new forms, contact the REO at 966-2975.

New Executive Assistant to Vice-President Research

Kate Wilson is succeeding Laura Zink as executive assistant to Vice-President of Research Steven Franklin.

Zink has accepted a permanent position with the College of Arts and Science social services division after spending the past two years there as a research coordinator.

Wilson has acted for Zink in a term position since 2006.

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Calling all papers

Call for Conference on International Governance Papers and Posters

Organizers of the International Perspectives on Governance conference would like to showcase graduate student posters and researcher papers at the U of S on June 26th and 27th.

The conference will bring together national and international scholars and practitioners focusing on the contribution of governance initiatives in shaping development outcomes.

Special attention will be given to both North and South topics that interact with social economies. The plenary focus will be on institution building, indigenous peoples, economic development, North and South collaborations, gender, law and governance, and social economy.

For information: http://www.usask.ca/research/research_services/international/icgd.php.

WUSC Looking For Youth Action and Civil Engagement Presentations

The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is calling for presentations on Youth Action and Civic Engagement for its annual assembly from November 7th to 9th.

WUSC will choose up to five scholars to present their research in Ottawa to student leaders from across the country. Topics should involve WUSC countries or projects. A one-page presentation summary is required.

Send submissions to Sonia Fournier at devcase@wusc.ca by June 16th. If chosen, travel and accommodations will be covered by WUSC. For more information visit http://wusc.ca/en/about/annual_assembly.

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From the Research Newsroom

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Vipen Sawhney, who won the Research News survey draw for lunch for two to the U of S Faculty Club.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our recent readership survey. We are using your comments to improve Research News over the summer.

Just Google U of S

We’ve added the Google News search bar to the Research Communications website. Check online to see how U of S research is making the news.

Tell us Your Story

There is a wonderful story to tell about the results and benefits of U of S research, but we need your help to do this in a timely fashion. We encourage you to let us know when you are close to publishing the results of peer-reviewed research. Please drop us a line at: research.communications@usask.ca.

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