News

  • Brock earns five semifinal spots in Canada-wide student research competition

    Five Brock University student research videos have made it to the semifinals of a national competition that showcases science research being done in universities across Canada.

    The Science, Action! competition features student-produced, 60-second videos on research projects funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), one of Brock’s major research funders.

    After University students from all over the country submitted videos in January, NSERC chose 75 entries, including seven from Brock, which the agency posted on its website. NSERC then announced the Top 25 list of semifinalists, which includes five Brock videos:

     

     

    The students’ ability to convey key messages behind their research to the general public impressed Marty Mako, Acting Manager at Niagara Region Public Health. The organization is a key knowledge mobilization partner for a variety of Brock-based research projects.

    Mako said students took the challenge of explaining their work in simple terms and ran with it, creating “well done” videos that were enjoyable and informative to watch.

    The knowledge mobilization process is typically informed and shaped by those who would use the research, said Jayne Morrish, Knowledge Mobilization Officer with Brock’s Centre for Lifespan Development Research.

     

    Next month, a panel of judges will select the Top 15 from the 25 videos. The first-place winner will receive $3,500; second place, $3,000; and third place, $2,750. The remaining dozen will receive $2,500.

    Read the full story here

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  • Brock research team collaborates with Canadian silicone company

    Chemistry instructor Paul Zelisko and CSL Silicones Inc. are working together to improve a chemical method involved in the production of the company’s proprietary silicone polymers used to manufacture products that insulate high-voltage insulators.

    Zelisko’s research team at Brock includes a postdoc and four undergraduate and graduate students.

    “We are truly pleased and privileged to have two senior PhD level researchers and the laboratory manager from the partnering company who are coaching, mentoring and engaging students in this project,” he says.

    The Brock team is using specialized equipment and testing methods found within Brock labs, including matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, viscometry, a durometer, contact angle micrometer and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

    Zelisko began working with CSL Silicones nearly four years ago on a project funded by an Engage Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and VIP I grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

    Successes from that first project laid the groundwork for the current research, which began in the fall and was funded in part by Ontario Centres of Excellence, along with CSL as its industry partner.

    “It’s an exciting partnership,” says Zelisko. “They’re a wholly-owned Canadian company committed to scientific and applied research, working collaboratively with academia to improve their products, while satisfying their global client’s application needs.”

    The partnership is expected to create two Brock University student co-op positions in manufacturing and scientific research.

    Read the full story here

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  • Enhanced support available for international students during exam season

    Brock International Services is extending its programming to support international students linguistically and academically prior to and during final exams.

    In an effort to maximize student success, workshops, individual appointments, study groups and drop-in services will be available throughout March and April.

    Free workshops will be held focusing on a variety of relevant skills for final exams, including academic writing, research and citation, group work, delivering presentations, speaking, planning and preparing assignments and exams, and critical thinking and reading.

    Registration is required, as space is limited and can be done online through the Brock International website.

    International students also have access to drop-in service Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Scotiabank Atrium of the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex.

    Drop-in sessions average about 20 minutes in length and are run by qualified academic tutors that offer one-on-one academic language support in a variety of subjects such as grammar, writing and critical thinking.

    Individual, specialized appointments are also available for students that need additional support, with support specialists Vander Tavares (vtavares@brocku.ca) and Tolkin Yunusov (tyunusov@brocku.ca).

    The International Centre will have quiet study spaces available for all Brock students during exam season, which begins April 12. Both Tavares and Yunusov will be available to host exam study group sessions upon request.

    More information on upcoming workshops is available on the Brock International website.


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  • Cuvée 2018 toasts 30 years of excellence in Ontario wine

    With the Cuvée Grand Tasting celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, organizers have pulled out all the stops to highlight the best VQA wine and food Ontario has to offer.

    Organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), the Cuvée Grand Tasting is the largest celebration of Ontario VQA wine and food of its kind. This year’s event takes place Friday, March 23 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, with the Cuvée en Route passport program once again extending the wine celebration all weekend long at participating wineries.

    Cuvée is the most prestigious and largest celebration of Ontario wine, with more than 750 people attending last year’s gala. Proceeds from the weekend support grape and wine scholarships for Brock’s oenology and viticulture students as well as industry-driven research initiatives at CCOVI.

    Cuvée manager Barb Tatarnic said the Grand Tasting allows guests to enjoy wines from 48 of Ontario’s top winemakers, and culinary delights from celebrated local chefs. Exclusive tastings will be available from up-and-coming wineries and restaurants, as well as the favourites guests have come to know and love.

    “We always strive to bring a mix of new and unique wine and culinary partners to Cuvée, as well as highlight the event’s long-standing partners,” Tatarnic said. “This year will be a true testament to that commitment, as we ring in 30 years of winemaking excellence with our best event yet.”

    Each of the 48 wineries will present two of their winemakers’ favourite wines at the Grand Tasting, offering a rare chance to learn about each selection directly from the winemaker who created it.

    Full story here

    Tickets that include both the Friday night Grand Tasting and the weekend-long en Route passport are available online at cuvee.ca/tickets for $200 per person. Tickets for the en Route passport only are $30.

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  • Brock offers unlimited access to popular online learning platform

    Brock University students, faculty and staff now have unlimited access to Lynda.com, a leading online, self-paced learning platform.

    Lynda.com offers more than 5,000 video tutorials taught by recognized industry experts that help people learn business, technology, software and creative skills.

    Brock Training and Organizational Development Specialist Holly Bolvari says the platform is a great tool to add to Brock’s growing portfolio of professional development opportunities for employees.

    “An innovative learning tool like Lynda.com will allow individuals to further enhance their knowledge and skills for both their personal and professional development,” she says.

    In addition to providing employees with professional development opportunities, instructors can incorporate the website’s resources into their curricula by assigning video tutorials as coursework. Students can take courses that supplement their studies or help them gain skills that will better prepare them for a career.

    Popular courses include photography, design, IT, web, business, management and marketing.

    Courses can be accessed on-demand, at the user’s pace and schedule, from any desktop or mobile device. The Lynda.com mobile app allows for learning on the go.

    Tutorial videos are also available on Lynda.com that demonstrate how to use the platform.

    As part of the agreement eCampus Ontario negotiated with LinkedIn, Lynda.com will be available to Brock University faculty, staff and students until Sept. 21, 2020.

    How to access Lynda.com courses:

    •      Go to Lynda.com
    •      Click on the menu on the top of the screen.
    •      Click Sign In.
    •      Click the Sign in with your organization portal link.
    •      Enter brocku.ca and click Continue.
    •      Sign in with your Brock credentials. Enter your Brock username and password and click the Log in button.

    Individuals who are already Lynda.com users will need to identify that they have an account to bring their course history, playlists, certificates of completion and bookmarks to the new profile.


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  • Brock unveils a new showcase and a new era for environmental sustainability

    It was built nearly two centuries ago, but the oldest structure on Brock’s campus has been given new life and a new purpose as a focal point for the University’s sustainability efforts.

    Theal House, an original farm cottage that dates to 1837, has been transformed into the home of Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC), which produces world-class research and educates students in topics relating to environmental sustainability.

    Unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 28, the revamped space features sustainable flooring and furniture, as well as an integrated system that controls heating, cooling and lighting, and monitors real-time energy use for the entire campus.

    LED lighting has also been installed throughout the heritage building, with dimmer and daylight harvesting switches in place to reduce energy consumption.

    In addition to highlighting the space, Wednesday’s ceremony was an opportunity to solidify a new collaboration between the ESRC and Brock’s Facilities Management team. The collaboration is enshrined in a formal charter that brings together the academic and operations units on various sustainability initiatives on campus. It is also an important step forward for Brock’s new integrative approach to environmental sustainability, and deepens the University’s commitment to sustainability — one of the seven core values listed within its strategic plan.

    Also announced Wednesday was $5,000 in new scholarship funding provided by Toromont CAT that will support students studying sustainability.

    Read the full story here

     

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  • New Brock plan will cover tuition for international PhD students

    Moving to further deepen its robust research scene by attracting more global scholars, Brock University is increasing international doctoral fellowships to match the tuition costs for international students who are enrolled in a PhD program.

    The announcement comes just weeks after Brock said it will freeze tuition for international students in research-based master’s and PhD programs. The new initiatives take effect May 1.

    Officials say the moves are part of a strategy to broaden the scope of world-class research at Brock while creating an enriched campus experience that better prepares all students to succeed in a global career landscape.

    Jamie Mandigo, Brock’s Vice-Provost for Enrolment Management and International, said a large proportion of overseas doctoral students are attracted by the options they have to advance their careers with world-renowned researchers and in state-of-the-art facilities such as Brock’s Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex.

    “Bringing the next generation of researchers onto our campus to pursue their doctoral studies not only reflects our ongoing commitment to cutting-edge research, but also to the scientific pursuit of ideas and knowledge that crisscross international boundaries and borders.”

    Brock currently has 27 international students enrolled in doctoral studies and would like to see this number increase in all Faculties that offer PhD programs.

    Read the full story here

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  • FMS student research highlighted in national competition

    Seven Brock University entries have made the first cut in a national competition that showcases science research being done across the country.

    Science, Action! features student-produced, 60-second videos on research projects funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), one of Brock’s major research funders. This year’s competition includes 75 entries from all over Canada.

    Between now and Friday, March 2, the 25-most viewed videos will make it to the next round, where a panel of judges will then select the Top 15 for prizes.

    “We’re very proud of our students’ videos in the NSERC national competition,” says Brock Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon. “The quality and number of Brock entries attest to the talent and ambition of our students, and the central role that research plays in their education. It also indicates the strength of the research mentorship they receive from Brock faculty.”

    Brock University’s research videos are:

     

    Cell Talk (Matthew Mueller, Biological Sciences)

    Says that the root cause of several diseases today is a disruption in communication between cells and examines the language that cells use to talk to one another, and how this changes in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. “It can sometimes be a challenge to share my research with others in an understandable way. For me, this competition means that more people can simply see and understand what I do at the lab and why it is important.”

    DNA: A Mobile Molecule (Zakia Dahi and Jina Nanayakkara, Biological Sciences)

    Explores how DNA sequences that move around – called jumping genes” – copy and paste themselves into different parts of our genomes. The research aims to understand how “jumping genes” have led to human variation and disease. “Highlighting our work through a short video in this competition has helped us to get our family & friends excited about what we do,” says Nanayakkara.

    Jack Pine Growth, NT (Dana Harris, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre)

    Shows the role of weather on the production of cells (xylogenesis) of jack pine in the taiga shield of the boreal forest. The aim of this research is to better understand cell production rates of jack pine in high latitude regions of Canada and define the climate-growth relationship of this species. “Being able to share my research across Canada in a simple short 60 second video is amazing, especially to the residents of the northern regions I work in; I I have already received feedback from community members who are looking forward to hearing more about what research is taking place in these regions.”

    Memory and Intent (Sarah Henderson, Psychology and Biological Sciences)

    Explores how we experience both spontaneous and intentional memories as we age. In investigating the brain activity associated with both types of recall, we are hoping to counter common stereotypes of aging by showing that some aspects of memory are preserved with age. “Having my research be a part of NSERC’s Science Action contest is hugely important to me because it will allow me to get people thinking of aging in a more positive light which has been shown to promote positive mental and physical health outcomes.”

    Old Crow’s New Arctic (Brent Thorne, Earth Sciences)

    Shows the impacts that land cover (ie vegetation, soil, and permafrost) have on lake and river water chemistry in Old Crow Flats, Yukon. This research is crucial for understanding how lake rich Arctic regions will continue to change in response to longer warming periods as well as providing key insights to the local Vuntut Gwitchin community who live off of the land. “This competition provides my research an opportunity to increase resources spent on acquiring larger datasets which ultimately provide better insight on our study region.”

    On the fly (Taylor Lidster, Biological Sciences)

    Shows how the fruit fly is used to study inflammation in the gut. The researchers use genetic techniques and microscopy to see any changes in the gut environment, good or bad. “Having my video in the top 75 is extremely exciting because I am proud of my research and I enjoy explaining it to others, making it in the top 25 would be nothing short of amazing!”

    Wildfires of Yellowknife (Josef Viscek, Earth Sciences)

    Focuses on the Yellowknife, Northwest Territories region’s increasing wildfires in recent decades. The research involves monitoring how wildfire and drought conditions may be impacting the hydrology of northern boreal lakes. “The NSERC video contest is a great opportunity for us to showcase our Brock scientific research in an informative, one-minute promo that everyone can understand and appreciate.”


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  • Access to Dr. Francine McCarthy’s Invited Paper

    In November, Dr. Francine McCarthy presented a talk on “Freshwater resources in the Great Lakes Region – yesterday, today, and tomorrow…” as part of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre’s Transdisciplinary Seminar Series.

    Now, you can access the invited paper on which her Sustainability talk was based.

    Abstract
    Management of freshwater resources requires an understanding of the response of lakes to human impact. The long sedimentary records in lake archives hold the key to accurate forecasting. The remains of algae in “pollen” slides record two distinct phases of cultural eutrophication and siltation/turbidity resulting from soil erosion in sediments from two lakes in southern Ontario, Canada: 1) agricultural settlements by Iroquoian (Wendat/Huron) people around the middle of the last millennium and 2) widespread land-clearing by European colonists in the mid-nineteenth century, followed by industrial expansion and urbanization in the Great Lakes watershed to the present day. The half-cells of benthic desmids were particularly sensitive to turbidity associated with land clearing. In contrast, planktonic algae adapted to eutrophic waters thrived in response to increased agricultural runoff and human and animal waste during both intervals in cores from Lake Simcoe and in the well-documented varved sediments from Crawford Lake. These under-utilized microfossils can be useful proxies of human impact, particularly where mineralized microfossils are sparse due to dissolution.

    Access the paper here

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  • Liette Vasseur launches Sustainability Poetry Contest

    What kind of future do you want? That’s the question being asked this year as part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Poetry Day.

    Brock University Biological Sciences Professor and UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability Liette Vasseur, along with Brock’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, is putting out a call for submissions in this year’s 2018 Sustainability Poetry Contest. All Niagara residents are eligible to enter their original, unpublished poems with the theme of ‘The Future We Want’ for this year’s contest.

    UNESCO has been celebrating World Poetry Day annually since 1999. The idea is to use poetry as a social tool to bring awareness to social issues, give a voice to the community, promote linguistic diversity and change the way people view their place in the world.

    The Sustainability Poetry Contest, which is under the patronage of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, includes categories for elementary, high school and post-secondary students, as well as the general public. Both French and English poems are welcome.

    This year’s topic is derived from a 2015 United Nations outcome document that spurred the development of the 2030 Agenda, citing 17 sustainable development goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved by 2030.

    Poems can be submitted online until 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19 by visiting the UNESCO Chair’s website. Prizes such as books and gift cards, will be awarded in each of the four categories. Winners will be announced at the UNESCO World Poetry Day celebration on Friday, March 23 at Mahtay Café in downtown St. Catharines. The event is free, but registration on the Chair’s website is required as space is limited.

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