Macdonald in the News
The 2014 Quebec Engineering Competition (QEC-CIQ), themed Energies of Tomorrow, was held beginning of February in Saint-Alexis-des-Monts. This is the largest student engineering competition in the province, bringing together 13 teams from different universities in the province. The competition puts students in the position to go beyond the classroom and test themselves in real engineering situations, exhibiting their ingenuity, leadership, and communication skills. It also gives participants an opportunity to connect with the entire engineering community, with social events that introduce competitors to each other and members of the industry.
The students from Bioresource Engineering sent a full delegation to represent Bioresource Engineering in all 7 categories of competition: Junior Conception, Senior Conception, Oral Debating, Consulting Engineering, Innovative Design, Scientific Communication, and Reengineering. Special awards were given to teams which distinguished themselves in 6 different categories: Social Issues Awareness, Environmental Issues Awareness, Energy Efficiency Awareness, Innovative Energy Uses, Technical Excellence, and Engineering Excellence for Women.
After 3 days of intense competition, the winners were announced at the closing banquet dinner. Macdonald campus proudly won 3 awards in total and came very close in several other categories.
- 1st place in Reengineering: Sara Tawil and Marcela Rojas Dìaz for their work on Reengineering a Skeleton Sled for Paralympians and Reengineering Wind Turbines: Save the Birds
- 2nd place in Innovative Design and special Social Issues Awareness prize: Dzuy Tam Tran and Leandra Langlois for their Canadian Integrated Northern Greenhouse for Year-Round Food Security
We are all very proud of this year's fun and energetic delegation! Once again, BRAVO! The Macdonald delegation displayed their impressive work, respectfully representing our campus and our program amongst schools with competitors from varying engineering categories. We proved again this year that Bioresource Engineering can compete with the bigger Universities, and that our program, with its characteristic teamwork and communication skills, deserves recognition for its continued efforts to specialize our students in the key concerns of the future: our food, water, and energy sources as well as preserving and remediating the environment.
Next year’s theme for QEC is Engineering the Elements and will be held in École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal where the Macdonald team hopes to perform even better than this year. You can once again expect a top notch event from this industry-oriented engineering school.
A very special thanks to Dzuy-Tam Tran, VP-External of the BEA for organizing the 2014 Macdonald QEC delegation. He managed to fulfill all the duties of a head delegate, while earning a place at the CEC and winning the social awareness prize for the second time in two years.
PS. Come by the Macdonald-Stewart lobby on Tuesdays between 11am and 2pm to buy perogies to help finance the BEA and make this event possible.
MAC DAIRY HERD WINS ANOTHER MILK QUALITY AWARD
Paul Meldrum, General Manager, Macdonald Campus Farm, announced that the Macdonald Campus Farm dairy herd has yet again finished in the top 5 of approximately 300 Agropur members in our region of Quebec for milk quality. This marks the fifth time in the last six years that we have finished in the top five. However, we have done even better than that, being declared Regional Champion in Agropur’s Club de l’Excellence again this year, a prestigious award we have won three out of the last four years. The award is given to the dairy with a combination of the lowest bacteria level and somatic cell count, combined with clean, well-kept facilities. Congratulations to Paul and our full time staff and student casuals for their hard work in maintaining excellent cow care and producing top quality milk. This enhances the name and reputation of the Macdonald Campus Farm as well as our faculty.
Does dad's diet determine a baby's genetic fate? [Sarah Kimmins]
Men may want to double down on a healthy diet and clean living in the months before procreation, according to a study that suggests a father’s vitamin B9 deficiency may contribute to birth defects in offspring. Read more
Low paternal dietary folate alters the mouse sperm epigenome and is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes [Sarah Kimmins]
Epidemiological studies suggest that a father’s diet can influence offspring health. A proposed mechanism for paternal transmission of environmental information is via the sperm epigenome. The epigenome includes heritable information such as DNA methylation. We hypothesize that the dietary supply of methyl donors will alter epigenetic reprogramming in sperm. Here we feed male mice either a folate-deficient or folate-sufficient diet throughout life. Paternal folate deficiency is associated with increased birth defects in the offspring, which include craniofacial and musculoskeletal malformations. Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis and the subsequent functional analysis identify differential methylation in sperm of genes implicated in development, chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. While >300 genes are differentially expressed in offspring placenta, only two correspond to genes with differential methylation in sperm. This model suggests epigenetic transmission may involve sperm histone H3 methylation or DNA methylation and that adequate paternal dietary folate is essential for offspring health. Read more
Agriculture Canada is hoping research will lead to the next green revolution, but encouraging the industry to adopt innovation remains a policy challenge
The oil and gas sector isn’t the only major emitting industry that the federal government has so far spared from its “sector-by-sector” regulatory approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The feds are betting that research instead of regulations will lead to reductions in the emissions from Canada’s agriculture sector, which accounts for 10 per cent of Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Read more
GETTING A BETTER HANDLE ON HUNGER
Food insecurity, an issue as old as humanity itself, afflicts more than a third of the globe’s citizens. It isn’t just a developing-country phenomenon. Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, the new director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security — the only one of its kind on the planet — says food insecurity affects people everywhere and in every country. Read more in the McGill News
BRAZIL'S AGRICULTURE BOOM FACES CONSTRAINTS AHEAD
When you have over 13 million people who are not able to eat enough every day, we need to address this before we say whether Brazil can feed the world. -Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, Institute for Global Food Security. Read more
CONFERENCE ON GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY OFFERS FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, the Director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security has barely finished this year’s McGill Global Food Security Conference and he is already planning next year’s event. He’s not facing it with dread or exhaustion, as you might imagine could be the case with a conference that brings together dozens of participants from around the world, but rather with a lot of excitement and energy. He’s interested in finding new ways to reach even more people working in the area across the globe. Read more
TABLETS IN A FIELD BIOLOGY CLASS
(McGill's Adam Finkelstein & Laura Winer, Teaching and Learning Services and Christopher Buddle, associate professor of insect ecology and Crystal Ernst, a doctoral candidate in insect ecology): To support an inquiry-based field research experience, McGill University gave environmental biology students mobile devices to gather rich data in the field and to support learning through real-time interaction with their instructor and the larger research community. The pilot project included an analysis of survey and interview data to determine the impact of tablet use on student engagement once the project was complete. Students recognized the value of the tablets as a research tool; however, the tablets' most important contribution to learning was the real-time communication and feedback they enabled between students, instructors, and the scientific community...Read more in Educause
THIS EXPERIMENT CHANGED OUR UNDERSTANDING OF PARASITE RESISTANCE
It's common scientific wisdom that parasite resistance comes from repeated exposure to a parasite. But a new study has turned this idea on its head. Guppies who were removed from rivers swarming with parasites actually evolved an improved parasite tolerance in just a few generations. Here's how it happened… [Lead author of study published in Royal Society B is McGill biology grad student Felipe Dargent (Vanier Scholar), with contributions from (supervisor) Marilyn E. Scott, Andrew P. Hendry and Gregor F. Fussmann. Read more in io9, Royal Society
IS BRAZIL FEEDING THE WORLD AS BRAZILIANS GO HUNGRY?
What do soccer stars and soybeans have in common? Brazil is incredibly good at producing and exporting both. But while the soccer stars will come home to play for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, the country's food exports are feeding the world as millions of Brazilians themselves go hungry, according to agriculture researchers and food scholars. […] “When you have over 13 million people who are not able to eat enough every day, we need to address this before we say whether Brazil can feed the world,” says Hugo Melgar-Quinonez, director of the Institute for Global Food Security at McGill University in Quebec. Read more...
COPS RETRIEVE COWS ON HIGHWAY 40 AFTER STE-ANNE-DE-BELLEVUE BARN FIRE
Officers with the Sûreté du Québec were patrolling Highway 40 in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Thursday morning after a fire close by at Macdonald Campus. Animals housed in a barn were evacuated due to the fire and there was a fear that four cows not immediately accounted for might have wandered onto the service road, or worse, into the fast lanes of the expressway. Reached at 9 a.m., farm manager Paul Meldrum said all the cows were now safely corralled in different areas, fed and watered, so running into one on the highway was no longer a worry. The two-alarm fire was called in at 5:45 a.m. and started in a grain silo beside a barn, said Montreal fire chief Mario Drolet. Twelve trucks and 60 firefighters were on site to battle the blaze, which gutted the barn, housing bales of hay. Read more The Gazette, McGill Reporter, Global News, watch video
GENETIC ‘SWITCH’ IN WHEAT MAY HALT PRE-HARVEST SPROUTING
Developing new wheats to resist pre-harvest sprouting may take more than just breeding it out, new research from McGill University shows. A McGill team led by plant science professor Jaswinder Singh has identified a gene in wheat that acts as a “switch” to determine how a plant will respond to high humidity and excess rainfall — either by germinating early, or not. Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) in Canada’s spring wheat crop alone is estimated to cost about $100 million a year in reduced grain yield, end-use quality and viability of seed for planting, the researchers said in their recently published study. Worldwide, the researchers said, PHS losses can cost wheat growers as much as $1 billion a year. Read more AgCanada, Alberta Farm Express. Additional coverage: McGill News
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE STILL GO TO BED HUNGRY EVERY NIGHT
(Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, director of the McGill Institute for Global Food Security): The two-day McGill Conference on Global Food Security that concludes Wednesday at McGill University comes on the heels of the release last week of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’s 2013 annual report on the state of food insecurity in the world. This year, FAO reports that an estimated 842 million people around the world do not get enough food to meet their basic requirements for an active and healthy life. The bottom line is that hundreds of millions of human beings are going to bed every night hungry. Read more in The Gazette
9 billion fed by 2050? Young leaders tackle global hunger at the Feeding a Hungry Planet Youth Agricultural Summit
Youth delegate Mathieu Rouleau (BSc Ag Business and Economics; FMT’13), representing Quebec and 4H, explains how he was selected for the initiative, and says more education on world hunger is needed. Watch video on Canada AM
JUNE 11, 2013
BEST PRACTICES TEACHING AWARD
Congratulations to Professor Chris Buddle, NRS, (pictured here with Laura Winer, McGill Teaching & Learning Services) who received a "Best Practices Teaching Award" presented at the recent SALTISE conference (Supporting Active Learning and Technological Innovation in Science Education), in Montreal. This award was in part because of Professor Buddle's teaching innovations related to his St. Lawrence Ecosystems course.
MAY 22, 2013
BACTERIUM FROM HIGH ARCTIC AND LIFE ON MARS. Permafrost microbe discovered growing at –15°C, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth.
The temperature in the permafrost on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian high Arctic is nearly as cold as that of the surface of Mars. So the recent discovery by a McGill University led team of scientists of a bacterium that is able to thrive at –15ºC, the coldest temperature ever reported for bacterial growth, is exciting. The bacterium offers clues about some of the necessary preconditions for microbial life on both the Saturn moon Enceladus and Mars, where similar briny subzero conditions are thought to exist. The team of researchers, led by Prof. Lyle Whyte and postdoctoral fellow Nadia Mykytczuk, both from the Dept. of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University, discovered Planococcus halocryophilus OR1 after screening about 200 separate High Arctic microbes looking for the microorganism best adapted to the harsh conditions of the Arctic permafrost. ”We believe that this bacterium lives in very thin veins of very salty water found within the frozen permafrost on Ellesmere Island,” explains Whyte. “The salt in the permafrost brine veins keeps the water from freezing at the ambient permafrost temperature (~-16ºC), creating a habitable but very harsh environment. It’s not the easiest place to survive but this organism is capable of remaining active (i.e. breathing) to at least -25ºC in permafrost.” Read press release.
DEVOTION TO DAIRY
Macdonald College is the proud recipient of Holstein Canada’s “Century of Holsteins” award. The Farm, originally started by the college’s founder, Sir William Macdonald, was recognized in April at Holstein Canada’s national convention in Niagara Falls for having been a member for 100 consecutive years. Macdonald College Farm began breeding registered Holstein dairy cattle in 1912, five years after the college was established. The original herd was Ayrshires, who continued to make up about half of the herd until the 1960s. Today, all of the research is performed with Holsteins, but there is still a good representation of quality Ayrshires, as well as Jerseys, Brown Swiss and a couple of Canadiennes.
Read article by farm manager Paul Meldrum, first published in the May issue of the Quebec Farmers' Advocate. Posted with permission.
In photo: Holstein Canada Award Presentation April 2013; (l-r) Harry Van Der Linden, John Buckley, Paul Meldrum, Ann Louise Carson, Glen McNeil (Photo courtesy Holstein Canada)
MAY 13, 2013
AIRBUS, AIR CANADA AND BioFuelNet CANADA PUSH FOR NEW AVIATION FUELS. Existing and emerging solutions being studied for Canadian aviation.
Airbus, Air Canada and BioFuelNet Canada, hosted by Montreal’s McGill University, have formed a partnership to assess Canadian solutions for the production of sustainable alternative jet fuels with the long term goal to supply Air Canada. The first assessment is expected by the end of 2013. The partnership was announced today, at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Aviation and Environment workshop in Montreal. Read press release.
MAY 1, 2013
GIVING INFANTS 400 IUS OF VITAMIN D DAILY DEVELOPS HEALTHY BONES: STUDY
A supplement of 400 international units of vitamin D each day is enough to ensure an infant’s health for at least the first 12 months of life, Canadian researchers have determined after testing out several dosage levels in babies. Their study, published Wednesday in a special child health issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found 400 IUs daily is as good as doses of 800, 1,200 or 1,600 IUs at preventing rickets and promoting bone health. “Right now the dose that we’re recommending is the 400 and that’s to be given every day until the baby can achieve that amount from other foods, and typically we consider that more at one year of age,” said co-principal researcher Hope Weiler of McGill University in Montreal. McGill Press Release; CTV; CNN; Radio-Canada; TVA; Canada.com; Global News
APRIL 24, 2013
SPRING HAS SPRUNG AT MACDONALD COLLEGE, AWARD-WINNING CROPS WILL FEED MCGILL STUDENTS
Spring onions are growing at Macdonald College in Ste-Anne-de Bellevue and, within days in the greenhouse, tomatoes, peppers and asparagus will join them. Although few suburban gardeners have started planting, horticulturist Mike Bleho has been busy since mid-March, tilling soil and gearing up for another banner growing season at the McGill University farm. Last year, the bulk of the fresh fruit and vegetables consumed at four of McGill’s downtown student residences was grown on the 25-acre Mac farm dating back to the 1890s. Since 2010, Bleho, the farm’s chief horticulture technician, and Oliver De Volpi, executive chef for McGill Food and Dining Services, have been working together on a sustainable agriculture venture called Feeding McGill. Read more in the West Island Gazette
APRIL 19, 2013
WHEN IT COMES TO SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, STRESS IS A GOOD THING, SQUIRREL STUDY SHOWS
When the woods get crowded, female squirrels improve their offspring's odds of survival by ramping up how fast their offspring grow. In a study led by Michigan State University and the University of Guelph (Canada), researchers showed for the first time how females use social cues to correctly prepare their offspring for life outside the nest. The results, published in the current issue of Science, confirm that red squirrel mothers boosted stress hormone production during pregnancy, which increased the size and the chances of survival of their pups. … The team based much of its study on the Kluane Red Squirrel Project, a 22-year-long study on North American red squirrels living in the Yukon led by researchers from the University of Alberta (Canada), Guelph and McGill University [Murray Humphries] (Canada). Out in the field, researchers used recordings of territorial vocalizations, or rattles, to create the illusion of a big population of squirrels. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418142302.htm
FEBRUARY 26, 2013
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NOURRIR MCGILL/ UNIVERSITÉ MCGILL
Des organismes du secteur public au Canada honorés par l'IAPC et Deloitte pour leur leadership et leur vision … Parmi les gagnants des Prix IAPC/Deloitte de leadership dans le secteur public de 2012 : Initié et dirigé par des étudiants de premier cycle, un mouvement s'est propagé à travers les campus de McGill, réformant complètement l'approche de l'Université concernant les services de durabilité, de restauration et de salle à manger. Des projets novateurs ont été couronnés de succès créant, entre autres, une centaine d'emplois reliés à la durabilité pour les étudiants, détournant 28 000 kg de déchets des sites d'enfouissement, et cultivant quelque 40 000 kg de produits frais pour les programmes de restauration des résidences. Le Fonds des projets de développement durable de McGill - créé dans le but d'encourager le leadership et la collaboration, et de financer des projets à long terme, de vaste portée - est le plus grand du genre en Amérique du Nord. Communiqué de Deloitte; Reuters
FEBRUARY 18, 2013
SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR MEAT'S PHOSPHORUS FOOTPRINT?
If you've ever played around with one of those carbon or water footprint calculators, you probably know that meat production demands a lot from the environment — a lot of oil, water and land. (Check out the inforgraphic we did on what goes into a hamburger last year for Meat Week.) But have you thought about your meat's phosphorus footprint? Probably not. That's why Geneviève Metson, a doctoral student in natural resource science at McGill University in Canada, did the math for you. She wanted to find out how much of the phosphorus that's mined and turned into supplements for animal feed or fertilizer to grow feed crops goes to the meat industry. SOURCE: NPR
JANUARY 26, 2013
Jouer au bûcheron, ça c’est du sport !
Les bûcherons de l’université McGill ont tenté d’imposer leur loi hier, lors de la 53e édition du Concours interuniversitaire annuel de bûcheronnage qui avait lieu chez eux, à Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. SOURCE: Journal de Montréal
JANUARY 2, 2013
WHY DOES CANADA HAVE A MAPLE SYRUP CARTEL?
It may seem bizarre that Canada has a maple syrup cartel at all. But think of it this way: Quebec, which produces about 77% of the world’s maple syrup, is the Saudi Arabia of the sweet, sticky stuff, and the FPAQ is its OPEC. The stated goal of the cartel, in this case, is keeping prices relatively stable. The problem with maple syrup is that the natural supply of it varies dramatically from year to year. “It’s highly dependent on the weather,” explains Pascal Theriault, an agricultural economist at the McGill University in Montreal. Time Magazine
Les lumières DEL révolutionnent la culture en serres
Interview with Professor Mark Lefsrud on Le Code Chastenay
Interview with Pascal Thériault on the difficulties faceing Quebec farmers
on RDI Economie
Sowing the Seeds of Inquiry: Learning to Observe
(with Professor Chris Buddle)
Meeting Food Industry Demands
(with Professors Kristine Koski, Salwa Karboune and Inteaz Alli)
Nutrients and Nutraceuticals
(with Professors Hope Weiler, Valérie Orsat and Stan Kubow)
The Obesity Pandemic
(with Professor Katherine Gray-Donald and Laurette Dubé)
L'ABC des prix alimentaires
(with Pascal Thériault)
Roundtable Talks: Tackling Food and Nutrition Security.
McGill Conference on Global Food Security 2010
Roundtable Talks: Tackling Water Scarcity.
McGill Conference on Global Food Security 2010
Why is environmental education important?
(with Professor Elena Bennett)
Searching for life on Mars
(with Professor Lyle Whyte)
Plant Science tackles climate change and food crises (with Professor Don Smith)
Fighting for Food Security
(with Professor G.S.V. Raghavan)
Well done! BRE students Laurie Bennett, Marilyn Brière-Deschênes, Antony Glover, Janick Hardy and Mary-Elizabeth Konrad were part of the McGill team recently recognized by the Scotiabank Ecoliving Awards. The students worked on one of several projects undertaken by the McGill Energy Project as part of the BRE Senior Design Project course: a solar water heating system feasibility and analysis in order to improve the efficiency of the hot water heating system in the University Residences http://vimeo.com/67858043#t=223
A proud day for McGill https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/node/18800
Chris Buddle has been recognized once again for his outstanding teaching. At its annual conference this year, SALTISE awarded Chris with the Best Practices and Pedagogical Innovators Award for University Instructors largely for work he did with the St. Lawrence Ecosystems Course. Read more about his work here http://publications.mcgill.ca/macdonald/2012/12/17/social-media-becomes-a-teaching-tool/
Congratulations to co-authors Professor Harriet V. Kuhnlein and Chief Bill Erasmus on the publication of Indigenous People's Food Systems and Well-Being; Intervantions and policies for healthy communities. This is the third book in the series of unique books promoting the use of local food systems by Indigeneous Peoples.
Congrats once again to the McGill Feeding McGill project for its Gold Medal win in the Outreach and Education Category by the National Association of College and University Food Service Providers.
Exciting discovery of a new cold water bacterium that thrives in the Canadian High Arctic may give us clues to life in elsewhere in our solar system. The research was carried out by an international team of researchers led by Professor Lyle Whyte and postdoctoral fellow Nadia Mykytczuk, (Natural Resource Sciences) https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/bacterium-canadian-high-arctic-and-life-mars-226842
Macdonald College is the proud recipient of Holstein Canada’s “Century of Holsteins” award. The Farm, originally started by the college’s founder, Sir William Macdonald, was recognized in April at Holstein Canada’s national convention in Niagara Falls for having been a member for 100 consecutive years. Photo: Holstein Canada.