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Alien invasions

"The world will suffer more ecological explosions and surprises as alien species invade new habitats and compete with domestic organisms for survival," Anthony Ricciardi, a professor of environmental science at McGill, warns.

Published: 29 Oct 2007

Arctic: The melt accelerates

Canadian and American climate-change experts have been predicting since December 2006 that the bank of ice covering the Arctic Ocean will completely disappear by the summer of 2040. Now a team led by McGill researcher Bruno Tremblay has revised their projection and estimates that the phenomenon will occur 20 or 30 years earlier.

Published: 26 Oct 2007

Prix Michel-Jurdant: Donald Smith

L'Acfas (Association francophone pour le savoir) awards the Prix Michel-Jurdant to McGill researcher Donald Smith.

Published: 15 Oct 2007

Prix Urgel-Archambault: Victoria Kaspi

L'Acfas (Association francophone pour le savoir) awards Victoria Kaspi the Prix Urgel-Archambault.

Published: 15 Oct 2007

Prix Adrien-Pouliot: Edith Hamel

L'Acfas (Association francophone pour le savoir) awards the Prix Adrien-Pouliot to Edith Hamel, professor and researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Published: 15 Oct 2007

Transnational corporations accused of propping up genocidal regimes

From around the world, survivors of genocide and witnesses to it, human rights activists, legal scholars and legislators are travelling to Montreal to attend the three-day Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide, held by the McGill University Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. In an editorial in the Gazette, Janet Bagnall discusses corporate complicity in genocide.

Published: 10 Oct 2007

Time for a new attitude on universities: McGill Principal

As McGill prepares to roll out a major fundraising campaign, Heather Munroe-Blum says Quebec is in "urgent need" of a new culture that places a higher premium both on post-secondary education and on the philanthropy required to pay for it. Munroe-Blum said Quebec lags well behind Ontario in the percentage of students who attend university and complete degrees.

Published: 10 Oct 2007

Health study: Antibiotic prescriptions

Doctors who are overworked, have been trained in other countries or who have been practising longer are more likely to prescribe antibiotics inappropriately, according to research out of McGill that highlights a major problem facing public-health officials. The study, published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, assessed the prescribing habits of hundreds of Quebec doctors over an eight-year period, identifying those who prescribe antibiotics in ways that can lead to drug resistance. Genevieve Cadieux, the study's co-author and a researcher at McGill's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, said, "The most daunting concern is that we're not going to have effective drugs to treat illnesses." Robyn Tamblyn, who co-authored the report, said more research is needed to determine why doctors in these broad categories seem to be more likely to prescribe inappropriately.

Published: 9 Oct 2007

What provided that spark of life?

On Thursday, McGill will host the third annual Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium: Origin of Life: What Was the Spark of Life? Four of the world's foremost experts on the chemical and biological origins of human existence will debate a question that man has asked for centuries. In Saturday's Gazette Professor Joe Schwarcz discusses some of these historical beliefs.

Published: 29 Sep 2007

McGill's Middle East Program gets royal nod

Queen Rania of Jordan recently conducted a tour of schools in Amman, Jordan, which included a visit to the Community Development Centre (CDC), a social agency affiliated with the University of Jordan (UJ) and primarily funded by CIDA. The centre is currently running 12 community development programs, which directly affect between 15,000-20,000 underprivileged residents of the area annually. Five of the centre's core professional staff, including the director, are graduates of McGill with master's degrees in social work through the McGill Middle East Program (MMEP). "The fellowship program is a clear example of how professional social workers can work with members of the community to improve conditions and advance civil society," MMEP manager David Leduc told the Jordan Times. Canadian ambassador Margaret Huber met with Queen Rania and expressed the Canadian government's wish to see "more social centres like the CDC in Jordan." The Queen suggested stronger collaboration between McGill and UJ, in order to serv

Published: 26 Sep 2007

Invasive crab species identified in Panama Canal

A Smithsonian scientist and his colleague from McGill report that a potentially harmful invasive crab species that has spread to several countries is now established and reproducing in Panama. Mark Torchin, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and Dominique Roche, a McGill pre-doctoral student, report their research in the September issue of Aquatic Invasions.

Published: 20 Sep 2007

Inuit health survey

The impact of diet change is the focus of the Inuit Health Survey, headed by McGill epidemiologist Grace Egeland. On board the Amundsen icebreaker since Aug. 17, Egeland is leading this comprehensive look at the health and welfare of Inuit in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Labrador's Nunatsiavut communities.

Published: 20 Sep 2007

How big is your prefrontal cortex?

Psychologists from McGill, the University of Toronto, Harvard and the University of Hawaii have developed new computerized measures of "executive intelligence" to predict whether job candidates will excel in managerial roles. The research findings, published in the August issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, demonstrate that those who do exceptionally well at tasks assessing the cognitive functions of the prefrontal cortex -- often labelled the "executive" of the brain -- obtain high ratings of managerial competence from supervisors. Robert Pihl was the researcher involved from McGill.

Published: 14 Sep 2007

Better bedside manners

In the first comprehensive study of clinical-skills exams given to doctors, McGill researcher Robyn Tamblyn showed that poor scores in the communication portion of the test are highly predictive of which new doctors are likely to clash with patients in the future. By evaluating communication skills early on, say the study's authors, physicians and academics can better train and select the next generation of medical professionals.

Published: 6 Sep 2007

Experimental antidepressants offer faster relief

A McGill study by Guillaume Lucas (now at U de M) and the late Guy Debonnel finds that, in tests on rats, a new class of antidepressants showed dramatically shorter effectiveness times than traditional SSRIs. Lucas said he hopes the finding will spur research into the family of drugs, raising the prospect of faster-acting antidepressants. The study is published in the Sept. 6 issue of the journal Neuron.

Published: 6 Sep 2007