U of G News
More than 30,000 people are expected to visit the University of Guelph March 16 and 17 for the 89th annual College Royal weekend.
The free two-day event is North America's largest student-run university open house.
“We are excited to have an incredible variety of events and fun activities for the whole family, future students and those graduates looking to return,” said volunteer Mike Whiteside.
The theme of this year’s event is “Welcome to Royal Country.” Whiteside, who is heading College Royal’s public relations efforts this year, said the theme was chosen to allow people to enjoy traditional events and to showcase new offerings and celebrate Guelph’s diversity.
Activities will include livestock shows, square dancing, campus tours, a lecture series, logging competitions, dog and cat shows, photography and art, synchronized swimming demonstrations, a flower-arranging competition and a pancake flipping contest.
For kids, there will be Old MacDonald’s New Farm, a junior tractor rodeo, face painting, teddy bear surgery, a chemistry magic show and food science milkshakes.
U of G student clubs and classes have designed displays and exhibits.
For a complete schedule of events, visit the College Royal website. For more information, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-824-4120, Ext. 58366.
Psychology Prof. Benjamin Gottlieb is scheduled to appear on Global National TV Sunday, March 3. He was interviewed for a series about heart health that is scheduled to air at 6 p.m.
Gottlieb talked about the health benefits experienced by older adults who volunteer.
He received a $375,000 grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research in 2008 to study the health effects of volunteering for seniors. Among other things, researchers looked at how activities associated with volunteering, such as bending, lifting, carrying and walking, and route navigation affect physical and mental well-being.
“I’m interested in the concept of ‘social usefulness’ and intrigued by the possibility that older adults live healthier, happier and longer lives when they feel there are people who need them in ways that no one else can replace,” Gottlieb said about the study.
The research also involved U of G professors Dan Meegan, Psychology; Lawrence Spriet, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences; and Scott Maitland, Family Relations , as well as graduate and undergraduate students.
Guelph faculty have also been in the news in other areas.
Profs. Paul Hebert and Dirk Steinke, along with forensic technician Chris Weland, all of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) at U of G, were interviewed by CNN and had their work on DNA barcoding and food products showcased on Feb. 25. The BIO has been at the forefront of identifying mislabelled food and foods that have had ingredients substituted which differ from what is on the list of ingredients. Reporter Paula Newton interviewed them and gave viewers in North America and around the world on CNN International a look at the BIO.
Also, Prof. Sylvain Charlebois, associate dean in the College of Management and Economics, was interviewed by CTV News Channel for a report on budget cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on Feb. 27. Charlebois is an expert on food supply, inspection and pricing. He was also interviewed by Global National for a story on increasing food prices by reporter Robin Gill on the same day.
A new potential target for battling disease-causing bacteria – especially deadly bugs that resist current antibiotics – may result from a study by University of Guelph researchers.
The study has shown for the first time the workings of a common bacterial enzyme that may prove vulnerable to drug treatments, said Prof. Anthony Clarke, Molecular and Cellular Biology.
The enzyme might offer a new target for drug companies looking for new ways to fight antimicrobial drug resistance, a growing health threat worldwide, Clarke said.
Published online last month in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the study was flagged by Global Medical Discovery Ltd. for drug companies and other researchers. GMD highlights journal articles offering promise for new drug discoveries.
The paper’s lead author is John Pfeffer, who completed a PhD in late 2012 and is working this semester as a post-doc researcher in Clarke’s lab. Their co-author, Joel Weadge, completed his doctorate with Clarke in 2006 and is now a biology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Said Clarke, “This new research follows a study where we showed this enzyme might be a new target. If so, then the more information we have on how it works, the better placed we are to design or search for inhibitors.”
Bacteria have evolved many variations of defensive enzymes. Knock out one target with an antibiotic, and the bug often deploys a different protein to elude treatment.
This particular enzyme – called O-acetylpeptidoglycan esterase, or “Ape” – studied by the Guelph researchers has little redundancy, Pfeffer explained.
So drugs might be more effective or doctors might be able to outwit the bugs longer – although he added that bacteria will eventually find a way around potential new treatments.
“It’s an arms race essentially.”
They studied bacteria that cause gonorrhea. Out of more than one million new gonorrhea infections in the United States in 2009, up to three-quarters involve antibiotic-resistant strains, he said.
Pfeffer said their work might help in treating other organisms, especially drug-resistant strains that pose a greater health threat for people in hospitals and long-term care facilities. “We have to come up with new ways to combat disease.”
Early this month, Clarke attended a meeting of the Canada/U.K. Partnership on Antibiotic Resistance, a collaboration of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the British Medical Research Council. He is co-leader of a research team studying infectious organisms that are increasingly impervious to drug treatments, including bacteria that cause tuberculosis.
The gathering attracted experts from industry, universities and governments to consider a strategic approach for addressing antimicrobial resistance, he says. “It was a meeting of the minds to look at how we might deal with this serious problem.”
Pfeffer started working with Clarke as an undergrad. He completed that degree in 2005 and started grad studies that year.
Art in Guelph has a new home with the opening of the inaugural Boarding House Gallery exhibition in downtown Guelph.
The exhibition “1,” which has its opening reception Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the Boarding House for the Arts at 6 Dublin St. S., marks the launch of a new public art gallery. The gallery is an artistic partnership between the University of Guelph’s School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM) and the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC). The two organizations say this helps fulfill their mandate of presenting contemporary art exhibitions in a space which is accessible and free to the public.
“I am thrilled that SOFAM is spearheading this important collaboration with MSAC,” says John Kissick, SOFAM director. “The Boarding House Gallery is a venue for the exhibition of work by practicing professional artists and for bringing the work and ideas of our best and brightest students to the downtown core. We hope to make a meaningful contribution to the downtown community's active cultural sector.”
The premiere exhibition “1” features 13 contemporary Canadian art works by SOFAM faculty artists Diane Borsato, James Carl, Susan Dobson, FASTWÜRMS, Christian Giroux, Will Gorlitz, John Kissick, Nestor Kruger, Jean Maddison, Martin Pearce, Sandra Rechico, Monica Tap, and Laurel Woodcock.
The show also features a number of works selected from the MSAC’s permanent collection, as well as works that are on special loan for the Boarding House Gallery premiere exhibition.
“The Boarding House Gallery is the result of a fruitful partnership,” says Judith Nasby, MSAC director and curator. “The gallery enables us to extend our programming to engage the public and to reach out to the community in new and interesting ways.”
The gallery plans to host a number of exhibitions. After “1” concludes its run on March 24, the gallery plans to feature works by nationally and internationally recognized artists who will showcase contemporary art practice both in Guelph and beyond its borders.
University graduates in applied and professional programs such as business and engineering are more likely to pay back their student loans than their counterparts in liberal arts or in similar college programs, according to a new study from the University of Guelph.
The study found that university students are generally more likely to repay loans than their college counterparts despite higher university tuition fees. It also found that, starting salaries being even, students in certain fields, including business, health or engineering, were more likely to repay their student loans than those in the liberal arts.
It was authored by Guelph sociology professor David Walters and Laura Wright, who wrote the paper while completing her MA at U of G, along with David Zarifa, a sociology professor at the University of Nipissing. They analyzed student data from Statistics Canada’s most recent version of the National Graduates Survey, with about 40,000 responding graduates from all provinces and territories.
The study controlled for a range of factors, including starting salaries. It excluded those in graduate programs and those who took additional schooling after completing a degree or diploma.
“Since college graduates earn less on average than university graduates, and graduates of liberal arts fields typically earn less than graduates of applied fields, we expected that the former would be more likely to default on their student loans,” said Wright, the lead author and now a PhD candidate at Western University.
“Our results confirmed this probability in general, but what was surprising was that this pattern was evident regardless of earnings. Conceptually, if you compare two individuals who both work full-time, have the same earnings, and have the same amount of student debt, the individual who graduated from a liberal arts program or with a college diploma is still more likely to default than the individual who graduated from an applied program or with a university degree.”
Why? Walters said there are a number of possibilities and that further study is required.
“We don’t know for certain at the moment,” he said. “First-year university students tend to have higher entrance grades than their college counterparts, so it could be said that they are more conscientious. It could also be a matter of lifestyle. It could also be argued that universities are better preparing their students in life skills. And graduates of applied fields may have stronger numeracy skills that help them understand and manage debt.”
Student loan default is a growing concern with rising costs and more students depending on loans. In 2004, the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) distributed more than $1.9 billion to 330,000 students. Three years earlier, defaulted loans cost the program more than $400 million.
Default rates for university loans range from two per cent to eight per cent, with some programs doing better than others, said the researchers.
The study offers ideas to improve repayment rates.
“It might be valuable for government and institution officials involved in the CSLP to consider making additional courses or workshops relating to financial planning available, if not mandatory, for students who require financial assistance,” the study concluded.
For more information, please contact:
Prof. David Walters
Dept. of Sociology
519-824-4120 x. 52198
The largest-ever market study on mislabelled seafood now making headlines around the world has roots at the University of Guelph.
DNA analysis showing mislabelling of 33 per cent of fish sold in grocery stores, restaurants and sushi bars in the United States was conducted at the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding based in U of G’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO).
The Guelph centre was commissioned to conduct the testing by Oceana, the largest international oceans advocacy group. Overall, the study found 44 per cent of all retail outlets sold mislabelled fish.
Since Oceana released its findings Thursday, stories have appeared on CNN news and in newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, Boston Globe, USA Today, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle.
“DNA Barcoding has ‘arrived’ as a standard method for food ingredient authentication,” said Prof. Bob Hanner, associate professor at BIO, who was consulted by Oceana on the design of its study and interpretation of its results.
“The technology was developed here — it’s a Guelph innovation," he said. "We are recognized as the premier service provider for this type of work, which is allowing us to capture this emerging market. We’ve expanded an incredible research innovation to the point where we can provide a much-needed commercial biospecimen identification service. That’s another thing that the University of Guelph is known for — capitalizing on a demand.”
DNA barcoding is a technique developed by Guelph integrative biology professor Paul Hebert. The method allows scientists to identify species of organisms using a short standardized region of their DNA.
DNA testing for the Oceana study took more than two years. “It took a lot of time for them to collect all of the samples, which kept coming in from numerous venues in 21 states,” Hanner said.
More than 1,200 fish samples from almost 700 retail outlets were tested. Researchers found seafood fraud in every region tested, Oceana’s report said.
The highest mislabelling rates were in sushi venues (74 per cent), followed by other restaurants (38 per cent) and grocery stores (18 per cent).
By region, the highest rates of mislabelling occurred in southern California (52 per cent), Austin and Houston (49 per cent), Boston (39 per cent) and New York City (39 per cent).
The study looked at fish with regional significance and species frequently mislabelled in previous studies, such as red snapper, cod, tuna and wild salmon. Snapper and tuna were most frequently mislabelled (87 and 59 per cent, respectively).
Among the report’s other key findings:
• Only seven of the 120 red snapper samples collected nationwide tested correctly.
• Eighty-four per cent of the white tuna samples were escolar, a fish species that can cause serious digestive issues in some people.
• Cheaper farmed fish had been substituted for wild fish. Pangasius was sold as grouper, sole and cod; tilapia, as red snapper; and Atlantic farmed salmon, as wild or king salmon.
The results resemble those in a 2008 study by Hanner. Looking at about 100 samples from restaurants and markets in Toronto, Guelph and New York City, he found about 25 per cent of fish were mislabelled, and the majority were sold as species of a higher market value.
Hanner co-ordinates the Fish Barcode of Life campaign, an international research collaboration that is building the barcode reference sequence libraries needed to identify the world’s fish species.
Regulatory agencies have used DNA barcoding to identify other mislabelled foods, including meat, and other consumer products.
In addition to identifying known species, scientists have used the method to discover hundreds of overlooked species of animals, plants and even marine algae. All of these data are maintained on the Barcode of Life Data System, an international mega-science project that aims to establish a DNA-based identification system for all life.
A lifelong diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can inhibit growth of breast cancer tumours by 30 per cent, according to new research from the University of Guelph.
The study, published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, is believed to be the first to provide unequivocal evidence that omega-3s reduce cancer risk.
“It’s a significant finding,” said David Ma, a professor in Guelph’s Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, and one of the study’s authors.
“We show that lifelong exposure to omega-3s has a beneficial role in disease prevention — in this case, breast cancer prevention. What’s important is that we have proven that omega-3s are the driving force and not something else.”
Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer in women worldwide and is the second leading cause of female cancer deaths.
Advocates have long believed diet may significantly help in preventing cancer, but epidemiological and experimental studies to back up such claims have been lacking, and human studies have been inconsistent, Ma said.
“There are inherent challenges in conducting and measuring diet in such studies, and it has hindered our ability to firmly establish linkages between dietary nutrients and cancer risk,” he said. “So we’ve used modern genetic tools to address a classic nutritional question.”
For their study, the researchers created a novel transgenic mouse that both produces omega-3 fatty acids and develops aggressive mammary tumours. The team compared those animals to mice genetically engineered only to develop the same tumours.
“This model provides a purely genetic approach to investigate the effects of lifelong omega-3s exposure on breast cancer development,” Ma said. “To our knowledge, no such approach has been used previously to investigate the role of omega-3s and breast cancer.”
Mice producing omega-3s developed only two-thirds as many tumours — and tumours were also 30-per-cent smaller — as the control mice did.
“The difference can be solely attributed to the presence of omega-3s in the transgenic mice — that’s significant,” Ma said. “The fact that a food nutrient can have a significant effect on tumour development and growth is remarkable and has considerable implications in breast cancer prevention.”
Known as an expert on how fats influence health and disease, Ma hopes the study leads to more research on using diet to reduce cancer risk and on the benefits of healthy living.
“Prevention is an area of growing importance," he said. "We are working to build a better planet, and that includes better lifestyle and diet. The long-term consequences of reducing disease incidence can have a tremendous effect on the health-care system.”
The study also involved lead author Mira MacLennan, a former U of G graduate student who is now studying medicine at Dalhousie University; U of G pathobiology professor Geoffrey Wood; former Guelph graduate students Shannon Clarke and Kate Perez; William Muller of McGill University; and Jing Kang of Harvard Medical School.
Funding for this research came from the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance/Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund.
Two University of Guelph professors and a researcher were featured on the Discovery Channel and in Time magazine this week.
Physics professor Joanne O’Meara was featured Tuesday night on Discovery's popular science show Daily Planet , where she demonstrated how some amusement park rides such as the Drop Tower at Canada’s Wonderland rely on electromagnetic induction to go from a free fall to a sudden halt. (watch the video: 6:25 into the segment)
She also demonstrated the strength of eggs on the show Feb. 6. She used a special device to show co-host Ziya Tong how an egg’s shape makes it incredibly strong, in this experiment withstanding a weight equivalent to about 27 watermelons before breaking. (7:10 minutes into the segment)
O’Meara makes regular appearances on the show as a resident science expert. She does demonstrations and explains science, physics and engineering to viewers in an understandable and interesting fashion. It’s part of her ongoing science education outreach programs, which also include workshops and physics shows for both elementary school teachers and students. She also researches effective ways to improve physics education in university classrooms.
O’Meara’s education outreach is among the reasons she was awarded the Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2011 from the Canadian Association of Physicists. It recognizes teachers who possess an exceptional ability to communicate their knowledge and understanding.
Atsuko Negishi, a research associate in the Department of Integrative Biology, was featured on Daily Planet Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The segment focused on her work on a novel and unlikely source of natural fibres that may one day lessen our dependence on petroleum: hagfish slime.
Hagfishes are an ancient group of eel-like, bottom-dwelling animals that have remained relatively unchanged for more than 300 million years. When threatened, hagfishes secrete a gelatinous slime containing mucous and tens of thousands of protein threads. These threads belong to the “intermediate filament” family of proteins, have remarkable mechanical properties and are incredibly strong.
Hagfish slime protein threads have the potential to be spun and woven into novel biomaterials, which could provide a sustainable alternative to oil-based polymers.
Negishi is exploring the potential of making synthetic protein-based fibres using hagfish slime threads. Her collaborators include integrative biology professors Douglas Fudge and Todd Gillis and food science professor Loong-Tak Lim.
Research by U of G biomedical sciences professor Neil MacLusky was mentioned in an article in Time magazine.
The Feb. 19 story looks at Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius’s defence in the shooting death of his girlfriend and the possible role steroids may have played. The article looks at several studies that have found connections between changes in hormone and brain chemical levels and increased tendency torward violent behaviour, including one by MacLusky.
His study found that high levels of testosterone in mice, for example, suppress the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is involved in depression and inappropriate reactions to stimuli in humans. The results suggest that increased testosterone, which belongs to a family of steroid hormones called androgens, can alter mood, in some cases perhaps even promoting more aggressive tendencies, the article states.
MacLusky is quoted as saying: “These are hypothesizes, of course, and absolutely not proven for people. Just as people vary a great deal in the extent to which they are predisposed to depression, this may be why people vary a great deal in their response to androgens.”
Roland Walton, president of Tim Hortons Canada, has been named executive-in-residence in the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) for the winter semester.
Walton will share his three decades of food service experience with students Feb. 26 to 28 during classes and special events.
HTM’s executive-in-residence program has brought industry leaders and prominent corporate executives to enhance student learning and careers for more than 10 years.
The school will celebrate its 45th anniversary in 2014.
“Students, faculty and staff have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Tim Hortons and its local franchisees for more than 25 years,” said Kerry Godfrey, HTM director.
Students have contributed to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, and Tim Hortons has been featured in several case studies in the school’s management development programs, he said. In addition, Tim Hortons executives have served on HTM’s policy advisory board for many years.
A 1978 HTM graduate, Walton joined Tim Hortons in 1997 as executive vice-president of operations for Canada and the United States. In 2008, he was appointed chief operations officer for Canada; in 2012, he was named president of Tim Hortons Canada, responsible for overseeing all aspects of Canada’s top Quick Serve Restaurant.
He has also worked for Wendy’s Restaurants Canada, Pizza Hut® Canada and Pizza Hut U.S.A. Before joining Tim Hortons, Walton was division vice-president for Pizza Hut U.S.A.’s central division.
A new director has been appointed to the University of Guelph Arboretum. The largest and most comprehensive sanctuary of its kind in Ontario, it is home to more than 18,000 specimens in more than 30 plant collections as well as gardens, wetlands, nature trails and forests.
Prof. Shelley Hunt, a forest ecologist and faculty member in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), has been named director of the Arboretum, effective Feb. 11. Prof. Jonathan Newman, director of SES, has served as interim director since Prof. Alan Watson stepped down from the position in 2012 after more than 20 years at the Arboretum.
Hunt completed her B.Sc. and PhD at Guelph. She highlights that the 165-hectare green space was one of her favourite places to visit on campus while a student at the University.
“When I was living in East Residence as an undergraduate student, the Arboretum was our backyard, the go-to place for walking, running and occasional late-night cross-country skiing,” she says. “It was also wonderful to have a place on campus to hone my tree identification skills. Since becoming a faculty member, I've visited the Arboretum regularly when I need a break from my desk and some inspiration.”
Hunt has used the sanctuary as a field site for undergraduate research projects and led classes on walk-and-talks through the space to reinforce lecture concepts.
Each year more than 73,000 people visit the Arboretum, and more than 6,000 people participate in workshops, guided tours and special events.
“The Arboretum offers a combination of plant collections and natural areas such as woodlands and meadow,” says Hunt. “It provides opportunities for teaching and research and extensive outreach to the broader community, with dedicated volunteers from on and off campus. This is important green space on campus and part of the City of Guelph's natural heritage system.”
Hunt will continue to teach and conduct research at the University, where she has been on faculty since 2006. Her research currently focuses on forest restoration in southern Ontario.
The chance to work with the Arboretum team convinced her that this was the right opportunity.
“I am thrilled to make a contribution to the great work being done by the Arboretum in fulfilling the mandate of promoting education, research and teaching,” says Hunt. “My first steps as director will be listening to and learning from the staff, visitors and the community. I hope to increase awareness on campus of the wonderful work being done at the Arboretum in biodiversity conservation and environmental education, and to strengthen its role as a research hub.”
The University of Guelph, the United Way of Guelph and Wellington and the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington are calling for nominations for the sixth annual William Winegard Exemplary Volunteer Involvement Awards.
Named in honour of former U of G president and Guelph MP Bill Winegard, the awards recognize members of the University community who have devoted volunteer time and effort in Guelph and Wellington County.
Current staff, faculty and students who volunteer with community organizations, including municipal boards, community fundraising, non-profits and community social health and service agencies, are eligible for the awards.
Nominators can be peers, colleagues, supervisors or organizations that benefit from the volunteer efforts of the nominee.
The deadline for nominations is March 1. Nomination packages are available online or by calling the Volunteer Centre at 519-822-0912. The awards will be presented March 28.
Winegard was U of G’s president and vice-chancellor from 1967 to 1975 and served as Guelph’s MP from 1984 to 1993. Besides being named Canada’s first minister of science, he chaired the House of Commons standing committees on external affairs and national defence and external affairs and international trade. He also served as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.
A University of Guelph professor is part of a new national network intended to help protect Canada’s wetlands, lakes and rivers.
Paul Sibley, a professor and associate director of graduate studies in the School of Environmental Sciences, belongs to the Canadian Network for Aquatic Ecosystem Services (CNAES), which just received $4.4 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Partner organizations will provide an additional $4.3 million.
Sibley is among 27 researchers from 11 universities in the network, which will address research issues in large northern wetlands, connections between healthy forests and healthy rivers, and lake ecosystems in Canada. Members include experts in remote sensing, biogeochemistry, fish ecology, modelling and hydrology.
Based at the University of Toronto, CNAES also includes federal government scientists, industrial partners, and environmental and technology associations that conduct research and training in aquatic ecosystems.
Canada's aquatic ecosystems are tremendously varied,” Sibley said. The network will take a watershed-based approach and focus on understudied systems such as northern wetlands and the boreal forest - areas targeted for increased resource development - to identify and address knowledge gaps in understanding of the types and range of ecosystems services they provide, he said.
“A key goal is to determine how the properties of ecosystem services associated with these systems vary in space and time, and to use this information as a basis for developing appropriate policy aimed at protecting those services," Sibley said.
The new knowledge will help government, industry and other stakeholders make informed decisions about development and environmental protection, said Don Jackson, CNAES director and an aquatic ecologist and interim director at U of T’s School of the Environment.
"Canada is subject to significant global environmental stressors as well as pressures to develop its natural resources,” Jackson said.
"We look forward to addressing the challenges facing Canada and the international community in generating the science to inform policy development, and to training the next generation of leaders in this field.”
The funding comes from NSERC’s Strategic Network Grants program for large-scale, multidisciplinary, collaborative research projects intended to improve Canada’s economy, society and environment.
Other universities in the network are the University of British Columbia, Laurentian University, McGill University, University of New Brunswick, Nipissing University, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Toronto, Trent University, University of Waterloo and Western University.
Partner organizations include Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, DeBeers Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Kongsberg Maritime, Le ministère des ressources naturelles et de la faune du Québec, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and NRCan – Canadian Forest Services and Parks Canada.
A renowned physicist, director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute and champion of access to advanced education for young people in Africa will be honoured by the University of Guelph during winter convocation, which runs Feb. 19 to 21 in War Memorial Hall.
Neil Turok will receive an honorary doctorate and give the convocation address Feb. 20 during the 4 p.m. ceremony for the College of Biological Science and the College of Physical and Engineering Science.
As director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont., Turok leads research, training and educational outreach activities while pursuing his own research in theoretical physics and cosmology. He developed two of the main competing paradigms for the origin of the universe, open inflation, developed with Stephen Hawking, and the cyclic universe scenario, developed with Paul Steinhardt. These theories are now being subjected to a number of observational tests.
Born in South Africa, Turok established the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), in Cape Town in 2003. AIMS has since graduated more than 400 students from 35 African countries who have continued to successful scientific and technical careers. His vision to transform high-level education in Africa has grown into the AIMS Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) a plan for a network of AIMS centres of excellence across the continent. AIMS-NEI has won major backing from the governments of South Africa, Senegal, Ghana and Cameroon; international partners including Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom; and global companies such as Google and Blackberry.
During his youth, Turok saw first-hand how, in spite of the urgent need for technical and scientific expertise in Africa, a great pool of talent was wasted through lack of opportunity. He earned his PhD from Imperial College London and worked in Chicago and Princeton before being appointed Chair of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge in 1997. There, he initiated AIMS, with the goal of helping young people in Africa change their lives and the continent. He became director of the Perimeter Institute in 2008.
Also during convocation, retired English professor Thomas King will be named University professor emeritus to recognize his 20 years of service at U of G and his achievements as a well-known contemporary native writer. He will be honoured Feb. 19 during a 7 p.m. ceremony for the College of Arts and the College of Management and Economics.
A member of the Order of Canada, King has won numerous prizes and awards, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Trillium Book Award and the Canadian Authors Award.
He has written more than 170 scholarly articles and dissertations. Many of his writings, including A Coyote Columbus Story, Green Grass, Running Water, and Truth and Bright Water, are widely used in literature, native studies, history and other courses. He is currently on tour promoting his latest book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.
A complete schedule of convocation ceremonies is available online at uoguelph.ca/convocation.
Are you interested in improving your creative writing skills or learning how to get your work published? Do you want help strengthening your digital communication skills? Or have you always wanted to learn about magazine and food writing?
If so, you won’t want to miss the 3rd annual Writers Workshop at the University of Guelph Feb. 21 to 22.
Presented by the McLaughlin Library, the free two-day workshop is open to students, faculty, staff, and the greater Guelph community.
There will be 18 different sessions for writers of all levels and genres that cover a range of topics – from fiction to non-fiction and academic writing to grammar and punctuation.
Featured presenters include award-winning fiction writers Sandra Sabatini and Kilby Smith-McGregor, Canadian Living online food editor Colleen Tully and former U of G chief librarian and blogger Michael Ridley.
Seating is limited for each session, so people are encouraged to register early. Separate registration is required for each day. A workshop schedule and registration details are available online at:
Workshops run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 21 and from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 22. While the event is free to everyone, non-perishable food items are being accepted for donation to the Guelph Food Bank.
Prof. Kevin Hall will complete his first term as vice-president (research) on Jan. 1, 2014, and is interested in being reappointed for a second five-year term.
Accordingly, as per University policy, a new committee will review Hall’s first term.
Chaired by president Alastair Summerlee, the committee consists of two deans appointed by the president; three faculty, two staff members and two students appointed by Senate; and one member of the Board of Governors.
Deans: Don Bruce, College of Arts; and Michael Emes, College of Biological Science.
Faculty: Sylvain Charlebois, associate dean of research, College of Management and Economics; Rebecca Graham, chief librarian and chief information officer; and Georgia Mason, Ontario Agricultural College.
Staff: Marcus Litman, veterinary director, Office of Research; and Zdenek Nejedly, Computing and Communication Services.
Students: graduate student Nathan Lachowsky, Ontario Veterinary College; and B.Sc student Sofia Oke.
Board of Governors: Andrew Marsh, a U of G graduate and president & CEO of Richardson GMP Ltd.
The review committee invites input and feedback from the U of G community on Hall’s role, especially in leadership; administration and management; relationship- and partnership-building; communications; oversight of the U of G contract with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; and U of G research initiatives.
Submit comments in writing or by email to Summerlee at email@example.com or to any member of the review committee by March 31. All comments will be confidential.
An author and TV personality will bring his entertaining “wealthy barber” alter ego to the University of Guelph in support of pets with cancer.
David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber, will speak at War Memorial Hall on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. Proceeds will go to the Pet Trust Fund of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) to support various initiatives, such as equipment, at the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer. During the event, Chilton will share his recipes for personal financial success.
Since 1989, he has sold nearly three million copies of his book, including two million in Canada. The fictitious title character gives his customers often-humorous advice on how to achieve financial independence.
A sequel, The Wealthy Barber Returns, reached the best-seller list just two months after being published in 2011. Chilton has also published the Looneyspoons cookbook series, through Granet Publishing, which he founded with Looneyspoons sisters Janet and Greta Podleski.
Chilton started this season as a dragon on the CBC TV show Dragons’ Den, in which entrepreneurs seeking investment pitch their businesses to a panel. Now in its seventh season, it remains one of Canada’s top-rated shows.
The Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer opened in September 2012. It offers investigational therapies and clinical trials using state-of-the-art technology, including a new linear accelerator whose radiation therapy targets cancer cells while limiting harm to healthy tissues. The centre also houses chemotherapy and oncology wards; a tumour tissue bank; examination, treatment and procedure rooms; and a family visiting area.
The Pet Trust Fund is a charitable fund within the OVC that helps pets live longer, healthier lives by raising funds for learning, health care and other initiatives at OVC. Recently, Pet Trust has raised more than $13 million to support OVC's animal cancer initiatives.
For tickets, call 1-888-266-3108 or visit alumni.uoguelph.ca/chilton. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults.
University of Guelph geography professor Barry Smit has been named to the Order of Ontario, considered the province’s most prestigious honour.
Smit is among 25 distinguished Ontarians who will receive the award during a ceremony at Queen’s Park Wednesday.
“It's a bit humbling -- we all do our jobs. But it certainly is delightful to be recognized in this way,” Smit said.
“I hope that all my colleagues and graduate students over the years see this as recognition for them also. I have been blessed with wonderful people to work with and such a supportive environment in my department.”
The Order of Ontario recognizes people who have enriched the lives of others by attaining the highest standards of excellence and achievement in their field. Others being honoured Wednesday include film director Deepa Mehta, Canadian Football League commissioner Mark Cohon, tenor Michael Burgess and amateur golfer Marlene Streit.
“Looking at the other recipients, whom I will meet, I’m not sure if I should seek out advice on singing from Michael Burgess or advice on golf from Marlene Streit. I need help in both areas,” Smit said.
Smit’s citation calls him “one of the world’s leading authorities on climate change impacts and human adaptation.”
Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic), said: “It’s an honour for Barry personally and for the entire University to have one of our faculty members recognized with this award. We’re delighted that he has received this prestigious acknowledgment of his career achievements.”
Smit was among the first researchers to analyze the effects of climate change on economies and societies. He has examined societal vulnerability and adaptation to climate change across Canada and in developed and developing countries, ranging from Vietnam to Vanuatu and from Chile to China.
“I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people in countries and communities around the world,” he said. “Like many others, I would prefer to see more progress on dealing with the climate change issue in a reasoned way, especially in Canada. Yet I am encouraged by the increasing recognition of the reality of climate change, and I believe that gradually we will adopt more sustainable ways of living. I’m looking forward to see what the younger generations do.”
As Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change, Smit studies social and economic implications of climate change and how to manage associated risks and opportunities. He is recognized for his practical engagement with stakeholders from international institutions to local communities and villages. He has advised governments and organizations across Canada and around the world.
Smit served on a provincial expert panel on climate change adaptation and co-authored the report “Adapting to Climate Change in Ontario” for the provincial environment ministry. A member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1998, he was lead author of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report issued in 2007. The IPCC team, including Smit, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with environmental activist and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.
University of Guelph professors Andrea Paras and Judith Thompson were featured in national newspapers this weekend.
An opinion/editorial by Paras, a new U of G political science professor, was published today in the Toronto Star. The article discussed why, as one of China’s top trade partners, Canada has a stake in ending Beijing’s abuses in Tibet.
At U of G, Paras studies the history of humanitarianism. She became interested in the subject while working on a collaborative master’s degree in international relations with James Orbinski, former president of Doctors Without Borders. Read more
Thompson, a theatre studies professor, was featured in two articles in Saturday’s Globe and Mail. Both articles focused on her play Rare, which is being performed in Toronto until Feb. 7. One article was a theatre review; another story explored the challenges of reviewing productions that feature "real" people, especially when the subject matter is emotional or controversial.
Rare, written and directed by Thompson, features nine cast members aged 22 to 37, all with Down syndrome, who talk about their lives and their hope.
It was the biggest hit at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival last summer and the "Best of Fringe" winner. It's the first of a series of plays Thompson is writing about people living with disabilities. Read more
The University of Guelph’s Board of Governors has approved the new Campus Master Plan. Eighteen months in the making, the plan will guide U of G initiatives in the coming years.
This master plan update is one of several reviews completed since the University’s original Campus Master Plan was completed in 1964.
The plan was approved by the Board during its regular meeting Wednesday. Dick Freeborough, chair, thanked the master plan steering committee for its work and dedication.
The committee included representatives from academic, administrative and student groups, and was chaired by Kevin Golding, chair of the physical resources and property committee of the Board of Governors. The process was administered by consultants Urban Strategies.
The Campus Master Plan includes an overall vision for the University community to follow as the campus grows and changes, as well as specific decision-making guidelines for campus planners and administrators.
Campus flags will be lowered to half-mast Feb. 4 in memory of O.P. Dwivedi, University professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science, who passed away Jan. 29.
Dwivedi served as chair of the department from 1979 to 1990. After retiring in 2003, he continued to teach both undergraduate and graduate courses at U of G and served as a Hindu priest on campus. His many honours included being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the Order of Canada and, most recently, a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. He also established a school, clinics and an eye hospital in India.
A memorial service will be held in War Memorial Hall Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. The family has requested that donations be made to the D.D. Foundation, the foundation the family established in 1993 to support poor people in India.
Donations and condolences may be sent to gilbertmacintyreandson.com.