Research News

Identifying Opportunities To Improve Newborn Calf Health through Milk Replacer Formulation

A mostly white cow with some black splotches, standing in the doorway to its cage.

Photo Credit: Michael Steele

By Dianne Priamo and Kathryn Kroeze

The milk replacer diet typically fed to dairy calves in the pre-weaning phase differs in composition from whole bovine milk, discrepancies that could affect calf gut health, University of Guelph researchers have found.

The pre-weaning diet in dairy calves sets the stage for long-term health and productivity. Dr. Michael Steele, a professor in the Department of Animal Biosciences, and his team of graduate students aim to determine the optimal milk replacer formulation for calf well-being. 

“The milk replacer...

Read more: Identifying Opportunities To Improve Newborn Calf Health through Milk Replacer Formulation

New Smartwatch for Contact Tracing

Two blue smartwatches for contact tracing that say, "You are broadcasting yourself anonymously."

Drs. Petros Spachos and Stefano Gregori's Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) smartwatch.

By Katie Kroeze

More accurate contact tracing for COVID-19 might be as easy as a glance at your wristwatch, thanks to University of Guelph researchers. 

Drs. Petros Spachos and Stefano Gregori, engineering professors in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, have developed a smartwatch to aid in contact tracing. Their device ensures greater accuracy than current smartphone tracing applications while keeping a user’s identity anonymous. 

“This project came about due to the need for more accurate and private contact tracing for the...

Read more: New Smartwatch for Contact Tracing

Health Impact Assessment Uncovers Secondary Effects of Lockdowns and Physical Distancing

A wooden house on the left with wooden blocks on the right that say, "Stay home."

Photo Credit: Unsplash

By Caitlin Ford

Initial COVID-19 lockdowns in Ontario last year led to more domestic violence, higher substance abuse and lower physical activity, according to University of Guelph research. 

Following the stay-at-home order in March 2020, population medicine professor Dr. Andrew Papadopoulos and a team of graduate students conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) to understand the lockdown’s effect on the well-being of communities across Ontario.

An HIA analyzes positive and negative impacts of health policy on a community. Papadopoulos says...

Read more: Health Impact Assessment Uncovers Secondary Effects of Lockdowns and Physical Distancing

U of G Food Science Technology Adapted for N95 Mask Sanitization

A man wearing protective gear standing in front a silver Clean Flow unit.

By Caitlin Ford and Dianne Priamo 

A University of Guelph project has adapted food science technology to fight COVID-19. 

Dr. Keith Warriner, a food science professor in the Ontario Agricultural College, along with post-doctoral fellow Mahdiyeh Hasani and research assistant Fan Wu, adapted Clean Flow technology – developed as a fruit and vegetable surface-cleaning appliance – at the beginning of the pandemic to sanitize personal protective equipment (PPE) amid hospital N95 mask shortages. 

“Our technology ticks all the boxes on what constitutes...

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Understanding Canadians’ Perceptions of COVID Vaccines Can Promote Better Policy Decisions

A woman talking to a nurse in a doctor's office after getting a vaccine.

By Otaiba Ahsan

In a new study about public perceptions of vaccines, University of Guelph researchers hope to help improve decisions of Canadian policy makers and ultimately improve trust in COVID-19 vaccination programs.

The two-year project, begun early in the pandemic, has collected data through surveys and phone interviews to determine public concerns about COVID-19 vaccines.

“The understandings gleaned from this research will inform and guide Canadian policy makers and public health agents in how best to address concerns about vaccines...

Read more: Understanding Canadians’ Perceptions of COVID Vaccines Can Promote Better Policy Decisions

Interactive Improvisation in Times of Isolation

A collage of seven photos. On the left, a woman playing with a guitar; a man reading a book; and someone playing a cello. In the middle, a woman's skirt and feet. On the right, a shadow on the ground; a snake on a yoga mat; and the sunset on trees.

By Caitlin Ford

Countering pandemic isolation by bringing together musicians and the sounds of nature was the goal of a recent virtual improvisation project by University of Guelph researchers. 

The project, which began in July 2020, was led by Dr. James Harley, professor in the School of Fine Art and Music, and project assistant Ann Westbere. They invited seven student-musicians to perform improvised pieces in short video clips. The improvisations were developed in response to recordings of environmental sounds such as birds chirping, water flowing...

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Study Shows Pandemic Public Health Measures May Have Targeted the Wrong Groups During the Virus' Second Wave

A woman wearing a mask and typing on a laptop

By Cate Willis

A new University of Guelph study shows that social contacts remained low during the fall of 2020, but work-related contacts increased dramatically.

The study, published in BMC Public Health and led by Dr. Amy Greer, an associate professor in the Department of Population Medicine...

Read more: Study Shows Pandemic Public Health Measures May Have Targeted the Wrong Groups During the Virus' Second Wave

U of G Researchers Develop Technology to Monitor Physical Distancing in Crowds

mages of crowds on the left and corresponding crowd density maps on the right

Input images (left) and corresponding crowd density maps (right)

By Caitlin Ford

Enforcing physical distancing in public spaces requires time, money and trained personnel. To mitigate these barriers, a new COVID-19 research project by School of Computer Science professor, Dr. Minglun Gong, explores automated crowd counting as an alternative. Read more in this article written by SPARK writer Caitlin Ford...

Read more: U of G Researchers Develop Technology to Monitor Physical Distancing in Crowds

U of G Researchers Develop Plant-Based Masks to Replace Disposables

A professor and a grad student displaying the mask filter material

Food science professor Dr. Loong-Tak Lim (left) and graduate student Singam Suranjoy Singh display the mask filter material.

By Caitlin Ford

To combat the environmental concerns surrounding traditional disposable masks, University of Guelph professor Dr. Loong-Tak Lim has created a new biodegradable mask filter. This mask insert can filter out small particles like viruses and pathogens. Read more about his non-woven electrospun design in this SPARK article written by Caitlin Ford...

Read more: U of G Researchers Develop Plant-Based Masks to Replace Disposables

No Waffling Around for Student Start-up Business

A plate of pumpkin spice waffles with a hand cutting into them with a knife

The Happy Era's pumpkin spice waffle

Nourishing waffles are the focus of a new start-up business launched out of the University of Guelph entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Domenique Mastronardi founded The Happy Era, an online waffle delivery business, while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in biological engineering at U of G. She came up with the business idea while creating a sustainable product for a bioprocessing engineering course. 

She drew on her passion for healthy eating. 

“I’m really sensitive to how my mood and productivity change, and I know this relies heavily on how I take...

Read more: No Waffling Around for Student Start-up Business