Education Students Write and Produce Films for Ecological Film Fest

Outdoor Ecological and Experiential Education students in Lakehead University's Faculty of Education have written and produced four films which examine ecological lifestyle choices and explore the topics of waste, energy, water, and food within a North American context. The films are appropriate for viewing by audience members of all ages, and were created to raise awareness about present and future lifestyle choices.

This free event takes place on Thursday, March 4, and films will be shown in the Bora Laskin Auditorium starting at 7:00 p.m. A by-donation bake sale by event sponsor Roots to Harvest will also be set up in the main foyer of the Bora Laskin building.

All members of the campus and broader communites are invited to attend.

Lakehead's Biorefining Research Initiative (BRI) Receives Funding for Lignin Research

(March 3, 2010 - Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University is pleased to announce receipt of an NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grant in the amount of $621,200 over a four-year period for the University's Biorefining Research Initiative (BRI). The grant will foster research on the "Enzymatic Modification of Lignin for Polymer Applications." FPInnovations is an active partner on the project and is contributing in-kind contributions valued at approximately $356,000.

The research team spearheading this project comprises Dr. Robert Dekker, Principal Investigator and Director of Lakehead's BRI, Co-applicants Drs. Lada Malek (Biology) and Len Hutchinson (Forestry), and collaborator Dr. Michael Paleologou of FPInnovations (Paprican), out of Pointe Claire, Quebec. The project will involve three PhD students and a Post-Doc Fellow, with the assistance of undergraduate students.

Lignin is a by-product of the pulp and paper industry. During the pulping of wood, the stage when cellulose is produced, lignin appears in what is referred to as "black liquor." Black liquor is a waste product of the pulping process that is then burned at pulp mills to generate electricity. By tapping into black liquor, removing some portions of it, and value-adding it, it can be used in polymer applications such as plastics and adhesives. As adhesives, lignin can be used to laminate wood or to bind the material in wood pellets.

"Lakehead has become a centre of critical mass," explains Dr. Dekker. "Not only do our researchers examine the photochemical and electrochemical modification of lignin for use in value-added products, but now the BRI looks at the possibility of modifying lignin from a biological approach using microbes and enzymes." Dekker adds this is an environmentally friendly alternative to the harsh methods employed chemically, as enzymes are able to target specific functional groups on polymer surfaces without destroying the polymer itself.

An intensive screening program of fungi collected from the Boreal Forest biome and housed in the Mycological Herbarium at Lakehead, provides the means to search for enzymes that modify lignin. Of particular interest are enzymes that specifically cleave off certain functional groups from lignin molecules, thereby, making the product more reactive for polymer applications.

This NSERC-CRD grant is the first awarded to the BRI. It complements research programs on chemical modification of lignin currently in progress across Canada and by Lakehead researchers, Drs. Aicheng Chen, Charles Xu, and Matt Leitch.


Media: Dr. Dekker is available for media interviews. To arrange interview times, please contact Communications Officer Heather Scott at 807-343-8177 or; or Director of Communications Eleanor Abaya at 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 7,700 students and 2,250 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

Help Residence Staff Meet This Year's <i>Cutz for Cancer</i> Goal

Lakehead's Residence students and staff members are gearing up for another successful Cutz for Cancer fundraising event. This year, nine persons have signed up to have their heads shaved, seven of whom are staff members of Lakehead's Residence Life Team.

Cutz for Cancer takes place in the Agora from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3. All members of the University community are encouraged to stop by to see staff and students cut, lop, and shave their hair in support of cancer research. Donations can be made during the event, and all funds raised will go to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Last year, this event raised just under $1,000. This year, the Residence Life Team hopes to raise $1,500.

Lakehead U Students and Employees Enjoy Encounter with Nino Ricci, Renowned Canadian Author

The Institute of Italian Studies - Lakehead University, in partnership with the Lakehead University Department of English, is pleased to welcome Canadian author Nino Ricci to campus to give a reading from his novel, The Origin of the Species. He'll also talk about storytelling, and will answer questions from audience members.

This event takes place:

Date: Thursday, March 4
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Location: ATAC 2021 (Thunder Bay) with video conferencing to HP Boardroom (Orillia)


Nino Ricci was born and raised in Leamington, Ontario. His university studies took him to York University, Concordia University, and the University of Florence. Ricci has taught literature and creative writing, and was the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor in 2005-2006. He also served as President of PEN Canada.

Ricci created a trilogy of novels which chronicles more than 30 years in the life of his protagonist, Vittorio Innocente. The first book, Lives of the Saints, won a Governor General's Award and a Books in Canada First Novel Award. His second book, In a Glass House, followed, and his third book, Where She Has Gone, was a 1997 Giller Prize finalist. The trilogy was adapted as a television mini-series in 2004.

In 2003, Ricci published Testament, his fictional biography of Jesus Christ, in which Christ's life is recounted by multiple narrators including Mary Magdalene and Judas. Testament was praised by reviewers and was short-listed for many awards, including the Commonwealth Prize for Canada and the Caribbean. It won the Trillium Book Award. Nino Ricci won his second Governor General's Award for his 2008 novel The Origin of the Species, which chronicles the early mid-life crisis of character Alex Fratarcangeli. The Governor General's Award jury praised the novel for its "great humanity, realism, and wit."

CBC Radio Partners with Lakehead U to Host Community-Based, Town Hall Discussion

(March 1, 2010 - Thunder Bay - ON) CBC Radio Thunder Bay, in partnership with Lakehead University, will host an upcoming public discussion about the future of Thunder Bay. Interest is already spreading over the special Town Hall event, which is gearing up to explore The Future of Thunder Bay: What's in it for Our Kids. This event takes place at Lakehead's Bora Laskin Theatre on Wednesday, March 3.

This community-based event explores the hopes, visions, and expectations for Thunder Bay from the viewpoint of the younger generation - the goal of which is for CBC Radio to engage young people from high school, college, university, and the community, who wonder if the city offers what is needed for them and/or their children to continue living here.

To start the evening, Anthony LeBlanc gives a motivational speech about how Thunder Bay can leverage its current reputation, location, and passion for sports into a winning combination for the future. LeBlanc is a Thunder Bay native, Lakehead alumnus, and current CEO of Ice Edge Holdings, the company formed to acquire the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Club. LeBlanc also sits on the Lakehead University Board of Governors. His speech will be the catalyst for a roundtable discussion by young people and parents on their vision for the city's future.

Susan Rogers, CBC Program Manager in Thunder Bay, emphasizes that members of the audience are encouraged to ask questions and offer their comments. "We want to hear from a cross-section of people about the kind of city they want, so that the young people of today and tomorrow can continue to call Thunder Bay home." Rogers adds that, "It's a chance for the folks who live here to say what direction they want our city to take."

Lisa Laco, host of the CBC's morning show, The Great Northwest, will moderate the discussion. She'll be joined by Gerald Graham, host of Voyage North, who will be in the audience and encouraging participation. Parts of this discussion will later be broadcast on CBC Radio One, 88.3 in Thunder Bay.

The CBC Town Hall is a free event. It starts at 7:00 p.m. sharp, and parking is free.


Media: Additional bio information on Anthony Leblanc follows. For more information about this event, please contact Susan Wade, CBC Radio Thunder Bay Producer, at 807-625-5012 or; or CBC Radio Thunder Bay Program Manager Susan Rogers at 807-625-5021 or

Anthony LeBlanc was raised in Thunder Bay, is a graduate of Lakehead University, and maintains a home in the Thunder Bay community. Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer of Ice Edge Holdings, LLC., a company that has been formed to acquire the Phoenix Coyotes Hickey Club. Prior to founding Ice Edge, LeBlanc spent his career in senior sales and marketing positions with some of Canada's highest profile companies. Most recently he spent eight years at Research In Motion (RIM), where he was the Vice-President of Global Sales and led a team that was responsible for the direct interaction with RIM's largest customers worldwide. Anthony is on the Lakehead University Board of Governors, and also works to foster trade relations and business links between US and Canadian businesses.

For more information on Anthony LeBlanc, please contact Karen Gordon, Squeaky Wheel Communications Inc., at 416-699-1624 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 7,700 students and 2,250 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's On-Campus Events Involve Local Youth in National Engineering Week

On Wednesday, March 3, Lakehead University's Faculty of Engineering, alongside the Lakehead Chapter of Professional Engineers Ontario, are pleased welcome approximately 150 local elementary school students (grades 5 - 8) to Lakehead's Thunder Bay campus to participate in National Engineering Week activities, including team-based competitions and tours, and to learn more about the field of Engineering.

Members of the student chapters of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE), the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), and the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME) will run the activities. Lakehead's Engineering Student Society (ESS) will coordinate the afternoon tours.

Lakehead's National Engineering Week 2010 event schedule includes:


TEAM COMPETITIONS (AGORA): 9:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

  • Roadway Wood Bridge Contest
  • Egg Car Contest
  • Catapult Contest

Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place teams for each competition.

AWARDS CEREMONY (AGORA): 11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

LUNCH BREAK (VARIOUS): 11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

LABORATORY TOURS (ATAC AND CB): 1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Attendees will tour four or five engineering laboratories

FSRN Recognized in the Thunder Bay District Agricultural Economic Impact Study

The recently released Thunder Bay District Agricultural Economic Impact Study has demonstrated that the Food Security Research Network (FSRN) is making a difference in developing a local food system.

The report states that the FSRN is acknowledged as an important catalyst for promoting agriculture and food security in the region - which has indirectly helped to support the growth of farm operations and other agri-related initiatives (e.g. small scale farming, community gardens) that have a specific focus on promoting local food production and consumption. It also notes growing interest in organic farming in the area and direct marketing activities such as farm retail outlets and farmers' markets.

The FSRN and its community partners invite members of the campus and broader communities to learn more about local food and other important matters by attending some upcoming events, including the 4th Annual March Food Forum and the Get Fresh, Eat Local, Go Wild conference.

The March Food Forum takes place at Lakehead University on March 4 and offers a full day of interactive displays, presentations, and food-related films that showcase the diversity of work happening in the realm of food security. This free event is open to the public. An evening film screening of Fresh will also be offered. For more information, please contact Lee-Ann Chevrette, Special Events Coordinator, at

Get Fresh, Eat Local, Go Wild, hosted by the Food Action Network and its community partners, takes place March 4 - 6, also at Lakehead University. It is being held in conjunction with the March Food Forum and aims to strengthen the capacity of our local food system, increase connections among local food partners, and enhance our ability to grow, market, and enjoy local products. Registration is $50 and closes Friday, February 26. For more registration details and other information, visit

Lakehead Hosts Basketball Playoffs: February 24 and 27

Lakehead Women's and Men's Basketball teams are gearing up to host playoff action at the Thunderdome. The Women's team hasn't hosted playoffs since 1998, nor has the Men's since 1988.

The Women take on the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24. The Men's game takes place at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 27.

To mark this special occasion, Hecklers' Row has been expanded to seat 80 boisterous spectators. A "Whiteout" will be in effect, and all fans are encouraged to support the spirit of these games by wearing white. Newspapers will be provided for Lakehead fans to hold up as a fun way to rouse opposing teams.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Advanced tickets are available at the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse Reception desk, LUSU, and from the Residence Life Coordinator. Seats for Season Ticket Holders will be reserved and are also available at the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse Reception desk.

Call 343-8585 or 343-8213 for more information.

Lakehead University's 2008 Distinguished Researchers Share Informative Lectures with Community during Research & Innovation Week 2010

(February 19, 2010 - Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead is pleased to invite members of the campus and broader communities to two free public lectures presented by the University's 2008 NSERC Distinguished Researcher and 2008 SSHRC Distinguished Researcher. This year's recipients are Dr. Abdelhamid Tayebi and Dr. Syed Serajul Islam, respectively.

Dr. Tayebi, Electrical Engineering Professor, speaks on Smart Actions via Feedback: The Essence of Control Engineering, on Monday, February 22. His talk takes place at 2:00 p.m. in RC 1002 and utilizes videos, pictures, and research materials that help explain processes involved in robot manipulators, mobile robots, and small aircraft such as drones. Those who attend Dr. Tayebi's lecture will gain a clear perspective on the scientific processes embedded in our everyday lives and how science, via mathematical algorithms and applications, continually tries to replicate the movements and behaviours that nature has perfected. "My lecture highlights the roles that sensors and controllers play in everything - from how humans stand upright, to how birds fly, or how a vehicle's cruise control feature works." Dr. Tayebi is honoured to receive this award, and is aware of the inspirational impact it will have on engineering students and peers in the field. "This type of recognition is vital in keeping researchers motivated to do more, do it better, and with increased accuracy and efficiency," he adds.

Dr. Islam, Professor and Chair of Lakehead's Political Science Department, speaks on State Terrorism in Myanmar (Burma), on Tuesday, February 23. His talk takes place at 3:00 p.m. in ATAC 2004 and provides his perspective on the mass government-led violation of human rights affecting Burmese civilians. Through his primary research and regular contact with Burmese rebel groups, Dr. Islam has catalogued hundreds of stories about the strife of Burma's people " stories he'll share with his audience and many which he fully expects will move attendees to tears. "The world's eyes are on Iraq and Afghanistan as significant regime and political changes unfold in those countries, but terrible things are happening to the people of Burma every day, and I'll tell the stories of their struggles to share the truths of the tragedies they're forced to live with," Dr. Islam explains.

Dr. Rui Wang, Vice-President (Research), Lakehead University, says, "The Distinguished Researcher Awards are the highest honour conferred by Lakehead University for research and scholarly activity." These awards recognize a full career of internationally recognized intellectual contributions, including consistency in the production of scholarly materials appropriate to the scholar's discipline; significant contributions to research and scholarly activity; constant and significant direct contributions toward the training of graduate students, wherever applicable; and the receipt of research funding at levels appropriate to the scholar's discipline.

Each year, these award may only be given to two full-time Lakehead University professors, one in the Social Sciences and Humanities and one in the Natural Sciences and Engineering, if nominated candidates meet the award criteria.


Media: Drs. Tayebi, Islam, and Wang are available for media interview. To arrange interview times, please contact Communications Officer Heather Scott at 807-343-8177 or; or Director of Communications Eleanor Abaya at 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 7,700 students and 2,250 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's Research & Innovation Week 2010 Offers Interesting Events for Community to Enjoy

(February 19, 2010 - Thunder Bay, ON) Excitement is growing over the launch of Lakehead University's 5th annual Research & Innovation Week., which takes place February 20 - 26. This year, Lakehead has put together an eclectic grouping of events that is sure to excite a wide variety of audiences across the University and the city.

"Everybody involved in the organization of Research & Innovation Week 2010 worked very diligently to develop a week-long program that offers a balance of dynamism and variety," explains Dr. Rui Wang, Vice-President (Research), Lakehead University. "I'm confident that community members of all ages and from all walks of life will find a number of events that intrigue, inspire, and interest them, and make them proud of the tremendous research accomplishments continuously unfolding at Lakehead."

This year's event lineup kicks off at 11:00 a.m. on February 20, with a media conference and funding announcement to be made by Minister Gravelle. The event, which takes place at Intercity Shopping Centre and is open to all community members, marks the official opening of Research & Innovation Week 2010, and those in attendance will also be able to peruse and enjoy a number of thought-provoking Research displays and exhibits, including DNA testing by Lakehead University's Paleo-DNA Laboratory.

Among many interesting events taking place throughout the remainder of the week are Distinguished Researcher lectures, a free public Speaker Series on the Health Impacts of Exposure to Wireless Radiation, a talk by an Anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution, poster presentations by students and faculty members, a Graduate Student Conference and oral presentations, and numerous events in the music and visual arts fields such as two special one-act plays written and presented by Education students, Video Art and Electrocoustic Music, a film presentation on Grandmothers of the Métis Nation, and a silent Chaplin film with musical accompaniment by a popular and highly accomplished young organist.

The full schedule of Research & Innovation Week 2010 events is available by visiting the Office of Research website.


MEDIA: Dr. Rui Wang is available for interview from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. today. For more information or to arrange interviews with Dr. Wang, please contact Communications Officer Heather Scott at 807-343-8177 or; or Director of Communications Eleanor Abaya at 807-343-8372 or