U of G Profs Hit the Airwaves, Make Headlines

September 20, 2010 - In the News

The Enviropig, which is the first transgenic animal created by a University of Guelph researcher to solve an environmental problem of phosphorus pollution in surface and groundwater, is featured in a Wall Street Journal health blog entry.

The pigs are genetically modified so they can use a normally indigestible form of phosphorus in feed grains. As a result, they produce manure that is more environmentally friendly.

The blog discusses how the Enviropig recently satisfied the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, allowing the animals to be produced using approved containment procedures, and that applications to other federal agencies to assess the safety of Enviropigs for human food and animal feed are currently under review both in the United States and Canada.

History professor Matthew Hayday will be appearing on a CBC documentary Queen Elizabeth in 3D, which airs at 9 p.m. Monday on CBC-TV. The documentary will air again Sept. 22 and 25 at 10 p.m. on CBC News Network.

In the film, he provides historical context for the royal tour of 1951 and explains how Canadians would have reacted to the princess's visit. At the time, Canada had only recently instituted its own citizenship separate from that of Britain, so the royal family was still central to many Canadians' conception of their national identity.

Hayday's research is focused on the evolution of Canadian national identity in the period just after the Second World War. He is specifically interested in how a Britain-centred conception of Canadian identity was gradually challenged and, to a certain extent, replaced by one that incorporated linguistic duality, multiculturalism and diversity, as well as new symbols of nationhood such as a new flag, a new anthem and a national holiday.

Queen Elizabeth in 3D is a historic milestone in Canadian broadcasting. It is the first 3D documentary to be broadcast in this country. The film features royal visits to Canada as well as long-forgotten 3D footage of the Queen's coronation.

Environmental biology professor Mike Dixon, director of the controlled-environment systems research facility at U of G, is featured in the recent issue of Maclean's magazine. The article looks at Canada's involvement in Mars research and talks about Dixon's work on growing plants in outer space to feed people on long-term space explorations.

Research being conducted at his state-of-the-art facility has Canada leading the world in space agriculture. Dixon, who has been studying how to grow plants in outer space for more than a decade, created the "Martian garden" with other U of G researchers. The prototype developed of special environment-controlled growth chambers will one day allow people to grow vegetables on Mars.The European Space Agency contracted U of G to design and assemble the plant growth chamber because of Guelph's expertise in biological life-support systems.

Saturday's Globe and Mail featured a book review by Prof. Janice Kulyk Keefer. The School of English and Theatre Studies (SETS) professor reviewed Jose Saramago's latest book, The Elephant's Journey. An award-winning author, Kulyk Keefer specializes in Canadian literature and creative writing at U of G. She helped launch the University's creative writing program in 1990 and has helped turn SETS into a widely recognized incubator for new writers.

CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks featured two U of G professors this past weekend:

Prof. Evan Fraser discussed his latest book, Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. In the book, the geography professor shows how the history of the decline of world powers is linked to food and hunger by examining how societies from the Roman Empire to imperial Britain crumbled as their food supplies crashed. Fraser, who is an expert in food security, also suggests in the book that we may currently be facing the same fate and need to start altering the way we produce, store and consume food.

Prof. Ryan Norris talked about his latest research study, which found that the migration route for some monarch butterflies includes flying over the Appalachians. The integrative biology professor, along with graduate student Nathan Miller, discovered that some monarchs born in the Midwest and Great Lakes fly directly east over the Appalachians and settle along the eastern seaboard. Previously, it was believed that all monarchs migrated directly north. This new finding solves the long-standing puzzle of why monarchs always appear later on the east coast than in the interior.

Hosted by Bob Macdonald, Quirks & Quarks is an award-winning radio science program heard by a national audience in Canada of nearly 500,000 people and by thousands more around the world on a weekly podcast.

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