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Opposites attract when forming cross-disciplinary research projects

Science DailyNews - Thu, 11/26/2020 - 01:06

As real-life social circles shrink, the Faculty of Science is looking to expand its research social circle with the 2020 Research Stimulus Fund program, Science Xcelerate.

The program is designed to encourage new cross-disciplinary projects involving Faculty of Science researchers. These projects can involve scientists working together from various Faculty of Science departments, or scientists connecting with researchers from other disciplines or even beyond the University.

“We are interested in accelerating new research ideas that connect researchers from across disciplines,” says Dan Mennill, associate dean, graduate studies and research. “We’ve already had interest from several unconventional research pairings. I am excited to find out what innovative, cross-disciplinary collaborations will arise from this program.”

The Office of Research and Innovation Services established the Research Stimulus Fund under the purview of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, to build upon research strengths, promote future research collaborations, and enhance graduate training and experiential learning. The fund is supported by Tri-Council money arising from grant holdings from science researchers over the past three years.

This year, the Faculty of Science will use a portion of its RSF allocation to support the RSF: Science Xcelerate program. The fund will likely support two or three projects with a flexible budget of approximately $25,000 per partnership, with an expected timeline of two years.

Dean of science Chris Houser, says the faculty is especially interested in funding projects that will lead to ongoing collaborations, and projects that will leverage support in future funding competitions from outside the University.

“This new collaborative opportunity is sure to spark exciting new ideas and with just our internal RSF: Science Xcelerate announcement, we’ve already had a fantastic response,” says Dr. Houser.

For application details, or for more information, go to the Faculty of Science’s funding for faculty webpage. Applications are due no later than Friday, Dec. 11, at noon.Dan MennillChris HouserAya El-HashemiStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Opposites attract when forming cross-disciplinary research projects

Science News - Thu, 11/26/2020 - 01:06

As real-life social circles shrink, the Faculty of Science is looking to expand its research social circle with the 2020 Research Stimulus Fund program, Science Xcelerate.

The program is designed to encourage new cross-disciplinary projects involving Faculty of Science researchers. These projects can involve scientists working together from various Faculty of Science departments, or scientists connecting with researchers from other disciplines or even beyond the University.

“We are interested in accelerating new research ideas that connect researchers from across disciplines,” says Dan Mennill, associate dean, graduate studies and research. “We’ve already had interest from several unconventional research pairings. I am excited to find out what innovative, cross-disciplinary collaborations will arise from this program.”

The Office of Research and Innovation Services established the Research Stimulus Fund under the purview of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, to build upon research strengths, promote future research collaborations, and enhance graduate training and experiential learning. The fund is supported by Tri-Council money arising from grant holdings from science researchers over the past three years.

This year, the Faculty of Science will use a portion of its RSF allocation to support the RSF: Science Xcelerate program. The fund will likely support two or three projects with a flexible budget of approximately $25,000 per partnership, with an expected timeline of two years.

Dean of science Chris Houser, says the faculty is especially interested in funding projects that will lead to ongoing collaborations, and projects that will leverage support in future funding competitions from outside the University.

“This new collaborative opportunity is sure to spark exciting new ideas and with just our internal RSF: Science Xcelerate announcement, we’ve already had a fantastic response,” says Dr. Houser.

For application details, or for more information, go to the Faculty of Science’s funding for faculty webpage. Applications are due no later than Friday, Dec. 11, at noon.Dan MennillChris HouserAya El-HashemiStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Province’s doctors honour UWindsor professor

Science DailyNews - Thu, 11/26/2020 - 01:00

The Ontario Medical Association has extended honorary membership to UWindsor biochemistry professor Siyaram Pandey in recognition of his contributions to science.

The organization represents the political, clinical, and economic interests of Ontario physicians. Its awards citation noted Dr. Pandey’s research on apoptosis — cell suicide — which is central to various aspects of human health, including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

“While we are not able to gather in person this year to celebrate your achievement, I want to express my personal thank you for all that you do to support the profession and the health of Ontarians,” the association’s chief executive officer, Allan O’Dette, wrote in a letter to Pandey announcing the award.

Pandey said he was humbled and honoured by the recognition from the medical community.

“As a biochemist and scientist, I am grateful to OMA for recognizing our medically relevant research contribution,” he said. “I thank my students, collaborators, and generous support from the community for our project working on basic and applied research with naturally-derived materials with anticancer activity and neuroprotective activity.”

Siyaram PandeyAcademic Area: ScienceChemistry & Biochemistry

Province’s doctors honour UWindsor professor

Science News - Thu, 11/26/2020 - 01:00

The Ontario Medical Association has extended honorary membership to UWindsor biochemistry professor Siyaram Pandey in recognition of his contributions to science.

The organization represents the political, clinical, and economic interests of Ontario physicians. Its awards citation noted Dr. Pandey’s research on apoptosis — cell suicide — which is central to various aspects of human health, including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

“While we are not able to gather in person this year to celebrate your achievement, I want to express my personal thank you for all that you do to support the profession and the health of Ontarians,” the association’s chief executive officer, Allan O’Dette, wrote in a letter to Pandey announcing the award.

Pandey said he was humbled and honoured by the recognition from the medical community.

“As a biochemist and scientist, I am grateful to OMA for recognizing our medically relevant research contribution,” he said. “I thank my students, collaborators, and generous support from the community for our project working on basic and applied research with naturally-derived materials with anticancer activity and neuroprotective activity.”

Siyaram PandeyAcademic Area: ScienceChemistry & Biochemistry

Record attendance marks success of cancer research conference

Science DailyNews - Thu, 11/26/2020 - 00:54

The culmination of months of planning, the fifth Biennial International Cancer Research Conference, Nov. 19 to 21, had everything, organizers say.

A record 270 registrants attended the conference, hosted virtually from Windsor by the Windsor Cancer Research Group, WE-Spark Health Institute’s flagship program.

“This was a conference that brought together all the ingredients that make cancer research and innovation flourish,” said Dora Cavallo-Medved, the group’s translational research director.

“From renowned researchers and surgeons to a visionary devoted to helping women with breast cancer. Inspiring patient stories to dynamic student presenters. An intimate EDI conversation where panellists shared their personal experiences to highlight how we can make healthcare and research more equitable, inclusive and diverse, to a virtual networking social for participants to make global connections.”

Keynote addresses were delivered by Sheila Singh, chief pediatric neurosurgeon from McMaster University, and Lucy Godley, professor of medicine from the University of Chicago. Liana Roodt, a surgeon from Cape Town, South Africa, shared her journey of launching Project Flamingo — a non-profit that provides free breast cancer surgery.

“It has been amazing to see the collaborative nature of researchers, health care professionals, students and community partners as they share their latest research findings,” said the group’s clinical research director, Caroline Hamm. “Their continued dedication to moving cancer research forward, even during a pandemic, is remarkable and will lead to better health outcomes for our patients locally and around the world.”

Attendees logged on from the Philippines, Iran, Switzerland, and South Africa, as well as Canada and the United States.

“Hosting an international cancer research conference allows us to showcase the research excellence happening in our region,” said Lisa Porter, executive director of WE-Spark Health Institute. “This puts us on the international stage and brings great recognition for what we are doing here in Windsor-Essex.”Lisa PorterDora Cavallo-MedvedStrategic Priority: Promote international engagementPursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Record attendance marks success of cancer research conference

Science News - Thu, 11/26/2020 - 00:54

The culmination of months of planning, the fifth Biennial International Cancer Research Conference, Nov. 19 to 21, had everything, organizers say.

A record 270 registrants attended the conference, hosted virtually from Windsor by the Windsor Cancer Research Group, WE-Spark Health Institute’s flagship program.

“This was a conference that brought together all the ingredients that make cancer research and innovation flourish,” said Dora Cavallo-Medved, the group’s translational research director.

“From renowned researchers and surgeons to a visionary devoted to helping women with breast cancer. Inspiring patient stories to dynamic student presenters. An intimate EDI conversation where panellists shared their personal experiences to highlight how we can make healthcare and research more equitable, inclusive and diverse, to a virtual networking social for participants to make global connections.”

Keynote addresses were delivered by Sheila Singh, chief pediatric neurosurgeon from McMaster University, and Lucy Godley, professor of medicine from the University of Chicago. Liana Roodt, a surgeon from Cape Town, South Africa, shared her journey of launching Project Flamingo — a non-profit that provides free breast cancer surgery.

“It has been amazing to see the collaborative nature of researchers, health care professionals, students and community partners as they share their latest research findings,” said the group’s clinical research director, Caroline Hamm. “Their continued dedication to moving cancer research forward, even during a pandemic, is remarkable and will lead to better health outcomes for our patients locally and around the world.”

Attendees logged on from the Philippines, Iran, Switzerland, and South Africa, as well as Canada and the United States.

“Hosting an international cancer research conference allows us to showcase the research excellence happening in our region,” said Lisa Porter, executive director of WE-Spark Health Institute. “This puts us on the international stage and brings great recognition for what we are doing here in Windsor-Essex.”Lisa PorterDora Cavallo-MedvedStrategic Priority: Promote international engagementPursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Online sessions an opportunity to spark research collaborations

Science DailyNews - Fri, 11/20/2020 - 00:09

WE-Spark Health Institute is hosting its second in a series of virtual Think Tanks on Friday, Dec. 4. The event will begin with an overview of three projects, followed by breakout sessions.

“Our Think Tanks provide unique opportunities for researchers, students, and our Windsor-Essex community to ignite ideas and move into research collaborations,” said executive director Lisa Porter.

The presentations include:

  • “Creating Research Teams that Impact Cancer Care for the LGBTQ+ Community,” UWindsor professors Lisa Porter (biomedical sciences) and Laurie Freeman (nursing) and Krista Naccarato, research manager at Windsor Regional Hospital;
  • “Breaking the cycle: Insufficient sleep, cerebrovascular dysfunction and sleep apnea,” kinesiology professor Anthony Bain, University of Windsor;
  • “Is Intracranial Pressure (ICP) Just a Number? The Analysis of ICP Data and Predicting Patient Outcomes within the First Hour of Monitoring,” Andrea Kassay, student, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry - Windsor Campus.

The outcomes will focus on moving each project forward and building collaborations across Windsor-Essex.

The WE-Spark Think Tank will run 1 to 3:30 p.m. and is open to everyone. Click here for more information and to register.

Anthony BainLaurie FreemanLisa PorterAcademic Area: Human KineticsNursingResearchScienceBiology

Online sessions an opportunity to spark research collaborations

Science News - Fri, 11/20/2020 - 00:09

WE-Spark Health Institute is hosting its second in a series of virtual Think Tanks on Friday, Dec. 4. The event will begin with an overview of three projects, followed by breakout sessions.

“Our Think Tanks provide unique opportunities for researchers, students, and our Windsor-Essex community to ignite ideas and move into research collaborations,” said executive director Lisa Porter.

The presentations include:

  • “Creating Research Teams that Impact Cancer Care for the LGBTQ+ Community,” UWindsor professors Lisa Porter (biomedical sciences) and Laurie Freeman (nursing) and Krista Naccarato, research manager at Windsor Regional Hospital;
  • “Breaking the cycle: Insufficient sleep, cerebrovascular dysfunction and sleep apnea,” kinesiology professor Anthony Bain, University of Windsor;
  • “Is Intracranial Pressure (ICP) Just a Number? The Analysis of ICP Data and Predicting Patient Outcomes within the First Hour of Monitoring,” Andrea Kassay, student, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry - Windsor Campus.

The outcomes will focus on moving each project forward and building collaborations across Windsor-Essex.

The WE-Spark Think Tank will run 1 to 3:30 p.m. and is open to everyone. Click here for more information and to register.

Anthony BainLaurie FreemanLisa PorterAcademic Area: Human KineticsNursingResearchScienceBiology

Fish genome project attracts early attention

Science DailyNews - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 00:59

Fish farm operators and environmental consultants are beating a path to the doors of Daniel Heath and his colleagues to be first in line to use a new genomic toolkit to assess the health of freshwater species.

Dr. Heath, a professor of integrated biology at UWindsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, is leading a $9.1 million national research project that involves, in part, developing a chip to determine whether fish are suffering from environmental problems like low oxygen levels, pollution or abnormal temperature.

The technique relies on gene expression, using minimally invasive blood samples or gill cells from fish and allowing the specimens to be sampled in the field then immediately released. It will replace traditional techniques that require fish to be caught and killed before testing — not ideal for species whose low populations put them at risk of extinction.

Heath said the technology will be ready to roll out to end users in the middle of next year at the earliest. But he’s already hearing from anxious fish farm operators and consultants who do environmental assessments for land developers. Testing for gene expression could prove to be cheaper and easier, they say.

“We had no idea people would be so interested,” said Heath, who joked he anticipated having to scrounge around for willing participants. “The level of buy-in is really high.”

The four-year research project, named GEN-FISH, aims to develop a suite of procedures to identify species and monitor stressors based on gene expression. They will also develop web-based resources and software to help users monitor and react to threats.

At UWindsor, Heath is collaborating with fellow researchers Christina Semeniuk, Trevor Pitcher, Hugh MacIsaac, Oliver Love, Phil Karpowicz, Dennis Higgs, and Amy Fitzgerald. They are among more than 70 researchers from British Columbia to New Brunswick on the project that holds the promise of ensuring the sustainability of freshwater fish stocks in Canada for generations to come.

The project will also develop management tools based on a technique called environmental DNA, or eDNA. Heath is a pioneer in eDNA, which involves the collection and analysis of water to identify all the species that exist in the ecosystem from which the water sample was drawn.

The eDNA process relies on identifying genetic material in the water. It is less invasive and more comprehensive than traditional techniques that require specimens to be captured.

The process will be used to create what Heath calls a “fish survey toolkit” in the initial part of the project. The second part of the project involves creating the “fish health toolkit” which identifies gene expression markers to denote if the fish are healthy or stressed.

The toolkits GEN-FISH researchers are developing will make Canada a world leader in the complete and accurate assessment of freshwater fish populations. They will help scientists and managers overcome the logistics of surveying and monitoring Canada’s more than two million lakes and the rivers and streams that connect them.

“This is the largest application of genomic tools for freshwater fishery management and conservation in the world,” Heath said.

The project has received funding from the federal and provincial governments, with more in-kind contributions coming from other partners.

GEN-FISH has secured its funding with the help of Ontario Genomics, a provincial agency that works with federal funding agency Genome Canada to encourage genomics innovation. Ontario Genomics is also administering the project’s funding.

“This project is a perfect example of how genomics is foundational for the development of tools and technologies that provide solutions for our most pressing problems,” said Bettina Hamelin, president and CEO of Ontario Genomics.

“At Ontario Genomics, we envision a world of healthy people, a healthy economy, and a healthy planet through genomics innovations. The GEN-FISH team’s work aligns with our goals to protect our natural habitats that constitute the livelihoods of rural, northern and Indigenous communities.”

GEN-FISH began in earnest in January, but the pandemic forced researchers to rethink their approach.

“Many of our government partners shut down or scaled back on field work,” Heath said.

Researchers were able to get back into the field by late summer, but in the interim, they relied on previously collected data, compiling eDNA profiles of fish communities, he said.

“We’ve actually made significant steps forward. We’re making progress despite the restrictions of COVID.”

—Sarah Sacheli

Daniel HeathChristina SemeniukTrevor PitcherHugh MacIsaacOliver LovePhil KarpowiczDennis HiggsAmy FitzgeraldGreat Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Fish genome project attracts early attention

Science News - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 00:59

Fish farm operators and environmental consultants are beating a path to the doors of Daniel Heath and his colleagues to be first in line to use a new genomic toolkit to assess the health of freshwater species.

Dr. Heath, a professor of integrated biology at UWindsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, is leading a $9.1 million national research project that involves, in part, developing a chip to determine whether fish are suffering from environmental problems like low oxygen levels, pollution or abnormal temperature.

The technique relies on gene expression, using minimally invasive blood samples or gill cells from fish and allowing the specimens to be sampled in the field then immediately released. It will replace traditional techniques that require fish to be caught and killed before testing — not ideal for species whose low populations put them at risk of extinction.

Heath said the technology will be ready to roll out to end users in the middle of next year at the earliest. But he’s already hearing from anxious fish farm operators and consultants who do environmental assessments for land developers. Testing for gene expression could prove to be cheaper and easier, they say.

“We had no idea people would be so interested,” said Heath, who joked he anticipated having to scrounge around for willing participants. “The level of buy-in is really high.”

The four-year research project, named GEN-FISH, aims to develop a suite of procedures to identify species and monitor stressors based on gene expression. They will also develop web-based resources and software to help users monitor and react to threats.

At UWindsor, Heath is collaborating with fellow researchers Christina Semeniuk, Trevor Pitcher, Hugh MacIsaac, Oliver Love, Phil Karpowicz, Dennis Higgs, and Amy Fitzgerald. They are among more than 70 researchers from British Columbia to New Brunswick on the project that holds the promise of ensuring the sustainability of freshwater fish stocks in Canada for generations to come.

The project will also develop management tools based on a technique called environmental DNA, or eDNA. Heath is a pioneer in eDNA, which involves the collection and analysis of water to identify all the species that exist in the ecosystem from which the water sample was drawn.

The eDNA process relies on identifying genetic material in the water. It is less invasive and more comprehensive than traditional techniques that require specimens to be captured.

The process will be used to create what Heath calls a “fish survey toolkit” in the initial part of the project. The second part of the project involves creating the “fish health toolkit” which identifies gene expression markers to denote if the fish are healthy or stressed.

The toolkits GEN-FISH researchers are developing will make Canada a world leader in the complete and accurate assessment of freshwater fish populations. They will help scientists and managers overcome the logistics of surveying and monitoring Canada’s more than two million lakes and the rivers and streams that connect them.

“This is the largest application of genomic tools for freshwater fishery management and conservation in the world,” Heath said.

The project has received funding from the federal and provincial governments, with more in-kind contributions coming from other partners.

GEN-FISH has secured its funding with the help of Ontario Genomics, a provincial agency that works with federal funding agency Genome Canada to encourage genomics innovation. Ontario Genomics is also administering the project’s funding.

“This project is a perfect example of how genomics is foundational for the development of tools and technologies that provide solutions for our most pressing problems,” said Bettina Hamelin, president and CEO of Ontario Genomics.

“At Ontario Genomics, we envision a world of healthy people, a healthy economy, and a healthy planet through genomics innovations. The GEN-FISH team’s work aligns with our goals to protect our natural habitats that constitute the livelihoods of rural, northern and Indigenous communities.”

GEN-FISH began in earnest in January, but the pandemic forced researchers to rethink their approach.

“Many of our government partners shut down or scaled back on field work,” Heath said.

Researchers were able to get back into the field by late summer, but in the interim, they relied on previously collected data, compiling eDNA profiles of fish communities, he said.

“We’ve actually made significant steps forward. We’re making progress despite the restrictions of COVID.”

—Sarah Sacheli

Daniel HeathChristina SemeniukTrevor PitcherHugh MacIsaacOliver LovePhil KarpowiczDennis HiggsAmy FitzgeraldGreat Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Profs tout solutions to address income inequality

Science DailyNews - Tue, 11/17/2020 - 00:47

Economic data indicate that Canadians who were well-off before the pandemic are benefiting, while those who had been marginalized are suffering, two UWindsor instructors argue in an opinion piece published Sunday in the Toronto Star newspaper.

“Research suggests that income inequality is reaching worrisome levels,” write economics professor emeritus Ron Meng and Imran Abdool, lecturer in economics and finance. “COVID-19 and its congruent economic crisis is an opportunity to implement key changes that will set Canada’s economic trajectory on the right path.”

They suggest three measures: a universal basic income with automatic stabilizers; high-quality, affordable child care; and a well-designed wealth tax.

“Any increase in government revenues could be used to shore-up our health-care system and its backlogged cases, or to keep our education system competitive — critical to our long-term prosperity.”

Read their entire piece, “Canada’s K-shaped recovery is deepening the lines between rich and poor. Here’s how we can shift our economy toward a fair outcome for all,” online.

Ron MengImran AbdoolStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: BusinessResearchScienceEconomics

Profs tout solutions to address income inequality

Science News - Tue, 11/17/2020 - 00:47

Economic data indicate that Canadians who were well-off before the pandemic are benefiting, while those who had been marginalized are suffering, two UWindsor instructors argue in an opinion piece published Sunday in the Toronto Star newspaper.

“Research suggests that income inequality is reaching worrisome levels,” write economics professor emeritus Ron Meng and Imran Abdool, lecturer in economics and finance. “COVID-19 and its congruent economic crisis is an opportunity to implement key changes that will set Canada’s economic trajectory on the right path.”

They suggest three measures: a universal basic income with automatic stabilizers; high-quality, affordable child care; and a well-designed wealth tax.

“Any increase in government revenues could be used to shore-up our health-care system and its backlogged cases, or to keep our education system competitive — critical to our long-term prosperity.”

Read their entire piece, “Canada’s K-shaped recovery is deepening the lines between rich and poor. Here’s how we can shift our economy toward a fair outcome for all,” online.

Ron MengImran AbdoolStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: BusinessResearchScienceEconomics

Cancer conference a unique opportunity for research connections

Science DailyNews - Tue, 11/17/2020 - 00:45

The Windsor Cancer Research Group (WCRG), WE-Spark Health Institute’s flagship program, is holding its fifth Biennial International Cancer Research Conference – Virtual Edition from Nov. 19 to 21.

Keynote speakers include Sheila Singh, pediatric neurosurgeon and professor at McMaster University, and Lucy Godley, professor of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago.

Over 200 registrants will be attending from across Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Iran, Switzerland, and South Africa. Almost 70 abstracts have been submitted from a diverse background including medical oncology, biology, physics, chemistry, medical biophysics, psychology, and machine learning. Registrants include students from all levels, researchers, and physicians who will have the opportunity to highlight their research projects through talks and poster presentations.

Sessions will include patient perspectives; equity, diversity, and inclusion discussions; and a special presentation by the Canadian Cancer Society’s Research Information and Outreach Team.

“This international conference is an excellent forum for people to showcase their latest research projects and ideas,” said UWindsor professor of biomedical sciences Lisa Porter, executive director, WE-Spark Health Institute. “Although we have always looked forward to a face-to-face conference, this virtual format is a unique opportunity for people from all over the world to connect and share the latest advancements in cancer diagnostics, treatments, and care.”

The virtual conference is free; registration is open to everyone interested in cancer research until Nov. 21. Click here for the detailed conference schedule and to register.

Lisa PorterStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Cancer conference a unique opportunity for research connections

Science News - Tue, 11/17/2020 - 00:45

The Windsor Cancer Research Group (WCRG), WE-Spark Health Institute’s flagship program, is holding its fifth Biennial International Cancer Research Conference – Virtual Edition from Nov. 19 to 21.

Keynote speakers include Sheila Singh, pediatric neurosurgeon and professor at McMaster University, and Lucy Godley, professor of medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago.

Over 200 registrants will be attending from across Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Iran, Switzerland, and South Africa. Almost 70 abstracts have been submitted from a diverse background including medical oncology, biology, physics, chemistry, medical biophysics, psychology, and machine learning. Registrants include students from all levels, researchers, and physicians who will have the opportunity to highlight their research projects through talks and poster presentations.

Sessions will include patient perspectives; equity, diversity, and inclusion discussions; and a special presentation by the Canadian Cancer Society’s Research Information and Outreach Team.

“This international conference is an excellent forum for people to showcase their latest research projects and ideas,” said UWindsor professor of biomedical sciences Lisa Porter, executive director, WE-Spark Health Institute. “Although we have always looked forward to a face-to-face conference, this virtual format is a unique opportunity for people from all over the world to connect and share the latest advancements in cancer diagnostics, treatments, and care.”

The virtual conference is free; registration is open to everyone interested in cancer research until Nov. 21. Click here for the detailed conference schedule and to register.

Lisa PorterStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

Webinar series to inspire physics enthusiasts

Science DailyNews - Wed, 11/11/2020 - 00:41

A series of virtual seminars this semester and next will provide upper-level undergraduate students of physics an opportunity to meet with researchers in the field.

Faculty and adjunct professors will deliver talks on their cutting-edge research projects Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m.

Session 1:

  • “Skating on spin ice: A tour of frustrated magnetism and fractionalization,” Nov. 13
  • “Can ultrafast laser pulses make water magnetic? (Ultrafast pulse scattering by molecular clusters),” Nov. 20
  • “Healing Humanity One Spark at a Time: Diagnosing Bacterial Pathogens with Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy,” Nov. 27
  • “New physics in atomic Coulomb explosions following nuclear beta decay,” Dec. 4

Session 2:

  • “Ultrafast and ultrasmall: manipulating individual electron motion,” Jan. 8
  • “Affordable Magnetic Resonance: from Million-Dollar MRI to A Backpack Scanner,” Jan. 15
  • “Neutrons for health and materials: New sources and opportunities,” Jan. 22
  • “Laser nuclear-spin-polarization and its applications,” Jan. 29
  • To be confirmed, Feb. 5

There is no cost to attend, but advance registration is required. For schedule and registration, visit the Seminar Series webpage. For more information, email physics@uwindsor.ca.

—Sara Elliott

Paola FloresStrategic Priority: Provide an exceptional undergraduate experienceAcademic Area: ResearchSciencePhysics

Webinar series to inspire physics enthusiasts

Science News - Wed, 11/11/2020 - 00:41

A series of virtual seminars this semester and next will provide upper-level undergraduate students of physics an opportunity to meet with researchers in the field.

Faculty and adjunct professors will deliver talks on their cutting-edge research projects Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m.

Session 1:

  • “Skating on spin ice: A tour of frustrated magnetism and fractionalization,” Nov. 13
  • “Can ultrafast laser pulses make water magnetic? (Ultrafast pulse scattering by molecular clusters),” Nov. 20
  • “Healing Humanity One Spark at a Time: Diagnosing Bacterial Pathogens with Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy,” Nov. 27
  • “New physics in atomic Coulomb explosions following nuclear beta decay,” Dec. 4

Session 2:

  • “Ultrafast and ultrasmall: manipulating individual electron motion,” Jan. 8
  • “Affordable Magnetic Resonance: from Million-Dollar MRI to A Backpack Scanner,” Jan. 15
  • “Neutrons for health and materials: New sources and opportunities,” Jan. 22
  • “Laser nuclear-spin-polarization and its applications,” Jan. 29
  • To be confirmed, Feb. 5

There is no cost to attend, but advance registration is required. For schedule and registration, visit the Seminar Series webpage. For more information, email physics@uwindsor.ca.

—Sara Elliott

Paola FloresStrategic Priority: Provide an exceptional undergraduate experienceAcademic Area: ResearchSciencePhysics

Co-op students gain remote work experience with tech company

Science DailyNews - Tue, 11/10/2020 - 00:21

Four UWindsor students were able to gain experience in co-operative education from their bedrooms, thanks to a software company that uses vehicle sensors to diagnose potential problems and prescribe maintenance.

Built by Windsor native Ken Sills, Preteckt specializes in detecting issues before they arise. Using its machine learning algorithms and validation processes, clients are able to improve driver experience and generate cost savings.

Over the summer, mechanical engineering student Leah Flynn and computer science majors Charles Corro, Alicia Leslie, and Ikenna Uduh worked as data analyst interns, learning both soft skills and advanced technical skills. The company was able to hire student talent with the support of funding from the federal Student Work Placement Program.

Corro says the projects helped him to develop expertise: “I was able to learn a wide variety of skills and applications such as data aggregation and various statistical algorithms to validate such data and draw preliminary conclusions.”

The company operates from locations in Hamilton and Memphis, Tennessee, requiring the students to employ technologies to communicate and collaborate.

“Despite working from home, I was able to make meaningful connections with team members and colleagues across Canada and the United States,” says Leslie. “I worked closely with the software engineering team based in Memphis to design portable dashboards to visualize database metrics.”

She has continued to work with Preteckt, applying her learning toward her fourth-year project.

Leah FlynnCharles CorroAlicia LeslieIkenna UduhOffice of Experiential LearningStrategic Priority: Engage in community partnershipsProvide an exceptional undergraduate experienceAcademic Area: EngineeringMechanical, Automotive & Materials EngineeringScienceComputer Science

Co-op students gain remote work experience with tech company

Science News - Tue, 11/10/2020 - 00:21

Four UWindsor students were able to gain experience in co-operative education from their bedrooms, thanks to a software company that uses vehicle sensors to diagnose potential problems and prescribe maintenance.

Built by Windsor native Ken Sills, Preteckt specializes in detecting issues before they arise. Using its machine learning algorithms and validation processes, clients are able to improve driver experience and generate cost savings.

Over the summer, mechanical engineering student Leah Flynn and computer science majors Charles Corro, Alicia Leslie, and Ikenna Uduh worked as data analyst interns, learning both soft skills and advanced technical skills. The company was able to hire student talent with the support of funding from the federal Student Work Placement Program.

Corro says the projects helped him to develop expertise: “I was able to learn a wide variety of skills and applications such as data aggregation and various statistical algorithms to validate such data and draw preliminary conclusions.”

The company operates from locations in Hamilton and Memphis, Tennessee, requiring the students to employ technologies to communicate and collaborate.

“Despite working from home, I was able to make meaningful connections with team members and colleagues across Canada and the United States,” says Leslie. “I worked closely with the software engineering team based in Memphis to design portable dashboards to visualize database metrics.”

She has continued to work with Preteckt, applying her learning toward her fourth-year project.

Leah FlynnCharles CorroAlicia LeslieIkenna UduhOffice of Experiential LearningStrategic Priority: Engage in community partnershipsProvide an exceptional undergraduate experienceAcademic Area: EngineeringMechanical, Automotive & Materials EngineeringScienceComputer Science

UWindsor COVID research gets $300,000 funding boost

Science DailyNews - Mon, 11/09/2020 - 00:12

A team of UWindsor scientists testing sewage as an early warning system for the community spread of COVID-19 has received a huge federal funding boost.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Thursday announced $300,000 in funding to the team led by UWindsor’s Mike McKay. The money comes from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) which is directing a special fund of $28 million for equipment needed for research related to COVID-19. Dr. McKay’s project, in conjunction with fellow UWindsor researchers Daniel Heath, Lisa Porter, Rajesh Seth, and Christopher Weisener, is one of 79 across the country to receive money from the fund.

“The investment from CFI builds capacity in our surveillance program that will position us to more quickly inform public health units on community infections revealed from wastewater,” said McKay, executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research. “The infrastructure supported by this award will also be an important element to advance screening efforts on campus to facilitate an eventual return to face-to-face instruction at UWindsor.”

The virus responsible for COVID-19 is shed in fecal matter. Early into the pandemic, McKay recognized you can determine trends in the infection rates in a given community by detecting the presence of the virus’s genetic signature in the sewage entering wastewater treatment plants.

“An alternative to testing individuals lies literally beneath our feet in our municipal sewer systems,” McKay explained. “A 24-hour composite sample of raw sewage represents the fecal discharge of the entire community served by the plant, effectively providing a community-wide swab.”

Staff at sewage treatment plants regularly collect samples of wastewater entering and leaving their facilities as part of regulatory compliance and process testing. McKay’s team is gathering those samples from plants in Windsor, Lakeshore, Amherstburg, and London and analyzing them for the presence of the virus’s RNA.

He is also working with scientists across Ontario coordinated through the Canadian Water Network’s COVID-19 Wastewater Coalition doing similar research.

McKay called the testing a “robust tool” epidemiologists could use to track community health in future pandemics beyond COVID-19.

Thursday’s funding announcement stressed how scientific research like that being carried out at UWindsor can be used to inform decision making during the pandemic, said K.W. Michael Siu, UWindsor’s vice-president, research and innovation.

The research infrastructure funded by CFI will significantly extend the University’s capacity to detect and track the presence of COVID-19 in the Windsor-Essex community,” said Dr. Siu. “Sewage testing may serve as the canary in the coal mine for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

An environmental microbiologist who specializes in algal blooms, McKay pivoted with his team to COVID-research when the pandemic struck.

“Canadian researchers’ immediate response to the pandemic has demonstrated the research community’s crucial role in helping to resolve this crisis,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, CFI president and CEO.

“The CFI is proud to support their efforts by equipping them with the research infrastructure they need to further their significant work.”

—Sarah Sacheli

Mike McKayDaniel HeathLisa PorterRajesh SethChristopher WeisenerK.W. Michael SiuGreat Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience

UWindsor COVID research gets $300,000 funding boost

Science News - Mon, 11/09/2020 - 00:12

A team of UWindsor scientists testing sewage as an early warning system for the community spread of COVID-19 has received a huge federal funding boost.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Thursday announced $300,000 in funding to the team led by UWindsor’s Mike McKay. The money comes from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) which is directing a special fund of $28 million for equipment needed for research related to COVID-19. Dr. McKay’s project, in conjunction with fellow UWindsor researchers Daniel Heath, Lisa Porter, Rajesh Seth, and Christopher Weisener, is one of 79 across the country to receive money from the fund.

“The investment from CFI builds capacity in our surveillance program that will position us to more quickly inform public health units on community infections revealed from wastewater,” said McKay, executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research. “The infrastructure supported by this award will also be an important element to advance screening efforts on campus to facilitate an eventual return to face-to-face instruction at UWindsor.”

The virus responsible for COVID-19 is shed in fecal matter. Early into the pandemic, McKay recognized you can determine trends in the infection rates in a given community by detecting the presence of the virus’s genetic signature in the sewage entering wastewater treatment plants.

“An alternative to testing individuals lies literally beneath our feet in our municipal sewer systems,” McKay explained. “A 24-hour composite sample of raw sewage represents the fecal discharge of the entire community served by the plant, effectively providing a community-wide swab.”

Staff at sewage treatment plants regularly collect samples of wastewater entering and leaving their facilities as part of regulatory compliance and process testing. McKay’s team is gathering those samples from plants in Windsor, Lakeshore, Amherstburg, and London and analyzing them for the presence of the virus’s RNA.

He is also working with scientists across Ontario coordinated through the Canadian Water Network’s COVID-19 Wastewater Coalition doing similar research.

McKay called the testing a “robust tool” epidemiologists could use to track community health in future pandemics beyond COVID-19.

Thursday’s funding announcement stressed how scientific research like that being carried out at UWindsor can be used to inform decision making during the pandemic, said K.W. Michael Siu, UWindsor’s vice-president, research and innovation.

The research infrastructure funded by CFI will significantly extend the University’s capacity to detect and track the presence of COVID-19 in the Windsor-Essex community,” said Dr. Siu. “Sewage testing may serve as the canary in the coal mine for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

An environmental microbiologist who specializes in algal blooms, McKay pivoted with his team to COVID-research when the pandemic struck.

“Canadian researchers’ immediate response to the pandemic has demonstrated the research community’s crucial role in helping to resolve this crisis,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, CFI president and CEO.

“The CFI is proud to support their efforts by equipping them with the research infrastructure they need to further their significant work.”

—Sarah Sacheli

Mike McKayDaniel HeathLisa PorterRajesh SethChristopher WeisenerK.W. Michael SiuGreat Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchStrategic Priority: Pursue strengths in research and graduate educationAcademic Area: ResearchScience