Two Orillia campus pioneers – Dr. Fred Gilbert and Dr. Kim Fedderson – were celebrated at a ceremony in October 2020. A tree was planted in honour of each man for their roles in developing the Lakehead Orillia campus. Dr. Gilbert, Lakehead’s sixth President and Vice-Chancellor, was instrumental in establishing the campus during his tenure. Dr. Gilbert, who passed away in November 2020, said at the time, “I’m deeply honoured by the planting of this commemorative tree, especially since my scientific background is ecology.” Dr. Fedderson became the Lakehead Orillia Founding Dean and Vice-Provost in 2007 before being appointed the first Principal of the campus in 2015. “It’s unprecedented for a community to come together to build a university for its children and its future,” he added.
A Lakehead University and Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) team are using a $98,655 grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to develop new drugs to fight cancer – the leading cause of death in Canada. “Our research aims to design and prepare novel diagnostic imaging agents that could potentially improve the prevention, early diagnosis, and management of cancer,” said Dr. Jinqiang Hou. Dr. Hou is a Lakehead University chemistry professor and a TBRHRI research chair. He is working with fellow Lakehead chemistry professor and TBRHRI research chair Dr. Michael Campbell as well as Lakehead chemistry professor Dr. Justin Jiang. Currently, a biopsy is the only way to diagnose most types of cancer with any level of certainty. Biopsies, however, are invasive so Dr. Hou and his team are exploring a non-invasive detection method known as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging to improve quality of life and reduce health care costs.
Investing in Mining
The Government of Ontario's Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is providing more than $690,000 to help support a new industrial research chair at Lakehead and create nine new jobs in Thunder Bay. Lakehead Geology Chair Dr. Peter Hollings will be the Industrial Research Chair in Mineral Exploration. He and his team will work with Impala Canada, which owns the Lac des Iles palladium mine in Northwestern Ontario, to analyze nickel, copper, and platinum group elements near the mine. The results will lead to new analytical models to accelerate mineral exploration, potentially reducing the development time of new mine sites. “Finding new, economically viable mineral deposits opens the door to generations of jobs, investment and community development opportunities,” said Impala Canada CEO Tim Hill.
Newcomer Recognition Award
In November 2020, the County of Simcoe gave Orillia student Rudy Grewal a Newcomer Recognition Award for Service Excellence. “Simcoe County is home to more than 62,000 immigrants and growing, who bring diversity in their skill, knowledge and experience, helping to enhance our economy and communities,” explained Simcoe County Warden George Cornell. Rudy graduated with an Honour Bachelor of Arts and Science degree from Lakehead in 2020 and is currently completing Lakehead’s one-year Honours Bachelor of Social Work program. He’s active in diversity and human rights initiatives, including promoting the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and serving as a community champion for the County of Simcoe’s annual #ITSTARTS campaign – a dialogue on systemic racism. Rudy also regularly donates to, and volunteers with, local shelters such as the Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie.
Two Lakehead University researchers – Dr. Olakunle Akingbola (business administration) and Dr. Natalya Timoshkina (social work) – recently received Partnership Engage Grants of approximately $25,000 each for research connected with COVID-19. These grants for small-scale, stakeholder-driven partnerships were awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Dr. Akingbola’s grant is aimed at understanding how, why, and under what circumstances the Caribbean African Canadian Social Services adopted remote work during and after COVID-19 and the consequences for employee and community well-being. Dr. Timoshkina’s project will engage Lakehead Orillia in an action-research partnership with North Simcoe Victim Services to determine, and address, how the COVID-19 crisis affected the capacity of Ontario’s victim services agencies to help trafficked persons.
Lakehead University unveiled its first Wellness Strategy in January 2021. The plan’s mission is to embed systemic health and wellness practices and services into the University to foster the well-being of communities where faculty, staff, and students work, live, and study. “The launch of our Wellness Strategy represents a seminal moment for our Lakehead community in striving toward our vision of an inclusive university,” said Adam Shaen, the associate vice-president of human resources. The strategy will focus on the social, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, environmental, emotional, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of wellness. Read the Wellness Strategy at www.lakeheadu.ca/trailtowellness to find out more.
Dr. Mohammad Nasir Uddin was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his outstanding contributions to control techniques for alternating current (AC) motor drives, making him Lakehead University’s first IEEE Fellow. Dr. Uddin is an electrical engineering professor and the Lakehead-Georgian Partnership Electrical Engineering program coordinator. He’s also the director of the Renewable Energy, Power Systems and Drive Research Lab in Barrie, Ontario. “Out of all the awards and honours that have been bestowed upon me, this one is the most rewarding and gratifying, especially since it was supported by my peers,” Dr. Uddin said. The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity, including in the fields of aerospace systems, biomedical engineering, and consumer electronics.
Education student Melana Hope has received an Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship (Primary/Junior division). Melana, who has an art history PhD and experience as a university and college lecturer in England, began working as an unqualified supply teacher at an Ontario elementary school board after taking time off to raise her children. This career change sparked the realization that educating young children was her calling in life. Since then, Melana has maintained Dean’s List status at Lakehead Orillia and volunteered in the community teaching children’s art lessons and helping with initiatives at her local parents’ council. Ontario College of Teachers scholarships are awarded to education students who “demonstrate a high level of preparedness for teacher education through examples of community involvement, background, and life experiences.”
3MT Competition Winner
Chemistry PhD student Jessica Allingham won second place in the 2020 provincial 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) Competition for her thesis presentation, “Brightening up brain injuries.” 3MT is a communications exercise that challenges graduate students to share their scholarly research in an engaging manner in just three minutes. The research must be understood by an audience with no background in the research area. This year’s competition, hosted by the University of Windsor, was held virtually due to the pandemic. “I could not believe that from all the amazing presentations put forward, mine was selected as one of the best,” Jessica said. Click here to watch Jessica's presentation
Circumpolar Education Institute
Lakehead – along with other universities in Canada, Russia, and Norway – is a founding partner of the University of the Arctic’s Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education. The word læra means ‘learn’ or ‘study’ in Icelandic, and the Institute will promote best-practice teaching and learning about the Circumpolar North. “Lakehead University has committed to continue to develop regional nodes for professional program delivery with a focus on increasing access to education in northern communities through remote program delivery,” said Dr. Michel Beaulieu, Lakehead's associate vice-provost (academic) - special projects. The University of the Arctic is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, research institutes, and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North. Lakehead is also a founding member of the University of the Arctic.