By McGill Reporter Staff
At one point early in McGill’s 16th annual Pow Wow on Sept. 15, the MC invited a group of young students from Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School to join in a dance with Indigenous performers. The girls looked at each other and giggled nervously, not moving. Suddenly, one intrepid girl, jumped up and took her place in the circle. Instantly, dozens of students, clad in the green plaid tunic of their school, flooded the floor with smiles on their faces in what proved to be one of the highlights of the event. It also set the tone for a day marked by stirring performances and enthusiastic audience participation.
Photos: Neale McDevitt
Reminder: McGill’s Indigenous Awareness Week is taking place from Sept. 18 to 22. The five-day event is designed to increase awareness about Indigenous peoples in Canada. The week honours the many Indigenous cultures across the country including First Nations, Métis and Inuit. The week also offers an opportunity to collaborate with community partners and draws active participation from McGill students, faculty and staff. Get more information.
By Meaghan Thurston
Professor Claudia Mitchell was in an Ethiopian airport on her way to Russia when she received an email from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation asking her to give them a call. With no phone in sight, Mitchell waited anxiously until landing some hours later to learn that she had garnered a prestigious Trudeau Fellowship. “They said, ‘you clearly walk the talk because you are traveling from one girl-led project to another,’” said Mitchell.
The Foundation announced the 2017 fellowships today in Montreal. Each year, The Foundation names up to five social sciences research Fellows who are actively working on one of four themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada in the World, and People and their Natural Environment. In addition to $225,000 in research funding and allowances awarded, a Trudeau Fellowship connects researchers with a vast network of scholars, Fellows and mentors, and provides them with opportunities to contribute to public dialogue at events organized by The Foundation. This year, five Canadian researchers were named Fellows.
Driven by her passion for social justice as well as by her seemingly boundless energy, Professor Mitchell has long been a connecting force for young women and girls across borders and between cultures. The founder of the Faculty of Education’s Participatory Cultures Lab, her research includes employing visual methods — such as cellphilms (videos made with cellphones), photography and archiving — to engage young people, on a variety of subjects, including HIV/AIDS prevention and education on sexual violence. The Participatory Cultures Lab has included major research sites in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, and all across Canada.
“McGill is extremely proud of Professor Claudia Mitchell and grateful to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation for its ongoing support of research excellence,” said Professor Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “Professor Mitchell has already made a significant impact on the lives of young women and educators around the world. It is a testament to the vision of the Foundation that she has been acknowledged with this high honour.”
Professor Mitchell’s Trudeau Foundation-supported project will continue to listen to youth voices, using visual tools to help them to communicate strategies to prevent sexual violence and promote well-being. The long-term goal, says Mitchell, is to encourage community-wide and policy change. Activities associated with the Fellowship will include an international conference on girl-led initiatives, a series of media-making workshops in nine countries and a travelling digital exhibition of girl-produced digital productions.
Asked to recount a story of the impact her work has had to date, she talks about one of the first groups of young, rural women that she worked with in South Africa as part of a partnership grant, Networks for Change and Well-being. Now four years later, these graduates of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University have in many cases returned to their communities to organize girls clubs. Together, they published a book called 14 Times a Woman, Indigenous Stories from the Heart, an autobiographical text now used in schools to educate about sexual violence.
The Fellowship is one among many important postings and prestigious honours to Professor Mitchell’s name: she has worked with the Canadian International Development Agency (now Global Affairs Canada), UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Gorbachev Foundation. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada’s Academy of Social Sciences. In 2016, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council recognized the impact of her quarter-century of SSHRC-funded research and other achievements with the SSHRC Gold Medal, the agency’s highest honour.
In many respects however, her research methods and outputs are only just gaining traction in the policy-making arena. Professor Mitchell believes that the Trudeau Fellowship will open new doors, disseminating further the youth-generated messages against violence. “There are so many Trudeau scholars interested in sexual violence and issues of safety and security. When our own network is mapped onto those of these great minds and scholars, I cannot even dream what will be possible.”
She is reflective that the while funding is critical to advancing her work, the recognition afforded to her by the Trudeau Fellowship is perhaps of even greater value. “Research in Education is not often perceived as groundbreaking,” she said. “Yet there is a growing trend to see participatory research as worthy of funding. I believe this will lead to change and impact.”
Dr. Mélanie Guigueno wins RSC Alice Wilson Award
By Amanda Testani
Earlier today, the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) announced that Professor Michel L. Tremblay (Department of Biochemistry and Goodman Cancer Research Centre) has been awarded the McLaughlin Medal for important research of sustained excellence in medical science. Recognized for his leading-edge work on the role and function of tyrosine phosphatases in the development of cancer, Professor Tremblay is among the twelve Canadian researchers honoured with an RSC medal or award this year.
Also among the RSC 2017 award winners is Dr. Mélanie Guigueno, a researcher for McGill’s Department of Natural Resource Sciences. Dr. Guigueno has been awarded the 2017 Alice Wilson Award (NSERC nomination) for her outstanding academic qualifications in evolutionary biology, neuroscience and ecology.
The RSC first established the prestigious McLaughlin Medal in 1978 with an endowment from the R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation. Awarded annually and bestowed upon candidates with distinguished achievements in any branch of medical sciences in Canada, Professor Tremblay is the third McGill researcher to win the medal since 2013, joining previous medal winners Professor Philippe Gros and Professor Nahum Sonenberg.
The RSC bestows the Alice Wilson Award annually upon three women of exceptional academic accomplishments in the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences or Science who are entering a career in scholarship or research at the postdoctoral level. Recipients are selected from the year’s female winners of postdoctoral fellowships from three granting councils – CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.
“Professor Michel L. Tremblay’s research contributions have changed the way the world understands a broad spectrum of diseases and conditions affecting Canadians and people worldwide,” said Professor Martha Crago, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation). “I want to express my sincere congratulations to Professor Tremblay on this achievement and thank the Royal Society of Canada for awarding him the prestigious McLaughlin Medal. McGill is equally proud of Dr. Melanie Guigueno, a rising research star and winner of the Alice Wilson Award. We can expect important discoveries to continue to emerge from Dr. Guigueno’s studies in years to come.”
Professor Tremblay investigates the role of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPases) in the development of cancer. PTPases are a group of enzymes that regulate various signaling pathways in cells, a process that plays an essential role in many biological and pathological processes. PTPases have been implicated in a variety of cellular processes such as cell growth and differentiation. As well as diverse cancers, his research has also successfully shown that PTPases play key roles in other health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, spinal cord injury and infectious diseases. His research will lead to the development of new treatments for a broad range of human diseases.
Professor Tremblay was the first director of the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre where his laboratory is located. He was recruited to McGill in March 1992 and trained and mentored over 65 researchers, students, postdoctoral fellows and supporting staff in the biology and function of the protein tyrosine phosphatases.
By McGill Reporter Staff
It was standing room only at a speech given by Desmond Morton, Professor emeritus, and the first head of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) at a celebration of his 80th birthday at the Faculty Club.
The subject of Morton’s presentation was “French Canada’s Impact in WW1” and made the case that French Canadian soldiers and officers made a much bigger impact on the British victory in WW1 than is widely known.
The list of luminaries who took part in the celebration was long. Principal Suzanne Fortier; past Principal Bernard Shapiro; Provost Christopher Manfredi; Dean of Arts Antonia Maioni; founder of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada Charles Bronfman; Professor emeritus Charles Taylor; Michael Goldbloom, Principal of Bishop’s University, and his mother, community activist Sheila Goldbloom; Jeff Chambers, son of former Principal Gretta Chambers; Terry Mosher (aka Aislin); Professors Irving Abella and Jack Granatstein of York University; Ed Broadbent, former head of the NDP; along with the interim head of MISC Elsbeth Heaman; and former heads of MISC Will Straw and Andrew Potter; documentary film makers Brian McKenna and Rick Blackburn; and many other members of the McGill-, Quebec-, and Canada-wide community attended.
By McGill Reporter Staff
Facebook is opening its first artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Canada right here in Montreal and Joëlle Pineau, a leading woman in computer science at McGill, has been named head.
Pineau is co-director of the Reasoning and Learning Lab. Her work focuses on developing new models and algorithms for planning and learning in robotics.
The announcement was made by Yann LeCun, Chief AI Scientist at Facebook, before a full house at the McGill Faculty Club. Also on hand for this major announcement were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (BA,’94), Principal Suzanne Fortier, federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, Quebec Minister of Economy Dominique Anglade, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, Martha Crago, Vice-Principal of Research and Innovation, and many others.
Pineau told those assembled that she wanted to join the Facebook AI Research (FAIR) lab because she is interested in basic research and an open and collaborative approach between the public and private sectors. “With the opening of FAIR Montreal, I look forward to being able to offer new opportunities for attracting and retaining the brightest AI talent in Canada,” she said. “I have seen far too many talented colleagues and students leave Montreal. This new lab will keep them here, and perhaps even bring some back.”
Prime Minister Trudeau told the crowd that creativity is the engine of the new economy. “Artificial Intelligence is already part of our lives and our children will become users of FB in the future. Our scientists were pioneers in the world of AI,” said Trudeau. “The new lab is a vote of confidence in Canada and Canadians, and the federal government is very pleased to see this go ahead.”
LeCun says Facebook was attracted to Montreal because there is an ecosystem of AI work being done here that has a snowball effect. “FaceBook chooses locations because of talent, we are attracted by talent. Our new research lab will partner with McGill and the University of Montreal, with a foot in industry and academia,” he said. “We will practice open research and open source science. We publish everything we do.”
The FAIR Montreal lab is already open, with the goal of having 20-30 researchers by next year. It’s one of four FAIR labs. The others are in Silicon Valley, Paris and New York. Montreal’s FAIR lab is only the second one outside of the U.S.
Principal Suzanne Fortier praised Pineau, saying “Professor Pineau’s cutting-edge research is an integral component of Montreal’s strong AI research ecosystem. Her Lab is developing algorithms designed to shape the behaviour of robots and machines so that they better respond to human needs.”
Pineau is a founding member of two multi-disciplinary ventures that led to the development of robotic assistants for elderly and disabled individuals: the Nursebot platform and the SmartWheeler initiative. Pineau has developed unique robotic and artificial intelligence expertise to address chronic disorders using clinical data.
Angelique Manella, Associate Vice-Principal of Innovation believes Pineau is the perfect person to head the lab.
“I think Joëlle is an amazing choice to head up Facebook research. I couldn’t think of a nicer person, a greater researcher.” says Manella, herself an accomplished computer programmer, social entrepreneur, and marketing strategist. “I’m very pleased that we will have a leading woman in AI research heading up the operation. It’s a great opportunity and it will be inspiring for many women looking to enter technical fields.”
Facebook is coming to Montreal as part of its overall investment in the Montreal AI community. Montreal has become a hub of AI research and start-ups, and has been christened by some observers as the “Silicon Valley of the North.”
Facebook is one of the most advanced technology research institutions in the world. Their scientists and researchers are trying to imitate human intelligence by getting computers to think more like the free form associative human brain and less like machines.
Facebook already uses AI to provide captions for videos, and help visually impaired user to “see” by describing photos. AI is used by Facebook to remove spam and other objectionable content.
With 2 billion monthly active users Facebook is part of a lot of people’s lives, especially Canadians. Canadians are the most active Facebook users in the world. More than 19 million Canadians are now logging onto Facebook at least once every month — that’s more than half the population — while 14 million check their newsfeed every day.
By Neale McDevitt
As any non-amphibious Montrealer will tell you, the Summer of 2017 wasn’t one to write home about. Record rainfall and cooler-than-average temperatures meant we were often wearing rubber boots and sweaters when we should have been sporting flip flops and tank tops.
But it takes more than a little inclement weather (or in this case, a lot of inclement weather) to dampen the spirit of McGillians. When the call went out for summer vacation pictures for the annual Reporter’s gallery, we were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic response.
The pictures on display below were taken around the world – from Bali to Switzerland – across the country – from Kelowna, B.C. to Prince Edward Island – and around the province – from Abitibi-Témiscamingue to les Îles de la Madeleine to Saguenay. And, of course, McGillians didn’t let the cool, damp weather rain on their local fun either – as many of us relaxed by exploring our own fair City.
Few submissions for this year’s gallery embodied the sense of discovery and adventure as much as the picture at the top of this article. It shows Chris Barrington-Leigh and Aleksandra Nasteska (both McGill community members) and two friends, Janet and Erick Matsen, atop the Grand Teton waiting for totality in the 2017 solar eclipse.
“It was a truly rare experience.There were nearly 50 other climbers on the summit,” says Barrington-Leigh, a professor at the School of Environment who had been planning the trip since 2010. “Totality is nuts. I cried seeing the sun’s corona.”
Looking at the love and laughter on display in the gallery below, maybe we have judged the Summer of 2017 too harshly. It looks like it was a lot of fun.
Thanks to everyone who submitted pictures for the gallery! We’ve tried to post in large format at least one photo from everyone who submitted pictures. The rest of the pictures will appear as thumbnails at the bottom of the page. Click on each thumbnail to see the large version.
“This is a picture of two of my three horses happily grazing, with my two daughters playing/hiding in the tall grass (you can only see one of them),” writes Kimberly Auclair, a professor in the Department of Chemistry.
Steven Rousseau, Solution Architect at IT Services, took this evocative photo of a couple doing wedding photos in a geothermal field during his vacation in Iceland.
It should come as no surprise that the always-active Eyal Baruch, Assistant Manager Facilities, Athletics and Recreation, submitted photos of himself on a bike, in a kayak and completing a Spartan Race (above).
“Mark Twain said ‘the Lion of Lucerne is the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world,'” writes Abida Subhan, Department of Animal Science and Department of Natural Resource Sciences. “Did you notice the spear that has gone through its body? I was so moved seeing it, I sat there for a while and just stared at it.”
“I spent three weeks in Bali. It was amazing! ” says Sophie Brosseau, Office Process Manager in Facilities Management and Ancillary Services. Judging by the view from her hotel room, it’s easy to see why.
Justin Fletcher, Learning Technology Consultant & Mercury Administrator at Teaching and Learning Services had a busy summer travelling across the United States. This is his take on the skyline of Las Vegas, Nevada, from the Bellagio.
“My wife took this in Port Carling, Ont.,” says Doug Sweet, Director, Internal Communications and antique boat aficionado. “The boat is a 1941 Duke Playmate built by Duke Boats in Port Carling. We had the boat for a day, thanks to our sons who found a wonderful 40th anniversary present for us!”
In keeping with the transportation theme, Victor Chisholm submitted a series of photos of himself taking ice cream breaks during his frequent cycling treks. Here, the Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Officer cools down at the Tasty Treat, in Westmount, Nova Scotia. His caption suggestion? “Victor Chisholm is of the firm conviction that the more one rides one’s bicycle, the more one must stop for ice cream.”
Suzanne King, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry, submitted a series of Montreal pictures, including this stunning shot of Bonsecours market at sunset
Bikramjeet Ghuman, EHS Technician, Environmental Health & Safety, enjoyed the sublime beauty of Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta.
David Krawitz, Administrative Officer at the School of Architecture is a regular contributor to the annual summer photo gallery. He says the challenge is “to get some original shots from the same trip every summer: over the top of Lake Superior to spend time with my family in Winnipeg Beach.” He whimsically titles this great shot “My elongated children, Old Woman Bay, Lake Superior.”
Caitlin MacDougall, Liaison Officer for the Farm Management and Technology Program took this beautiful shot of the Lincoln Memorial, across the reflecting pool in Washington, DC.
“Lac Wilson in Saint Adolphe d’Howard, featuring my dear friend and fellow nature-lover Jolene,” writes Heidi Strohl, Technical Project Lead, Web Communications. “As you can see, the trees begin to turn a bit early in our neck of the woods!”
Water is a recurring theme in this year’s gallery and this submission byanother regular contributor, Gayle A. Shinder, is no exception. Here, the Academic Advisor to the Chair in the Department of Oncology, takes in the beauty of the famous Percé Rock, in Percé, Quebec.
“This was early morning at Bryant Park in New York City (July 2017) where people were busy with their exercise and meditation before the busy schedule,” writes Aditya Jain. “The clouds and soothing breeze made it the perfect morning.”
During her recent trip to Italy, Kanita Ahmed, Program Manager at the Institute for Health and Social Policy, was treated to this magnificent view of Il Duomo di Firenze from Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
Tim Wilfong, Co-Curricular Records Administrator, Student Services, is making us all hungry with this mouth-watering picture of his oyster picnic lunch in Neguac, New Brunswick.
Another East Coast picture shows Noor Almamlouk showing some Canadian pride atop the Skyline hiking trail on the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.
Beautiful Greenwich Beach on PEI at sunset by Paula Lavery, Research Technician at the School of Human Nutrition
Darlene Fowler, Administrative Coordinator at the Desautels Faculty of Management, wins the coveted Caption of the Year contest with her entry “I love camping” for this picture of her camping in the rain
Crystal Noronha, Research Assistant at the Faculty of Dentistry, captures the solitude of Kennebunkport.
Assistant Professor of Sociology Barry Eidlin, with his wife, Anne Quismorio, at the Colosseum in Rome, August 5, 2017.
Jaaved Singh, M Sc. Candidate in Renewable Resource, calls this one “Overlooking the overlook, Kelowna, B.C.”
During her summer vacation with her son and husband in Newfoundland (Bonavista and Gros Morne National Park) as well as Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, Joanna Mastalerek, Grants Officer in the Office of Sponsored Research, took this lovely picture of the rugged coastline.
“Ca Lem’s Black Sesame ice cream was the sweetest way to cool down this summer,” says Lynn Mark, Senior Advisor, University Advancement. What would fellow ice cream aficionado Victor Chisholm say?
“Here’s an image of our family’s yearly tomato sauce production; we make enough for the whole year (over 150 mason jars)!” writes Andrea Di Stefano, Editor, Enrolment Services.
Sasha Sookdeo-Gilkes provides us with a great shot of the recently completed Promenade Fleuve-Montagne.
Click on a thumbnail below to enlarge it.
By McGill Reporter Staff
Did you know there are 56 automated external defibrillators (AED) across McGill’s two campuses?
AEDs are used when someone’s heart goes into what is called fibrillation, which consists of rapid irregular contractions of the heart muscle fibers that result in a lack of synchronism between the person’s heartbeat and pulse. This can cause blood to stop flowing and lead to sudden cardiac arrest. An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm or, in the case of cardiac arrest, get the heart beating again.
There have been three instances on McGill campuses where AEDs have saved lives. The University decided to install them campus wide in 2011 (they were previously only available in Security Services patrol cars and in some locations with higher risks of cardiac events, such as sports facilities). “These devices save lives. When it comes to return on investment, it’s pretty hard to beat that,” says Wayne Wood, Director of Environmental Health and Safety at McGill. Units are not available in each building, but have been spread out so anyone on either campus is able to go get one and return to assist the person in need within three to four minutes.
Though Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) recommends that community members take the two-day First Aid course the unit offers, which includes AED training, the devices are easy to use. “It essentially tells the user what to do,” says Kathryn Wiens, Occupational Health Program Administrator at EHS. “It monitors the heart rate and will only tell the user to deliver an electric shock if it has assessed that one is needed.” It may instruct the user to perform chest compressions so freshly oxygenated blood can circulate again.
Additionally, all of the units at McGill are linked to the University’s Security Services. “If someone opens the door of an AED box, Security Services gets notified and an agent is deployed,” Wiens adds. All security agents are trained in first aid.
The list of locations where the 56 devices are available can be found online. All members of the McGill community are encouraged to locate those nearest to their regular places of work or study.
A video demonstrating how to use the AED device can be viewed below.
If you’ve never been a member of the McGill gym, now’s the time to give it a whirl. McGill Athletics and Recreation is offering a FREE month’s membership to all McGill staff and faculty who have never been a Sports Complex member. Your membership gives you access to the pool, indoor and outdoor running track, gyms and Fitness Centre. There’s no better time to work up a sweat! See the staff in Client Services (475 Pine West) to sign up for your free month (September, October or November).
A major ventilation renovation project at the Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering (in the Macdonald-Stewart Library Building) is underway. Mechanical systems, including exhaust and ventilation, will be upgraded in order to bring systems up to modern standards and improve energy efficiency. Work will begin in Sept. 2017, and run through to April 2018. This project will affect all six floors within Schulich in phases beginning in the basement level moving upwards chronologically to floor six. Noise and vibrations will occur in affected areas. Get more details regarding timeline, scope of work, and impact on users.
The Schulich School of Music will host a memorial for Professor Eleanor Stubley, on Sept. 16, at 4:30 in Pollack Hall of the Strathcona Music Building (555 Sherbrooke Street West).
An invitation has also been extended to anyone who would like to sing in two choral works during the event, led by Professor Jean-Sébastien Vallée.
- Rehearsal: Saturday, September 16, 2:30 p.m. in Pollack Hall
- Repertoire: Howard Goodall’s Lacrimosa (from Eternal Light) and Vivaldi’s Et in terra pax (from Gloria)
- Scores will be available at 2 p.m. on Sept. 16, in the East Lounge of Pollack Hall. PDFs can be emailed ahead of time if requested
- Singers will be asked to sit on stage during the Memorial Event. No official dress code is required.
Please confirm your participation by email at firstname.lastname@example.org before Wednesday Sept. 13.
By Amanda Testani
Today, the Royal Society of Canada announced 70 new members to The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, including seven McGill scholars. With seven members, McGill has more new inductees this year than any other university in the country. The new members of the College will address issues of particular concern to Canadian society, including mental health and environmental management, taking advantage of the interdisciplinary approaches fostered by the College.
Fifty-one Canadian universities and the National Research Council nominate members to the College, which is the first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for Canadian intellectual leadership. Each new cohort represents an emerging generation of scholarly, scientific and artistic leadership from coast-to-coast.
This year’s inductees represent McGill’s excellence across the disciplines. Among those honoured is Dr. Srividya Iyer, researcher at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre, who focuses on youth mental health and early intervention, especially in the early phases of psychosis. In 2017, Dr. Iyer was honoured with McGill’s Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Emerging Researchers.
Elena Bennett, Associate Professor at the McGill School of Environment, has also earned a spot in the College. Prof. Bennett’s work explores how best to manage landscapes to provide multiple ecosystems services, the benefits people obtain from ecosystem, including products such as food and freshwater as well as non-material benefits such as places for recreation and processes for flood control. Prof. Bennett received an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship in 2016.
The Induction Ceremony will take place at the RSC’s Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 24.
“McGill celebrates the contributions the inductees to the Royal Society of Canada’s New College are making to their fields. The university community also looks forward to the discoveries of new knowledge that all these researchers will continue to contribute, not only to the research culture of our University, but at the provincial, national and international level as well,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation.
McGill’s 2017 RSC New College Members:
Jan Adamowski, Associate Professor, Bioresource Engineering; William Dawson Scholar; Liliane and David M. Stewart Scholar in Water Resources; Director, Integrated Water Resources Management Program; Associate Director, Brace Centre for Water Resources Management.
Anila Asghar, Associate Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education.
Eric Belanger, Professor, Department of Political Science.
Elena Bennett, Associate Professor, McGill School of Environment; Fellow, Aldo Leopold Leadership Program.
Martin Drapeau, Associate Professor, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology; Chair and Director of Research, McGill Psychotherapy Process Research.
Srividya Iyer, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry; Researcher, Douglas Hospital Research Centre; Scientific-Clinical Director, ACCESS Open Minds (CIHR-funded pan-Canadian SPOR network on youth mental health).
Victoria Talwar, Professor, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology; Canada Research Chair, Tier II; Associate Member, Institute for Human Development and Well-Being.
Read the Royal Society of Canada announcement.
By McGill Reporter Staff
McGill’s first female Chancellor, Gretta Chambers, who served in that role from 1991 to 1999, died Saturday, September 9, at St. Mary’s Hospital, at age 90.
A graduate of McGill in 1947, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Chambers was a well-known observer and commentator on the Quebec political scene and a fervent supporter of McGill over many decades.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our Chancellor Emerita, Gretta Chambers,” Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier said in a statement on Saturday. “On behalf of the McGill University community, I extend my condolences to her family and pay homage to the many ways she supported McGill throughout her life. She has made an immense contribution to our university and to the society in which she lived.”
Chambers, who continued to attend Convocation ceremonies up until this spring, had also served on McGill’s Board of Governors from 1978 to 1988. She was named an Officer of the Ordre National du Québec in 1993 and, in 1994, a Member of the Order of Canada, in which she was promoted in 2000 to the highest order, Companion.
“It was always a special joy to recognize her at our Convocation ceremonies, which she attended loyally to celebrate the accomplishments of our students,” Principal Fortier said. “As a journalist and political commentator, and as a significant figure in the life of her community and her institution, Gretta brought insight, wit and wisdom to the various roles she played. We will deeply miss her presence on campus but she will forever remain in our hearts.”
CBC News reported Saturday night that Chambers had suffered a fall recently and, when taken to hospital as a result, medical staff discovered other underlying medical issues, which were brought to the attention of her family.
Chambers’s brother, Charles Taylor, is a world-renowned philosopher and professor emeritus at McGill.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard was among the first of many to pay tribute to Chambers’s important contributions to Quebec over the years.
“Very sad to hear of the passing of Gretta Chambers. She was a great Quebecer. My sympathies to her family and friends,” he said in a message on Twitter Saturday night.
Chambers, while serving as the University’s Chancellor, also chaired a provincial task force on English education, during a period when the province’s anglophone community was feeling increasingly isolated.
She also served as Chair of the board of directors of the McGill University Research Institute and the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Chambers was also a journalist who contributed to CBC Newsworld and hosted the CBC Radio show The Province in Print for 14 years.
She wrote an opinion column for the Montreal Gazette from 1977 until 2002.
Chambers was predeceased by her husband, Egan Chambers, a Conservative MP, who died in 1994.
“She was active in trying to help find a reasonable balance between the needs to protect the French language and the preservation of the English speaking community of Quebec and she undertook a serious study on the issue of access to English schools,” former McGill Vice-Principal Michael Goldbloom, and current co-chair for the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, told CTV News. “She and her husband Egan used to have the best Christmas parties in Montreal because they really did bring together people who didn’t naturally have an opportunity to come together and meet,” he said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
In the wake of the 2016 United States election, Professor Charles Taylor, winner of the 2016 Berggruen Prize and one of the most renowned political philosophers of our time, will deliver the 2017 Beatty Memorial Lecture: The Challenge of Regressive Democracy. Join Professor Taylor as he explores how the populist appeal can transform the politics of a society, and how defenders of democracy can restore faith in contemporary government. Salle Pollack Hall (555 Sherbrooke Street West); Thursday, Oct. 12; 5:30 p.m.; 100 of 600 tickets reserved for McGill students; cost: $5.
Radio telescope will help the world’s astronomers, physicists and scientists unravel today’s biggest cosmic mysteries
By McGill Reporter Staff
A Canadian effort to build one of the most innovative radio telescopes in the world will open the universe to a new dimension of scientific study. The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), is a collaboration of 50 Canadian scientists from McGill, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).
On Sept. 7, The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, installed the final piece of this new radio telescope, which will act as a time machine allowing scientists to create a three-dimensional map of the universe extending deep into space and time.
“CHIME is an extraordinary example showcasing Canada’s leadership in space science and engineering. The new telescope will be a destination for astronomers from around the world who will work with their Canadian counterparts to answer some of the most profound questions about space,” said Duncan. “Our government believes in providing scientists with the opportunities and tools they need to pursue the answers to questions that keep them up at night.”
An extraordinarily powerful new telescope, CHIME’s unique “half-pipe” telescope design and advanced computing power will help scientists better understand the three frontiers of modern astronomy: the history of the universe, the nature of distant stars and the detection of gravitational waves.
By measuring the composition of dark energy, scientists will better understand the shape, structure and fate of the universe. In addition, CHIME will be a key instrument to study gravitational waves, the ripples in space-time that were only recently discovered, confirming the final piece of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
““CHIME’s unique design will enable us to tackle one of the most puzzling new areas of astrophysics today – Fast Radio Bursts,” said Astrophysicist Vicky Kaspi, Director of McGill’s Space Institute. “The origin of these bizarre extragalactic events is presently a mystery, with only two dozen reported since their discovery a decade ago. CHIME is likely to detect many of these objects every day, providing a massive treasure trove of data that will put Canada at the forefront of this research.”
The $16-million investment for CHIME was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the governments of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, with additional funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The telescope is located in the mountains of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley at the NRC’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory near Penticton.
Here are some interesting facts about the CHIME telescope:
- The CHIME telescope incorporates four 100-metre long U-shaped cylinders of metal mesh that resemble snowboard half-pipes. Its overall footprint is the size of five NHL hockey rinks.
- CHIME collects radio waves with wavelengths between 37 and 75 centimetres, similar to the wavelength used by cell phones.
- Most of the signals collected by CHIME come from our Milky Way galaxy, but a tiny fraction of these signals started on their way when the universe was between 6 and 11 billion years old.
- The radio signal from the universe is very weak and extreme sensitivity is needed to detect it. The amount of energy collected by CHIME in one year is equivalent to the amount of energy gained by a paper clip falling off a desk to the floor.
- The data rate passing through CHIME is comparable to all the data in the world’s mobile networks. There is so much data that it cannot all be saved to disk. It must first be processed and compressed by a factor of 100,000.
- Seven quadrillion computer operations occur every second on CHIME. This rate is equivalent to every person on Earth performing one million multiplication problems every second.
Learn more about Fast Radio Bursts and the CHIME telescope by clicking on the video below
By Meaghan Thurston
All the tools and technology in the world are nothing without the talent to use them to their full potential. Thanks to a huge investment from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Discovery Grants Program, McGill can engage its enormous research capacity in long-term, fundamental science and engineering programs. With the associated funding from the Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program, McGill’s researchers can also purchase equipment needed for world-leading discovery, innovation and training.
Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, announced the 2017 results of the NSERC Discovery Grants Program today in Victoria, British Columbia — a total investment of $515 million in support for fundamental research, over $35 million of which will go to McGill’s researchers in the full range of science and engineering disciplines, from biology and chemistry to advanced materials engineering and astrophysics. McGill ranked third nationally in terms of total money granted, behind the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.
“NSERC’s Discovery Grants Program reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to fundamental science and the discovery of new knowledge,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “Thanks to significant federal investments such as these, McGill is generating new insights through basic scientific inquiry, for example, about the observed structure of the universe, the application of molecular genetic data in studies of plant evolution, and in the emerging fields of AI and machine learning. Congratulations to all of our researchers whose work continues to push the boundaries of knowledge.”
NSERC’s largest annual investment, the Discovery Grant Program assists researchers by offering financial support though scholarships, fellowships, research supplements, and equipment grants. One hundred and sixty one McGill researchers are the recipients of Discovery Grants and Research Tools and Instruments Grants in this round. In addition, NSERC granted to McGill thirty-seven scholarships and eight postdoctoral fellowships. These scholarships and fellowships help launch a new generation of scientists and engineers in the early stages of their research careers.
Included in the total McGill investment is $2.4 million for resources to selected researchers to accelerate progress and maximize the impact of their promising research proposals through the Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program. Professor Tomislav Friščić is one such researcher selected to receive a Discovery Grant as well as a Discovery Accelerator Supplement, together totalling $530,000. Friščić’s lab researches solid-state, solvent-free and near solvent-free reactions for the purpose of cleaner and more energy-efficient synthesis.
“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in fundamental research and engineering that will improve and enrich our country’s knowledge economy,” said Minister Duncan. “We believe in encouraging scientists’ cutting-edge ideas that will lead Canada to greater social and economic growth. I am particularly proud of the support offered to postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows who, thanks to today’s investment, will be exposed to advanced training experiences that will prepare them for the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow.”
Mass notification systems among tools that have emerged to keep campuses safe
By Julie Fortier
Convocation is an important milestone in the life of university students and their loved ones and is meant to be memorable. The June 3, 2014, ceremony of McGill’s Faculty of Arts, however, is memorable for unusual reasons.
The Convocation tent set up every year on lower campus for the spring ceremonies almost collapsed that day due to a powerful thunderstorm that brought heavy winds and rain. The tent had to be evacuated, leading to confusion and frustration when the ceremony resumed in a smaller location that could not accommodate all guests.
“We were prepared to deal with incidents like a protest or a disruptive person in the crowd or on stage, for example, but we had not expected a weather event that could affect the stability of the tent,” says Hugo Bourcier, Emergency Preparedness Officer, who was part of the security operations team at the time. A committee involving several units now meets every year prior to Convocation to discuss procedures should an unforeseen disruption occur.
Though emergency management teams try to plan for the unexpected, “the unexpected changes,” says Emergency Planning Officer Sarah Delisle, mentioning vehicular attacks as an example of new threats the University now has to take into account. “The downtown campus is a large open space, accessible to members of the public and tourists,” she says. “Being located close to the Premier’s office also puts the downtown campus at risk of getting spillover effects from protests held nearby,” as happened during the student protests of 2012.
“Current events definitely dictate how people react and how people prepare,” adds Pierre Barbarie, Director of Campus Public Safety (CPS), who has been at McGill since 2000 and witnessed a dramatic change in mentality after the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007, which left 33 people dead.
“[Universities] went from a reactionary mode to a proactive one, including McGill. It led to an acknowledgment from the whole university community that there was a need to increase security and safety measures and a need for planning, preparedness and training,” Barbarie adds.
Tried and tested tools
To prepare for and manage emergencies, McGill uses the Incident Command System (ICS) and has an established Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). These two structures are used all around the world by emergency responders such as fire and police departments.
During an emergency, McGill responders set up an Incident Command Post to manage the event on the ground. If the emergency threatens the normal operations of the University or if additional resources are needed, the EOC is activated to provide strategic direction and support. Several key units – from Student Life and Learning to communications – are represented at the EOC to ensure a coordinated response across the University. All Incident Command and EOC responders receive training through regular tabletop exercises or functional drills.
“The flood on McTavish St. in 2013 was our first real test of these structures and they proved very successful,” Barbarie says. “Of course the flood caused a lot of damage, but people worked around the clock and because they were trained, everything that needed to be done was done.”
Important tips to stay safe
The EOC also oversees communications to the McGill community during an emergency, using a variety of tools:
- The McGill mobile application is an important tool that McGill students, staff and faculty should make sure to download to stay informed during emergencies. To receive alerts, users must keep the notifications for the McGill app turned on in the operating system settings, though the notifications within the app itself can be turned off.
- The Alertus software displays pop-up alerts on computers. The software is automatically installed on all McGill PC desktops but Mac users and students or staff who own laptops must download it.
- Emergency alerts may also be sent to staff landlines and staff and students emails. Community members are also encouraged to register their mobile phone to receive text messages and voicemail messages on their mobile (though these will eventually be phased out in favour of the McGill app).
- McGill’s social media channels have also become an efficient tool to get instructions out to the community.
You can help keep the McGill community safe by always following the instructions issued in the emergency alerts.
The CPS website also includes a lot of useful information on how to stay safe, including a video on what to do in an unlikely but possible active shooter situation. CPS also offers a workshop on this topic.
In case of an emergency, community members should call 911 immediately and 514-398-3000 (downtown) or 514-398-7777 (Mac campus), so Security Services personnel can meet emergency responders and direct them to the right location.
Sept. 11-15, 2017 is Safety Week at McGill, featuring a variety of activities brought to you by Campus Public Safety and Environmental Health and Safety, in collaboration with external organizations like Vélo-Québec and the Montreal police and fire departments. For more information, visit the Safety Week website.
What moves and inspires you about the city and country you call home? In honour of the 375th anniversary of Montreal, and the 150th anniversary of Canada, a special edition of the Artists Among Us art exposition and sale will take place on Nov. 1. Artists Among Us is a McGill event in which students, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees display and sell their artwork, reminding the campus community how many of our members have creative gifts.
Any member of the McGill community is invited to submit a digital copy of a sample of your work. Art works from any visual medium can be considered: textile art, sculpture, mosaics, photography, painting etc. Works of arts submitted should reflect the theme of celebrating some aspect of Canada and/or Montreal. Please email your interest, medium, sample of your work, and questions to Susan Molnar at email@example.com by Sept 15.
Want a specialist to assess the condition of your bike? Vélo-Québec, a non-profit organization that promotes cycling, will offer McGill cyclists a basic diagnosis of their bike, along with maintenance and safe cycling advice. The event, part of Safety Week, will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the downtown lower campus (West sidewalk of main road, between the Roddick Gates and the Y intersection).Cyclists interested in getting their bike assessed must register online for a 15-minute appointment.
In addition, the Montreal police department will offer free bike engraving (same day, same location, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Engraving your bike helps your chances of getting it back if it is stolen since the number that is etched onto your bike is permanent and entered into a database that can be accessed by many police stations. The program also deters theft since it makes it more difficult for thieves to resell a stolen bike.
By Julie Robert
Loss of muscle is an inevitable consequence of aging that can lead to frailty, falls or mobility problems. Eating enough protein is one way to remedy it, but it would seem that spreading protein equally among the three daily meals could be linked to greater mass and muscle strength in the elderly.
These are the findings of a study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in collaboration with the Université de Sherbrooke and the Université de Montréal. The research team examined both the amount of protein consumed and its distribution among people aged 67 and over, using one of the most comprehensive cohort studies in Quebec.
The results of the study, which were published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shed new light on the diet of people in an aging population.
“Many seniors, especially in North America, consume the majority of their daily protein intake at lunch and dinner. We wanted to see if people who added protein sources to breakfast, and therefore had balanced protein intake through the three meals, had greater muscle strength,” says the lead author of the study, Dr. Stéphanie Chevalier, who is a scientist at the RI-MUHC and an assistant professor at the School of Human Nutrition at McGill.
A rich database of nutrition data
To achieve these results, Dr. Chevalier and her team collaborated with Dr. Hélène Payette of Université de Sherbrooke, who is leading the Quebec longitudinal study on nutrition and aging called NuAge (Nutrition as a Determinant of Successful Aging).
RI-MUHC researchers analyzed data from the NuAge cohort, which included nearly 1,800 people who were followed for three years. They reviewed the protein consumption patterns of 827 healthy men and 914 healthy women aged 67 to 84 years, all residents of Quebec, trying to establish links with variables such as strength, muscle mass or mobility.
“The NuAge study is one of the few studies gathering such detailed data on food consumption among a large cohort of elderly people. We are proud that the NuAge study can contribute to relevant research of this magnitude in Quebec,” says study co-author Dr. Hélène Payette of the Centre for Research on Aging and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke.
“We observed that participants of both sexes who consumed protein in a balanced way during the day had more muscle strength than those who consumed more during the evening meal and less at breakfast. However, the distribution of protein throughout the day was not associated with their mobility,” explains the first author of the study, Dr. Samaneh Farsijani, a former PhD student supervised by Dr. Chevalier.
A “boost” of amino acids
All body tissues, including the muscles, are composed of proteins, which consist of amino acids. If the protein intake decreases, the synthesis is not done correctly and this leads to a loss of muscle mass.
“Our research is based on scientific evidence demonstrating that older people need to consume more protein per meal because they need a greater boost of amino acids for protein synthesis,” says Dr. Chevalier, adding that one of the essential amino acids known for protein renewal is leucine. “It would be interesting to look into protein sources and their amino acid composition in future studies to further our observations.”
By McGill Reporter Staff
Frosh 2017 is now in the books and the consensus is that it was probably the most successful in University history. With an added emphasis on student wellbeing and safety, this year’s Frosh has garnered positive comments from many interested parties, including the SPVM (Montreal police), citizens of the Milton-Parc neighbourhood next door, McGill’s Security Services team, and students participating in Frosh.
Amanda Hills has been Frosh Coordinator for the last two years, and a Frosh leader the year before that.
“I have never received as much positive feedback from the participants as I did this Frosh,” says Hills, a U3 student in Honours Political Science with a minor in Philosophy. “People felt happy, safe, and included, and it was a privilege to be a part of this event. There was a sense of community, an affirmation that everyone belongs here as they are, and a strong support system for all participants. It was a huge success, and I am so happy that so many First Year students were able to begin their time here at McGill on such a positive note.”
Hills says team work made all the difference.
“All members of the organizing community, from the Dean of Students to the student coordinators, took our shared goals of creating a fun and a healthy Frosh, and we translated that into something truly special. I can’t wait to see how Frosh continues to improve in the years to come,” she says.
Dean of Students Chris Buddle says “I can’t express how important collaboration is, and how it bodes well for the future. There were some logistical challenges for this year, but despite the challenges, people worked together on solutions, and on the fundamental principles of student wellbeing. “
Buddle stayed in Rez for a couple of nights during Frosh to be close to the event and to trouble-shoot if needed. “University administrators, including me, took part in ‘Street Teams,’ with SSMU and O-Staff,” he says. “As I was going up the elevator in La Citadelle one evening, I noticed writing on the white-boards on the different floors – students had written about the importance of consent, and messages about being safe. Clearly the entire community was united in a positive Frosh culture.”
In all, some 4,500 students participated as Froshies. About 1,200 people acted as organizers and helpers for this years edition of Frosh.