BIOLOGY IN THE NEWS:
Congratulations Honors Thesis students
On Saturday April 6th, over 80 students in the Honors Thesis course from Biology and Environmental Science presented the culmination of 8 months of work on their research projects. The students presented projects from the diverse categories of Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, Environmental Science and Genetics. Job well done to everyone!
Congratulations goes to the winners of the student choice awards for Best Presentation in each session (see photo above):
Malcolm Lau (Brian Neff)
Terrence Chang (Brock Fenton)
John Morris (Kathleen Hill)
Randa Stringer (Shiva Singh)
Katherine Rabicki (Frank Beier)
Sean Miletic (Rema Menassa)
Lauren Dow (Robert Cumming)
Zoe Chatzidakis (Greg Thorn)
On March 16th, thirty-nine of the students in the course also presented at the annual Ontario Biology Day at McMaster University in Hamilton. Again, Western was the largest contigent attending and all our students delivered very professional presentations. Several of our students took away top Honors in their sessions. For the poster session Cindy Kim received the award for Human Health. For the presentation sessions the following awards were received. Cell & Molecular Biology - Trish Tully (Mark Bernards); Environment - Scott McCain (Charlie Trick); Genetics - David Scaduto (Graham Thompson); and Physiology - Sara Handrigan (Scott Petrie)
Western researchers acquit tins in expedition's fate
By Paul Mayne, Western News April 11, 2013
While we may never know exactly what happened to the 129 men who were part of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Northwest Passage expedition in 1845, Western researchers have at least debunked some of the potential causes of death – that being lead poisoning. New research challenges long-held beliefs regarding the demise Franklin and his crew, in particular a landmark study in 1981, led by Owen Beattie, a since-retired anthropology professor emeritus at the University of Alberta. He concluded while the British crew most likely died of pneumonia and tuberculosis, lead poisoning was also a contributing factor due to the result of poorly soldered tin cans the crew were eating from.
But more than 30 years later, technology and scientific advancements have provided Western researchers, led by Chemistry professor Ron Martin, with evidence that faulty solder seals in tinned meat cans were, in fact, not the principle source of lead found in the remains of the Franklin crew members....
Martin and his Western colleagues Andrew Nelson, Steven Naftel and Sheila Macfie, collaborated with Keith Jones from Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York to examine bone samples using a Synchrotron (a particle accelerator used for taking X-rays), as well as scientists at the University of Windsor, utilizing laser-sampling technology. [read more]
[Globe and Mail article] [CBC news article]
Congratulations Jennifer Waugh: Angela Armitt award for excellence in teaching by part-time faculty
Jennifer Waugh is commonly known as ‘Professor Waughsome,’ and rightly so.
From small classes to those with upwards of 700 students, everybody feels as though Waugh gives them individual attention and cares about their academic development. Her philosophy of teaching includes humanizing science and bringing as much discovery-based learning into the classroom as possible. These aspects are no doubt responsible for many students reporting, “she made me want to learn more.” [read more]
Silent Seasons: High tech migration studies seek threats to bird populations
by Mitchell Zimmer
Thanks to advances in digital technology, a team headed by biologist Chris Guglielmo can track their bird and bat studies from ground level right up to outer space. A Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Ontario Research Fund (ORF) grant of nearly $3.4 million will help researchers develop and harness new technologies to study the migratory routes of birds and bats on local, regional and global scales. This collaborative study with the University of Guelph, Acadia University, Western, and partners in Europe will revolutionize our understanding of migratory routes – some that span continents – and will help the researchers to understand why some bird species are endangered as well as the adaptive capacity of others to respond to climate change scenarios.
“The big overarching goal of this is a twenty year commitment to link all of Canada’s birds to their migration and wintering areas to create a migration atlas which doesn’t exist anywhere in the world” says Guglielmo. Indeed, for some species, some 80% of all mortality happens during the extended flights, yet those flights are largely a black box. Where do the birds go on their way south, where do they stop to rest and refuel, why do they die? “It’s important, especially for species in trouble, but also with the climate changing, we need to measure what it looks like now and then we can track this through time and see if migration routes are shifting and if wintering areas are changing.” [read more]
This page was last updated on
April 18, 2013
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