Lakehead Researcher Advances Knowledge of Food Safety

(Thunder Bay - December 15, 2003) While households across the country are gearing up for a busy holiday season, stocking cupboards, and planning Christmas meals, there is much more going on behind the scenes, as far as the public's food supply is concerned. Dr. Heidi Schraft, a biology professor at the University, is part of a network of researchers across Canada establishing interdisciplinary collaborations aimed at advancing the science behind food.

Dr. Schraft, Lakehead's Canada Research Chair in Molecular Food Microbiology, is looking at improving our basic understanding of the mechanisms involved in persistence and growth of pathogens in food and food production environments. Her research focuses on two pathogens: Campylobacter jejuni and Listeria monocytogenes - major causes of food-borne illness in North America.

Dr. Schraft is one of the participating researchers in Advanced Foods and Materials Network (AFMNET), whose work in biofilms is one piece of this national collaboration, moving Canada to take a leading role in food and biomaterials research. AFMNET is a $22-million national network housed at the University of Guelph, announced in early November 2003. It brings together a unique cohort of scientists to advance the understanding of foods and materials worldwide. AFMNET falls under the national Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program, which fosters partnerships among university, government, and public and private agencies. It is the only NCE in Canada focusing on food and allows researchers across the country to delve into food research using a multidisciplinary approach, examining the structure, texture, chemistry, esthetics, and nutritional value of food and materials as well as issues related to regulation, policy, and public perceptions.

"The NCE makes collaborations possible - it helps foster communication and a research community," says Dr. Schraft. "Spanning all of Canada, a great number of researchers are able to explore issues from three viewpoints: from the basic sciences, from societal perspectives, and also from public perceptions. These types of collaborations across themes are imperative to moving an idea forward. Research can be looked at simultaneously from three different angles - science, policy, and public health - allowing new input and feedback to be brought to light and a national sharing of research."

Dr. Schraft's work is centred on molecular microbiology work; she concentrates on the study of biofilms and their impact on food safety. Biofilms are composed of bacteria that attach to a solid surface and surround themselves with a slimy protective layer. Bacteria are able to multiply in this layer and are protected from adverse conditions. The bacteria in biofilms are highly resistant to antibiotics and common sanitizers' regular cleaning is not able to kill individual cells in the biofilm layer. Bacteria in a biofilm may even change their cell physiology to become resistant to antimicrobial treatment.


Dr. Shraft is available for interview this week. She can be reached at 343-8351.


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Office of Communications, 807-343-8177,

Medical School Progresses to 2005

(Monday, December 15, 2003) What will happen between now and September 2005 at the Northern Ontario Medical School (NOMS)? To find out, tune into the NOMS December webcast symposium "Anticipating 2005 - An Update on the Northern Ontario Medical School" on Thursday, December 18 at 12 p.m. at Lakehead University and webcast at

NOMS has been hosting regular monthly webcast symposia covering topics of interest to health professionals, educators, potential students, and Northern Ontario communities. "Anticipating 2005 - An Update on the Northern Ontario Medical School" is designed to inform the public about the progress and opportunities at the School. The panel will be chaired by Dr. Roger Strasser, NOMS Founding Dean, and will include Dr. Chris Winckel, leader of the team developing the school's curriculum; Dr. Jill Konkin, Associate Dean Admissions and Student Affairs; and three division heads: Dr. Tim Zmijowskyj - clinical sciences, Dr. Todd Dufresne - human sciences, and Dr. Garry Ferroni - medical sciences.

At the symposium, the admissions and selection process will be outlined, the MD program will be explained, and the opportunities for faculty in the months ahead will be highlighted. Dr. Strasser is currently leading the team through accreditation of the MD program to an anticipated opening of the school in the fall of 2005.

The webcast is distributed to health professionals at NORTHNetwork sites throughout the region. Individual viewers may tune in the webcast, by going to Please visit the website ahead of time for setup details.

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Linda C. Ashby ABC, Director of Communications
Northern Ontario Medical School 807.343-8992

Lakehead Student Mixes Academics and Mud

History Student on Canadian team Altex Computers WML World Cup

(Thunder Bay - December 12, 2003) Mandy Hadenko knows the value both of working hard on your academics and still finding time to balance your life with extracurricular activities. And when not immersed in her studies as a Lakehead University Master's student, she can be found balancing her life by playing in the dirt.

"I started racing when I was 17, but I have been riding motorcycles since I was 8," says the accomplished motorcrosser. "It has been hard to ride in the past few years due to the demands of school, not to mention not having the finances to afford gear, race fees, travel expenses, etc.But I am fortunate to have gained sponsorship support recently, which has lifted some of the stresses that the average rider has to face."

This motorcycling History graduate student, with a specialization in Women's Studies, just came back from the Altex Computers WML World Cup in Texas (the world's largest women's motocross event), where she was a part of the Canadian Team. Each class has two motos (races) and the points combination between the two give you the overall.Mandy won both of her 250 B motos for the overall win (250B refers to the skill level).Between the two motos in her Amateur Open class she finished 15th overall.

"We're very proud of how Mandy can achieve so well academically and in her sport," says Dr. Ron Harpelle, a professor in Lakehead's History Department. "This is a success story, and students should look to Mandy as an example of maintaining a balanced life during university."

"I think in order to lead a balanced life, especially in the academic world, one needs to use extracurricular activities as an avenue to rest the brain, work the body, and relieve stress," Mandy says. "Motocross has been a passion for me for years and I wouldn't be as happy, healthy, and motivated as I am today without it.

"The history department has always supported me in my school work and my extracurricular activities.They get enthusiastic when I write a strong paper and when I win a race."

Mandy says to get to the level of racing she has attained, it has taken "lots of practice, the odd lesson, and some personal drive.Motocross is a sport that not only challenges your body to its limits, but it also tests your ability to focus and be positive."

Mandy is expecting to graduate next May. She has finished both her Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA) and a Bachelor of Education (BEd) at Lakehead University. Her sponsors for the Altex Computers WML World Cup were: IM/IMX, Wrex Wear, Scott Goggles, RB Graphics, Machine Racing, and Niagara Vacation Rentals.

MEDIA: Mandy is available for telephone interviews. To contact her, please call Marla Tomlinson at 343-8177.


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Office of Communications, 807-343-8177

Lakehead Students Win National Awards

(Thunder Bay - December 11, 2003) Three Lakehead University students have been recognized by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation for their excellence in academic excellence and active citizenship.

Jay Nichol, Robert Rombouts, and Kerry Stevens were second level winners of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation National In-Course Awards. The in-course awards were established "to recognize and foster academic excellence and active citizenship in upper-year post-secondary students," according to the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation's website.

Students who win this award have demonstrated both their academic qualifications and also have been active in the qualities of excellence the award is designed to recognize and foster.

There were up to 200 of the second-level in-course awards handed out this year. Each student received a $4,000 scholarship, which is renewable for one additional year upon maintenance of a B+ Grade Point Average (GPA) and continued demonstration of the leadership, innovation, and service to the community for which the student was originally selected.

Rombouts, a third-year Concurrent Education/Honours History student, says he feels privileged to receive the award. "It feels great to get something back for giving to the university community," he says. "It is a great reward for the time I spent on extracurricular activities. But more than that, the monetary portion of the award has allowed me to continue my participation in these programs and strive to improve Lakehead in any way I can."

"I am extremely grateful for the scholarship and am glad to see that the Millennium Foundation has decided to begin this particular series of awards," says Nichol, a third-year Psychology major.

Stevens, a third-year General BA student, says that earning these kinds of awards are an important part of the university experience. "Yes, the financial incentive is important and an excellent reason to strive for a high academic standing," he says. "But it's also important for students to be active in their University community."

Media Note: All three students are available for media interviews. To contact them, please call Marla Tomlinson at 343-8177.


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Office of Communications, 807-343-8177,,

NOMS Board of Directors Holds Inaugural Meeting

(Thursday, December 04, 2003) The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Northern Ontario Medical School (NOMS) convened in Sudbury, Tuesday, December 2, 2003. The focus of this meeting was a workshop on Board governance led by Graham W.S. Scott QC, managing partner of McMillan Binch LLP and Maureen Quigley of Maureen Quigley & Associates.

Board members examined the critical elements for effective governance and their roles and responsibilities as Board members. In order to support the Vision, Mission, and Values of the medical school, Board members clarified the scope of their work and the need to define expectations and policy in key areas.

They began the process of defining the scope of accountabilities and priorities for Standing Committees -- finance and audit, governance and nominations, and an Ad Hoc Committee for capital building and acquisitions.

The Founding Dean, Dr. Roger Strasser, reported the Accreditation Database has been submitted to the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME)/Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). It is anticipated there will be a site visit to the School in the spring and that the June LCME meeting will be able to determine whether to grant provisional accreditation for the MD program. First student admissions are slated for September 2005.

Chief Administrative Officer Dorothy Wright reported to the Board that $32.9 million for one-time capital requirements, including building the facilities at Lakehead and Laurentian Universities, will be provided by March 31, 2005. As well, the School has requested $22.9 million for the current fiscal year ending April 30, 2004 for start-up and operations.

The total funding commitment by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is $95.3 million.

The Board confirmed a timetable for Board and Committee meetings for the next few months. The next meeting of the Board of Directors is scheduled for January 28, 2004 at Lakehead University Thunder Bay Campus.

A new medical school for the whole of Northern Ontario, the Northern Ontario Medical School is a joint venture of Lakehead and Laurentian Universities. With main campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, NOMS will have multiple teaching and research sites distributed across Northern Ontario, in large and small communities. NOMS will contribute to improving the health of people in Northern Ontario.



Dr. Fred Gilbert, Chair Board of Directors, Northern Ontario Medical School, President, Lakehead University, 807-343-8200

Linda C. Ashby ABC, Director of Communications, Northern Ontario Medical School, 807-343-8992

Inaugural NOMS Board Meeting Slated for December 2

(Monday, December 1, 2003) The Board of Directors of the Northern Ontario Medical School (NOMS) convenes in Sudbury Tuesday, December 2 for the inaugural meeting. With this meeting in Northern Ontario, the next phase in the development of Canada's newest medical school begins.

"I think what makes me proudest is the number of board members who are alumni/ae of the school's two parent universities, Lakehead and Laurentian," remarked Dr. Fred Gilbert, Lakehead University president and chair of the NOMS Board. "A number of board members were among the two universities' earliest graduating classes, which demonstrates that many of the current generation of Northern Ontario leaders have been educated in Northern Ontario. Now, these talented business and community leaders will be helping to provide a new educational opportunity, to provide physicians for Northern Ontario."

"All people in Northern Ontario can be proud of those who have agreed to serve on the first board of directors," said Dr. Judith Woodsworth, president of Laurentian University and vice-chair of the NOMS Board. "These members, drawn from diverse academic, professional, municipal, First Nations, and Franco-Ontarian communities, will bring a range of perspectives to the table to advance the common goals and aspirations of NOMS."

"I believe we have an incredibly distinguished group of Northern Ontario people at our governance table," notes NOMS Founding Dean Dr. Roger Strasser. "Their knowledge, skills, and understanding of regional issues will serve us well as we plan for growth in the years ahead."

The 35 women and men of the NOMS board are drawn from across Northern Ontario and bring a range of professional, geographic, cultural, and linguistic diversity.

Collectively the NOMS board boasts at least 56 post-secondary degrees and fluency in at least eight languages. The board includes biochemists, several businesspeople, teachers, municipal leaders, and a number of health professionals including nurses, students, and physicians.

The Northern Ontario cities of Sudbury and Thunder Bay are well represented in the Board's membership as well as a number of smaller communities including Sturgeon Falls, Cochrane, Moosonee, Haileybury and Sioux Lookout.

Board members serve without remuneration.

A new medical school for the whole of Northern Ontario, the Northern Ontario Medical School is a joint venture of Lakehead and Laurentian Universities. With main campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, NOMS will have multiple teaching and research sites distributed across Northern Ontario, in large and small communities. NOMS will contribute to improving the health of people in Northern Ontario.


Media: Board Chair, Dr. Fred Gilbert, will be available for interview Tuesday, December 2 at 9:45 a.m. at Laurentian University. To arrange an interview, please contact: Linda C. Ashby ABC, Director of Communications, Northern Ontario Medical School, 807-624-7863.

International Company Contributes to ATAC

(Thunder Bay - November 24, 2003) Lakehead University's Advanced Technology and Academic Centre (ATAC) is attracting international attention. The global company Anixter is one of the technology partners in this state-of-the-art building.

Anixter is the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire and cable, and also a leading supply chain solutions provider.

Anixter has donated $50,000 to ATAC. "Anixter's support of the ATAC initiative is a logical extension of our mandate to bring leading edge technology solutions to the global marketplace," says Ron Hendry, Area Vice President, Anixter. "Lakehead's initiative will keep it in the forefront of global learning institutions."

Anixter has also made several in-kind donations to Lakehead. "Over the last several years, Anixter has loaned fibre optic test equipment free of charge to the University. We have also donated fibre optic tooling and provided all consumables and personnel for a one-day training seminar for a group of workers installing communications technology in ATAC," says John Dechaine, Sales Representative, Thunder Bay branch of Anixter. "The partnership between Anixter and Lakehead has benefited both groups - it's a great relationship."

"Lakehead University is excited about this contribution," says Bonnie Moore, Director of Development at Lakehead. "Anixter's monetary and in-kind donations prove that ATAC is something worth investing in. ATAC and Anixter both offer leading-edge communications technology, and I feel this is a collaboration which benefits and complements both groups."

"Anixter has been a partner in ATAC for some time and it is very gratifying that they have honoured Lakehead University and ATAC with their first Canadian cash donation," says Dr. Fred Gilbert, President, Lakehead University. "The technology housed in ATAC is second to none and this is appealing to innovative companies such as Anixter."

About Anixter

Anixter International is the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ('C' Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers. The company adds value to the distribution process by providing its customers access to 1) innovative inventory management programs, 2) more than 220,000 products and nearly $500 million in inventory, 3) 151 warehouses with more than 4.5 million square feet of space, and 4) locations in 180 cities in 40 countries. Founded in 1957 and headquartered near Chicago, Anixter trades on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AXE. Visit us online at

About Lakehead
Located in Thunder Bay on the shores of Lake Superior, Lakehead University is a comprehensive university with a worldwide reputation for innovative programs and research. More than 30,000 Lakehead alumni work around the globe. Visit us online at


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Communications Officer, Lakehead University, 807-343-8177,,

Lakehead University Researcher to Lead National Research Team Ensuring Seniors are Safe in Vehicles

(Thunder Bay - November 12, 2003) Injuries due to motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of accidental death for older people. When older vehicle occupants are injured, their recovery time is longer and less complete than younger people and can lead to a loss of independence and greater reliance on the health care and social service systems. A national research team being co-led by a Lakehead University professor is helping elderly drivers and passengers arrive safely. Dr. Michel Bédard, a psychology professor specializing in aging and health, is coordinating the team, which was recently awarded funding of up to $338,000 from the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence and several industry supporters. Dr. Jan Miller Polgar of the University of Western Ontario is the project's co-leader. Together, they will work with the team members from the University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, University of Ottawa, University of Waterloo and the University of Windsor.

Dr. Bédard says the project is comprised of two components. Researchers will review the effectiveness of driver re-training programs developed for seniors to determine whether such drivers perform better in on-road evaluations than those who don't. "Participation in such programs may help decrease the crash risks for elderly drivers and other road users."

The second component investigates how vehicle design can be enhanced to meet the needs of seniors. Previous studies show seniors have difficulty getting in and out of vehicles, using seatbelts and understanding the visual aspects of instrument panels.

"Lakehead University recognized that research - the creation and transfer of knowledge - is of utmost importance in this world. We are pleased and excited to see Dr. Bédard's involvement in such innovative and significant research projects like this," says Dr. Harun Rasid, Associate Vice-President (Research) at Lakehead University.

"We are pleased to support this innovative project that will enhance the safety of our roads for seniors and other users," says Dr. Peter Frise, CEO and Program Leader of AUTO21. "In addition to the knowledge created, the project provides an excellent training opportunity for nine students at the six universities to work with expert researchers and also collaborate with industry representatives. This experience will help develop the students into the innovators of Canada's future automotive sector."

The project is one of seven new research projects worth a total of $6.5 million being supported by the AUTO21 Network of Centres of Excellence and industry. AUTO21 is a federal program that supports 28 other auto-related R&D projects at 33 universities across Canada, with combined federal and industry funding of more than $8 million per year. The new projects add 32 researchers and 53 student researchers to the AUTO21 investigative team. Over 250 university and industry researchers, and more than 250 graduate and post-graduate students are already part of the AUTO21 team. AUTO21 is funded by the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada program.


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Communications Officer, 807-343-8177.

Lakehead University Number One in Canada for "Value-Added"

Proving Lakehead sees the student, not the number

(Thunder Bay -- November 10, 2003) Lakehead University ranks number one in Canada for "Value-Added" in Maclean's annual university ranking issue 2003, and retains its 17th spot in the Primarily Undergraduate University category. "Value-Added" measures the entering average of students and two measures of student achievement: the proportion who graduate and the number of students receiving national awards.

"It may sound trite, but our students are the priority at Lakehead University. Our continued leadership in the "Value-Added" category proves that Lakehead sees and treats students as individuals - not as numbers," says Dr. Fred Gilbert, President of Lakehead University. "Lakehead University offers students an exceptional learning experience, excellent faculty, dedicated staff, quality academic programs, access to superior communications technology, smart classrooms and computer facilities, and a vibrant campus life within a spectacular Northwestern Ontario environment."

Lakehead's "Value-Added" standing confirms what students already know about the University. Surveys of undergraduate students at Lakehead show that 9 out of 10 are satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their education at the University, and they indicate a higher than average level of satisfaction with the average size of classes; library facilities; study space; and personal counselling services.

"It is important to recognize that the Maclean's survey is primarily an input survey, rather than an output survey, and if it were an output survey, I would expect Lakehead to be at or near the top of the overall rankings, not 17th," says Dr. Gilbert. "Lakehead measures its own performance by the quality of its graduates and the excellent education they receive while they are students here. The fact that Lakehead is above the Ontario university average with 97% of our graduates employed two years after leaving the University, is an indication that Lakehead attracts good students and positions them well in the competitive job market. Employers understand the quality of education we provide our students."

"Lakehead's number-one standing in the "Value-Added" category illustrates the quality of the educational experience at Lakehead," says Dr. Jane Birkholz, Vice-Provost (Student Affairs). "It is a product of the value we add to the community as well as to the students and faculty who work and study here. This is the case today, it was the case last year and will be the case next year, regardless of where we place in the overall Maclean's ranking."


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Lakehead University, 807-343-8177

Lakehead University Sees You

(Thunder Bay -- November 7, 2003) Lakehead University is travelling by transit to attract students to Northwestern Ontario. Lakehead's posters will appear in over 1,500 buses and subway cars all over the Greater Toronto Area, beginning November 10. The University's Awareness Campaign, We See You, aims to raise awareness of the University and motivate students to consider Lakehead when applying to university. The campaign reflects Lakehead's new visual identity and promotes Lakehead as the University that treats students as individuals.

The "We See You" campaign promotes Lakehead University and Northwestern Ontario to the rest of the province by building on the strengths of the University: smaller class sizes, professors who care about students' success, and its idyllic location on the shores of Lake Superior.

"Lakehead is well known in Northwestern Ontario, but our challenge has been to raise awareness in southern Ontario of the University and its strengths," says Dr. Fred Gilbert, President. "The campaign message, We See You, communicates Lakehead's personal approach to recognizing each student as an individual, rather than seeing and treating students merely as numbers."

The campaign, created and executed in conjunction with Lakehead by McLellan Group of Toronto, will launch on Monday, November 10 and will run for over a month. The campaign specifically targets Grade 12 students, who are required to make university application decisions by mid-January 2004. All posters feature Lakehead's website and toll-free number with the call-to-action to contact Lakehead. This fall's campaign follows a successful run of transit posters and a Toronto Star insert in August 2003, which was the first concerted effort toward raising the University's profile in southern Ontario.

In addition to the transit advertisements, Lakehead's campaign will receive even wider coverage when it appears as a full-page ad in the November 10 issue of Maclean's Annual Universities Ranking. The Ranking issue, along with the Maclean's University Guide (coming in March), are the two most widely read issues of Maclean's and are referred to by students, parents, and guidance counsellors.

According to Eleanor Abaya, Lakehead's Director of Communications, the campaign delivers a strong message about the University's core strengths, and "is only the beginning of a long-term, strategic, awareness-building initiative that anchors other advertising activities being undertaken locally and regionally by specific departments or faculties."

Campaign creatives are available at:

Dr. Frederick Gilbert and Eleanor Abaya are available for media interviews. Please contact Marla Tomlinson, Communications Officer, 807-343-8177, to arrange for interviews.


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, Communications Officer, 807-343-8177.,