Biology Kingfisher Retreat a Success

2007 Biology Retreat a Success

The inaugural Lakehead University Biology Retreat, held at the beautiful Kingfisher Lake Outdoor Education Centre on October 20-21, was an overwhelming success. A joint venture by Lakehead University's Biology Department and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, the event was well-attended by Biology Department faculty, post-doctoral fellows, technicians, and graduate and honours-level undergraduate students. Its purpose was simple - to join budding and veteran biologists alike, exposing them to the breadth of research interests and fostering a sense of community within the department. Featuring 24 faculty and student presentations, participants engaged in immersive dialogue on topics ranging from ecology and plant physiology to archaeology and biomedical science. The natural boreal forest setting afforded interactive, interpretative canoeing and hiking to rich black spruce bogs as well as to logging sites, where students and mentors learned about unique ecosystems and forest management practices. A two day event, those who chose to stay overnight in the cozy cabins enjoyed a roaring campfire, and shared more ideas and tasty snacks. Good weather, great food, and excellent facilities made this an event to remember, and the wonderful response from retreat participants hints that it could easily become a Lakehead tradition. Thanks to all who attended; your enthusiasm and great attitude made this event possible. Special thanks to the student organizers and to Lakehead University's Biology Department and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine for sponsoring such a successful Biology Retreat!



Dr. D. Law - Tenure

The Department of Biology wishes to extend congratulations to Dr. David Law for obtaining tenure.
We look forward to Dr. Law continuing his research excellence and services to the Department.
For a glimpse at Dr. Law's research click here.

Remembering Claude E. Garton

Claude E. Garton
(February 26, 1907 to January 1, 1996)
Claude Garton would have been 100 years old today.  He is fondly remembered by all who knew him for his eccentricity, his vision and passion for nature and the environment, and his commitment to teaching.
He is lovingly remembered as "Poppa Claude" by his family:  daughter Lorraine, grandchildren Sarah and Ben, great grandson Sam, niece Barbara Edwards and her children Bethany Gilbert (and her daughter Lauren) and Gordon Boyd (and his daughter Camryn).
If you knew Claude, please take a moment to remember him today.
Thank you.
To view the Claude E. Garton Herbarium website in the Department of Biology at Lakehead University, please click here.

Rebecca Barnes, first pub associated with NOSM

Rebecca Barnes is a 2nd year MSc Biology student at Lakehead University.  Her recent paper entitled "Chromosomal gfp labelling of Pseudomonas aeruginosa using a mini-Tn7 transposon: application for studies of bacteria-host interactions" has been accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.  This paper has earned the distinction of being the first research publication associated with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine from either the Sudbury or Lakehead campus.



Dr Marina Ulanova, Medical Sciences Division, NOSM West

Dr Heidi Schraft, Biology/ABMS Department, Lakehead University

Project title: 

The role of integrin receptors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection of  human lung epithelial cells.

Rebecca's general area of study:

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major pathogen involved with ventilator associated pneumonia and cystic fibrosis.  We are interested in investigating the role of integrins receptors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa adherence to and invasion of lung epithelial cells, and the cell signalling events initialized as a result of these interactions.  To study the host-pathogen interactions, we have stably genomically labelled the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAK with a green fluorescent protein gene (gfp) that allows for detection and visualization of the bacterium using fluorescence based readouts.  The importance of integrins in adherence, internalization, and inflammatory signalling initiated by PAKgfp can be measured by using various methods of inhibiting integrins and comparing the response of the epithelial cells.


2007 NSERC Awards

NSERC Awards Lakehead Researchers $2 Million

(May 28, 2007, Thunder Bay, ON) Eighteen researchers will be able to start or continue important research work with the awarding of funds in the latest funding announcement from NSERC.  A total of $2,003,346 has been awarded to Lakehead University researchers representing a broad spectrum of disciplines, including Engineering, Computer Sciences, Forestry, Medicine, Physics, Geology, Chemistry, and Biology. These new grants include 14 Discovery Grants, three Research Tools and Instruments Grants, and one Strategic Project Grant.

Dr. Rui Wang, Vice President (Research) at Lakehead University said, “NSERC has and will continue to be a critical source of grants for Lakehead scholars to enable them to explore new areas of study or to continue research projects already started. We are very pleased with the quality and quantity of research at Lakehead University funded by NSERC, without which our researchers would be unable to continue their important work. In addition, the grants also enable the researchers to hire graduate students to assist on projects.”

Among the researchers who were awarded funds were:

New Discovery Grants

Morris, D.W., Department of Biology, “The Evolutionary and Population Ecology of Habitat Selection”, $267,550

Ulanova, M., Faculty of Medicine (West Campus) and Adjunct in Biology, “Role Integrin Receptors in Recognition of Pathogen-associated Molecular Patterns and Innate Immunity”, $140,000

Adjunct Prof Analyzes DNA from Lost Tomb of Jesus

Biology Adjunct Professor, Carney Matheson, Forensic Examiner and Scientific Officer at Lakehead University’s Paleo-DNA Laboratory and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, analyzed the 2000-year-old bone samples used in the documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” to determine if the two samples were from the same family.  For more on this exciting event, click:

Dr. Carney Matheson (Biology Adjunct) heads DNA Research Team at Vimy Ridge

Lakehead University DNA Expert, Dr. Carney Matheson, Heads Mia Soldier Expedition Team to Vimy Ridge for Further Research and Burial. 
For more on this story click here.

Michael Oatway and Andrew Larsen recipients of President's Award

Michael Oatway, a graduate student in Biology, and Joel Scherban, a graduate student in Business Administration and the first captain of the Lakehead University Thunderwolves Hockey Team, are being given the President’s Award (Graduate Level) at Convocation 2007.  The President's Award (Undergraduate Level) will be given to Andrew Larsen in the Applied Biomolecular Program in the Department of Biology.  The President’s Award is given annually to the students who have occupied positions of responsibility in student organizations and who, by their activities and achievement, have earned the gratitude of the University. 
Ms. Michael Oatway came to Lakehead from Orillia, Ontario, and completed a Master of Science in Biology in the fall of 2006. She is highly regarded by professors and peers  for her leadership and teaching skills, and for her understanding of what it takes to produce quality science — careful forethought and a well researched plan.  Her thesis, which dealt with habitat selection by wildlife, and was supervised by Dr. Douglas Morris, has been accepted for publication by the Canadian Journal of Zoology.
Mr. Andrew Larsen was born in Thunder Bay and began his studies at Lakehead after graduating from Hammarskjold High School. In the spring of 2007 he completed an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Bio-Molecular Science. During his time at Lakehead Andrew competed as a sprinter for the varsity track and field team and is a three time CIS academic All-Canadian. As an undergraduate he was active in research with both the Department of Biology and the Department of Chemistry. His honours thesis involved the characterization of E6 oncoproteins from Human Papillomaviruses and was completed under the supervision of Dr. David Law and Dr. Ingeborg Zehbe (TBRHSC). His hard work and dedication in his coursework resulted in numerous academic honours, including three NSERC Undergraduate Research Awards. Starting this fall, Andrew is pursuing a graduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.