Lakehead University Celebrates Excellence in Research

(Thunder Bay, January 29, 2004) For more than a quarter of a century, LakeheadUniversity has been involved in leading-edge research. During that time, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has supported the work of LakeheadUniversity researchers through operating and equipment grants. In fact, 10 Lakehead researchers funded in the 1970's continue to hold NSERC grants today.

"LakeheadUniversity has had exceptional success in NSERC competitions," says Dr. Fred Gilbert, President at LakeheadUniversity. "This continued success is an indication of the quality of our faculty and of the research activities at Lakehead. Over the past 25 years, Lakehead's research capabilities in all areas have grown tremendously. It is through support of funding agencies like NSERC that we are able to be at the forefront of science and engineering research."

To date, LakeheadUniversity has received a total of $17,725,496 in NSERC operating and equipment grants between 1978 and 2003. NSERC is the national instrument for making strategic investments in Canada's capability in science and technology. NSERC supports both basic university research through discovery grants and project research through partnerships among universities, governments, and the private sector, as well as the advanced training of highly qualified people.

NSERC's mandate is to make investments in people, discovery and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians. Since its inception in 1978, it has supported the research projects of some 9,600 university professors every year, as well as more than 17,700 university students and post-doctoral researchers. It also encourages more than 500 Canadian companies to invest in research annually. In 2003-04, NSERC will invest $760 million in university-based research and training.

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Lakehead University Researchers Background Information

The following researchers held NSERC grants in the 1970s and are current NSERC recipients. What follows is just a brief outline of their research interests and activities. For more detailed information, please call Marla Tomlinson, Communications Officer, at 343-8177.

Graham Borradaile

Dr. Borradaile's research focuses mainly in three areas: tectonic corrections to paleomagnetic data; how magnetic fabrics reveal movement histories within rocks; and long-term archeological experiments in magnetization.

Tectonic Corrections to Paleomagnetic Data: The paleomagnetic direction locked in the rock during its formation is used to determine changes in position and orientation of ancient terrenes. Since many rocks have been tilted or deformed, their magnetic directions must be corrected. Laboratory experimental-deformation under simulated geological conditions (using a computer-controlled triaxial rig) shows paleomagnetic vectors are sensitive to ephemeral peak stresses - not just due to visible deformation. Field studies test restoration in Northwestern Ontario Proterozoic rocks and originally adjacent Lower Paleozoic rocks in Newfoundland and Northwest Scotland.

Magnetic Fabrics Reveal Movement Histories Within Rocks: Magnetic sensing methods reveal the orientations of minerals within rocks, due to deformation. These magnetic fabrics reveal different parts of the movement and strain history within a rock. Dr. Borradaile has shown the terrane-boundaries of Northwestern Ontario are sheared hundreds of kilometres along east-west boundaries with supplementary north-side up motion. Moreover, zones with different patterns of shape-change and shear correspond to certain mineralized zones.

Long-term Experiments in Magnetization: It is not understood how some slow geological magnetizations are acquired. Dr. Borradaile's approach uses "experiments" that have run for up to 8,000 years, in the form of archaeological monuments. Since the monuments' ages are known, (in some cases historically documented), we know how long the masonry has been in its new orientation, since extraction from the bedrock by ancient builders. Thus, he is able to calculate the rate of magnetization. Conversely, he has used the method to date enigmatic archeological structures, for example at Armageddon in Israel.

Statistical Applications in Earth Sciences: As part of a long term "NSERC" hobby Dr Borradaile has taken a long-term interest in the problems of training graduate students in the appropriate manipulation and presentation of quantitative data, as well as their characterization. After many years he just published a book which provides thesis-writers with an overview of the main problems and pitfalls in managing data [Borradaile, G.J., 2003. Statistics of Earth Science Data: Distributions in time, space and orientation, Springer Verlag, 351 pp.].

Laurie Garred

Dr. Garred's overall objective over 27 years of NSERC-sponsored research has been the application of basic chemical engineering concepts to optimize the life-sustaining dialysis treatments received by kidney failure patients. Much of this work has revolved around computer modelling studies of the transfer of the various accumulated waste products from the patient's blood into the dialysate solution. A particular theme has been to develop simple approaches and equations for quantifying and prescribing dialysis dose administered in the dialysis treatment. Development of new dialysate-based methods and theory for urea kinetic modelling has been a particularly useful contribution.

Dr. Garred's current work focuses on clinical and laboratory studies plus computer modelling to develop a better understanding of the removal of the excess salt and fluid that the patient accumulates between dialysis treatments. In the clinical studies, more than 30 variables (e.g. the flow rate and hemoglobin concentration of the patient's blood pumped to the dialyzer) are recorded on a laptop computer up to once per second for the entire 3-4 hour treatment. These data are then used in the simulation studies. An ultimate goal of this work is the automation of the dialysis treatment so that all the excess salt and water is removed in as short a time as possible but in such a manner that any discomfort to the patient is minimized. Dr. Garred is also performing laboratory and computer simulation studies designed to better understand how small chemicals and fluids cross the dialyzer membrane. These studies will help in the dialysis simulations described above as well as offer insight into better dialyzer design.

Allan Gilbert

Dr. Gilbert was a PhD student of Howard Rapson, internationally renowned for innovations in pulp bleaching and for the effluent-free pulp mill concept. Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd in Thunder Bay was the first pulp mill in the world to try the effluent-free design and Dr. Gilbert came to Thunder Bay as part of Rapson's "bleach-plant tuning crew."

His research began with bleaching, but with the end of the effluent-free mill experiment, it changed to control and automation. Using the mill as his laboratory, he researched and tested new uses for sensors in the control of pulp mill processes. He took a one-year leave of absence to write control code for the Dryden fine paper machine. The research in control was strengthened by the establishment of the first Faculty of Engineering M.Sc. Eng. program in control engineering. Often Dr. Gilbert's research digresses back to bleaching. At present, he is building a pilot plant with CFI/OIT funding that combines bleaching research and the testing of advanced control methods.

Marg Hawton

Dr. Margaret Hawton works on the interaction of light with semiconductors and biological physics.Her biological physics work has included phase transitions in model biological membranes, charge transport in partially hydrated membranes and in wood, and interaction of bacteria with surfaces.

Recent semiconductor work includes calculations on the effect of ultrashort optical pulses on semiconductor nanostructures. She also does fundamental research on the nature of the photon as a quantum mechanical particle and its interaction with matter.

Werden Keeler

Dr. Keeler uses optical spectroscopy and imaging methods to investigate the physical properties of a variety of materials. For a while, he and his students were studying semiconductor layered systems fabricated at NRC in Ottawa, which had potential applications in the manufacture of devices such as micro-lasers and CCD imaging chips.

More recently, Dr. Keeler has centered his research on the optical imaging of live cancer cells cultured at Northern Ontario Regional Cancer Centre. He has also been developing an ultrafast laser imaging system for the nonlinear investigation of live cells and for laser micro-machining of small 3D structures.

Murray W. Lankester

?Dr. Lankester's NSERC-funded research has allowed him and his students to pursue important research on wild animal health.While at LakeheadUniversity, has provided Dr. Lankester the opportunity to access unique research problems and interesting northern animals such as moose and caribou.

With his graduate students, over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers on important parasitic diseases of salmonid fishes of northern lakes, "moose sickness," ticks, and Lyme disease have been produced. Also, he has headed up investigations of caribou parasites. These parasites were first discovered on the local SlateIsland population and later expanded to include caribou herds from Alaska to Newfoundland.

Roger H. Mitchell
Dr. Mitchell's research program over the past 30 years has focused primarily on the unusual rock types that host diamonds and strategic metals such as niobium and zirconium. The objective of his work is the discovery of controls on the formation of economic deposits of these important commodities and to understand the geological processes leading to the formation of the magmas from which these rocks crystallize.

Over the years, the character of the investigations has changed, especially in response to changes in analytical instrumentation. Early work concentrated on field studies and analytical geochemistry, as only limited compositional and structural information could be obtained on complex and/or small crystals. It is now possible to conduct very detailed mineralogical and petrological studies using analytical electron beam techniques that were previously impossible, to accumulate vast amounts of data.

V.V. Paranjape

During the 1970s, Dr. Paranjape's research dealt mainly with pure crystals. He studied how the energy of an electron is affected by the dynamical properties of pure crystals. This had applications to transport optical properties of semiconductors, which were used in the fabrication of transistors.

During the past 10 years, Dr. Paranjape's research focus has shifted to man-made systems such as superlattices, atomic-clusters, and condensates. These systems have their origin in laboratories and cannot be found anywhere in nature, and are interesting to study since their properties can be engineered to an extent by the researcher. These systems have tremendous potential for technological application.

Bill Parker

Dr. Parker's NSERC-funded research has always been directed towards revealing patterns of recent evolution within Canadian forest tree species. In the 1970s, his research had a taxonomic focus - trying to evaluate the importance of, and possible need for, taxonomic adjustments, resulting from adaptation to local environments and gene exchange among closely related species via natural hybridization in interglacial periods.

Currently, Dr. Parker's research has taken a much more practical focus in making sure that the trees planted by the forest industry today will be well adapted to their current and future climates to maximize forest productivity on a shrinking land base.

Alexander Sedov

During the 1970s, Dr. Sedov devoted much effort and time to the study of waves propagating in liquids, solids, and gases in the presence of dissipative and dispersive mechanisms and that of nonlinearity and their effects on the structure of the propagating wave front. To study these effects, he utilized the asymptotic expansion method of analysis, a method conventionally applied to the study of water waves up to that time. His work generalized the results of earlier studies to any media.

During the past twenty years, Dr. Sedov's research interests have been in the area of ultrasonics and its application to quantitative nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of materials. This method of inspection uses high-frequency sound waves to detect any defects or flaws in materials. Such inspections are of great interest in the energy and aerospace sectors. Dr. Sedov has worked on a variety of problems dealing with flaw scattering, classification, and modeling; flaw-boundary interactions; and transducer and beam modeling.

Currently, he and his collaborators are developing a beam model to predict the wave field of a transducer in a curved geometry component made of an anisotropic material. When coupled with the flaw scattering models developed earlier, this beam model will allow an engineer to simulate inspections of industrial parts of very complex geometry such as those found in welds or composites. The results of this work will provide new and improved modeling capabilities that can be used by industries to model and solve a much wider class of inspection problems than was previously possible.

Lakehead University Political Science Students Gain Exposure to World Politics

(Thunder Bay - January 21, 2004) Afew Lakehead University Political Science students are getting a chance to learn first-hand what it's like in the world of politics during a trip to McGill University this week.

Eleven first-year students will be taking part in the McGill Model United Nations Assembly (McMUN), while eight students will be enjoying a lively time as part of the McGill Debating Union Winter Carnival.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for these students," says Dr. Doug West, the students' coach and Chair of the Political Science Department at Lakehead. "Taking part in activities like these gives the students a chance to apply what they're learning and develop new skills at the same time."

The McGill Debating Union Winter Carnival will consist of six rounds of Canadian parliamentary debate, breaking to quarters, and three public speaking rounds, breaking to finals. The Lakehead team is one of 80 teams at this event.

The McMUN, which attracts over 1,200 delegates, will submerge the students into the world of the United Nations representing Samoa and Nicaragua. McMUN 2004 will offer delegates eighteen committee simulations ranging from traditional UN bodies such as the third committee of the General Assembly, UNICEF, and the Security Council as well as simulations of less common international bodies such as the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, the International Labour Organization, and the European Intergovernmental Conference.

Dr. West is available for interview today and tomorrow. He leaves with the students on Thursday morning. Please call Dr. West directly at 343-8304.

The Future of Forestry Topic of 36th Annual Forestry Symposium

Four guest speakers will address the future of forestry in the Canadian context at the 36th Annual Forestry Symposium at Lakehead University on January 24, 2004.

Each year, the students in the Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment organize a symposium dealing with relevant issues in forestry. Claire Riddell, co-Chair, 2004 Lakehead University Forestry Symposium Committee, says that this topic will address matters in the rapidly changing forestry sector.

"As we move into the 21st century, the face of forestry is changing," she says. "Never before has there been so much pressure on foresters to manage resource in a sustainable manner in terms of economic, social, and environmental concerns."

This one-day symposium will focus on four themes: communication, land use, maximizing forest values, and Canada's international perspective. These are key topics to understanding how the forestry industry is developing and where it is headed, says Karen Jackson, the co-Chair of the Symposium Committee.

"Public awareness and involvement is growing, and foresters are being held more accountable for the decisions that they make. At the same time forestry is also becoming increasingly globalized as it becomes cheaper and more efficient to move and manufacture wood products around the world," Jackson says. "In light of these developments, it is ever more important for foresters to be well educated and aware of the issues and the impacts their decisions will make."

Four forestry experts will be speaking at the symposium, each addressing one of the themes. Speakers are:

-- Dr. David DeYoe, General Manager - Ontario Forest Research Institute (OFRI)
-- Dr. John K. Naysmith, R.P.F., Chair, Ontario Forestry Futures Trust
-- Ms. Suzanne Parton, R.P.F., General Manager, Lake Abitibi Model Forest
-- Mr. Laird Van Damme, R.P.F., Managing Partner, Consulting Forester - KBM Forestry Consultants Inc.

The symposium takes place on Saturday, January 24 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in ATAC, Room 1003.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the event. To set up interviews with the event chairs or the speakers, please call Claire Riddell at 346-7794.


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

Education Community Teaming Together to Benefit High School Students

(Thunder Bay - January 12, 2004) Thunder Bay's educational community is coming together to help address an important educational need for teachers of high school students bound for college-based careers.

The project Future Teachers Widening Horizons is an initiative of LakeheadUniversity's Faculty of Education, and brings the University, ConfederationCollege, Lakehead District School Board (LDSB), and Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board (TBCDSB) together to help create an experience-based course for intermediate/senior teacher candidates.

"A significant portion of the current high school population has academic needs and career aspirations that vary from the experiences of our teacher candidates," says Dr. Juanita Epp, Chair of the Undergraduate Studies in Education at Lakehead and Chair of the Widening Horizons project. "This project will enable the Faculty to introduce this special topic as part of teacher education in cooperation with ConfederationCollege and the local school boards."

In fall of 2004, approximately 25 students in the Intermediate-Senior program in Lakehead's Faculty of Education will take part in the pilot course to collect data on the effectiveness and impact of the course. The course will include a theoretical component of professional development seminars and an experiential component consisting of time at ConfederationCollege, with the Curriculum and Technology Planning Team, and the high schools of both school boards. The pilot course will also include community, business, and agency involvement to ensure current knowledge and understanding of placement and apprenticeship opportunities for post-secondary students.

"The Future Teachers Widening Horizons project is an inaugural initiative for the Province of Ontario and is a reflection of the spirit of creativity and innovation that is possible in Northwestern Ontario," says Patricia Lang, President, ConfederationCollege. "I applaud the partners for their wisdom and their insight in creating this course."

"Widening Horizons is an excellent example of Thunder Bay groups coming together to commit to a common goal," says Dr. Fred Gilbert, President, LakeheadUniversity. "This collaboration is just one way in which the educational community can work mutually to benefit the city's high school and post secondary students."

Some of the aims of this project are: to provide teacher candidates with an increased awareness of education and career opportunities for workplace and college destination students, as well as a familiarity with the College structure, course offerings, and business and industry links; and give teacher candidates a background that will better equip them to discuss career opportunities with students and their parents.

For more information on the project, please call Ric Windsor, Widening Horizons Coordinator, at 345-5597.


Contact: Marla Tomlinson, LakeheadUniversity, 343-8177