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!
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
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.
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