Faculty Make Headlines

April 30, 2014 - In the News

Prof. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Molecular and Cellular Biology, is quoted in today’s Globe and Mail. The article is about British Columbia’s health minister asking Health Canada to reconsider its guidelines pertaining to fecal transplants.

Allen-Vercoe says that she has no issues with the Fraser Health pilot project that is at the centre of the request, as it seeks to treat older patients suffering from C. difficile infections. But she has concerns about doing fecal transplants on young patients.

Allen-Vercoe studies bacterial species in the human “inner ecosystem” from mouth to bowel. In her “robo-gut,” a scientific laboratory that mimics the environment of the large intestine, she has created synthetic “poop” to replace human fecal matter used in stool transplants. A 2013 study showed how the synthetic stool can cure nasty gastrointestinal infections caused by Clostridium difficile, a toxin-producing bacterium.

Philosophy professor Monique Deveaux co-authored a column in the Globe and Mail on April 28 on changes to Canada’s Fair Elections Act by the Conservative government. The column praises the government for making important changes but presses for further reforms.

She was also interviewed last week by the Globe and Mailas co-author of an open letter to Parliament on key proposals in the Fair Election Act that was being debated in Ottawa. The letter was signed by more than 450 Canadian academic experts in constitutional democracy. The letter first appeared in the National Post on March 11.

Deveaux, a Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Global Social Change, studies problems in normative ethics and political philosophy. She is the director of Initiatives in Global Justice at U of G, which organizes talks and other programming on ethical and political issues related to globalization.

Philosophy professor Karyn Freedman continues to make headlines with her new book, One Hour in Paris, which is her personal story of rape and perseverance. The book was the focus of a column published April 29 in the Toronto Star. It was also featured in the April 29 issue of the Chronicle Review, produced by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Published this month, the book combines autobiographical events with philosophical, neuroscientific and psychological reflections around the themes of trauma, recovery and gender inequality. Freedman was featured in two Globe and Mail articles April 24. In the first article, Freedman discusses how trauma changes people and the importance of rape survivors speaking out about their experiences. In a second article, she weighs in on a discussion about whether "risk reduction" is a valid strategy for preventing sexual assault.

One Hour in Paris was also reviewed in the April 25 Toronto Star, and was mentioned in a National Post article April 18 and in an April 16 Toronto Star story.

The recent issue of The New Yorkermagazine features U of G English professor Daniel Fischlin. In an article entitled “The Poet’s Hand,” Fischlin discusses his work over the past decade to help authenticate the Sanders portrait, believed to be the only likeness of William Shakespeare painted while the playwright was alive.

Fischlin discusses the scientific work done to authenticate the painting, as well as efforts to trace family connections between Shakespeare and the ancestors of the portrait’s previous owner, Lloyd Sullivan.

Thought to depict the Bard at age 39, the Sanders portrait was the centrepiece of a months-long exhibit at Guelph’s Macdonald Stewart Art Centre in 2007. It’s also the signature image of U of G’s Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project, the world’s largest and most complete website about Shakespeare’s cultural influence that was founded by Fischlin. Last fall, U of G hosted a symposium where evidence gathered by experts about the portrait was presented. Read more about the portrait.

Prof. Eric Lyons, Plant Agriculture, was interviewed for a Toronto Star story on April 24 about turfgrass being installed at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Lyons discussed how growing the grass required to cover a baseball field could take two years or longer. Lyons said various grass conditions will be screened under conditions similar to those in the Rogers Centre to judge disease resistance and durability.

Integrative biology professor Douglas Fudge is featured in the latest issue of National Geographic online. The article discusses how Fudge and other U of G researchers learned how the protein threads secreted by hagfish are organized at the cellular level. Besides satisfying scientific curiosity, the discovery also provides valuable insights into the quest to produce synthetic versions of hagfish threads for commercial use.

Playwright Prof. Judith Thompson,School of English and Theatre Studies, was featured on CTV and CBC April 21. She discussed her new play, Watching Glory Die. Thompson portrays three characters in the one-woman play.

Julia Christensen Hughes, dean of the College of Business and Economics, was featured in the Globe and Mail April 22 in a story about academic dishonesty. Along with a Rutgers University professor, Christensen Hughes is studying cheating among university business students. In 2006, the team published a study that found cheating in universities is more widespread than believed.

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