Lakehead University Focuses on Medical and Environmental Biotechnology

(September 22, 2008--Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University is hosting its 4th Annual Biotechnology Symposium on Friday, September 26, 2008.

Biotechnology is a field of study that uses biology to make new technology, the manipulation of living organisms to produce goods and service. Despite recent widespread media coverage, the history of biotechnology dates back thousands of years. Scientific and technological advances have transformed biotechnology techniques, opening doors to a variety of applications in areas such as health care, the environment, forestry, and industrial processes.

The focus of this year's Biotechnology Symposium is medical and environmental biotechnology. The year's line-up of presenters consists of some of the best and brightest in the field. "The symposium attracts speakers and participants from across the country. We are excited to have Biotechnology professionals joining us from places such as Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Montreal. This is a wonderful opportunity for Thunder Bay's researchers and students to network and exchange ideas for ongoing and future projects," says Heidi Schraft, Director of the Lakehead University Biotechnology Research Program.

For example, Elizabeth Murray, a Research Scientist with SemBioSys Genetics Incorporated in Calgary, and a Lakehead alumna, is scheduled to present at the symposium. SemBioSys is a company that uses genetically modified plants to produce human proteins. Murray's presentation is entitled, "The Story of Canada's Plant-Made Pharmaceutical Company." Simcha Stroes-Gascoyne of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL), a leading-edge nuclear technology and services company, will also be in attendance. Stroes-Gascoyne's presentation involves the suppression of corrosion of used nuclear fuel containers.

All members of the community are invited to attend the symposium, which takes place in the Faculty Lounge at Lakehead University from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Registration for this event is $25 which includes lunch, wine and cheese, and a drink. There is no charge for students.

Lakehead University receives $126,817 to enhance hospice palliative care education for social workers across Canada

(September 16, 2008 - Thunder Bay, ON) In March 2008, the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH), Lakehead University, was awarded $126,817 from Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to implement a consultation project that would validate core competencies for social practice in hospice palliative care, and implement these competencies into university curricula and continuing education programs nationally. Dr. Mary Lou Kelley, Professor of Social Work at Lakehead University, and CERAH Director, is working with an expert team of nine social work practitioners and educators who comprise the SCOPE team (Social Work Competencies in Palliative Care Education).

People who are living with or dying from advanced illness, or who are bereaved, often benefit from specialized hospice palliative care that meets their physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs and improves their quality of life. Social workers are recognized by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association as core members of the interprofessional palliative care team in a variety of settings including residential hospice, hospital, long-term care, cancer centres, and community care. Despite the important role social workers play in providing hospice palliative care, palliative care education for social workers is limited in Canada.

"This project will improve social work services to Canadians who are coping with a life-limiting or terminal illness by assisting schools of social work and professional social work associations to develop a specialized curriculum that includes the essential knowledge, values, and skills of palliative care," said Dr. Mary Lou Kelley.

The national consultation will engage four groups: social workers, oncology (cancer) patients facing end of life and their families, social work educators, and professional social work associations and others responsible for continuing education of social workers. The result will be a strategic plan for implementation of the competencies and will serve to consolidate partnerships between practitioners, educators, and professional associations.

Dr. Mary Lou Kelley stated, "Ultimately, this work will build capacity and support system change by increasing the number of expertly trained social workers to provide palliative and end-of-life care to patients and their families."


Media: Mary Lou Kelley is available for media interview and can be reached at (807) 766-7270 or If you have any questions regarding this media release, please contact Lisa Pelot, Communications Officer, 807-343-8177,, or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, 807-343-8372,

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,500 students and 2,000 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Lakehead University Builds New Orillia Campus to Highest Environmental Standards

(Toronto, September 10, 2008) Lakehead University and Moriyama and Teshima today unveiled the first structure in Lakehead's new campus. This and all future buildings on the campus will be designed and constructed to achieve Canada's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status. Located in Orillia, Ontario, the Lakehead University - Orillia campus will be a living model of healthy environments, the conservation of natural resources, a high level of energy and water efficiency, and a reduction in the production of waste and release of substances harmful to the biosphere. Built in three phases, all buildings on the campus will be built to LEED Platinum standards and thus will be the "first LEED Platinum university campus" in Canada. The project breaks ground in 2009 and will accommodate 7,000 students upon completion.

"Students who choose Lakehead University -- Orillia campus will study in an environment that will be built to the highest levels of environmental responsibility," says Dr. Fred Gilbert, President of Lakehead University. "Not only will the Orillia campus ensure the long-term sustainability and vitality of Lakehead University, it will place Lakehead in the enviable position of being a continental leader in energy conservation, ecological awareness, and social consciousness."

The architectural firm of Moriyama and Teshima was chosen from among seven architectural firms following a rigorous selection process. Daniel Teramura, Partner of Moriyama and Teshima, says: "We were delighted to have been awarded this project. The development of LEED-standard buildings is one of our specialty areas, and we are very keen to demonstrate how a university campus can successfully combine responsiveness to the vital needs of students, faculty, and staff while being aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sustainable at the same time."

According to Teramura, Phase I of the project consists of an academic building which will accommodate up to 1,500 students. Expected to open in the fall of 2010, Phase I will cost $40 to $50 million.

"University design is our passion," says Teramura. "We are confident that our experience in designing LEED buildings internationally will ensure that Lakehead University achieves its goal. We are looking forward to working with Lakehead to execute a unique design that expresses the University's vision of creating an enduring campus in harmony with land, nature, site, and context."

Lakehead University will develop, in the next 15 to 20 years, a full range of academic programs on this new campus, ultimately accommodating an enrolment of approximately 7,000 students in 1.5 million square feet of new academic, instructional research, and support spaces. In addition, residences will be built to accommodate 1,200 students.

Adds Fred Gilbert, "This is an exciting development for Lakehead, the City of Orillia and Simcoe County. We are very pleased to be pioneers in building a university campus to LEED Platinum standards. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the academic programming in Orillia will have an environmental science focus."

Orillia Mayor Ron Stevens is one of many community leaders who early on recognized the value in having Lakehead University set down permanent roots. "We know that a university fosters economic, social, and cultural development in the community. The fact that Lakehead University has committed to becoming a North American leader in sustainable development bodes well for the City of Orillia and for the Province of Ontario."

Phases II and III of the project will be announced following completion of Phase I.


For further information on this release, please contact Eleanor Abaya at, or 807.343-8372 or 807.472-9110, or contact Lisa Pelot at 807.343-8177.

Media Interviews with Dr. Gilbert, President, Lakehead University may be arranged by calling Lisa Pelot at 807-343-8177 or; to speak with Daniel Teramura, Partner, Moriyama and Teshima, please call 416-925-4484.

About Lakehead University
Lakehead University is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. In pursuit of its mission of educating students who are recognized for leadership and independent critical thinking, the University expanded its academic programs beyond its Thunder Bay campus through the creation of a second campus, located in Orillia.

Since 2006, the university has offered undergraduate programs in temporary quarters in the downtown core of Orillia. At the same time the university has worked with the City of Orillia to establish a permanent site for the university. In 2007, an 85-acre property was secured, and the university began work on a master plan for the permanent campus site.



Orillia Campus Exterior


Orillia Campus Interior

Prestigious Provincial Scholarship Awarded to Lakehead Student

(September 8, Thunder Bay, ON) The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO) has selected Lakehead University student Sean Bryan of the Department of Biology as winner of one of only twenty-four awards. Bryan is the only student from a small Ontario university to receive this award, and it is the first ever Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario graduate scholarship at Lakehead University. The award is valued at $18,000 per year, for up to two years.

The award is given to highly qualified candidates who have completed, or are in the last year of a Baccalaureate degree. Candidates must have achieved a minimum of 80% on course work completed in the last two years of study. Selection is also based on the quality of the proposed research project and its relevance to the mission of the HSFO, as well as the track record of the student's supervisor.

"It is gratifying to see students being recognized for their hard work and dedication," says Dr. Rui Wang, who, along with Dr. Neelam Khaper, is one of Bryan's project co-supervisors. "I am very pleased to accept this award," states Bryan. "Being the first to bring this distinction to Lakehead is an honour."

Bryan's winning studentship application is entitled 'The role of hydrogen sulphide in cardiac redox regulation and inflammation.'


Media: Rui Wang, Vice President - Research is available for media interview and may be reached at 807-343-8180 to determine a time. Sean Bryan is available for media interview and may be reached at 807-766-7406 or 807-251-9999 or by email at For more information, please contact Lisa Pelot Communications Officer, 807-343-8177,, or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, 807-343-8372,

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,500 students and 2,000 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Lakehead University Holds PACI Grand Opening

(September 4, 2008 - Thunder Bay, ON) Today, Lakehead University's newest building opens its doors officially with a Grand Opening conference and reception at Port Arthur Collegiate Institute (PACI). In attendance are members of Lakehead's administration, the PACI Alumni Association, trustees and administration of the District School Board, as well as public officials. Lakehead's recent acquisition of PACI means additional classroom, laboratory, studio, and athletic facilities for Lakehead.

The transfer of ownership of PACI to Lakehead University means the continued life of this landmark site of the Thunder Bay community. "It is uplifting to know that students will continue to have the opportunity to study in such a beautiful space, and that this important element of Thunder Bay's history will remain a living part of our community," said Terry Ellwood of the School Board.

Chair of the Lakehead District School Board, Deborah Massaro applauds a new chapter of educational pursuits within the building: "The retention of this historical building in the hands of an educational institution that's a pillar in the community is a fitting tribute to the heritage of PACI." Massaro adds, "Lakehead is sure to make excellent use of the increase in space and facilities that PACI offers."

Activities for the Grand Opening include a cheerleading performance and tours of the facility by members of the PACI alumni. "Today we celebrate the collaborative work that went into the acquisition of this building, as well as the bright future that lies ahead," said Lakehead University President Dr. Fred Gilbert. "We look forward to continuing our commitment to excellence and innovation in teaching, research, and other scholarly activity in this exciting addition to Lakehead's Thunder Bay campus space."


Media: Dr. Gilbert and Terry Ellwood, Director of Education at the Lakehead District School Board, are available for media interview. For more information or to arrange interview times, please contact Lisa Pelot, Communications Officer, 807-343-8177,or, or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, 807-343-8372 or

About Lakehead

Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,500 students and 2,000 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Lakehead University Orientation - Not Just for New Students – Families Included!

(August 27, 2008 - Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University is once again gearing up to welcome a fresh class of new students to the Thunder Bay campus. Orientation organizers and volunteers have developed a fun, informative, and activity-filled week in which new students, alongside their family and friends, will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Thunder Bay, the Lakehead University campus, and faculty, and staff. New this year, Lakehead is launching specialized Orientation programming for the family and friends of incoming students.

"While we offer a wide variety of fun events and great prizes, ultimately our purpose is to provide new students and their families with the best information and guidance possible," says Brendan Hughes, New Student Orientation Officer for Lakehead University. "Getting started on the right foot is critical. Ensuring that all new students and their families have all their questions answered while making them feel at home on campus is what Lakehead's faculty and staff have been preparing for throughout the summer."

Lakehead University pioneered a USB key initiative in 2007 providing students with orientation materials delivered in a fully interactive digital format. Continuing with this successful initiative, new students this year will be gifted with a sleek 1 Gigabyte USB key, providing storage space for student documents, as well as acting as a companion to the Orientation website that will store this interactive platform. Also new this year is orientation events targeted at siblings of new students. Brendan Hughes explains, "Starting university is an exciting time of transition for a student's entire family. Families play a key role in the success of our students, and we wanted to provide them with their own introduction to Lakehead."

"Over the past year, Lakehead University staff members, student ambassadors and university partners have worked tirelessly to ensure the new student transition experience is both positive and memorable," says Brianne Kirkpatrick, Orientation Office student intern. "We have a fresh and exciting line-up of academic and social activities this year, and students can stay abreast of the events by viewing the orientation schedule online at" Incoming students are also reminded to check their university e-mail accounts to be in touch with their Student Ambassador and stay up-to-date with the latest developments.

Highlights of the week's activities include: the Official Welcome and registration at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 30; traditional Aboriginal teachings at the Sweat Lodge site on campus on Sunday, August 31; Lakehead 101 first lecture of the year, Faculty Meet and Greet followed by an evening outdoor carnival including magic, juggling, jousting and fire-breathing on Tuesday, September 2; and Survivor Games in the afternoon followed by the President's Dinner on Wednesday, September 3.

Some events require RSVPs, which can be made by visiting the Orientation website.

Lakehead is proud to offer an alcohol-free Orientation week, as the safety of all students is the University's first priority.


Paleo-DNA Lab a jewel in Thunder Bay's crown

The following article appeared in the Chronicle Journal on Monday, August 25, 2008.

Special to the Chronicle-Journal
Paleo-DNA Lab: A Jewel in Thunder Bay's Crown

by Tim Anderson

Move over CSI, Northwestern Ontario has the real deal: Lakehead University's Paleo-DNA Laboratory. It would surprise most Thunder Bay residents to know that the forensic marvels seen on television can be found right here at home. The Paleo-DNA Lab, or PDL, is a world-class facility capable of performing DNA analyses on severely degraded and ancient samples. When remains are found but their identity is in question, archaeologists around the entire globe send them to Lakehead University's PDL for analysis.

Lakehead's Paleo-DNA Lab was established in 1996 by Dr. El Molto and over the years has been guided by two other world-renowned anthropologists -- Dr. Ryan Parr and Dr. Carney Matheson. Their research achievements have placed Lakehead's Paleo-DNA Laboratory in the media spotlight time and time again.

Very often, no information is given to the PDL staff about the origins or context of the samples for analysis. No bias can be allowed to enter into the process, and having no information about the sample ensures that the lab's results are objective and entirely credible. Given the significance of many of the cases sent to the PDL, it is no wonder that such secrecy surrounds the samples being analyzed. Recently the PDL's Scientific Officer, Dr. Carney Matheson, used the lab to identify the remains of World War I soldiers found at Vimy Ridge in France. In another case, centred on the Titanic disaster, the PDL played a role in the identification of the Titanic's "unknown child" buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax.

When a tomb was unearthed in Jerusalem that contained names like Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and something remarkably like "Mary Magdalene," bone fragments were sent half-way around the world for analysis at the PDL in Thunder Bay. As was discussed in James Cameron's Discovery Channel documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," the Thunder Bay lab's findings were debate-provoking. The PDL analyzed the mitochondrial DNA in two samples from the tomb. The first was from an ossuary (or bone box) inscribed with the name Jesus. The second sample was believed to have been from Mary Magdalene's bone fragment. DNA analysis showed that the two individuals were not maternally related, leading to questions about why they were buried together. Since only family members were buried in each tomb, this suggests that they may have been related through wedlock.

The documentary film "Bloodline," currently in release, also controversially seeks to explore the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, as well as to prove the existence of the couple's offspring and the Priory of Sion; and again, the Paleo-DNA Laboratory has been called on to conduct DNA analysis. An undisturbed tomb was found in the town of Rennes-le-Château in southern France. The mummy inside wears a garment with an unmistakable Knights Templar cross on it, and has sparked a debate about a powerful and hidden treasure rumored to have been carried out of Jerusalem by the knights. A hair sample was extracted from the undisturbed corpse by a remote device, and was sent to the PDL for analysis. Despite the severely degraded sample, the lab was able to determine that the body's genetic origins lay in the northern middle-eastern region. The speculation sparked by the PDL's findings has led to plans for a full excavation of the tomb so that more substantial samples (such as teeth) can be analyzed for more accurate identification of the body.

Much of the PDL's remarkable success can be attributed to the academics who guided its development in the early years and the dedicated staff who take care of day-to-day operations. One staff member is Lakehead alumnus Stephen Fratpietro, a forensic analyst and PDL's Technical Manager. He has a host of responsibilities that demonstrate the depth of his commitment; these responsibilities include maintaining the integrity of the facility, obtaining and maintaining the lab's accreditation, maintaining equipment, and overseeing training and orientation,

Ancient DNA Training Program

Such a broad range of responsibilities comes hand in hand with a facility as flexible as the PDL. In addition to case work, the lab is heavily involved in education efforts. 2008 is the tenth anniversary of the Ancient DNA Training Program. The course spans three weeks in the spring, and hosts 20 students from all over the globe: England, Australia, France, the United Arab Emirates, as well as Thunder Bay and the rest of Canada have all sent course members in recent years. During the intensive program, PDL staff instruct in DNA extraction, amplification, and copying, as well as different methods for analyzing both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Students are not limited to lectures, as they get practical lab work. Other universities simply cannot offer the hands-on experience available at the PDL. Students who have completed the course in the past have gone on to work for DNA companies in the United States, as well as for the RCMP. Those participants interested in research can return to the PDL through the visiting scholar program to complete their research at the facility for academic credit.

To respond to the enormous local interest generated by the lab, the Paleo-DNA Laboratory holds lectures at Lakehead University and in area schools periodically. Every year, PDL participates in Biotechnology Week and in Lakehead University's Research & Innovation Week. Tours and presentations are arranged for local high school and middle-school students, with the aim of demonstrating the difference between the real science of DNA and the fictional television dramas which make it all look so easy.

While facilities similar to the PDL do exist elsewhere in North America and around the world, Stephen Fratpietro points out that the Thunder Bay lab operates in a unique way that benefits a niche market. "There are lots of laboratories that do their own research, and there are quite a few in Canada that do ancient DNA as well, but they don't offer their services to the public." Operation Supervisor Renée Fratpietro sums up the PDL's unique standing by remarking that "we're a forensically accredited university lab; there are accredited labs which aren't located at universities, there are university labs that aren't accredited, but our combination is unusual." The implication is clear: Lakehead University's Paleo-DNA Laboratory is an invaluable resource unlike any other.

Lakehead Graduate Rows Way to Olympic Medal

Alongside his team members, 2003 Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment graduate Liam Parsons received an Olympic bronze medal for his third place finish in the Men's Lightweight Sculls race on Sunday, August 17.

Now in the eleventh day of the Olympics, Canada has been awarded nine medals in total - an achievement in which Liam has participated. Visit for Olympic coverage on Liam's win and other events.

Advanced Software Helps Forestry Students Plan for Industry

(August 7, 2008 --Thunder Bay, ON) Today, Lakehead University's Faculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment received a substantial software donation made by CCS Central Computer Services, a subsidiary of Buchanan Forest Products. The software is used to enhance forest management capabilities across Ontario.

The Geographical Resource Management (GEREMA) software program, developed by CCS approximately five years ago, provides forest managers with the ability to perform advanced planning functions. "This is a cost-effective means for forest managers to generate management plans and manipulate geospatial information when they're in the planning process," says Hartley Multamaki, President of CCS. "GEREMA features a user-friendly interface. It is a dynamic, open-ended system that allows users to easily build and manage specialized information related to planning reports." Lakehead will receive 12 licensed copies of the software. Currently, the GEREMA software is also used by companies such as Buchanan Forest Products.

Hartley Mutamaki discusses software with local media

Fourth-year Forest Management Planning students, as well as graduate students interested in GIS/Forest Management will benefit from the software by using its hands-on, career-related interface. "This software helps forestry students concentrate on the development of the actual forest management plan rather than spending considerable time on the mechanics of entering data and producing supporting materials," says Dr. Reino Pulkki, Dean of Lakehead's Faculty of the Forest and the Forest Environment. "We are very appreciative of the tremendous and enthusiastic technical support that we have received from the CCS staff."

"This generous and much appreciated donation is a reflection of Lakehead's ongoing relationships with valued industry partners like Buchanan Forest Products," says Dr. Fred Gilbert, President of Lakehead University. "It highlights the impact these connections have on the advancement of student knowledge and graduate research at the University."

ATAC 3010 is renamed to recognize software donationAs a means of recognizing CCS for this generous donation, room 3010 in Lakehead's Advanced Technology and Academic Centre (ATAC) has been renamed the CCS Central Computer Services GEREMA Lab.


Media: Drs. Gilbert and Pulkki, and Hartley Multamaki are available for media interview. To arrange interview times, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, 807-343-8177,, or Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, 807-343-8372,

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,500 students and 2,000 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Education Professor Receives National Award for Work with International Youth

Dr. Douglas Thom, Professor of Education, was recently named an International Patron of the National Youth Award Scheme of Sierra Leone, Africa, for the work that he and his Global Conscience Circle (GCC) / Cercle de la Conscience Globale (CCG) Sierra Leone subgroup have undertaken. They have shipped donated computer systems and other IT equipment into Sierra Leone to help set up a pioneer computer training program. Visit for more information about GCC/CCG or to sign up, free of charge, as a worldwide member.