What's New in Research
Congress at Brock to bring 8,000 scholars to Niagara in May
April 15, 2014
In just under two months’ time, Brock University will welcome Canada’s largest academic gathering to its campus and to Niagara.
Organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Congress 2014 will bring 8,000 academics, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners together to share findings, refine ideas and build partnerships that will help shape the Canada of tomorrow.
“I think anyone who was here in 1996 (when the University last hosted Congress) will see Brock has grown in all directions, not just in student population,” says Jane Koustas, Brock’s academic convenor for Congress 2014.
For seven days from May 24 to 30, Congress at Brock - “Borders without Boundaries / Frontières sans limites” - will bring 70 learned societies and associations to the University.
“The theme Borders without Boundaries brings to mind not just our location on the Canada-U.S. border, but our intellectual GPS in a world where academic bearings are increasingly multidirectional, transdisciplinary and international,” says Douglas Kneale, Dean, Faculty of Humanities.
Therapeutic Recreation researchers team up with organizations across Ontario to put 'Minds in Motion'
April 11, 2014
Brock researchers have been working with a number of organizations across Ontario on a collaborative program called Minds in Motion.
The program is designed for people with early to mid-stage signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their care partners.
“Minds in Motion offers an environment that helps participants establish friendships with others who are living similar experiences,” says Suzie Lane, professor in Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University.
“Being held in a community-based multi-service centre, the program also exposes participants to additional recreation opportunities.”
The program focuses on two essential components to help put minds in motion.
The exercise component is led by a CCAA trained physical activity program leader (generally a staff member of the recreation/seniors centre) and is followed by a social component, including ‘brain fit’ games, social interaction facilitated by a Alzheimer Society coordinator and volunteers.
Brock prof appointed to an IJC committee
April 2, 2014
The International Joint Commission (IJC) has appointed Steven Renzetti as a member of the Science Priority Committee of the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board.
The board, consisting of seven members from Canada and seven from the United States, advises the IJC on issues concerning the implementation of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the two countries.
Renzetti will bring to the table his expertise in economics, addressing valuation (estimating how much water is worth), the costs and benefits of alternative treatments and the economic impacts in cases where water quality is declining, among other issues.
“I look forward to bringing to the IJC a novel perspective,” says Renzetti, noting that members generally tend to be water scientists and engineers. “The Commission has a daunting task of looking at all of the trans boundary waters, not just the Great Lakes. Assisting in the case of the Great Lakes Agreement will be a great opportunity and challenge for me.”
CIHR awards Brock University researchers more than $585,000
April 1, 2014
People who use wheelchairs are prone to getting pressure sores, which are painful, may cause serious infections, impair quality of life for children and their families and are expensive to the health-care system.
Children living with cerebral palsy (CP) are especially at risk for pressure sores, since their metabolic rates are high because of muscle spasticity, a reduced skin surface area available for sweat evaporation and are in wheelchairs most of the day.
To learn more about how and why wheelchair-bound children with CP are at risk for pressure sores, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has awarded a team of Brock University researchers more than $585,000. (Half of that funding comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council).
A group of senior scientists from the Department of Kinesiology - led by Bareket Falk and including Stephen Cheung, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Ergonomics, and Nota Klentrou - will examine a host of factors that make children living with CP particularly vulnerable.
Brock University geneticist renewed as Canada Research Chair
March 28, 2014
Ping Liang is fascinated by the stuff we’re made of.
He wants to know why one person is more likely to develop a certain disease than someone else, or why specific medical treatments are more effective in some people than others.
“I research how we humans are different from each other genetically, and how such information can be used to prevent and better treat diseases,” he says.
For this work, Liang is set to embark upon another five-year term as Canada Research Chair in Genomics and Bioinformatics.
“It’s an honour; it’s a prestigious title,” he says. “It gives you more opportunity to develop collaborations.”
Brock researchers, company, develop technology for mineral analysis
March 24, 2014
Brock University researchers are working with a Mississauga company to develop technology that dramatically speeds up mineral and ore analysis while reducing its impact on the environment.
When Brock alumnus Ravi Kanipayor, together with the technology company Chemquant, invented ColdBlock, they began working with a research group at Brock University to analyze environmental samples, such as contaminated soils, biosolids and sludges.
The analysis process involves dissolving samples - called “digestion” - to measure the contaminant metals in the samples.
The group found that it took 15 minutes or less to digest the samples when using ColdBlock.
Current conventional methods take up to four hours to digest samples using a technology often called hot block, which is basically a hot plate.
Brock team makes advance in green catalysis
March 18, 2014
A team of Brock University researchers has taken a major step in making chemical reactions cheaper and greener.
Traditionally, the process of catalysis - increasing the rate of a chemical reaction of two or more reactants by adding an additional substance called a catalyst - has relied upon the use of transition metals to be that catalyst.
Transition metals - which are elements, or pure chemical substances consisting of a single type of atom distinguished by its atomic number - have high melting and boiling points, are malleable and conduct electricity and heat.
Examples of transition metals include copper, nickel, rhodium, palladium, platinum, and gold.
But these metals can be precious, expensive, rare and toxic.