The annual Faculty of ScienceThree Minute Thesis heat returned this week. More than twenty graduate students from all six units gathered to compete and describe their research in less than three minutes, using only one slide.
Josh Neufeld is anything but an ordinary professor of biology at the University of Waterloo. His use of clickers, twitter, and art for student engagement are pioneering. His Halloween costumes are legendary. And he’s somehow discovered a connection between microbiology and The Lord of the Rings.
There’s nothing like a winning tradition: last year’s Gold Medal standing at the 2016 International Jamboree was Waterloo’s fourth straight annual win at a competition that attracts more than 270 teams from 42 countries.
Landfills, a way of safely disposing waste, are now considered to be breeding grounds for novel, never before identified microorganisms. Biologists at the University of Waterloo believe these microorganisms have special metabolic abilities that can be harnessed to recycle plant waste.
The decline in reserves, rising cost of fossil fuel extraction and export, and the environmental impacts of their continued use are making alternative fuel more appealing. The push now is to be able to convert cellulose-containing waste into biofuels.
Wetlands in North America are home to a very diverse set of native plants. But an invasive reed called common reed (Phragmites australis) has been expanding rapidly and could potentially threaten the ecosystem processes in the wetlands it inhabits.
Missing a single protein can have lethal consequences for plants. Cuticles are the waxy wall that protects plants from sunlight, pesticides, and dehydration. But damage to the cuticle, like when the Hothead protein is missing, causes the wall to fall down.
The sudden decrease in sporting fish is leading to a potential ecological disruption, if not an economical loss. Due to a lowering in water temperatures, walleye are doing more than wish they could wrap themselves up in a warm blanket.
Upgrades to a wastewater treatment plant along Ontario’s Grand River, led to a 70 per cent drop of intersex fish within one year and a full recovery of the fish population within three years, according to researchers at the University of Waterloo.
Aerial photo of the Kitchener Wastewater Treatment Plant in 2016 (Credit: Region of Waterloo).