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Grade 10 students at LaSalle’s Villanova high school look over a simulated frog dissection kit.Grade 10 students at LaSalle’s Villanova high school look over a simulated frog dissection kit.

Virtual methods to replace animal dissection in secondary school science classes

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board will gradually phase out animal dissection in high school classrooms and replace it with virtual technology, thanks to the efforts of UWindsor’s Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM).

CCAAM’s executive director Charu Chandrasekera and UWindsor dean of science Chris Houser were on hand at a Wednesday event at St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School where the board’s executive superintendent of innovation and experiential learning, Dan Fister, made the announcement.

“Animal dissection is academically unnecessary and, despite its prevalence in North American schools, it is not practiced worldwide,” Fister said. “We believe this is a more ethical, humane and engaging way to teach students science and we hope this sets an example for school boards right across Canada.”

Dr. Chandrasekera led Grade 10 students and guests through a hands-on tutorial with a “faux frog dissection kit” comprising reusable model frogs (Edu-Science Simulated Frog Dissection Kit and 4D Vision Frog), virtual anatomy software (Biosphera Frog and 3D4 Medical Essential Human Anatomy), and the Virtuali-Tee augmented reality app to visualize human anatomy. All of the board’s eight high schools have now received these kits, donated to CCAAM by the Johansen-Larsen Foundation and the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation.

“Today’s non-animal technologies help students build a strong knowledge base and achieve curricular learning objectives, all while promoting scientific curiosity and a passion for the discipline,” Chandrasekera said.

She said studies have shown that virtual alternatives are comparable, and even superior, to learning with actual animals.

Dr. Houser said he hopes more students benefit from access to these methods.

“Introducing this technology into the curriculum is an exciting and humane way to engage students that I hope becomes a model for other school boards across Ontario and across Canada,” he said.

The partnership will also give these high schoolers access to the University’s state-of-the-art Eric S. Margolis Training Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Methods, where they will work with Chandrasekera on contemporary technology that simulates actual cadavers, the Anatomage virtual dissection table, donated by the Animal Defence League of Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management.

Gisele Jobin, a science curriculum consultant with the board, says students are more excited and engaged in learning through the use of these new methods.

“This new technology is the way of the future for accessing curriculum and creating meaningful and lasting educational experiences for our students,” she said.

Debbie KaneNursing professor Debbie Kane has received a Seeds4Hope grant to study the workplace experiences of cancer patients.

Study to focus on cancer patients in the workplace

Accommodating cancer patients and survivors in the workplace is the focus of a new study led by UWindsor nursing professor Debbie Kane.

Dr. Kane has teamed up with psychology professor Kathryn Lafreniere, nursing professor emerita Dale Rajacich, and Windsor Regional Cancer Centre oncologist Caroline Hamm to survey 300 local workers who have undergone cancer treatment or are currently in treatment. They want to gauge the impact of employment on cancer patients’ quality of life and explore ways employers could help them continue working during treatment and beyond.

“We know most people want to be at work. It means life is normal,” Kane said. “If you’re feeling really ill, you need to be at home, but for people who are well enough, they want to be at work.”

It’s estimated that about 60 per cent of cancer survivors continue to work during treatment or return to work afterward. Windsor and Essex County has higher cancer rates than the rest of Ontario, with 2,451 new cancer cases diagnosed in 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available. Of those currently diagnosed with cancer, 40 per cent are between the ages of 20 and 65, making them an integral part of the workforce.

The research project is one of three at the University of Windsor being funded this year by Seeds4Hope, the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation’s annual grant program. Kane and her collaborators have been awarded $25,000 and are expected to have their study results complete in a year.

They have done some groundwork in the form of pilot research involving eight cancer survivors who shared their experiences balancing treatment and work.

Therapies like chemotherapy have a cumulative effect, with early treatments being easier on the body than later ones, Kane explained. Early on, some workers can go for chemo in the morning and be back at work in the afternoon.

But many workplaces have no provisions for workers who need to be absent on treatment days or who feel too ill to work on the day or two afterwards. Workers burn through their sick-day allotments quickly, never getting the benefit of short- or long-term disability because they are not off for long stretches at a time.

Most employers who do accommodate cancer patients and survivors usually do so on an informal, case-by-case basis, the early research shows. A more formal system would need the support of unions and human resource departments, Kane said.

The research area is one which has not been explored in much depth, she said: “This is recognized as an important topic.”

In a letter of support included in Kane’s grant application, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said the importance of the research can’t be overstated.

“I believe the goal of establishing best-practice guidelines to encourage, support and guide a timely and meaningful return to work for cancer patients and survivors will go a long way, not only to improving the long-term prognosis of the employee, but to help ensure the long-term success and viability of the businesses where they are employed.” wrote Nicole Dupuis, the health unit’s director of health promotion.

The research, Dupuis said, could serve as a model for workplaces throughout the province.

─ Sarah Sacheli

Trumpet“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” is on the setlist for Saturday’s concert by the University Jazz Ensemble.

Jazz concert to celebrate a pearl of an anniversary

The University Jazz Ensemble will celebrate 30 years since its founding — a pearl anniversary — when it performs its fall concert Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Capitol Theatre.

The program ranges from Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, to Lennon and McCartney. Director Robert Fazecash will lead more than two dozen musicians, including vocalists Lilly Korkontzelos, Pia Lampitoc, and Lisha Ottley.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. in the theatre, located at 121 University Ave. West. Admission is $20, with a student rate of $10. See the full program, list of personnel, and ticket information on the event website.

Lancer track athletesThe track and field season gets underway with a meet in London this weekend.

Plenty of action on offer for Lancer fans this weekend

The men’s hockey team will play against the Laurier Golden Hawks to kick off this weekend’s Lancer action. The teams will face off at the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Centre at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29.

On Saturday, Nov. 30, Lancer hockey will play at the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Centre against the Guelph Gryphons. The men will play at 4 p.m. and the women at 7:30 p.m.

The track and field team will be in London at the Bob Vigars season opener starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30.

Lancer volleyball will be in Guelph to take on the Gryphons on Sunday, Dec. 1. The women will play at 2 p.m. and the men at 4 p.m.

For fans unable to attend in person, all the games above will be webcast live on www.oua.tv. Find more info at goLancers.ca.

—Dana Roe

Photo collage labelled Giving TuesdaySeven campus projects have been chosen as a focus for #GivingTuesday, an international day to promote philanthropic donations.

Support sought for Giving Tuesday philanthropic causes

Seven campus projects have been chosen as a focus of the University of Windsor’s efforts toward #GivingTuesday, an international day to promote philanthropic donations.

Immediately following the consumerist excesses of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s date falls on Dec. 3.

“There are many outstanding projects happening across campus all the time, and we wanted to highlight the diversity of great things happening at UWindsor,” says organizer Chris Knack, co-ordinator of Annual Giving. “This Giving Tuesday, be Windsor Proud and show your support of these campus initiatives by making a donation.”

The selected causes include:

  • Campus Food Bank
  • Crafting for a Cure Craft-a-thon
  • Central European Choir Tour
  • The Liberty Project
  • Children's Aid Foundation Scholarship
  • Cities and Climate Action Forum
  • Organic Waste Diversion

To learn more about these projects and make a donation, visit www.uwindsor.ca/givingtuesday.

Other ways to support Giving Tuesday include:

  • Non-perishable food items will be collected Dec. 3 at the CAW Student Centre from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or downtown at the Armouries from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Leddy Library will allow users to pay overdue fees on materials by donating non-perishable food items.
  • Mare Nostrum restaurant will invite patrons that day to round up their bills and donate the difference.

Or join in observances planned for Tuesday in the CAW Student Centre and the SoCA Armouries.

gold stars spelling out "Merry and Bright"Getting a greeting card through the University Print Shop means one less thing to worry about during the most wonderful time of the year.

Centralized service your single source for seasonal salutations

The Office of Public Affairs and Communications and the University Print Shop have teamed up to make it easier to send holiday greetings on campus. An online form will allow UWindsor departments to order cards bearing a selection of seasonal imagery and text greetings for use as printed cards, e-cards, or both.

The cards feature a choice of winter scenes, from homey to elegant, along with suggested verses as well as an option for clients to supply their own messages.

The completed form will submit the order and set the design process in motion. Upon the client’s approval, Public Affairs will send it for printing by the University Print Shop or provide a jpeg image for the client to use in an e-card.

Order soon to ensure completion for delivery before the holiday break, via the online Holiday Cards Order Request form.