Biology Technicians and Contract Lecturers Attend Inaugural Teaching Commons Summer Institute

Technicians/Contract Lecturers Micheal Moore and Susanne Walford, along with Contract Lecturer Nancy Serediak, attended the first ever Summer Institute hosted by Lakehead University's Teaching Commons.  Over the course of three days, participants partook in conversation, activities, and reflections to enhance and diversify their approaches to student based learning.  Meeting a myriad of faculty, staff, and lecturers from across campus was a great opportunity to share strategies and struggles in the classroom and beyond.  Topics ranging from active learning, inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, incorporating Indigenous content, incorporating high and low tech, setting the tone in the classroom, and contemplative pedagogy were covered by knowledgeable people from the Teaching Commons and experienced invited guests.  

Thanks to the enthusiasm and breadth of knowledge provided by instructors during this event, our heads are overflowing with ideas and resources which will enhance the learner-centered student experience this fall.  Also, many thanks to the Dean's who provided both breakfast AND lunch over the three days.   Faculty and staff from the department are encouraged to peruse the myriad of resources available on the Teaching Commons web site and partake in any number of workshops they offer throughout the year.

Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) stops by the Department of Biology for Water Quality Assessment Activities

On the morning of August 2nd, Indigenous youth participating in the Mink Lake/Sandbar Outland Program stopped by the Department of Biology to learn some common techniques for assessing water quality.  Lead by the department's newest technician, Kristi Dysievick, youth measured water clarity and temperature before collecting water and benthic samples from Lake Tamblyn and the McIntyre River.

Youth brought their samples back to the lab where they identified invertebrates found in the sediment, some of which were determined to be invasive to our river system.  For water quality, students used probes and colourimetric kits to measure pH, colour, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen.

Biology Technicians Daniel Brazeau and Susanne Walford provided additional assistance.  Special thanks to Aquatic Ecologist/Benthic Taxonomist Nancy Serediak (Streamline Consulting) for volunteering her expertise and assistance with this activity.


Registration is now open for the SES Biotechnology and Allied Sciences Symposium taking place on October 17-19, 2018.

August 7, 2018
Please submit your abstract to using this template.

Registration is available here

Register before August 31, 2018 to receive the early-bird discount:

  • Faculty/Other $100 CAD
  • Students/Postdocs $50 CAD

 After August 31:

  • Faculty/Other $120 CAD,
  • Students/Postdocs $60 CAD

Department of Biology and Aboriginal Mentorship Program Team Up for Experiential Learning

The Department of Biology and Aboriginal Mentorship Program hosted Mrs. Dampier's class from Westmount Public School for an afternoon laboratory activity.  First students learned the biology of northern wild rice (Zizania palustris L.) from M.Sc. Biology candidate Kristi Dysievick (supervisor Dr. Peter Lee).  Kristi also discussed her research addressing the threats to native wild rice stands by invasive cattail species (Typha angustifolia and hybrid T. glauca (T. latifolia X T. angustifolia).  Biology technicians Susanne Walford and Christina Richard guided students through the micropropagation techniques of wild rice, which entails working aseptically, scarifying the seeds to expose the embryos, and planting seeds in a nutrient agar medium.   Original methodology was developed in LUEL, a member of LUCAS.  Elder Gerry Martin and Mark Kmill assisted with this activity, as coordinated by Lisa Harris. 

Department of Biology Hosts Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Discovery Day

Dr. Heidi Schraft (Associate Professor and Applied Life Sciences program coordinator) along with support from the biology technicians welcomed high school students from Thunder Bay and Ignace for Discovery Days in Health Sciences.  Students worked as epidemiologists to discover the cause of a foodborne disease outbreak.  Working in groups, they meticulously followed the same steps the Public Health Agency of Canada takes when an outbreak occurs.  Students reviewed interview information from patients, statistically analyzed those data, hypothesized potential food sources from a restaurant, identified potential pathogens isolated from patient and food samples as cultured on different media, and confirmed the pathogen by preparing and running a DNA gel (DNA bacterial fingerprinting).  Students discovered that solving an outbreak is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle and epidemiology would be a very interesting health sciences career.

2018 Spring/Summer Biology Courses

BIOL-2011-SA Human Musculoskeletal Anatomy (TBay Campus, May 1st - 22nd, MTWThF 6-10 PM, 3 weeks)
Anatomical systems/topics covered are the integumentary, muscular, and skeletal systems as well as arthrology. Laboratory work includes the study of the cat as a representative animal.


BIOL-2012-SA Human Internal Anatomy (TBay Campus, May 28th - June 15th, MTWThF 6-10PM, 3 weeks)
Anatomical systems covered are nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, urinary and endocrine. Laboratory work includes the study of the cat as a representative animal.

BIOL-2310-SDE History of Biology with Dr. David Law (WEB BASED May 1st -June 12th, 6 weeks)
Development of fundamental concepts in biology from Antiquity to contemporary times, with emphasis on species and researchers that have progressively expanded human knowledge of the living world.


BIOL-4113-SDE Community Ecology (WEB BASED May 1st - June 12th, 6 weeks)
Principles of ecology and evolution used to explain patterns, process, structure and function of ecological communities.


BIOL-4610-SDE Biology of Peatlands with Dr. Susanne Walford (WEB BASED, May 1st -June 12th, 6 weeks)
Special topic: Syllabus course description: Students will examine a range of topics while studying the biology and ecology of peatland ecosystems. We will study how they are formed, how they function, their role in the global economy, and their role in global carbon cycling. Students will better understand how to best manage, conserve, and restore these global resources. Major project includes producing a scientific poster encompassing themes examined throughout the course.


BIOL-4610-SDF Virology with Dr. Hua Shen (WEB BASED, May 1st - June 12th, 6 weeks)
Special topic: 
The course will study viral structure, genome, and the common reactions that must be completed by all viruses for successful reproduction within a host cell, and survival and spread within a host population. The interactions of viruses with host organisms, and how these lead to disease are presented with examples of representative animal and human viruses.

BIOL-3610-ADE Environmental Biology with Dr. Nandakumar Kanavillil (WEB BASED July 3rd -Aug 14th, 6 weeks)
The impact of environmental degradation on organisms and the earth is studied through an in-depth examination of human population growth, renewable resource depletion and pollution. Particular attention will be given to specific crises in agriculture, forestry and wildlife management. Causes and prevention of these renewable resources problems are discussed.


BIOL-4132-ADE Biofilms with Dr. Heidi Schraft (WEB BASED July 3rd - Aug 14th, 6 weeks)
This course covers the fundamental mechanisms that bacteria use to form biofilms and then investigates the positive and negative aspects of biofilm formation in nature, medicine, and industry. We will discuss strategies that are under consideration for the control of biofilms and also look at examples where bacterial biofilms are used to our benefit.