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Updated: 2 weeks 2 days ago

Send us your vacation pics!

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 14:17
Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, July 2016 / Photo: Neale McDevitt

Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, July 2016 / Photo: Neale McDevitt

The long, hot summer is drawing to a close and the University is gearing up for another busy academic year. But we’d like to pay homage to the Summer of 2016 before we bid it adieu. For the fourth consecutive year, the Reporter wants to create a gallery of your vacation pics. Please send your high resolution shots (along with caption information: who, what, where, etc.) to Neale McDevitt. Revisit the galleries from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Gaming camera could aid MS treatment

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:50

Multiple-sclerosis3D depth-sensing camera shown to measure walking difficulties

By Shawn Hayward, Montreal Neurological Institute

A commonly used device found in living rooms around the world could be a cheap and effective means of evaluating the walking difficulties of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

The Microsoft Kinect is a 3D depth-sensing camera used in interactive video activities such as tennis and dancing. It can be hooked up to an Xbox gaming console or a Windows computer.

A team of researchers led by McGill postdoctoral fellow Farnood Gholami, supervised by Jozsef Kövecses from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Centre for Intelligent Machines, collaborated with Daria Trojan, a physiatrist in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery working at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, to test whether the Kinect could detect the differences in gait of MS patients compared to healthy individuals.

In current clinical practice, the walking movement of MS patients is usually assessed by their doctors, and subjective evaluations may distort results: two different clinicians may give the same patient different evaluations. Using a camera that detects movement and computer algorithms that quantify the patients’ walking patterns can reduce potential for human error.

McGill postdoctoral fellow Farnood Gholami.

McGill postdoctoral fellow Farnood Gholami.

Gholami captured the movement of 10 MS patients and 10 members of an age-and-sex-matched control group using the Kinect device. The MS patients had previously been assessed for gait abnormalities using the traditional clinician method.

Using the data, the team then developed computer algorithms that quantified gait characteristics of MS patients and healthy people. The investigators found that gait characteristics measured with the Kinect camera and analyzed with the developed algorithms were reproducible when assessed at one visit and were different between MS patients and the healthy individuals. Moreover, the gait characteristics of MS patients obtained by the algorithm were correlated with clinical measures of gait. In addition, the algorithms could mathematically define the characteristics of gait in MS patients at different severity levels, accurately determining his/her level of gait abnormality.

Gholami says he became interested in using motion capture technology for clinical purposes as a PhD student, but the equipment he was using at the time was very expensive, difficult to use, and non-portable, making widespread clinical use prohibitive. The Kinect device gave him an inexpensive tool to use that appears to be still accurate enough to do the job.

“This tool may help the clinician provide a better diagnosis of gait pathology, and may be used to observe if a prescribed medication has been effective on the gait of the patient or not,” he says. “Our developed framework can likely be used for other diseases causing gait abnormalities as well, for instance Parkinson’s disease.”

Trojan says the tool could be useful “to assess treatment effects of certain interventions such as rehabilitation or medication, and to document MS disease progression as reflected by gait deterioration. It may also be useful as a measure in clinical trials.”

The next step is to conduct a study with a larger group of MS patients including evaluation in a gait laboratory, and using a newer version of the Kinect device that promises to improve accuracy, Gholami says.

Read the study online.


Don’t scan so close to me

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:23
Daniel Levitin shows Sting images of the singer's cerebellum.

Daniel Levitin shows Sting images of the singer’s cerebellum.

McGill researcher scans Sting’s musical brain

Source: McGill Newsroom

The paper, published in the journal Neurocase, uses recently developed imaging-analysis techniques to provide a window into the mind of a masterful musician. It also represents an approach that could offer insights into how gifted individuals find connections between seemingly disparate thoughts or sounds, in fields ranging from arts to politics or science.

“These state-of the-art techniques really allowed us to make maps of how Sting’s brain organizes music,” says lead author Daniel Levitin, a cognitive psychologist at McGill University. “That’s important because at the heart of great musicianship is the ability to manipulate in one’s mind rich representations of the desired soundscape.”

Lab tour with a twist

The research stemmed from a serendipitous encounter several years ago. Sting had read Levitin’s book This Is Your Brain on Music and was coming to Montreal to play a concert. His representatives contacted Levitin and asked if he might take a tour of the lab at McGill. Levitin — whose lab has hosted visits from many popular musicians over the years – readily agreed. And he added a unique twist: “I asked if he also wanted to have his brain scanned. He said ‘yes’.”

So it was that McGill students in the Stewart Biology Building one day found themselves sharing an elevator with the former lead singer of The Police, who has won 16 Grammy Awards, including one in 1982 for the hit single “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.”

Both functional and structural scans were conducted in a single session at the brain imaging unit of McGill’s Montreal Neurological Institute, the hot afternoon before a Police concert. A power outage knocked the entire campus off-line for several hours, threatening to cancel the experiment. Because it takes over an hour to reboot the fMRI machine, time grew short. Sting generously agreed to skip his soundcheck in order to do the scan.

Levitin then teamed up with Scott Grafton, a leading brain-scan expert at the University of California at Santa Barbara, to use two novel techniques to analyze the scans. The techniques, known as multivoxel pattern analysis and representational dissimilarity analysis, showed which songs Sting found similar to one another and which ones are dissimilar – based not on tests or questionnaires, but on activations of brain regions.

“At the heart of these methods is the ability to test if patterns of brain activity are more alike for two similar styles of music compared to different styles. This approach has never before been considered in brain imaging experiments of music,” notes Scott Grafton.

Unexpected connections

“Sting’s brain scan pointed us to several connections between pieces of music that I know well but had never seen as related before,” Levitin says. Piazzolla’s “Libertango” and the Beatles’ “Girl” proved to be two of the most similar. Both are in minor keys and include similar melodic motifs, the paper reveals. Another example: Sting’s own “Moon over Bourbon Street” and Booker T. and the MG’s “Green Onions,” both of which are in the key of F minor, have the same tempo (132 beats per minute) and a swing rhythm.

The methods introduced in this paper, Levitin says, “can be used to study all sorts of things: how athletes organize their thoughts about body movements; how writers organize their thoughts about characters; how painters think about colour, form and space.”

Read the study online.



Un chercheur de McGill explore le cerveau musical de Sting

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 13:12
Daniel Levitin avec Sting

Daniel Levitin avec Sting

Des techniques pourraient permettre de cartographier l’organisation des pensées

Par Chris Chipello, Salle de Presse

Qu’ont en commun Girl, grand succès des années 1960 des Beatles, et Libertango, tango évocateur d’Astor Piazzolla?

De prime abord, probablement bien peu de choses. Pourtant, dans le cerveau d’un célèbre auteur-compositeur-interprète aux goûts éclectiques, ces deux pièces se ressemblent énormément. C’est l’un des étonnants constats posés après l’examen de documents d’imagerie du cerveau de Sting, lors d’une étude inédite en neurosciences.

L’étude, dont les résultats ont été publiés dans la revue Neurocase, repose sur des techniques d’analyse toutes récentes. Dans le cas présent, elles ont fait de documents d’imagerie une véritable fenêtre ouverte sur le cerveau d’un musicien accompli. Toutefois, appliquées à d’autres domaines – arts, politiques, sciences, etc. – elles pourraient permettre de lever le voile sur cette capacité qu’ont les gens doués de faire des liens entre des éléments apparemment dissemblables.

« Ces techniques de pointe nous ont littéralement permis de cartographier l’organisation de la musique dans le cerveau de Sting », explique le Pr Daniel Levitin, auteur principal et psychologue cognitiviste à McGill. « C’est capital, dans la mesure où tout l’art de la musique réside dans la capacité du cerveau d’assembler des sonorités pour façonner un paysage sonore. »

Un service en attire un autre

L’étude résulte d’un heureux concours de circonstances, qui remonte à quelques années. L’étincelle : un livre du Pr Levitin, This Is Your Brain on Music, que Sting avait lu. Le chanteur avait un concert prévu à Montréal. Son équipe a donc communiqué avec le professeur pour lui demander s’il accepterait de faire visiter son laboratoire à Sting. De nombreuses vedettes du monde de la musique avaient déjà foulé le sol de cette enceinte. Le chercheur a donc accepté avec plaisir, mais il avait lui aussi une faveur à demander au chanteur : est-ce que Sting accepterait de se soumettre à des examens d’imagerie cérébrale?

C’est ainsi que des étudiants de McGill se sont retrouvés dans un ascenseur du Pavillon de biologie Stewart en compagnie du chanteur du défunt groupe The Police, gagnant de 16 prix Grammy.

Par un après-midi caniculaire pré-concert, Sting s’est présenté au service d’imagerie cérébrale de l’Institut et hôpital neurologiques de Montréal de l’Université McGill pour se soumettre à des examens d’imagerie fonctionnelle et structurale. L’expérience a failli ne jamais avoir lieu en raison d’une panne de courant qui a paralysé le campus pendant plusieurs heures. Comme il fallait plus d’une heure pour redémarrer l’appareil d’IRM fonctionnelle, le temps commençait à manquer. Mais Sting, plutôt que de se rendre à un test de son pour son spectacle, a généreusement accepté de rester sur place afin de pouvoir se soumettre aux examens.

Par la suite, le Pr Levitin a fait équipe avec le Pr Scott Grafton, grand spécialiste en imagerie cérébrale rattaché à l’Université de Californie à Santa Barbara, afin d’étudier les documents d’imagerie au moyen de deux techniques novatrices : l’analyse de modèle multivoxel et l’analyse de dissimilarité représentationnelle. Les chercheurs souhaitaient déterminer si, aux oreilles de Sting, les pièces entendues étaient semblables ou différentes. Et ils comptaient le faire non pas au moyen de tests ou de questionnaires, mais bien en mesurant l’activation de divers territoires du cerveau de Sting.

« Grâce à ces méthodes, nous pouvons déterminer si les schémas d’activation cérébrale se ressemblent davantage lorsque les styles de musique entendus sont semblables. C’est une démarche inédite en matière d’étude de la musique par l’imagerie cérébrale », fait observer Scott Grafton.

Des similitudes qui étonnent

« Les documents d’imagerie du cerveau de Sting ont fait ressortir plusieurs similitudes entre des pièces que je connais bien, mais entre lesquelles je n’avais jamais fait de lien », souligne le Pr Levitin. Ainsi, deux des pièces les plus proches l’une de l’autre étaient Libertango, de Piazzolla, et Girl, des Beatles. Les deux sont en mode mineur, et le motif de la mélodie est semblable, peut-on lire dans l’article. Autre exemple : la pièce de Sting Moon over Bourbon Street et celle de Booker T. and the M.G.’s Green Onions, deux pièces en fa mineur ayant le même tempo (132 battements par minute) et un rythme de swing.

Les méthodes exposées dans l’article, précise le Pr Levitin, « peuvent servir à l’étude de nombreux autres sujets, par exemple l’organisation des pensées de l’athlète qui doit accomplir certains mouvements, de l’écrivain qui doit bâtir un personnage ou du peintre qui doit agencer couleurs, formes et espaces ».

McGill duo named CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 12:28

Corinne Maurice and Kieran O’Donnell are in the first cohort of 18 CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars.

By James Martin

Remember the classroom chestnut about the three Rs? The future of cutting-edge research hinges on the three Cs: communication, collaboration and connection. A new initiative from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) aims to help promising early-career researchers develop their skills as leaders and collaborators. Two McGill professors are in the first cohort of 18 CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars: Corinne Maurice, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Kieran O’Donnell, assistant professor in epigenetics and epidemiology in the Department of Psychiatry.

The CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program is open to researchers who are in the first five years of their first academic appointment. Scholars receive $100,000 CDN in undesignated research support (meaning it could be used to buy equipment or to pay student and postdoctoral researchers) and a two-year appointment to one of CIFAR’s 14 research programs, which are global networks of leading interdisciplinary researchers who “tackle questions across four broad areas: improving human health, creating successful societies, using technology to make life better, and sustaining life on Earth.”

Corinne Maurice is the Canada Research Chair in Gut Microbial Physiology

Corinne Maurice is the Canada Research Chair in Gut Microbial Physiology

Corinne Maurice came to McGill in January 2015 and is the Canada Research Chair in Gut Microbial Physiology. Her research focuses on better understanding the interactions between bacteria and bacteriophages (viruses that attack bacteria), and how we might modulate those natural relationships to get better results from antibiotics and other interventions.

Although we have long appreciated the importance of a healthy gastrointestinal tract, Maurice’s field is surprisingly new. So new, in fact, that it wasn’t even the subject of her PhD research at the Université de Montpellier in France. “I focused on bacterial and viral communities in aquatic systems,” she says, adding with a chuckle, “So I basically went kayaking on Mediterranean lagoons.” As she was finishing her doctorate, other researchers began publishing the first seminal papers using data from the Human Microbiome Initiative, a four-year quest to identify and sequence all the microorganisms in the human body  – basically, the microbe version of the Human Genome Project.

“So when I started looking at postdoc opportunities, the field of human microbiome research kept coming up on my radar,” she recalls. “I thought it was so cool that you could look at humans as micro ecosystems; I’d never considered the human body that way. During my four-year postdoc with Peter Turnbaugh at Harvard University, I transitioned to the human gut. But I’m still working on bacterial communities and the viruses that affect the bacteria.”

Keiran O’Donnell’s is a principal investigator at the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health.

Keiran O’Donnell’s is a principal investigator at the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health.

Kieran O’Donnell also had an a-ha moment when it came to choosing a postdoc path. While finishing his PhD in clinical medicine at Imperial College London, where he studied the long-term effects of maternal prenatal anxiety or depression on child development, he attended a conference in Boston. There, McGill epigenetics researcher Michael Meaney gave a presentation on how a mother rat’s nurturing activity strongly affected whether their babies grew up to exhibit anxiety-like or depressive-like behaviours.

“He was unpacking the biology of something we have known for years:  that what happens early in life can have a sustained impact on brain and behaviour,” O’Donnell remembers. “I immediately wondered if similar molecular mechanisms could be at play in humans.” That question led to five years working as a postdoc in Meaney’s lab at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre, and now O’Donnell’s current appointment as a principal investigator at the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health.

Much of his research focuses on understanding what is happening, at the molecular level, during the prenatal development period – particularly with respect to a mother’s anxiety, depression or stress – with the ultimate goal of one day being able to identify people who may be at risk for adverse mental health outcomes such as ADHD or depression.  In order to get the richest understanding of how the “persistent influence” of early development plays out over a lifetime, O’Donnell works with multiple cohorts around the world, including a large group of British twentysomethings that have been studied since they were in the womb.  His postdoc appointment was through CIFAR/NeuroDevNet, so he is excited at the prospect of continuing his collaboration with CIFAR’s “really dynamic, interdisciplinary” Child & Brain Development Program.

Maurice is joining the CIFAR Humans & the Microbiome Program. “What the Global Scholars program means for me,” she says, “is being part of this incredible network of highly established people working at the forefront of their own research themes – and understanding how I could develop my research theme either by collaborating with other people who are either new in the field or already established.”

She’s also excited about the Global Scholars leadership and communication training. As part of the application process, candidates were asked to explain their research to people from other disciplines. “It’s obvious why my peers are interested in the microbiome,” says Maurice, “but why should people in the social sciences care about it?  That was extremely valuable for me. It got me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to think about the next big thing. If you want to move things forward, you have to interact with people from a variety of fields.”

O’Donnell calls that interview exercise “fascinating,” and looks forward to more leadership training throughout the next two years.

“It’s just not something that universities often offer to junior faculty,” he says, “but it’s something that I think will be crucial to my success. Modern day science requires leaders in their fields to communicate broadly and effectively to diverse audiences. You need to be able to engage with the public – but in a reasonable way, not in a sensational way. For my own work, I’m acutely aware of the irony of telling women not to get stressed about being stressed. You have to communicate in a measured manner.”

He points to the great advances made in cardiovascular research, beginning with the Framingham Heart Study, a longitudinal study that began in 1948. “That study coined the term ‘risk factor,’” he says. “Now, a doctor can take several risk factors – your cholesterol levels, whether you smoke, your blood pressure – and use that to predict the likelihood of a coronary event over a five- or 10- or even 15-year period. We can’t do that in mental health, yet, but that’s where we want to get to: identifying the biological, the psychological and the psychosocial factors, that could be entered into a prediction algorithm to identify those most at risk.

“But for my research to have that kind of impact, I will need to interact and communicate with policy makers and the people who will effect change at the policy level. With this dedicated leadership training component, I don’t have to learn those skills on the fly, and I’ll be able to more effectively communicate with a variety of audiences and ensure a much wider impact.”

Inaccuracies found in depression screening in children and adolescents

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 15:47

questionaireResearchers find tools inaccurate and advise against routine screening in this age group

Source: McGill Newsroom

In Canada and the U.S., doctors are increasingly being encouraged to try to identify depression in children and adolescents — even if they do not have obvious indications of the disease. In order to do so, the physicians often use short questionnaires that ask about symptoms of depression. But, according to new research, there is insufficient evidence to show that any of these questionnaires accurately screen 6- to 18-year-olds for the disease. The researchers believe that this calls into question the use of these assessment tools for this group and raises worries about possible misdiagnosis of the disease in this age range.

“Our study shows that if depression screening were carried out using existing screening tools, many non-depressed children and adolescents would be mistakenly identified as depressed,” says Brett Thombs, who is affiliated with the Jewish General Hospital’s Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and McGill’s Faculty of Medicine. He is the senior author on a study that was recently published on the subject in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Inadequate testing of screening tools

In order to assess the quality of the screening tools that are currently being used to identify depression in children or adolescents, the researchers carried out an exhaustive search of the medical evidence looking for studies that put the screening tools to the test. In the end, they were able to identify just 17 studies where the test results from the screening tools were compared with results from a diagnostic interview to determine if the children or adolescents in the study actually had depression.

Thombs and colleagues, including lead author Dr. Michelle Roseman, then assessed the methodology and results of these 17 studies. They found that most of the studies were too small to make a valid determination about the accuracy of the screening tools and that the methods of most studies fell short of expected standards. They also found that there was inadequate evidence to recommend any single cut-off score for any of the questionnaires (Patients scoring above a pre-defined cut-off score are considered likely to be depressed, whereas patients below the cutoff are not).

Roseman says, “There was not a single tool with even moderate evidence of sufficient accuracy to effectively identify depressed children and adolescents without also incorrectly picking up many non-depressed children and adolescents.”

Depression screening for children and adolescents is controversial

Depression in children is a disabling condition associated with behavioral problems and poor school performance. But routine screening for the disease in this age group is controversial. In the United Kingdom and Canada it is not recommended. On the other hand, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently recommended routine screening of adolescents between 13-18, but not of younger children, as part of regular medical care.

Thombs believes that given the inaccuracy of the tools currently being used, some children could end up mislabeled as depressed. “This could lead to the unnecessary prescription of potentially harmful psychiatric medications and negative messages about the mental health of some children who do not have mental health disorders.” Moreover, a potentially massive amount of resources would be needed to sort out which children may really be depressed. Research suggests relatively few would meet the criteria. “These resources would then not be available to provide treatment to large numbers of children and adolescents who are known to have severe mental health problems, but who do not receive adequate care.”

The researchers say that to properly assess the accuracy of depression screening tools in children, large, well-designed studies that present results across a range of cut-off scores are needed.

McGill in global top 50 of Nature Index Rising Stars

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 15:17

Arts-Cupolla_NMMGill is tops in Canada for increase in high-quality research publications from 2012 to 2015

Source: McGill Newsroom

McGill  ranks first in Canada and 37th globally in the Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars supplement, which identifies institutions showing the most significant growth in high-quality scientific research publications over the past four years.

The Rising Stars supplement to Nature ranks institutions by the increase in their contribution to 68 high-quality journals between 2012 and 2015.

McGill and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (67th) are the only two Canadian institutions to make the global top 100 this year. McGill’s increase ranks fourth among North American institutions for the four-year period.

The 2016 supplement shows that Chinese institutions are leading the world in rapidly increasing high-quality research outputs, with 40 of the top 100 most improved institutions across the globe coming from that country. The United States – which remains the largest contributor to high-quality scientific papers overall – is second, with 11 entrants in the top 100, despite many starting from a high base. Nine institutions feature from the United Kingdom, and eight from Germany.

The Rising Stars supplement draws on the Nature Index, which tracks the research of more than 8,000 global institutions. Get more information about the Nature Index.



New tuition discounts for McGill staff

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 14:55

professional-developmentLooking to build your career? My Workplace, the McGill Executive Institute and the School of Continuing Studies are teaming up to make professional development more affordable than ever. 

Starting this fall, McGill employees will enjoy tuition discounts on more professional development courses and seminars than ever before. For years, McGill’s Educational Assistance Policy has guaranteed free tuition to all regular full-time administrative and support staff, for credit courses taken toward a degree, diploma or certificate program. But some of our finest professional development offerings are non-credit courses and standalone seminars not covered by the Policy. Last year, through a survey and a series of discussion groups, employees reached out to the My Workplace team with concerns about this gap, noting that for some staff, tuition costs risked putting these courses out of reach.

Tuition rebates and eligible courses
When the My Workplace team shared this feedback with the School of Continuing Studies and the McGill Executive Institute, both units were enthusiastic about helping staff build their skillsets by making professional development courses more accessible than ever. As of September, employees can take advantage of these new rebates:

School of Continuing Studies (Career and Professional Development unit)
A 50 per cent tuition rebate will apply to the first five employees who sign up for each non-credit, non-transcript professional development workshop. Browse the professional development catalogue and use this dedicated link to register. Covered workshops include:

A 50 per cent tuition rebate will also apply to all McGill employees who register for the Online Project Management: Practice & Certification course, which lets you to study from anywhere at any time. Register now.

McGill Executive Institute
A 50 per cent tuition rebate is available for all employees registering for professional development seminars offered on the Montreal campus (up to six employees per seminar). Note that they will benefit from a tax exemption if they pay via FOAPAL. Browse their list of seminars. Topics include:

Got another great idea to share? This professional development course discount was an idea proposed by McGill employees. If you’ve got a great idea of your own – a proposal that would make McGill a better, more productive, or more learning-oriented workplace – the My Workplace team invites you to build a strong case and share it with them via their Great Ideas Pipeline.

The My Workplace initiative aims to get employees at all levels thinking about ways they can learn, improve processes and work better together, and to connect them with the tools and expertise they need to help McGill continually improve. One of the Principal’s five priorities, My Workplace has built on the feedback of some 1,200 employees to launch a staff mentoring program, create a Great Ideas Pipeline, help units streamline their local processes, and more. Learn more at www.mcgill.ca/myworkplace.


Update on Faculty of Medicine UGME accreditation

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 14:11

LifeSciencesOn Aug. 2, 2016, Dr. David Eidelman, Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, sent his latest update about the faculty’s progress on its Undergraduate Medical Education accreditation. (His previous update, from April 2016, is here). Here is Dean Eidelman’s message to faculty, students and alumni:

[La version française suit]

Dear students, colleagues and alumni,

We are making solid progress with the implementation of our Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) accreditation initiatives. Thanks to the commitment of the faculty members, staff and students who are involved, we have successfully addressed many of the issues. Other improvements that take more time are also advancing very well.

I am pleased to share some of the most recent steps we have taken:

  • We are acquiring a new and highly regarded curriculum management system, called Entrada™. This software will enable us to more effectively map objectives to course content, monitor comparability between sites, track student assessments, and continuously measure and improve the MDCM program’s performance. Overall, it will help us to better manage the curriculum in both English and French and address a number of accreditation issues. Rollout of Entrada begins this fall and will continue throughout the year.
  • We established the Steering Committee for our Faculty Council, and two Faculty Council meetings have been held this year. Additional sub-committees are being considered to continue reinforcing the Faculty’s governance. Faculty Council presentations and minutes are posted online.
  • We administered our new Medical Education Experience (MEE) Survey for Med-2 and -3 students to capture information about the student experience. Analysis of the data is in progress.
  • The students’ wellness office – renamed The WELL Office – continues to increase in robustness, with the hiring of additional staff and other improvements to better meet the needs of students.
  • While all new residents attend orientation sessions, online “residents-as-teachers” training on MDCM program objectives is now mandatory, targeting another accreditation issue.

More details about the improvements underway are available online.

I am pleased with our progress and know we are taking the right steps, systematically addressing every issue. While we cannot predict the outcome of our next UGME accreditation visit in 2017, our UGME leaders and teams continue to raise the bar and innovate based on best practices in education. I am confident that our MDCM program will be stronger than ever. Most importantly, I have no doubt that the quality of our medical school graduates will continue to be outstanding.

Thank you, sincerely, for your ongoing engagement and support.

David Eidelman, MDCM
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

*CACMS/LCME refers to the Committee on the Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools and the U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education.


Chers étudiants, collègues et diplômés de la Faculté de médecine

La mise en œuvre des initiatives pour l’agrément du programme d’études médicales de premier cycle est en bonne voie. Forts de la contribution des membres du corps professoral, du personnel et du corps étudiant, nous avons résolu nombre des points soulevés. Par ailleurs, d’autres améliorations qui nécessitent plus de temps évoluent très bien.

Voici certaines des récentes mesures que nous avons prises :

  • Nous procédons à l’acquisition d’un nouveau logiciel très bien coté de gestion de cursus, appelé EntradaMC. Grâce à cet outil, nous pourrons mieux mettre en correspondance les objectifs et le contenu des cours, surveiller la comparabilité entre les sites, assurer le suivi des évaluations des étudiants, ainsi que mesurer et améliorer en continu la performance du programme de MDCM. Dans l’ensemble, le logiciel permettra de mieux gérer le cursus en anglais et en français, et de régler plusieurs problèmes soulevés lors de l’agrément. La mise en œuvre d’Entrada commencera cet automne et se poursuivra durant l’année.
  • Nous avons constitué le Comité directeur du Conseil de la Faculté, et deux réunions du Conseil ont eu lieu cette année. Nous envisageons d’autres sous-comités pour continuer à consolider la gouvernance facultaire. Les présentations et procès-verbaux du Conseil de la Faculté sont accessibles en ligne.
  • Nous avons mené le nouveau Sondage sur l’expérience d’apprentissage en médecine à l’intention des étudiants de 2e et 3e année. L’analyse des données est en cours.
  • Le bureau de mieux-être des étudiants – renommé Bureau SOURCES – continue aussi de gagner en robustesse, avec l’embauche de personnel supplémentaire et d’autres améliorations visant à mieux répondre aux besoins des étudiants.
  • En plus des séances d’orientation auxquelles assistent tous les nouveaux résidents, une formation en ligne destinée aux « résidents-formateurs » sur les objectifs du programme de MDCM est désormais obligatoire, en réponse à un autre point soulevé lors de l’agrément.

De plus amples renseignements sur les améliorations en cours sont accessibles en ligne.

Je me réjouis de nos progrès et je sais que nous prenons les bonnes mesures, abordant chaque problème de façon systématique. Bien qu’il soit impossible de prédire l’issue de la prochaine visite officielle d’agrément de notre programme d’études médicales de premier cycle en 2017, les dirigeants et les équipes du programme continuent de hausser la barre et d’innover selon les meilleures pratiques en éducation. Notre programme de MDCM sera plus solide que jamais. Par-dessus tout, je n’ai aucun doute que la qualité de nos diplômés en médecine demeurera exceptionnelle.

Je vous remercie de la constance de votre engagement et de votre soutien.

David Eidelman, MDCM
Vice-principal (Santé et affaires médicales)
Doyen de la Faculté de médecine

* CACMS/LCME : Comité d’agrément des facultés de médecine du Canada et Liaison Committee on Medical Education des États-Unis.


Three athletes among 22 McGillians headed for Rio

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 13:52
Dori Yeats, / Photo courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Committee

Wrestler Dori Yeats, in red, is the only current McGill student (Engineering) competing at the Rio Olympics. / Photo courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Committee

By Earl Zukerman

Three athletes are among a 22-member entourage of McGill graduates and students headed to Rio de Janeiro to serve in an official capacity at the Summer Olympic Games, Aug. 5-21. The athletes, all from Montreal, include wrestler Dorothy Yeats, an engineering student, and a pair of fencers – both recent graduates – Maximilien Van Haaster (B.Ed. Kinesiology ’16) and Joseph Polossifakis (B. Com ’14).

Among the 14 officials and coaches heading to Rio are a number of former prominent McGill athletes, including IOC Member Richard Pound (swimming, BCom’62, BCL’67), IOC director of legal affairs Howard Stupp (wrestling, BEng’78, LLB’83, BCL’83) and IOC Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission member; Sylvia Sweeney (basketball; B.Mus ’75) – all natives of Montreal.

The Canadian Olympic Committee contingent includes modern pentathlon coach John Hawes (swimming; BSc ’72, DipEd ’73) of Pointe Claire, Que., COC director of team services Derek Covington (track & field; MA’92) of Montreal, manager of team services Marie-Andrée Lessard (volleyball; BCom ’01) of LaSalle, Que., and COC board member Julie Payette (BEng ’86), a former astronaut who previously competed on the McGill cross-country running team.

Danielle Dobney, currently a doctoral student will serve as a therapist with the Canadian women’s basketball team.

Danielle Dobney, currently a doctoral student  will serve as a therapist with the Canadian women's basketball team.

Doctoral student Danielle Dobney is at the Rio Games as a therapist with the Canadian women’s basketball team. / Photo courtesy of Canada Basketball.

Rounding out the squad of McGill grads on the mission staff is Eric Myles (COC executive director, sport; Executive MBA ’10), Sophie Gadoury (COC project manager, team services; BEd PE ’09), Shane Fombuena (COC assistant manager, Performance Centre; BEd PE ’13), Hayley Wyatt (COC outfitting exchanges officer; BEd PE ’09), director of National Sports Federation leadership Marg McGregor (Executive MBA ’08) and athlete performance officer Martine Dugrenier (BEd PE ’08) of Laval, Que.

In addition to those listed above, five McGill alumni are off to Rio with the CBC and SRC, the Canadian TV rights broadcaster, namely CBC president Hubert T. Lacroix (BCL ’76, MBA ’81), Olympic Games Daytime co-host David Amber (BA ’93), rowing and canoe/kayak commentator, senior consulting producer Bob Babinski (BA ’86), Douglas Dirks (BSc PE ’86) and Chantal Vallée (MSc ’01), who served two years as an assistant coach with the basketball Martlets (1999 to 2001) and will be working at the Rio Games as a hoops analyst for CTV.

Not included in the count above are a couple of non-graduates with close ties to the University. Governor General David Johnston will serve as Canada’s official representative to the Games and Marie-Claude Dion is a therapist with the Canadian judo team. Johnston served as principal and vice-chancellor at McGill from 1979 to 1994, while Dion is currently employed in the McGill Sportmedicine Clinic.

McGill has a long tradition of involvement with the Olympic Games and the University’s Percival Molson Memorial Stadium served as the field hockey tournament venue for the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The athletes heading to Rio de Janeiro are among 125 McGill students or grads that have gone on to Olympic glory over the past century. These McGillians have won a combined total of 31 Olympic medals, nine of them golden, in addition to eight silvers and 14 bronzes.

McGill’s first-ever Olympian was the legendary Percival Molson, who competed in track and field at the 1904 Summer Games in St. Louis. The University has also had two of its athletes serve as flagbearer in the opening ceremonies – boxer Dr. George B. Maughan at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles and track star James Worrall at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

R. Tait McKenzie, a renowned McGill gymnast, was the only artist to take part in five Olympics art competitions, winning a bronze medal at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles in “mixed sculpturing – medals and reliefs.”

The most decorated McGill Olympian is the late Dr. Phil Edwards, a graduate from the faculty of medicine, who racked up five bronze medals while representing Canada in track & field at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932) and Berlin (1936). He was the first Canadian male to win medals in three different Olympiads and his achievement stood for 66 years until matched by short-track speed-skater Marc Gagnon (1994, 1998, 2002), who claimed three golds and a pair of bronzes.

Six McGill students have struck gold, five of them at the Winter Olympics.

Hockey goaltender Kim St-Pierre earned gold at three Olympiads (2002 in Salt Lake City, 2006 in Turin and 2010 in Vancouver). Two of her McGill teammates – Charline Labonté and Catherine Ward – also were part of the golden squad in 2010, which added to the gold that Labonté won in 2006. Freestyle skier Jennifer Heil struck gold in 2006 and silver in 2010.

Swimmer George Hodgson, who reached the top of the podium twice at Stockholm in 1912, is the only McGillian to strike gold at the Summer Olympics



22 membres de la grande famille de McGill en route pour les Jeux olympiques de Rio

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 13:51
La lutteuse Dorothy Yeats, étudiante en génie. / Photo : Canadian Olympic Committee

Dori Yeats, / Photo courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Committee

Par Earl Zukerman

Trois athlètes feront partie d’un groupe de 21 diplômés et étudiants de McGill qui participera à titre officiel aux Jeux olympiques d’été de Rio du 5 au 21 août prochain. Les athlètes mcgillois, tous de Montréal, sont la lutteuse Dorothy Yeats, étudiante en génie, et les escrimeurs – et récents diplômés – Maximilien Van Haaster (B. Sc. Éd., option kinésiologie, 2016) et Joseph Polossifakis (B. Com. 2014).31

Parmi les 14 entraîneurs et représentants officiels en route pour Rio se trouvent d’anciens athlètes mcgillois de renom, dont Richard Pound (natation, B. Com. 1962, B.C.L. 1967), Membre du Comité international olympique, Howard Stupp (lutte, B. Ing. 1978, L.L.B. 1983, B.C.L. 1983), directeur des Affaires juridiques du Comité international olympique, et Sylvia Sweeney (basket-ball, B. Mus. 1975), membre de la Commission pour la culture et l’éducation olympique du Comité international olympique, tous de Montréal.

L’équipe compte également l’entraîneur de pentathlon moderne John Hawes (natation, B. Sc. 1972, Dipl. Éd. 1973) de Pointe-Claire, le directeur des services aux équipes du Comité olympique canadien Derek Covington (athlétisme, M.A. 1992), de Montréal, la responsable des services aux équipes Marie-Andrée Lessard (volleyball, B. Com. 2001) de LaSalle, et l’ex-astronaute Julie Payette (cross-country, B. Ing. 1986, D. Sc. 2003), membre du conseil d’administration du Comité olympique canadien.

La famille de diplômés de McGill qui se rendront aux Jeux comprend également Danielle Dobney, étudiante au doctorat qui agira à titre de thérapeute du sport auprès de l’équipe féminine canadienne de basketball, Eric Myles (directeur exécutif COC, sport; M.B.A. pour cadres 2010), Hayley Wyatt (responsable des échanges de vêtements COC; B. Éd., 2009), Sophie Gadoury (gestionnaire de programme COC, services aux équipes; B. Éd., 2009), Shane Fombuena (gestionnaire adjointe, Centre de performance; B. Éd., 2013), Marg McGregor (M.B.A. pour cadres 2008), directrice des Services aux fédérations nationales de sport du Comité olympique canadien, et Martine Dugrenier (B. Sc. Éd., option éducation physique et santé, 2008) de Laval, qui sera là pour soutenir les athlètes.

En outre, cinq diplômés de McGill feront partie de l’équipe de la CBC/SRC, télédiffuseur officiel du Canada pour les Jeux olympiques, dont Hubert T. Lacroix (B.C.L. 1976, M.B.A. 1981), président de CBC/Radio-Canada, David Amber (B.A. 1993), coanimateur de l’émission quotidienne sur les Jeux diffusée pendant le créneau de jour, producteur consultant principal Bob Babinski (BA ’86), Douglas Dirks (B. Sc. Éd., option éducation physique et santé, 1986), commentateur en aviron et en canoë-kayak, ainsi que Chantal Vallée (M. Sc. 2001), qui a été entraîneuse adjointe de l’équipe de basketball des Martlets de 1999 à 2001 et agira à titre d’analyste dans cette discipline pour le réseau SRC.

Se joindront également au groupe deux personnes qui, sans être diplômées de l’Université McGill, entretiennent des liens étroits avec elle. Ainsi, le gouverneur général David Johnston agira à titre de représentant officiel du Canada aux Jeux, et Marie-Claude Dion apportera son aide à l’équipe canadienne de judo à titre de thérapeute. Le très honorable David Johnston a assumé les fonctions de principal et vice-chancelier de l’Université McGill de 1979 à 1994, et Mme Dion travaille à temps partiel à la Clinique de médecine sportive de McGill.

McGill est riche d’une longue tradition olympique. Le Stade Percival-Molson était notamment le site de compétition officiel pour les matchs de hockey sur gazon pendant les Jeux d’été de Montréal en 1976. Les athlètes en route pour Rio de Janeiro portent à 125 le nombre d’étudiants ou de diplômés de McGill ayant participé aux Olympiques au cours du dernier siècle. Au fil des ans, ces McGillois ont remporté 31 médailles olympiques, dont neuf d’or, huit d’argent et 14 de bronze.

Le premier Olympien mcgillois fut le légendaire Percival Molson, qui a participé aux Jeux d’été de 1904, à Saint-Louis, en athlétisme. Deux athlètes mcgillois ont également été choisis comme porte-drapeau lors des cérémonies d’ouverture, soit le Dr George B. Maughan (boxe) aux Jeux de 1932 à Los Angeles et James Worrall (athlétisme) aux Jeux de 1936 à Berlin.

R. Tait McKenzie, gymnaste mcgillois de renom, est quant à lui le seul artiste à avoir pris part à cinq compétitions artistiques olympiques, remportant une médaille de bronze aux Jeux de 1932 à Los Angeles dans la catégorie « sculptures assorties – médaillons et reliefs ».

Le McGillois qui s’est le plus distingué aux Olympiques est le regretté Phil Edwards, diplômé de la Faculté de médecine, qui a remporté cinq médailles de bronze pour le Canada en athlétisme aux Jeux d’été d’Amsterdam (1928), de Los Angeles (1932) et de Berlin (1936). Il a été le premier Canadien à monter sur le podium lors de trois Olympiades, exploit égalé 66 ans plus tard par le patineur de vitesse sur courte piste Marc Gagnon, qui a récolté trois médailles d’or et deux de bronze lors de ses participations aux Jeux en 1994, 1998 et 2002.

Six étudiants de McGill ont remporté l’or aux Olympiques, cinq d’entre eux ayant réussi cet exploit aux Jeux d’hiver.

Ainsi, la gardienne de but Kim St-Pierre a récolté trois médailles d’or en hockey, soit en 2002 à Salt Lake City, en 2006 à Turin et en 2010 à Vancouver. Deux de ses coéquipières à McGill ont également remporté l’or en 2010, soit Catherine Ward et Charline Labonté. Cette dernière avait également mérité l’or aux Jeux de 2006. La skieuse de bosses Jennifer Heil a quant à elle remporté l’or en 2006 et l’argent en 2010.

Le nageur George Hodgson, qui est monté sur la plus haute marche du podium à deux reprises à Stockholm en 1912, est le seul athlète mcgillois à avoir remporté une médaille d’or aux Jeux d’été.

Maintaining a healthy heart through bile acids

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 16:07

4411-PAPER-HEART-MAINCanadian discovery may soon lead to the prevention of cardiac fibrosis

(Source: McGill Newsroom)

Groundbreaking research from the University of Alberta and McGill  has opened the door towards the future prevention of cardiac fibrosis — a condition leading to heart failure for which there is currently no treatment.

The collaborative study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and published in PLOS One, examined the molecular mechanisms that lead to cardiac fibrosis in a pre-clinical model. The study found the specific triggers activating the development of fibrosis which accelerates heart failure. Blocking the triggers through the use of a specific kind of bile acid prevented cardiac fibrosis from occurring.

“This is something that nobody has ever seen before,” says Marek Michalak, co-principal investigator and a distinguished university professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. “Cardiac fibrosis is considered a permanent remodeling of the heart. Inevitably it leads to heart failure and eventually death. The bottom line is that this shows for the first time that cardiac fibrosis is preventable.”

Luis Agellon is a professor at McGill’s School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

Luis Agellon is a professor at McGill’s School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

“It offers hope to those who are living with heart failure,” adds Luis Agellon, co-principal investigator and a professor at McGill’s School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. “Prevention of fibrosis will extend the ability of the heart to continue to function, even if at a reduced capacity. Currently patients with heart failure have poor quality of life and a dismal prognosis. Improving their quality of life will do wonders for these individuals.”

Fibrosis is an early step on the path to heart failure. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation there are currently 1.3-million Canadians living with heart disease or heart failure — a condition that severely limits physical activity because the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood that the body needs. Once a person is diagnosed with heart failure, about 30 per cent will die within the first year.

Cardiac fibrosis itself is caused by a variety of factors including high blood pressure, overwork of cardiac muscle, and long term consumption of a diet that is high in both saturated fat and sugar — all cause increased stress to heart cells. Individuals with diabetes, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and heart transplant recipients are also known to be at high risk.

“It’s almost like building a scar,” says Michalak. “It’s exactly the same type of biological activity but it’s happening in the tissue in the heart. It destroys the ability of the heart to function normally.”

The team is now pushing forward with additional studies to see if the same therapeutic effect can be achieved in humans. They also aim to gain a better understanding of exactly how bile acids can prevent cardiac fibrosis from occurring.

“We don’t yet have a full understanding — nobody does — of how the bile acid actually does what it does in heart cells,” explains Michalak. “So, another phase of the work is to find out what actually happens within heart cells at the molecular level. How can this bile acid affect the heart in such a dramatic way?”

Once that occurs, the team hopes to work with cardiologists to quickly move the research into clinical trials involving chemotherapy and heart transplant patients.

“If cardiac fibrosis can be stopped, then that could substantially improve the outcome for people at risk,” says Agellon. “This would be a significant advance in the fight against heart disease.”

Read the article online.


Un cœur en santé grâce aux acides biliaires

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 15:53

4411-PAPER-HEART-MAINUne découverte canadienne pourrait bientôt permettre de prévenir la fibrose cardiaque

(Source: Salle de Presse)

Des chercheurs de l’Université de l’Alberta et de McGill ont réalisé une percée majeure qui pourrait bientôt permettre de prévenir la fibrose cardiaque, une affection conduisant à l’insuffisance cardiaque, pour laquelle il n’existe aucun traitement. Leurs travaux ont été financés par les Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada.

Dans le cadre de cette étude, dont les résultats ont été publiés dans la revue PLOS One, les chercheurs ont examiné les mécanismes moléculaires à l’origine de la fibrose cardiaque dans un modèle préclinique. Ces travaux leur ont permis de découvrir les facteurs déclenchants de cette affection qui précipite l’apparition de l’insuffisance cardiaque. En faisant obstacle à ces facteurs déclenchants au moyen de certains acides biliaires, ils ont réussi à prévenir la survenue de fibrose cardiaque.

« Personne jusqu’ici n’avait encore obtenu de tels résultats », affirme Marek Michalak, cochercheur principal de l’étude et distingué professeur au Département de biochimie de la Faculté de médecine et de médecine dentaire de l’Université de l’Alberta. « La fibrose cardiaque est considérée comme un remodelage permanent des structures cardiaques. Elle mène inévitablement vers l’insuffisance cardiaque et, ultimement, la mort. Nos travaux montrent donc pour la première fois qu’il est possible de prévenir la fibrose cardiaque. »


Luis Agellon, professeur à l’École de diététique et de nutrition humaine

« Les résultats que nous avons obtenus offrent une lueur d’espoir à ceux qui vivent avec une insuffisance cardiaque », ajoute Luis Agellon, cochercheur principal et professeur à l’École de diététique et de nutrition humaine de McGill. « La prévention de la fibrose permettra au cœur de fonctionner plus longtemps, même s’il fonctionne moins bien. À l’heure actuelle, les insuffisants cardiaques ont une mauvaise qualité de vie et leur pronostic est sombre. L’amélioration de la qualité de vie fera une énorme différence chez ces patients. »

La fibrose est l’une des premières étapes menant vers l’insuffisance cardiaque. Selon la Fondation des maladies du cœur et de l’AVC, 1,3 million de Canadiens vivent avec une maladie du cœur ou une insuffisance cardiaque, ce qui limite considérablement leurs activités puisque leur cœur ne peut faire circuler suffisamment de sang riche en oxygène dans toutes les parties de leur corps. Environ 30 pour cent des personnes qui souffrent d’insuffisance cardiaque meurent dans l’année qui suit le diagnostic.

Divers facteurs jouent un rôle déterminant dans l’apparition de la fibrose cardiaque ‒ dont l’hypertension artérielle, une surcharge de travail du muscle cardiaque et la consommation pendant de nombreuses années d’aliments riches en sucre et en gras saturés ‒, lesquels imposent un stress supplémentaire aux cellules cardiaques. Les diabétiques, les patients cancéreux soumis à des traitements de chimiothérapie et les receveurs d’une greffe cardiaque sont particulièrement exposés à la fibrose cardiaque.

« On pourrait comparer cela à la formation d’une cicatrice », affirme le professeur Michalak. « La fibrose cardiaque met en jeu le même type d’activité biologique, mais cette dernière s’exerce au niveau du tissu cardiaque. La fibrose détruit la capacité du cœur de fonctionner normalement. »

L’équipe réalise maintenant d’autres études afin de déterminer si les mêmes effets thérapeutiques peuvent être observés chez les humains. Les chercheurs souhaitent également mieux comprendre comment les acides biliaires contribuent à prévenir la fibrose cardiaque.

« Personne ne comprend encore parfaitement comment les acides biliaires exercent leur action sur les cellules cardiaques », explique le professeur Michalak. « Il nous faut donc maintenant comprendre ce qui se passe au niveau moléculaire dans les cellules cardiaques. Comment les acides biliaires peuvent-ils agir sur le cœur de façon aussi spectaculaire? »

Une fois que les chercheurs auront compris ces mécanismes, ils souhaitent travailler avec des cardiologues afin que le fruit de leurs recherches fasse l’objet d’essais cliniques sur la fibrose cardiaque chez des patients soumis à des traitements de chimiothérapie et des receveurs d’une greffe cardiaque.

« S’il devient possible de stopper la fibrose cardiaque, nous pourrons améliorer de façon substantielle les résultats chez les personnes exposées à cette affection », affirme le professeur Agellon. « Ce serait là une avancée importante dans la lutte contre les maladies du cœur. »

L’article Inhibition of the Unfolded Protein Response Mechanism Prevents Cardiac Fibrosis a été publié en ligne dans la revue PLOS ONE le 21 juillet 2016.

Chris Buddle named Dean of Students

Tue, 08/02/2016 - 14:55

Chris Buddle began his five-year mandate as Dean of Students on Aug. 1.

On Aug. 1, Chris Buddle, an award-winning researcher and professor in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences (and occasional contributor to the McGill Reporter), donned a new hat as he officially began his five-year term as the University’s Dean of Students.

“The Dean of Students is an appointment that can help facilitate positive change at my University. I have developed a deep passion and interest in student affairs, and I have developed broader interests in administration and service,” Buddle wrote in his blog, Arthropod Ecology, “The motto of my campus is ‘Mastery for service’, and although cliché, I want to work to further my skills and abilities as an administrator, and I want to use these skills to best serve this University and most importantly, its students. I want to continue to work collaboratively with all members of our community, build respectful and trusting relationships among all, and help our students achieve success in and out of the classroom.

“I want to help students have a truly exceptional experience at University,” he wrote.

A graduate of the University of Alberta (PhD ’01), and the University of Guelph (BSc. ’96), Buddle joined the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, in 2002. He currently holds the rank of Associate Professor, specializing in the natural history and biodiversity of insects and spiders, with an emphasis on Arctic systems.

Buddle is the recipient of the Macdonald Campus Award for Teaching Excellence (2008) as well as the C. Gordon Hewitt Award for Excellence in Entomology in Canada (2006), awarded by the Entomological Society of Canada, and the Desire2Learn Teaching Innovation Award (2014), from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Since 2014, Buddle has served the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as Associate Dean of Student Affairs. In this role, he oversaw recruitment activities for the Faculty, promoted academic integrity, was a champion of student rights, and worked extensively on supporting the overall wellbeing of the Macdonald Campus community.

Buddle was named to the position following an extensive, international search conducted by the Advisory Committee for the Selection of a Dean of Students. The committee made its recommendation to the Executive Committee of the McGill University Board of Governors in July and the Board accepted the recommendation.