The Spring 2020 Journey Magazine is here!

Check out the latest issue of Lakehead’s Alumni Magazine – Journey – for great stories about our alumni, researchers, students, and campus life.

Here are some of the features in this issue:

PPE FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS

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Lakehead collects PPE for frontline health-care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

POLAR BEARS ON THE MOVE

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These wily predators deploy an ingenious hunting technique.

ADVOCATE AND ACTIVIST

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Sami Pritchard is a young alumna with the Canadian Federation of Students. 

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

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Alumna Lieann Koivukoski is turning North Bay into a film metropolis.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TREK

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Geography teacher Peter Cameron goes on an Alaskan expedition.

HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS

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Did a Cessna plane really crash-land beside Lake Tamblyn?

CREATING COMMUNITY

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Meet Courtney Holmes, the student leader transforming Lakehead Orillia.

GOING TO THE DOGS (AND CATS)

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Alumni share photos of their furry family members.

A LOOK BACK

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Michelle Labadie and Wilma Pidhayny have been BFFs since 1989. 

Please send your comments, suggestions, and story ideas to editor@lakeheadu.ca.

Lakehead professors awarded $500,000 for important research

 May 28, 2020 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Two Lakehead University professors have been awarded $250,000 each from the federal New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration to pursue important work that will benefit Canada and beyond.

Photo of Dr. Zubair Fadlullah

Dr. Zubair Fadlullah, associate professor in Computer Science and Research Chair at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, is receiving $250,000 over two years to investigate the use of drones to address the lack of reliable internet access and health-care connectivity in rural areas in Northern Ontario.

The aim of this research is to address both the urban-rural digital and health-care gaps in an interdisciplinary manner.

“Connectivity is a key enabler for providing smart health care by monitoring and managing physical/mental health conditions and addiction trends,” Dr. Fadlullah wrote in his research proposal.

To tackle the digital divide issue, this research will use a robust communication infrastructure by leveraging Unmanned Aerial Vehicles such as drones, equipped with communication and energy harvesting modules as well as robotic arms, to form an agile network.

To address the healthcare gap in Northern Ontario, the drone-aided network, coupled with cost-effective device-to-device relays composed of smartphones, will offload the health data collected by Internet of Things and wearable devices deployed at the remote communities.

Dr. Fadlullah will carry out the research at two locations: the preliminary research investigation and experiment will occur at a Lakehead University research lab and the field experiment will be carried out at one of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations communities.

He will work with co-principal investigator Dr. Vijay Mago, an associate professor in Computer Science at Lakehead who is assisting with data analytics, and with co-applicant Keewaytinook Okimakanak eHealth Telemedicine, which will provide insight as they work toward implementing a successful solution.

Photo of Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi

Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi, assistant professor in Chemistry and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Low-Dimensional Nanomaterials, is receiving $250,000 over two years to address the enduring mystery of life’s origin in the cosmos.

In collaboration with her co-applicants at the Technical University of Munich, Dr. Ebrahimi and her team will study the peptide bonds formation from non-amino acid reactants under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions, which resembles outer space. 

“If peptide bonds are formed from a non-amino acid pathway under controlled UHV conditions, can amino acids still be assigned as the unique evolutionary path of the origin of life?” Dr. Ebrahimi wrote in her research proposal. This question frames her motivation for the project.

In her newly established Nanoscale Science Laboratory, her team will investigate the on-surface reactions of suitable reactants, identified in an interstellar medium, for the synthesis of peptide bonds.

“This project will have a critical impact on our understanding of the origin of life in extraterrestrial environments.” Dr. Ebrahimi emphasized.

“Congratulations to Drs. Ebrahimi and Fadlullah for receiving these grants and thank you to the Government of Canada for recognizing the important work of our researchers,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

New Frontiers in Research is a highly competitive tri-agency program designed to support groundbreaking interdisciplinary research.

In 2019/20, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

 

Title: Drone Aided Device-to-Device Networks for Communications and Health Connectivity in Remote Northern Ontario

Total amount awarded (over two years):  $250,000 

Grantee

Zubair Fadlullah,
Lakehead University, Computer Science

Co-principal Investigator

Vijay Mago,  
Lakehead University

Co-applicants

Mohamed Elmokadem,
Keewaytinook Okimakanak Tribal Council (Northern Chiefs)

Cheryl Bechard,
Keewaytinook Okimakanak

 

Collaborator

Supuneet Bismil, Department of Psychiatry, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Canada


Title: Revisiting the pathway to the origin of life - Peptide bond formation from non-amino acid reactants

Total amount awarded (over two years):  $250,000

Grantee

Maryam Ebrahimi,
Lakehead University, Chemistry

Co-applicants

Johannes Barth,
Technical University of Munich

Wilhelm Auwarter,
Technical University of Munich

 

 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

 

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Lakehead graduate managing Hamilton’s COVID-19 hotline

Photo of Michael Bush 

By Brandon Walker

Michael Bush (HBCom’08, MSMgt’09) is currently managing the Public Health COVID-19 hotline for the City of Hamilton.

Prior to COVID-19 arriving in Canada, Michael was in charge of inventory management, storage and handling practices, and data management for the City of Hamilton vaccine program.

Then COVID-19 reached Canada and his superiors asked Michael to manage the Covid19 hotline. For Michael, this change was an adjustment, but he felt prepared. His confidence came from managing the city’s vaccine program and from working as a project manager.

“For myself, the biggest challenge moving into a management role was that I’m not the type of person who walks away from things,” Michael says.

When he was promoted to vaccine program supervisor, Michael was working on several projects that he needed to leave behind.

“I had to overcome the idea of not completing those projects and being given new responsibilities overnight,” he says.

“The challenge in coming from frontline to leadership was stepping back,” he says. “In a supervisor role, not only did I have to think about my own work, but also the work of the team. Learning how to better delegate tasks became important because, when done successfully, it can encouraged and empower your team.”

When the city promoted him to vaccine program supervisor, Michael immediately began learning more about the vaccine world and his confidence grew.

“This was all new to me,” he says. “I quickly had to bring myself up to speed with the knowledge and competencies involved in being the vaccine program supervisor and being in a leadership role.”

That was October 2016. Fast forward to April 2020 when Michael was once again asked to switch gears by managing the COVID-19 hotline.

“I came in around week three or four.  I had more than 40 new teammates who I was able to orchestrate and organize in a fashion that made sense. In this management role, it has been extremely fast-paced with many challenges and issues.

“But with a lot of hard work and dedication from both myself, my colleagues and our teammates, I think we’ve been really successful in bringing forward solutions and creating a positive work environment while providing sensational service to the citizens of Hamilton.”

Hamilton’s COVID-19 hotline takes calls from citizens who have concerns about people who are not self-isolating or about non-essential businesses that are operating, and about other concerns.

Michael credits his success to his Lakehead University education.

“Lakehead prepared me to think critically, to be a problem solver and emotionally intelligent, which is a key aspect of being a leader,” he says.

“My undergrad helped instill the values of teamwork, innovation and passion, of being a high level achiever and doing that with fairness. My Master of Science degree certainly got me to the place I am today.

“I was able to hit the ground running as a confident, motivated and driven employee. Without my Master’s degree I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am now.”

 

Team of Canadian and Italian researchers breaking new ground in materials science

May 20, 2020 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

A team of researchers from Canada and Italy recently published a paper in Nature Materials journal that could usher in a revolutionary development in materials science, leading to big changes in the way companies create modern electronics.

The goal was to develop two-dimensional materials, which are a single atomic layer thick, with added functionality to extend the revolutionary developments in materials science that started with the discovery of graphene in 2004.

In total, 19 authors worked on this paper from INRS, McGill, Lakehead, and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, the national research council in Italy.

“This work represents an exciting development in the realization of functional two-dimensional materials beyond graphene,” said Dr. Mark Gallagher, a Physics professor at Lakehead University.

“I found it particularly rewarding to participate in this collaboration, which allowed us to combine our expertise in organic chemistry, condensed matter physics, and materials science to achieve our goals.”

Dr. Dmytro Perepichka, a professor and chair of Chemistry at McGill University, said they have been working on this research for a long time.

“Structurally reconfigurable two-dimensional conjugated polymers can give a new breadth to applications of two-dimensional materials in electronics,” Dr. Perepichka said.

“We started dreaming of them more than 15 years ago. It’s only through this four-way collaboration, across the country and between the continents, that this dream has become the reality.”

Dr. Federico Rosei, a professor at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre of the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Varennes who holds the Canada Research Chair in Nanostructured Materials since 2016, said they are excited about the results of this collaboration.

“These results provide new insights into mechanisms of surface reactions at a fundamental level and simultaneously yield a novel material with outstanding properties, whose existence had only been predicted theoretically until now,” he said.

This work opens exciting new directions, both theoretical and experimental. The integration of this system into a device (e.g. transistors) may lead to outstanding performances. In addition, these results will foster more studies on a wide range of two-dimensional conjugated polymers with different lattice symmetries, thereby gaining further insights into the structure vs. properties of these systems.

The Italian/Canadian team demonstrated the synthesis of large-scale two-dimensional conjugated polymers, also thoroughly characterizing their electronic properties. They achieved success by combining the complementary expertise of organic chemists and surface scientists.

This research was partially supported by a project Grande Rilevanza Italy-Quebec of the Italian Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale (MAECI), Direzione Generale per la Promozione del Sistema Paese, individual NSERC Discovery Grants (M.G., D.F.P. and F.R.), an FRQNT Team Grant (D.F.P. and F.R.) and by the US Army Research Office Single Investigator Grant (D.F.P.). Dr. Rosei is also grateful to the Canada Research Chairs program for funding and partial salary support.

To read the article visit this page: www.nature.com/articles/s41563-020-0682-z.

 

 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

For interviews with Dmytro Perepichka, please contact Justin Dupuis, Media Relations Office, McGill University, 514-298-8202, justin.dupuis@mcgill.ca.

For more information or interviews with Federico Rosei, please contact Audrey-Maude Vézina, Communications, INRS, 418-254-2156 (cell), audrey-maude.vezina@inrs.ca.

 

About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning two campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 40,000 students, including more than 10,200 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,800 international students making up 31% of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 19% of our students who say French is their mother tongue.

About the INRS
The Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) is the only institution in Québec dedicated exclusively to graduate level university research and training. The impacts of its faculty and students are felt around the world. INRS proudly contributes to societal progress in partnership with industry and community stakeholders, both through its discoveries and by training new researchers and technicians to deliver scientific, social, and technological breakthroughs in the future.

 

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Congratulations to Dr. Mushquash for being named a 2020 Champion of Mental Health

 

The Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health named Dr. Christopher Mushquash a Champion of Mental Health for the Innovation – Researcher or Clinician category.

Dr. Mushquash is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University and the Division of Human Sciences at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and the Director of the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research at Lakehead University.

He is a registered clinical psychologist providing assessment, intervention and consultation services for First Nations children, adolescents and adults at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.

Dr. Mushquash is Ojibway and a member of Pays Plat First Nation. He is a generous volunteer, frequently meeting with First Nations communities, organizations and students to discuss mental health and addiction.

Through his work, he champions culturally and contextually appropriate mental health and addiction services for First Nations peoples, and for individuals living in rural and northern communities.

Lakehead University student one of 25 finalists in SSHRC Storyteller competition

May 6, 2020 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

A Lakehead University graduate student is a finalist for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Storyteller competition.

Robert Sanderson is a Master of Health Sciences student who received $3,000 for placing in the top 25 for his three-minute video describing strategies that organizations and governments can use to have more success communicating climate change to promote citizen engagement.

Dr. Lindsay Galway, associate professor in Health and Behavioural Sciences, led the two-year SSHRC-funded project that ended in March, which included a total of 4,000 surveys mailed to residents in Thunder Bay, Ont., and Prince George, BC and several in-person interviews to gather more information.

“When it comes down to it, climate change needs to be personal. We need to tailor our messages and communications in a way that targets the values of the people we're talking to,” Sanderson said in the video.

Sanderson decided to enter the SSHRC Storyteller competition as way of sharing information about the research project.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have been involved with this project and to explore the complex challenges inherent with communicating and engaging with climate change,” he said in an interview.

“Having an opportunity to highlight the research through a somewhat less conventional, more creative means was incredibly appealing and presented an avenue to raise further awareness and understanding of the project,” he said.

“I feel strongly that this research has tremendous potential to spark meaningful conversation and enhance citizen engagement surrounding climate change action in Thunder Bay.”

Sanderson’s work on this project impressed Dr. Galway.

“The Storytellers contest challenges university students to communicate research in creative and inspiring ways,” Dr. Galway said.

“With this video, Rob has shown that he is one of Canada’s brightest young research storytellers,” she said.

“He did a fantastic job distilling our research project into three short minutes while clearly highlighting the value and impact of our work on climate change communication.

“Impressively, Rob has also put into practice some of the lessons that we are learning about climate change communication in our research, the importance of storytelling, acknowledging emotion, and weaving together urgency and hope for example.”

“This year’s 25 Storytellers competition finalists show exceptional creativity in communicating the relevance of social sciences and humanities research to the daily lives of Canadians,” said SSHRC President Ted Hewitt.

“I commend each of them for their outstanding talent and ability to convey concisely and with great impact, why such research matters. Congratulations to the finalists.”

Given the circumstances caused by COVID-19 and the nature of the Storytellers competition, where the finalists must learn to effectively communicate their research in front of an audience, SSHRC has postponed the Storytellers Showcasethat was to take place at the 2020 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Western University in London, Ont. 

The 2020 Storytellers finalists received their cash prize of $3,000 and SSHRC will invite them to participate in the Storytellers Showcase at the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, which will take place from May 29 to June 4, 2021 at the University of Alberta.

The Final Five winners chosen at that event will be featured at SSHRC’s Impact Awards ceremony, to be held in fall 2021.

To watch Sanderson’s video, visit this page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

 

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Superior Science camps returning this summer

 Photo of two girls holding their creations.

Aurora Dusolt, left, and Hannah Suslyk were building lighthouses at last summer’s Girls Week, held before social distancing measures were introduced. This year’s camp will include precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

June 26, 2020 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Superior Science is pleased to announce that it will hold summer camps at Lakehead University throughout July and August, starting July 6.

After COVID-19 caused the cancellation of all Superior Science programming from March through June, including Girls Club and Code Clubs as well as remote outreach endeavours, staff are excited to be having in-person camps this summer.

They have been working around the clock over the past two months to ensure that staff are prepared to run the summer camps.

Although the camps may be different this year, Superior Science still has many fun activities planned for all campers.

“We are all extremely excited and eager to start our summer camps,” said Michael Coccimiglio, Superior Science Director. “We have worked countless hours preparing for this summer and cannot wait to welcome everyone back.”

“Right from the beginning, we recognized the need for childcare and STEM activities for children,” said Isabella Sgambelluri, Superior Science Director.

“Students have been learning virtually for the past few months, and with parents starting to return to work, and children itching to get some hands-on activities, Superior Science is the perfect option for most young people,” she said.

Dr. Mary-Louise Hill, Faculty Advisor, said Superior Science has been bringing summer campers onto campus for more than 20 years to experience the excitement of hands-on science activities.

“The goal is for campers to have fun while building confidence and competence in science and technology skills,” Dr. Hill said.

“Many campers come back year after year. We hope some of them might return someday to study at Lakehead, and graduate to become our own homegrown scientists, engineers, doctors, foresters, etc.,” she said.

One of this year’s biggest changes is that they will not have groups of more than 10 individuals, which includes eight campers and two instructors. Superior Science will also not allow any staff or campers to mingle with other groups. Staff will ensure that campers maintain proper physical distancing within each group to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Staff have designed all of this summer’s activities to allow room for physical distancing, whether that means working outside or in the classroom. You can find more health and safety information at superiorscience.ca.

Superior Science would not be possible without the support of its major sponsors, Impala Canada and Ontario Power Generation, and supporting sponsors, Lakehead University, the Alumni Association of Lakehead University, the Lakehead University Student Union, Scotiabank, Staples, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, Double Blue Promotions, Able Energy Management and Design, Resolute Forest Products, Dr. Bruce R. Pynn, PHA Engineering, Premier Gold Mines Ltd, and Iron Range.

You can find registration information at superiorscience.ca.

 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.

 

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

Lakehead researchers receiving $2.3 million from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

June 17, 2020 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Lakehead University professors are receiving more than $2.3 million from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) for bold research exploring advancements in robotics, X-ray imaging technology, radio frequencies, and other important projects that will improve the lives of people around the world.

NSERC awarded Dr. Alla Reznik, a Lakehead Professor in Physics, Senior Scientist at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, and Canada Research Chair in Physics of Molecular Imaging, with $205,000 to examine a new approach to X-ray imaging over five years.

Photo of Dr. Alla Reznik

This new approach, using photoconductive material lead oxide, will improve the quality of health care through more effective and less invasive imaging connected with cardiac intervention and early breast cancer diagnosis.

“Minimally invasive cardiac intervention includes a whole spectrum of surgical procedures ranging from cardiac catheterization to aortic valve replacement,” Dr. Reznik said.

“Cardiac intervention procedures are long and are commonly carried out under X-ray guidance, which results in significant exposure of patients and medical personnel to X-rays. Hence, the need here is to develop a much more sensitive than currently available X-ray imaging detector that will navigate cardiac interventions under significantly lower doses.”

A common tool in breast cancer screening is 2D X-ray mammography, which takes an X-ray image of the breast while a medical professional compresses it between two plates. Although mammography reduces breast cancer mortality, its specificity for cancer detection is low.

“The need here is to develop a 3D visualization of the breast that will minimize the masking effect of overlapping fibroglandular tissue,” she said.

Over the period of the grant, the proposed program will train three post-doctoral fellows, two PhD students and three Master of Science students. In addition, five high performing undergraduate students (each for one year) will be hired to participate in an annual Summer School on Medical Imaging to gain research experience. 

“Dr. Reznik is a key contributor to our health research program that is vital to advancing our academic mission and even more importantly, to improving the health of the population,” said Jean Bartkowiak, President and CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and CEO of the Health Research Institute.

“Health research, like that of Dr. Reznik, provides patients with the opportunity to participate in research activity that helps design the care of the future and to access equipment at the frontier of health technology development. I would like to thank NSERC for recognizing the potential of Dr. Reznik's research,” he said.

 NSERC awarded Dr. Thiago Eustaquio Alves de Oliveira, Assistant Professor, Computer Science at Lakehead Thunder Bay, with $132,500 over five years to work on perception methods to give robots touch sensing capabilities that could be helpful in health care and industry.

Photo of Dr. Thiago de Oliveira

These methods will enable robots to handle a variety of objects that may be out of its field of view. Robots applying these methods will have improved tactile abilities, meaning they will have a better understanding of their surroundings using the sense of touch.

“The results of this research will provide solutions for practical problems in the health and industrial sectors and will help develop close research collaborations between academia and industry,” Dr. de Oliveira said.

 Dr. de Oliveira will train six graduate and five undergraduate students with the support of this grant over the next five years. He will explain the findings in leading refereed journals and give presentations at international conferences.

“Bare metal robots lack the means to interact physically with objects and people in dynamic or unstructured environments,” he said.

“Our goal is to investigate novel interfaces that integrate tactile perception to state-of-the-art computer vision systems so that these robots can feel the features of objects they touch, for example the shape, texture, temperature, and softness.”

Although a computer vision system could extract most of a robot’s environmental features, Dr. de Oliveira said a robot could only extract some features by touching objects.

“For example, the roughness of a surface and the hardness of an object can only be estimated through touch,” de Oliveira said.

NSERC is providing Dr. Farhan Ghaffar, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering at Lakehead-Georgian, with $152,500 to develop smart radio frequency components that companies can use in a variety of applications such as autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things (IOT), cell phones, and more.

Photo of Dr. Farhan Ghaffar

“The fundamental idea of this work is to contribute to the infrastructure development of 5G and IoT communications. Today’s wireless communication is very demanding and highly competitive; therefore, there is a never-ending need of innovation in the design of such components and systems,” Dr. Ghaffar said.

The central goal of this research is to design and develop reconfigurable components that can work at different frequency bands and provide solutions for several applications at a time.

“The heart of this research is a novel technology known as Frequency Programmable Microwave Substrate (FPMS) that (researchers have) not investigated deeply to find viable solutions in various wireless applications,” he said.

This grant will fund the training of up to three Master of Science students, one PhD student and perhaps as many as three undergraduate students.

“Lakehead University is extremely appreciative of the support form NSERC for these projects,” said Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation.

“Discovery Grants allow researchers to develop programs of research based on fundamental research. Lakehead University continues to make great advances in the STEM areas and the successes here show the diversity and evolution of the research contributions to this field.”

In 2019/20, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

 

New NSERC Grants, 2019-2020

Total NSERC funding: $2,390,360

 

Collaborative Research & Development Grants: One to three-year grants

 

Dr. Amir Azimi, Department of Civil Engineering, Application of thermal mixing on sewer pipe inspection in high flows, $20,000 (City of Thunder Bay is also contributing $10,000).

Dr. Peter Hollings, Department of Geology, Petrology and geochemistry of intrusive rocks at the Lac des Iles palladium mine, NW Ontario; $88,700 (Impala Canada is also contributing $50,000).

Dr. Baoqiang Liao, Department of Chemical Engineering, Strategies to improve membrane performance of drinking water productions in cold regions, $150,000 (City of Thunder Bay is also contributing $75,000).

Dr. Abdulsalam Yassine, Department of Software Engineering, A Data Analytics System for Adaptive Demand Response in Smart Grids, $60,000 (Synergy North is also contributing $30,000).

           

 

Discovery Grants: Five-year grants

 

Dr. Zubair Md Fadlullah, Department of Computer Science and Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, Optimizing beyond fifth generation (B5G) networks, $205,000.

 

Dr. Kurt Smith, School of Kinesiology, Sex, function and structure: machine learning the human cerebral vasculature, $132,500.

 

Dr. Yimin Yang, Department of Computer Science, Deep neural networks with non-iterative learning strategies for pattern recognition and data augmentation applicable to computer vision and healthcare, $152,500.

 

Dr. Thiago Eustaquio Alves de Oliveira, Department of Computer Science, Enhancing robotic agents through tactile perception and multi-modal interfaces, $132,500.

 

Dr. Farhan A. Ghaffar, Department of Computer Science (Barrie Campus), Reconfigurable microwave devices for modern wireless applications, $152,500.

 

Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi, Department of Chemistry, Rational design, synthesis and characterization of surface confined low-dimensional nanomaterials, $132,500.

 

Dr. Apparao Dekka, Department of Electrical Engineering, Advanced high-power converters and controls for medium voltage drives, $177,500.

 

Dr. Stephen Kinrade, Department of Chemistry, Aqueous chemistry and biochemistry of silicon, $145,000.

 

Dr. Abdelhamid Tayebi, Department of Electrical Engineering, Advanced autonomous navigation systems for UAVs, $275,000.

 

Dr. Salama, Ikki, Department of Electrical Engineering, Combined massive MIMO and interference alignment for future wireless networks involving machine type communications, $165,000.        

 

Dr. Alla Reznik, Department of Physics, and Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, Lead Oxide (PbO) x-ray-to charge transducer for direct conversion medical imaging detectors, $205,000.

           

 

Discovery Development Grants: Two-year grants

 

Dr. Azim Mallik, Department of Biology, Functional ecology of alternate states of black spruce-Kalmia communities: species traits, niche differentiation and plant-soil feedback, $30,000.

 

Dr. Ingeborg Zehbe, Department of Biology, Large data to revisit the relevance of human papillomavirus type 16 sub-lineages, $30,000.

 

Dr.  Jinan Fiaidhi, Department of Computer Science, Insight Driven Learning based on Thick Data Analytics, $30,000.

 

Dr.  Nasir Uddin, Department of Electrical Engineering, Control technologies to enhance the robustness, energy-efficiency and sustainability of wind energy conversion systems, $30,000.

 

Dr.  Qinglai Dang, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Permafrost, soil moisture, nutrition, photoperiod and the future of boreal forests: an ecophysiological approach, $30,000.

 

Engage Grants: One-year grants

 

Dr. Ehsan Behzadfar, Department of Chemical Engineering, Relationships between physiochemical properties and quality of films made of recycled polyethylene, (in partnership with EcoPoly Solutions Inc) $25,000.

 

Dr. Salimur Choudhury, Department of Computer Science, Deep learning

algorithms to improve the management of species at risk, (in partnership with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc), $24,960.

 

Dr. Alla Reznik, Department of Physics, and Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, Direct conversion medical imaging detector with Lead Oxide(PbO) x-ray-to charge transducer, (in partnership with Teledyne DALSA), $25,000.

 

Dr. Leila Pakzad, Department of Chemical Engineering, Investigation to optimize nitrogen purge for the sodium chlorate electrolysis process through numerical modeling, (in partnership with ERCO Worldwide), $25,000.

           

 

PromoScience Grant: One-year grant

 

Dr. Thamara Laredo, Sustainability Sciences (Orillia), I Learn You Learn – STEM Outreach for youth and teachers, $ 6,700.

 

 

 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Lakehead’s Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca. To speak with Jean Bartkowiak at the Health Research Institute about Dr. Reznik’s research please contact Marcello Bernardo, Communications Officer, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, at (807) 684-6765 or bernarma@tbh.net.

 

 

 

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

 

Healthy Together

Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute is the research arm of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, a 375-bed acute care facility, is a national leader in Patient and Family Centred Care. As the tertiary care provider in Northwestern Ontario, we provide comprehensive services to a population of over 250,000 residents in a region the size of France. Effectively addressing the health care needs of patients and families has earned us both Innovation Awards and Leading Practice Designations. As an academic health sciences centre, we teach the next generation of health care providers and advance medical research. Patients benefit from interprofessional teams of dedicated health care providers and access to leading-edge medical equipment and clinical trials.

Message for graduates from Julie Payette

Congratulations to the Lakehead University 2020 Graduating Class!

Graduation is one of the most exciting times in a student’s life. It is when it all comes together. When you can finally pat yourself on the back and say, “mission accomplished,” before heading into the next phase of your life.

But this year, things were different. The pandemic changed everything. Yet, despite the hardship and the uncertainty, you rose to the challenge, found creative ways to remain connected, finished your classes online and made the best of a difficult situation.

You should be very proud of yourselves.

No matter what path you decide to follow, I want you to know that the future of this country belongs to you. You are the ones who will shape the years to come. Get involved in your community and society. Stay open to new ideas, look after others, especially those less fortunate, and take care of the planet. Have passion, vision and opinions.

Believe me, you can accomplish anything with a bit of effort. So dare to dream!

Best of luck in your future endeavours!

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette

Governor General of Canada

Click here to view the letter.

Message for graduates from Minister Ross Romano

The Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, congratulates you and wishes you luck in your future career.

 

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