2017 was a special year at the University of Saskatchewan. From cutting-edge medical research to our successes in Indigenous engagement and reconciliation, we are proud of the meaningful change we are making in the province and beyond and want to share it with all of you.
Our relationships with the communities we serve are more important now than they’ve ever been, and we are committed to continuing to grow and honour those relationships. We will continue to be courageous and confront the world’s biggest challenges such as curing infectious diseases, addressing food and water security, and finding sustainable energy solutions.
Please enjoy some of the stories that have made 2017 a special year. We have much to be proud of and so much more to look forward to in 2018.
President and vice-chancellor
A natural strain of fungus—named TSTh20-1—discovered by a U of S research team, led by biology professor Susan Kaminskyj, could have the power to clean oil spills and return life to the world’s oilsands. The unique strain of fungus not only breaks down petrochemical residues but when its spores are applied to plants, those plants grow and thrive on coarse tailings. [more]
Xiaoping (Bob) Xu and wife Ling Chen have made another notable contribution to their alma mater. They have donated $2 million to the U of S to create the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music in the College of Arts and Science. The gift is the largest donation from alumni in the college’s history and a generous follow-up to the couple’s $1-million gift to establish the David L. Kaplan Music Scholarship in 2010. [more]
Dr. Ivar Mendez, unified head of the Department of Surgery at the U of S and Saskatchewan Health Authority, is embracing technological innovations to improve the patient experience, particularly for those in underserved and remote communities. He spearheaded an initiative that brought remote sensing robots to northern communities in Saskatchewan and recently turned his interest to another emerging technology: Google Glass. [more]
The U of S was featured in The New York Times, showcasing our successes in Indigenous engagement and reconciliation. Set during the annual Graduation Powwow, The New York Times spoke with those involved in campus efforts to increase Aboriginal initiatives, including President Peter Stoicheff, former Chancellor Blaine Favel, and Indigenous and gender studies professor Priscilla Settee. [more]
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the U of S and University of Regina has created a potent new synthetic antibiotic that in the lab was proven to be effective against several drug-resistant pathogens such as the bacteria responsible for staph infection and other difficult-to-treat human infections. The findings could have the capacity to regain some ground on the antibiotic resistance problem. [more]
U of S associate professor of curriculum studies Jay Wilson has received the 3M National Teaching Fellowship—the highest teaching honour in Canada. Across the country, only 10 teachers receive this award each year. Wilson, who has been a lecturer at the U of S since 1997 and became an assistant professor in 2008, quickly earned a reputation as an excellent teacher, not only receiving numerous teaching awards, but also seeing his classrooms full of students year after year. [more]
Regenerating heart muscle tissue using a 3D printer—once the stuff of science fiction—now appears to be firmly in the realm of the possible. U of S researcher Mohammad Izadifar is combining medicine and engineering to develop ways to repair a damaged heart. The research was conducted in three places on campus—the College of Engineering, the CLS and the College of Medicine. Through this collaborative work, the patch could reduce the need for heart transplants and save more lives. [more]
Working to improve Indigenous health care in the province are two new recruits to the U of S College of Medicine—Dr. Alexandra King, an internal medicine specialist who recently assumed the inaugural Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health; and Malcolm King, a nationally recognized leader in Indigenous health research who serves as the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) scientific director. [more]
Renowned multiple sclerosis (MS) researcher Dr. Michael Levin—the new $8.4-million U of S Chair in Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research—will lead a drive toward a cure for MS. Rates of MS, a debilitating disease of the central nervous system, are among the highest in the world in Saskatchewan and Canada, making this area of health research so important for our province. [more]
A new PhD program, which was passed unanimously by University Council, is the first of its kind for the U of S Indigenous Studies department, and sets the institution apart as one of only a handful of universities in North America to offer similar doctorates. The new PhD program at the U of S will be fundamental to the growth of Indigenous studies as a discipline. [more]
U of S Sculpture and Extended Media professor Susan Shantz is proving sustainability isn’t just for the scientists. Shantz connected with the School of Environment and Sustainability and found a kindred spirit in researcher Graham Strickert. Their shared interest in community-based and engaged work helped lead to the development of the interdisciplinary course—ART 356.3: Becoming Water, which connects science with art to deepen students’ awareness of key issues related to water. [more]
Researchers at the U of S and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency are organizing clinical trials for a new breast cancer treatment discovered in the province. This would mark a potential first with a cancer-related investigation going from bench to trial within Saskatchewan. The team hopes that the next phase of clinical trials will be initiated within the next two years. [more]
Eric Price, a new Canada Research Chair in Radiochemistry at the U of S, is leading work on developing a new generation of medical imaging technology and “smart” drugs for cancer treatment. Selective in their targeting of cancer, these new drugs hold promise to reduce side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy. Price’s work is supported by new radiochemistry labs at the university’s Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences. [more]
Research at the U of S is the first study to show that imidacloprid (neonicotinoid) and chlorpyrifos (organophosphate)—two of the most widely used insecticides worldwide—are toxic to seed-eating songbirds. The research also shows these chemicals can directly affect songbird migration. This research could have major implications for regulatory decisions for these pesticides. [more]
Jennifer McGillivary, a Plains Cree First Nations woman, became the first U of S student to receive the Dr. Gerri Dickson Leadership in Reconciliation Award—a $2,500 annual award in support of nursing education for students who are actively engaged in furthering reconciliation initiatives. Before Gerri Dickson (BSN’69, PhD’97) passed away in 2016, she and her husband Dr. Murray Dickson established the award with a $25,000 donation. [more]
U of S assistant professor of English Tasha Hubbard is making a splash with her latest film Birth of a Family, which landed in the top 10 audience choice list at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. This National Film Board of Canada film tells the story of three sisters and a brother, removed from their home as part of Canada’s infamous Sixties Scoop and adopted as infants into separate families across North America. [more]
For the second straight year, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies were crowned Canada West women’s basketball champions on their home court. Saskatchewan defeated the University of Regina Cougars 64-53 on Ron and Jane Graham Court at the PAC to earn their fifth ever conference title. The team went on to finish sixth at the national U SPORTS Final 8. [more]