While I was in a mall parking lot one day, I noticed a McGill University bumper sticker on another car. This prompted me to scrawl a hurried note (“Hi! I went to McGill, too! We should be friends! Find me on Facebook!”) and tuck it under her windshield wiper. This led to a series of amusing coffee dates with one Canadian resident of Illinois. (Since several Canadians have asked me, “Isn’t Illinois in Chicago?” I’ll go ahead and clarify that—despite occasional inclinations to the contrary—Chicago is in fact in Illinois.)
My mom has a McGill University bumper sticker on her car. Rather than encouraging coffee dates, it has elicited several blank stares from her Chicago area acquaintances, most of whom are a bit unclear on the concept of Canada (to say nothing of my field as a Canadian Studies major!).
Once she explains the notion of Montreal, people usually . . . → Read More: Fighting Ignorance, one bumper sticker at a time
Mortimer Zuckerman (Credit: McGill University)
Since earning a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University more than fifty years ago, Mortimer Zuckerman has been busy creating an empire of real estate, media and philanthropy. As such, the university will recognize Zuckerman with a special honorary degree at this spring’s convocation ceremories.
Zuckerman graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill in 1957. He currently chairs the real estate group Boston Properties, is editor-in-chief of the U.S. News & World Report, and publisher of the New York Daily News in addition to performing charity work in the areas of education, children’s causes, and cancer research.
Mortimer Zuckerman to be awarded honorary degree [McGill University]
Dubas Kyle (Credit: LinkedIn)
Kyle Dubas, a Brock University Alumnus,has been named the General Manager for the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds—the youngest GM in the league’s history. Dubas, 25-years-old, is a graduate of the Brock University Sport Management program. [Brock University] McGill University alumnus Dr. Ian C. Munro and his wife, Jayne Munro have gifted a $1.5-million donation to the The Ian and Jayne Munro Chair in Food Safety. The Chair in Food Safety will lead McGill’s new Food Safety and Quality Program (FSQP), which is a new interdisciplinary teaching and research initiative created to direct collaborative research, create undergraduate and graduate teaching programs and provide third-party expertise for the Canadian food industry. “The Ian and Jayne Munro Chair in Food Safety will be the cornerstone of an internationally recognized program in food safety and quality here at McGill,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum. . . . → Read More: Alumni Updates: Brock Grad Youngest GM for OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Ian and Jayne Munro Chair in Food Safety
In a world filled with tragedy and turmoil, the natural tendency for newsmakers might be to play up the shock value of destruction. However—according to a new study from McGill University and the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital—the Canadian print media is increasingly hedging on the side of hope when it comes to cancer coverage.
The study, led by Dr. Melissa Henry, examines cancer portrayals in six major Canadian newspapers from the late 1980’s to 2008. Dr. Henry explains the impetus behind the study: “Knowledge of how newspapers portray cancer is essential. It has the power to affect how individuals relate to cancer, it motivates information seeking and promotes preventive behaviours.”
According to the study, cancer coverage has amplified throughout this period in both quantity and positivity, with more cancer-related stories focusing on positive topics such as survival, awareness, . . . → Read More: Helpful Headlines: Impact of Cancer Coverage in Canadian Print
Dr. Jean Hutchinson (Credit: Queen's University)
Dr. Jean Hutchinson has been named as a fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) in recognition of her work in engineering. Dr. Hutchinson—who is the head of the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering at Queen’s University—said of the honour, “The EIC is an incredible group to be a part of. The institute’s members are some of the top engineers in Canada, who’ve made huge contributions to education, to innovation and to the general advancement of engineering for society.” [Queen's University] Saint Paul University’s Dr. Sonia Mansour’s project entitled ”Fostering shared vision and care in paediatric chronic disease management using a web-based communication system” has been awarded a $199,030 grant from CIHR. Mansour is a co-researcher on the team, along with Philippe Robaey—whom the grant was awarded to. [Saint Paul University] The Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) has . . . → Read More: Recognizing Research: EIC Fellow, 2011 McCurdy Award, CIHR Grant
Rita Levi Montalcini (Photo Credit: McGill University)
Rita Levi Motalcini has received an honorary degree from McGill University in an Italian ceremony–the first McGill honorary doctorate granted on foreign soil. Motalcini received the degree in honour of her contributions to medicine and science. [McGill University]
Adam Sarty (Photo Credit: Saint Mary's University)
Saint Mary’s University Professor of physics Dr. Adam Sarty has been awarded a 3M Teaching Fellowship. [Saint Mary's University]
Kieran Egan (Photo Credit: Simon Fraser University)
Simon Fraser University education professor Kieran Egan’s book The Future of Education: Reimagining Our Schools from the Ground Up has been awarded a 2011 Outstanding Book Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). [Simon Fraser . . . → Read More: Recognizing Research: Honourary Degrees, Teaching Awards and Best Books
David Vocadlo (Credit: Simon Fraser University)
Glycobiology Glee: Simon Fraser University‘s David Vocadlo has received a 2011 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for his research in the field of glycobiology. Vocadlo, a professor of chemistry at the university, focuses his current research on treatment f diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. [Simon Fraser University] Other E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship winners—recognized for their promise in science or engineering while being faculty members at Canadian universities— include Andrea Damascelli, Alexander Litvak, Roberto Morandotti, Ruth Signorell and Boris Worm. [NSERC]
Brian Chen (Credit: McGill University)
Brain Wires: McGill University Neurologist Brian Chen has won a Sloan Research Fellowship for him research in neural circuitry and its effects on mental disorders. The fellowship will provide $50,000 of funding to Chen’s research over two years. [McGill University] Hot Research Rewarded: Carleton . . . → Read More: Recognizing Research: David Vocadlo, Brian Chen, Paul Simms
The next time you’re looking to kill some time with a good game, consider leaving the Wii remote in its cradle—choose a different game your pastime could be helping humankind.
Phylo – A Human Computing Framework for Comparative Genomics is a new interactive game developed by researchers at McGill University as a way to harness people’s spare time to help decipher genetic sequences.
Genetic Code (Credit: RambergMediaImages)
In order to better understand the structure of genes, researchers compare genetic sequences to each other to try to identify common regions. This comparison, called multiple sequence alignment, is traditionally carried out through complex computer algorithms. However, because people are naturally inclined to solve puzzles, they are to recognize and correct gaps in patterns more efficiently than computers.
Capitalizing on human abilities to optimize genetic sequences, McGill researchers—led by researcher Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl—have developed the Phylo game.
People who play the . . . → Read More: This Ain’t No Atari: McGill Researchers Want You to Play Genetic Games
No, it’s not time to start reading Keats to your MacBook. Poetry is, however, making an impact on the world of computers.
Although computer voices are currently able to pronounce words, the voices of computers often come across as stilted and unnatural. As such, researchers are now using poetry to investigate how and where people place emphasis in words; using poetry, researchers aim to aid computer programmers in developing more realistic speech programs.
According to work published by McGill University linguist Dr. Michael Wagner, by studying how both English and French speakers read poetry — in terms of rhythm, stress and intonation — researchers can gain a better understanding of where speakers place emphasis in everyday speech. In this way, Wagner’s research could help programmers create computer speech programs with natural-sounding voices.
What is we used poetry to teach computers to speak better? [McGill . . . → Read More: Power Poetics: Using Poetry to Improve the Speaking Skills of Computers
Stressed out? Forget that yoga class or meditation session. According to a new study, seeing meat could calm you down.
Studying ideas of priming and aggression, McGill University researcher Frank Kachanoff exposed a cohort of male subjects to an experiment in which they were able to respond with varying levels of aggression to either pictures of meat or pictures of neutral content. Kachanoff found that viewing images of ready-to-eat meat significantly reduced aggression in participants.
Kachanoff’s findings seem to go against longstanding caveman-like ideas of primal fighting over meat on the table. But, Kachanoff asserts that the results, while surprising, make sense from an evolutionary perspective. Our ancestors probably passed down this mealtime tranquility, as prepared meat likely signified feelings of being encircled by family and friends.
Still, as participants in this study were limited to men, it might be interesting to see if . . . → Read More: Seeing Steak for Stress Relief