What's New in Research
NSERC announces research grants for the next five years
June 26, 2014
Metarhizium, a widespread soil-borne fungus that feasts upon more than 200 different kinds of insects, has long been known to be an insect pathogen, destroying soil-borne pests by robbing them of nitrogen.
But breakthrough research by biologist Michael Bidochka and his team two years ago found that the fungus is also able to transfer nitrogen from the insects that they kill to plants via their root systems, making the fungus a natural fertilizer as well as an insect repellant in agriculture.
“This discovery generates new knowledge that enables us to better understand the nitrogen cycle and soil ecosystems,” Bidochka said at the time. “We’re going to go on and do more complex things based on this research.”
He and his team will now do just that, thanks to a $165,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
Brock launches UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability
June 25, 2015
Brock University has been awarded a UNESCO Chair that will help to build capacity in sustainability science research and its practical transfer to society.
The chair, which will operate under the theme “Community Sustainability: From Local to Global,” is one of more than 811 UNESCO Chairs worldwide and a network of 18 in Canada facilitated by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. The Brock chair is the only one in Canada located at an institution situated within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The main focus of the chair is to strengthen initiatives in sustainable agriculture and community-based natural resource management in Canada, China and other countries such as Ecuador, in order to develop concrete actions and best practices transferable to various countries around the world.
The first person to fill this new role is biologist Liette Vasseur, a member of Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC).
CCOVI director recognized for excellence in science, technology and innovation
June 18, 2014
Debbie Inglis, director of Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), has been recognized with the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce’s award for excellence in science, technology and innovation at its annual Women in Business luncheon.
The award celebrates the achievements of women whose business and community contributions have made a significant difference in Niagara. Inglis, who received the award at a June 13 luncheon, said she was honoured and surprised to be recognized. She said she accepted the award on behalf of her team at CCOVI, noting the collective effort required to have a positive impact through research on the region’s grape and wine industry.
“I’m very fortunate at Brock to be encouraged in my job to think outside the box, be creative and innovative, and work to break down barriers that prevent progress,” Inglis said at the presentation.
Researchers receive internal grants
June 10, 2014
When you’re in the deep, dark hole of depression, it’s hard to claw your way out. You lack the energy and motivation to pursue enjoyable activities and connect with friends, but that’s exactly what you need to do to get better.
Recreation and Leisure Studies professor Colleen Hood is researching — and implementing — best practices in therapeutic recreation for people with psychiatric illness. She’s using her research to create a centre at the St. Catharines Hospital for in-patients, outpatients and day patients that will offer “a broad spectrum of interventions and programs.
“What we try to do is help people find those interests and passions in life that feed their soul, generate positive emotion, help them manage anxiety and help them feel connected to other people and the community in some way,” she says.
“This combats all the things that go with mental illness that are so terrible: isolation, stigmatization, passivity.”
Brock biologist aims to help women achieve equality in traditionally ‘male’ fields
June 5, 2014
A group of science students head to the pub to discuss their research project - without their female members present. A male researcher offers to “help” his female colleague, since he has “more” experience and expertise than her, although she has been working in the same field longer.
Discrimination against women in traditionally “male” fields - sciences, engineering, technology, trades - ranges from the subtle to the blatant, but all have the effect of keeping women out, explains Brock biologist Liette Vasseur.
“In many of these fields, women are still very rare,” she says. “In fact, the numbers are going down in some fields, not up. It’s not changing too much from before.”
Vasseur is the newly elected president of the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology (CCWESTT).
Scary scans make smokers stop smoking: new Brock research
May 28, 2014
Smokers, take note. There’s an image that could alarm even the hardest core into giving up the vice for good.
It’s a computer tomography (CT) scan of the smoker’s lungs. The more serious the CT results, the more likely a smoker will be to quit smoking, according to new research by Brock University epidemiologist Martin Tammemagi, published May 28 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
“Abnormal screening results may present a 'teachable moment'," says Tammemagi. "Future lung cancer screening programs should take advantage of this opportunity to apply effective smoking cessation programs."
Researcher looks at why fewer of us go out to vote
May 7, 2014
With Ontario preparing for a provincial election June 12, voter turnout in all levels of Canadian elections continues to hit historical lows.
Canada is 127th out of 195 countries in terms of proportion of registered voters who exercised their right in the most recent federal parliamentary elections. Provincially, an Ontario byelection in Niagara Falls this year was fiercely contested on the campaign trail, but on election day fewer than four of 10 eligible voters showed up at the polls.
The Niagara Community Observatory at Brock University has released a policy brief that examines this decline, reviewing voter turnout in Niagara Region and also discussing voting trends in a national context.