John AlbaneseForensic anthropologist John Albanese, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, has received a federal grant to travel to Brazil in the fall to resume research and teaching at the Federal University of São Paulo.

Anthropology professor to help train forensic scientists in Brazil

Canada is sending a UWindsor professor to Brazil to help forensic scientists there identify the remains of people murdered during the country’s dictatorship.

Forensic anthropologist John Albanese will be visiting the Laboratory of Archaeological Studies at the Federal University of São Paulo this fall to resume work on projects interrupted by pandemic travel restrictions. He will be conducting research, giving lectures, leading workshops, and building partnerships for future collaborations. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada is covering the cost of his travel — $3,500.

“I’ve been working with colleagues in Brazil since early 2017,” Dr. Albanese said. “Having non-Brazilians participate in investigations contributes to the real and perceived sense of transparency and legitimacy of investigations.”

During Brazil’s 21-year military dictatorship that ended in 1985, Indigenous people were murdered for their land and political activists disappeared, their remains later discovered in mass graves. In the cases where government officials documented deaths, they falsified causes of death and buried victims under pseudonyms.

“Forensic science in Brazil is undergoing a major transformation as the country comes to terms with its human rights violations,” Albanese said. “Similarly in Canada, advocates, researchers, and forensic scientists, myself included, have been focusing on the thousands of unmarked graves of children located at over 100 Indian residential schools.”

Albanese said forensic scientists in Canada and Brazil can help each other with projects aimed at the identification and repatriation of remains by setting up methodologically sound and ethical protocols.

In Canada, Albanese has been working with the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, assisting with the cemeteries at the site of the former Brandon Residential School in Manitoba. The Brandon Indian Residential School, as it was known during Canada’s forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples, operated between 1895 and 1972.

In a separate project in 2014, he helped repatriate ancestral remains to the Walpole Island First Nation. The skeletal remains had been in the University’s possession, exhumed by students in the 1970s as part of a field course.

In Brazil, Albanese will be a guest lecturer for a course led by Claudia Pens taken primarily by forensic pathologists, forensic dentists, and other post-graduate professionals on his methods for identifying remains, specifically how to ascertain the biological sex and physical stature. He will also hold special workshops and lectures for undergraduate and graduate students.

The university in São Paulo has established a new collection of skeletal remains. Albanese explained that since Brazil does not have a tradition of perpetual care in cemeteries, bodies are often exhumed after five years and the families will donate their loved ones’ remains to science. Albanese will use this reference collection in his workshops and study the bones to validate his research methods.

Albanese said he will not only be training the next generation of human rights investigators, he hopes to gain insight that can assist his and other researchers’ work at the sites of former residential schools in Canada.

“Dr. Plens is a leader in establishing national standards for forensic anthropology with a focus on the investigation of human rights violations, he said. “I see this as an opportunity for forensic scientists in Canada and Brazil to help each other.”

—Sarah Sacheli

Maryam Shafiei Alavijeh, Roman Maev, Vlad Tusinean Maryam Shafiei Alavijeh, professor Roman Maev, and Vlad Tusinean celebrate success at the conference of the Canadian Institute for Non-Destructive Evaluation, last week at Caesars Windsor.

Research in non-destructive testing earns plaudits for students

Automakers could improve the quality of their welds by applying artificial intelligence to ultrasound analysis, according to a paper produced by a team from the Institute for Diagnostic Imaging Research.

The work earned lead author Vlad Tusinean kudos at the conference of the Canadian Institute for Non-Destructive Evaluation, held last week in Windsor.

Tusinean, a master’s student of computer science, was honoured for Best MSc Student Presentation. His project “Real-Time Outer Interface Characterization in Ultrasonic Images of Resistance Spot Welds Using Deep Learning” developed an approach that would allow manufacturers to modify the parameters during the welding process to prevent defects.

Doctoral student of mechanical, automotive, and materials engineering Maryam Shafiei Alavijeh finished second in the competition for best PhD student presentation for “Ultrasound-based inspection of butt-fused and electrofused medium-density polyethylene pipe joints.” Her research found that ultrasound evaluation supported by artificial intelligence can provide efficient, simple, inexpensive, and effective detection of defects in joints in plastic piping.

The recognition highlights the accomplishments of two very hardworking and talented graduate students, said physics professor Roman Maev, director-general of the Institute for Diagnostic Imaging Research and scientific program chair for the Non-Destructive Testing in Canada conference.

“The University of Windsor and the IDIR are proud of the contributions by these outstanding researchers, advancing our knowledge to the benefit of industry and our environment,” he said.

Dr. Maev also received an accolade at the conference, being elected a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Non-Destructive Evaluation.

Dean of science Chris Houser extended congratulations to Maev: “This is the latest recognition of Prof. Maev’s achievements and the impact that IDIR has had on industry and strengthening the reputation of the University of Windsor.”

Matina Rahbar Ranji and Charandeep Singh VirkMatina Rahbar Ranji and Charandeep Singh Virk are the 2022 recipients of Liburdi Engineering Mentorship Awards.

Leadership and passion to help peers earn award for engineering students

Their dedication to tutoring first-year students earned Liburdi Engineering Mentorship Awards for Charandeep Singh Virk and Matina Rahbar Ranji.

The $10,000 annual prize recognizes passionate participants in WinOne Tutorials. Established in 2019 by the WinOne Office for First-Year Engineering, the program promotes knowledge sharing between mentors and mentees regarding academics, degree pathways, extracurricular activities, co-operative education, and senior projects.

Recipients of the Liburdi Awards take on leadership roles in the delivery of the tutorials for a one-year period, giving them a chance to provide input into the program while working closely with Jennifer Johrendt, associate dean student affairs, and head of the program. Dr. Johrendt says that connecting mentors to mentees helps both to grow and learn together.

Virk and Ranji are third-year students who empathize with those they tutor.

“I remember being a first-year student and hoping that I could get some help with courses that were difficult and also just having someone to reach out to for general queries,” Virk says. “I’m glad that I’m now the person to help first- and second-year students who are in the same position as I once was.”

For Ranji, the discovery of other benefits was a pleasant surprise.

“One of my goals is to become a professor in engineering,” she says. “My WinOne experience has helped me so much with my teaching skills, but it has also made me realize that making a strong connection with students is an important key in tutoring.”

The mentorship award was established by Liburdi Engineering Ltd., led by materials engineering alumnus Joseph Liburdi (BASc 1967). Kiana Mokrian and Rohan Dhillon received the award in 2021.

For more information, or to learn how to become a WinOne tutorial mentor or mentee, visit WinOne Tutorial.

—Gam Macasaet

James Stewart, Dave Cassidy, Kevin Hamlin, Manuel Cardoso, Mike D’AgnoloLancer men’s hockey coach Kevin Hamlin (centre) accepts a cheque from Unifor 444 officials James Stewart, Dave Cassidy, Manuel Cardoso, and Mike D’Agnolo.

Rebuilding project to engage Lancer hockey players

Players on the Lancer men’s hockey team will travel to British Columbia to rebuild homes in First Nations communities damaged in 2021 by wildfires and floods.

The trip will take place during the team’s training camp this fall, said head coach Kevin Hamlin.

“We want to do something that will foster a positive relationship with the First Nations community,” he said. “The natural disasters combined with the horrific news of the residential schools is more than anyone should have to deal with.”

The Lancers have partnered on the project with Unifor Local 444, the First Nations Emergency Service Society, the city of Merritt — located in the Nicola Valley about 270 km northeast of Vancouver, and the Merritt Centennials Jr. A hockey team. Unifor donated $50,000 and will contribute expertise in building trades.

Local 444 president Dave Cassidy said his members are proud to join in this “fantastic cause.”

“We learned early on in our association with the blue and gold that coach Hamlin and his staff were not just about teaching their athletes the art of hockey, but building young men of character and decency,” Cassidy said.

In addition to rebuilding work, the Lancers will run a skills camp for Centennials players, present to youth on other social issues, and play exhibition games against Trinity Western University and the University of British Columbia, with ticket proceeds to support hockey programs for Indigenous youth.

“We are hopeful that we can leave a legacy in Merritt that will challenge others to do the same,” Hamlin said.

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map of Ontario indicating partner universitiesA new service will allow library patrons to pick up materials from any of 16 partner institutions across the province.

Leddy Library launches pickup partner service

Leddy Library in collaboration with 16 partner institutions is offering Pickup Anywhere, a new service extending the Omni academic search tool that will allow for users to pick up materials they request at any of the partnering libraries.

When Omni launched at Leddy Library in 2020, it created access for students, faculty, and staff to borrow books from 16 university libraries across Ontario. The new Pickup Anywhere service will allow UWindsor members to request items from a participating institution with the option to choose any one of the 16 Omni partner institutions across Ontario as the pickup location.

“Imagine you are a UWindsor student working in London for the summer and need a book for your online course,” said University Librarian Selinda Berg. “You can now place the request in Omni and choose a partnering university library in London to pick it up, such as Western University.”

The service will also allow UWindsor members to walk into any partnering library in Ontario to borrow a book from the shelves using their UWinCard.

Items borrowed from partner collections can also be returned to partner libraries.

“Convenience is key and library services continue to evolve to help meet the needs of our users,” said Dr. Berg. “The Omni search tool is a one-stop shop for finding and requesting books from across Ontario and the new Pickup Anywhere feature is a welcome upgrade from the multi-step interlibrary loan process.”

The expanded access is the next step for the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) Collaborative Futures initiative, launched in December 2019. The list of participating libraries has grown year over year to include the following OCUL member institutions:

  • Algoma University
  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • University of Guelph
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • Nipissing University
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • Queen’s University
  • Trent University
  • University of Waterloo
  • Western University
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • University of Windsor
  • York University

As membership grows so too will the collections. In a world where we may not always be working and studying nearby our home institution, Pickup Anywhere will make it easier to access required materials.

For more information, visit the Leddy Library website.