University of Saskatchewan

September 01, 2014   

Research News Issue 49 October 3 2008

October 02, 2008 Research News

Produced by Research Communications for the University of Saskatchewan

October 3 2008 Issue 49

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
Election Advocacy for Research
U of S Researchers Launch Alzheimer’s Documentary
Veterinarian Helps Identify Gene Linked to Labrador Retriever Ailment
BioVenture Business Plan Finalists Announced
Heart and Stroke Foundation Announces Research Fund for Students
Top Researchers Sought Through Two New Federal Programs
Bravo!
Canada Research Chair Renewals Net $3.3 Million
Canadian Pacific Gift for Research and Training in Aboriginal Community Planning
More Funds for Infectious Disease Research, Vaccine Development
Pharmacy Research Receives Boost
U of S Prof Wins Top Young Scientist Award
Toxicologist Appointed to EPA Science Advisory Board
Volvo Environment Prize Deadline Approaching
Filling You In: News from the OVPR
Task Force on International Research and Development Launched
Research Services Welcomes New Grants Officer
Announcements and Events
Café Scientifique: Is Our Food Safe?
Gairdner Award Winner to Lecture on Adult Neural Stem Cells
New Directions in Population Health Research: Linking Theory, Ethics and Practice
Calls for Papers/Proposals
Call for Papers: Computer, Information, Systems Sciences, and Engineering Conference
From the Research Newsroom
Star Phoenix Features How I Spent My Summer Vacation Series
Tell Us Your Story

Top Stories

Election Advocacy for Research

Sifting through federal election promises for party stances on research support has become much easier after the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) launched its new website, www.universitiesmatter.ca.

The new website details commitments made by parties on universities issues and research funding in the 2008 campaign. The website will soon post responses to 12 questions it posed to federal party leaders about investing in higher education and university research.

In a similar vein, the non-profit media organization l’Agence Science-Press from Quebec has launched its I Vote for Science blog calling for a public election debate that features candidates sharing their stances on the environment, health, medicine, and science and technology. The blog is inspired by an American initiative called Science Debate 2008.

U of S Researchers Launch Alzheimer’s Documentary

A video highlighting new University of Saskatchewan research into the role that hope can play for family caregivers of persons with dementia was launched this week at an Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan conference in Regina.

Hope in Action is an 18-minute video highlighting a research study conducted by nursing professor Wendy Duggleby and sociology researcher Liz Quinlan.

The video will be used by Alzheimer’s support group leaders throughout Saskatchewan who will receive training in the use of it from Duggleby and Quinlan.

“Hope is about possibilities, so looking at different ways that you may deal with your family member with Alzheimer’s will make you aware of possibilities,” she said. “Despair occurs in isolation, so connecting with others helps to foster hope.”

The video is the second produced through the College of Nursing’s “Living With Hope” research program aimed at supporting family caregivers. The first film features discussions of hope by people with advanced cancer and their families.

Veterinarian Helps Identify Gene Linked to Labrador Retriever Ailment


U of S researcher Susan Taylor of WCVM with her two Labrador retrievers, Blue and Breeze. Photo courtesy of Dr. Susan Taylor.

Researchers at the U of S’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine have identified a genetic mutation in Labrador retriever dogs that is highly associated with exercise-induced collapse (EIC) syndrome.

The findings, published last week in Nature Genetics, are expected to help dog breeders gradually reduce the number of Labradors with the trait in future generations.

About three to five per cent of Labradors are affected by this condition that causes the animals to lose control of their hind limbs after intense hunting or retrieving exercise.

“After 13 years of working on this problem, we now have the definitive answer about the syndrome’s true cause for Labrador breeders and owners. This discovery will have a huge impact on the Labrador breed worldwide.” says Susan Taylor, a professor of small animal internal medicine at the WCVM.

U of S Research Communications tracked more than 4.1 million audience exposures from resulting news coverage in Canada.com, Star Phoenix, Dogs Today, and other media.

For the full news release, visit: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=820&newsid=1

BioVenture Business Plan Finalists Announced


Eight budding entrepreneurs—all U of S students or graduates 35 or under—have been named finalists in the 2008 BioVenture Business Plan Challenge and will go on to compete for a $50,000 prize to help take the winning business plan from idea to reality.

The entrepreneurs’ business ideas include building small-scale ethanol plants, making cosmetics from fireweed, developing a brownfield remediation business, launching a biodiesel business, and creating environmentally-themed video games.

The eight entrepreneurs associated with the final five business plans will receive intensive coaching and mentorship to refine their plans. The entrepreneur whose plan is judged the best will receive $50,000 from the Industry Liaison Office to launch or run his or her venture. The winner will be announced early next year.

As well, all finalists will have the fee waived for submitting their business plans to the Saskatchewan Angel Investors Network (SAINT) for funding consideration. SAINT is a member-based group of investors with an interest in investing in early stage and growth-focused Saskatchewan companies.

For the full news release and list of finalists, visit: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=818&newsid=1

Heart and Stroke Foundation Announces Research Fund for Students


The Heart and Stroke Foundation has announced continued support for Saskatchewan students interested in a health research career.

Two sets of research funds – one for undergraduate students and another for graduate students – will be awarded within the province during 2009.

“At the Heart and Stroke Foundation we believe it is important to support health researchers throughout their careers, from students working in research settings through to established senior scientists,” says Nikki Gerrard, the Foundation’s president.

The funding will be offered to university students in Saskatchewan who want to do health research that supports the mission of the Foundation in any of the pillars of health research—population health, biomedical, clinical, health services.

For further information or to request guidelines and application forms, contact the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan toll- free at 244-2124, or visit www.heartandstroke.sk.ca and click on Funded Research.

Deadline for both awards is January 19th, 2009. All applications must be submitted to the U of S.

Top Researchers Sought Through Two New Federal Programs


In early September, the Government of Canada announced two new research funding programs aimed at attracting and retaining leading researchers.

The new Canada Excellence Research Chairs program will award $10 million each to 20 chairholders to build “ambitious research programs” at universities.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship will provide up to 500 Canadian and foreign PhD students each with three-year scholarships of up to $50,000 per year.

For the full news release, visit: http://www.cihr- irsc.gc.ca/e/37528.html

Bravo!

Canada Research Chair Renewals Net $3.3 Million


The U of S fared well in the latest round of Canada Research Chair (CRC) renewals, netting a total of $3.3 million for three researchers.

The three successful researchers are:

  • Louis Delbaere: $1.4 million to renew a CRC in Structural Biochemistry.
  • Akira Hirose: $1.4 million to renew a CRC in Plasma Science.
  • Ingrid Pickering: $500,000 to renew a CRC in Molecular Environmental Science.

For the full list of the latest CRC chairholders, visit: http://www.chairs.gc.ca/sept2008recipients.pdf

Canadian Pacific Gift for Research and Training in Aboriginal Community Planning


Canadian Pacific (CP) has pledged $250,000 to aid research and training in aboriginal community planning in the College of Arts & Science at the U of S.

The Canadian Pacific Partnership Program in Aboriginal Community Planning was announced this week during an event at the U of S. Under the lead of a newly established research team, the program will bring together aboriginal and non-aboriginal academics and community leaders to find ways of enhancing aboriginal community development.

“The College of Arts & Science at the University of Saskatchewan is excited to augment our already strong focus on aboriginal issues through this agreement,” said Jo-Anne Dillon, dean of the college. “We are sincerely grateful to CP for their generous gift that will make this important concept a reality.”

The program will be linked closely to the work of existing university researchers with expertise in planning, development and aboriginal scholarship. To help establish this new research team, the gift from CP, distributed over five years, will be allocated to student scholarships, an annual research symposium and support for the research team lead.

To view the full news release, visit: http://announcements.usask.ca/news/archive/2008/10/canadian_pacifi.html

More Funds for Infectious Disease Research, Vaccine Development


A CTV reporter interviews VIDO’s director and CEO Andrew Potter (right) after the provincial funding announcement.

The Government of Saskatchewan is increasing its annual funding to the U of S’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) by $1.7 million.

Announced last Thursday, the funding increase commits the province to an annual total of $3.5 million for VIDO, which researches infectious diseases in animals and humans and develops vaccines against them.

“This investment helps put VIDO on a sustainable path for the future, ensuring that its ground-breaking research significantly enhances Canada’s capacity to fight infectious disease in both animals and humans,” said U of S President Peter MacKinnon. “And as the cornerstone of the new U of S School of Public Health, VIDO will be able to continue providing high-level training for graduate students in leading-edge areas of human and animal health research.”

In 2008-9, the province will provide $3.1 million in operational funding to VIDO. That will rise to $3.5 million in 2009-10.

For the full news release, visit: http://www.usask.ca/research/news/read.php?id=821&newsid=1

Pharmacy Research Receives Boost


Second year student Jessica Gagatek provides Jack Kay, President of Apotex Inc., information on his prescription.

Apotex Inc., Canada’s largest pharmaceutical company, has donated $1.5 million to the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition to advance research.

The $1.5-million donation from Apotex Inc., the largest single gift ever received by the College, will support three areas:

  • a state-of-the-art pharmacy practice laboratory, which simulates a real-life pharmacy for undergraduate students, in the new Academic Health Science Centre;
  • additional research funding for faculty and graduate researchers; and
  • increased graduate student support.

“Our faculty members have achieved national and international distinction for their research activities in a variety of areas and we will build on that success by supporting new and innovative research ideas and projects,” said U of S Dean of Pharmacy and Nutrition Dennis Gorecki. “We have established a premiere graduate award to support outstanding students. And we can look to the future, with the completion of the Academic Health Science Centre and the Apotex Pharmacy Professional Practice Centre, to further enhance our undergraduate pharmacy program.”

For the full news release, visit: http://announcements.usask.ca/news/archive/2008/09/university_of_s_62.html< /a>

U of S Prof Wins Top Young Scientist Award

Michael Rogers, an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, will receive the International Union of Food Science and Technology’s Top Young Scientist Award later this month in Shanghai, China.

“The Young Scientist Award recognizes food research with potential health benefits on a global scale,” says Rogers. “This award really recognizes a team of scientists, not just myself. Although, I am truly honoured to receive this award, it really represents the achievements of the research groups I have been incredibly fortunate to be part of.”

Rogers was nominated for creating a solid edible food spread from canola oil that has no trans or saturated fats. As an added benefit, the spread contains anti-colon cancer compounds.

He will share his study alongside six other top young scientists in front of 2000 other food scientists and technologists from around the world at the upcoming world congress.

Toxicologist Appointed to EPA Science Advisory Board

U of S toxicologist John Giesy has been selected to sit on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) prestigious Science Advisory Board.

As a member of the board, Giesy will provide independent advice on proposed EPA policies and potentially controversial decisions on environmental issues. Giesy joins the board having served on the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors.

As one of the world’s top toxicologists, Giesy’s nomination comes as no surprise. The Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology recently developed a test called H295R Steroidogenesis Assay that screens for endocrine (hormone) disruptors like those found in certain plastic water bottles. He began developing the test when the EPA called on him to find a test for toxins in consumer products that did not require animals as test subjects.

To read more about Giesy’s recent research, visit: http://www.usask.ca/research/communications/explore/onlineexclusive_read.php?id=3

Volvo Environment Prize Deadline Approaching

The deadline to apply for the $200,000 Volvo Environment Prize is fast approaching. The prize is awarded for “outstanding innovations or scientific discoveries which in broad terms fall within the environmental field.” The application deadline is November 15th.

The Volvo Environment Prize is awarded by an independent foundation on the basis of recommendations by a scientific jury. Nominators may be universities, research institutes, scientists and engineers, other persons and organizations.

The official form is available at http://www.environment-prize.com Email: info@environment-prize.com

For assistance in developing external awards nominations for U of S faculty, contact Mary Walters, awards facilitator, at 966-2499 or email mary.walters@usask.ca

Filling You In: News from the OVPR

Task Force on International Research and Development Launched

The Office of the Vice-President Research has created a new Task Force on International Research and Development.

Chaired by Tom Wishart, Special Advisor on International Initiatives, the newly formed task force is aiming to identify key goals for international research and development as well as activities and initiatives that can assist in meeting those goals.

The task force is planning to distribute a draft report on their findings early next year and a final report and implementation plan by the end of the academic year.

For more information on the new task force and its work, contact Tom Wishart at 966-5759 or tom.wishart@usask.ca.

Research Services Welcomes New Grants Officer

Brij Verma recently joined Research Services as a grants officer. Verma is a U of S alum who earned a PhD in environmental chemistry and environmental microbiology. He later completed an NSERC Post-Doctorate Fellowship at the Alberta Research Council.

After returning to Saskatchewan, he won the 2006-2007 Top Post-Doctoral Fellowship award from Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation for work on wheat bran and colon cancer, which he completed prior to joining Research Services.

Announcements and Events

Café Scientifique: Is Our Food Safe?

With recent reports of Listeria stemming from deli meats, melamine poisoning from instant coffee, and Salmonella Poona outbreaks from tainted food, many of us have questions about how safe our food is.

U of S Research Communications has received a CIHR event to host a Café Scientifique event to help answer some of these questions. Bring your questions and an appetite for scientifically based answers to an informal discussion on food safety with local experts over happy hour-priced refreshments.

When: Tuesday, October 7th, 5 p.m.

Where: Boffins Club, 314-111 Research Drive, Innovation Place

Note: Please RSVP to research.communications@usask.ca

A map to the event will be provided upon RSVP.

Gairdner Award Winner to Lecture on Adult Neural Stem Cells


Dr. Samuel Weiss, Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, will lecture on adult neural stem cells on October 14th.

In 1992, Dr. Samuel Weiss discovered that the adult brain produces stem cells that can be used to re-grow damaged neural tissue. Could this lead to the ability to repair brain or spinal cord injuries?

To find out, come and hear the 2008 Gairdner Award Winner deliver a lecture on adult neural stem cell research and therapeutic applications.

When: Tuesday, October 14th, 2007, 4 p.m.

Where: SaskTel Theatre, Royal University Hospital

New Directions in Population Health Research: Linking Theory, Ethics and Practic

The Community and Population Health Research Training Program (CPHR) and the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) are hosting a national conference to explore recent innovations and existing or emerging trends in population health research and practice as they relate to reducing health disparities for particular communities or populations.

When: November 12th to 14th, 2008

Where: Ramada Hotel and Convention Centre, Regina, SK

For more information, visit: http://www.cntgrp.ca/Default.aspx?tabid=104&language=en-US

Calls for Papers and Proposals

Call for Papers: Computer, Information, Systems Sciences, and Engineering Conference

The Fourth International Joint Conferences on Computer, Information, Systems Science, and Engineering (CISSE) is looking for papers to be presented at its virtual conference and forums from December 5th to 13th.

The deadline for submitting papers is Wednesday, October 15th.

Interested authors are asked to submit full papers electronically in Microsoft Word format on the CISSE website: http://www.cisse2008online.org

From the Research Newsroom

Star Phoenix Features How I Spent My Summer Vacation Series

Find out how U of S student researchers made a difference this summer by following this year’s How I Spent My Summer Vacation series in the Star Phoenix. U of S Research Communications’ interns spent the summer months documenting fascinating projects undertaken by seven fellow students.

For the first installment of the series, visit: http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/local/story.html?id=dea52989-3ab8-47d8-abd8-a74cf5ecb5aa

To read past summer vacation stories, visit: http://www.usask.ca/research/student/news_summervac.php

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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