Friday, March 11, 2016

Science celebrates its outstanding alumni

Feridun Hamdullahpur, Paul Boutros, Robert Lemieux.

President Feridun Hamdullahpur, alumnus Paul Boutros (BSc. Chemistry ’04), and Dean of Science Bob Lemieux are pictured at the alumni recognition event.

The Faculty of Science honoured five outstanding alumni on the afternoon of Thursday, March 3 at the Faculty of Science alumni recognition awards event.

Surrounded by family, friends, colleagues as well as previous Alumni Award winners, this year’s recipients received their awards in person by University of Waterloo President, Feridun Hamdullahpur and Dean of Science, Robert Lemieux during an afternoon reception in the EIT. Chairs from the award recipients’ respective departments were also on hand to congratulate the recipients.

The recipients of the achievement awards include:

Young Alumni Award: Dr. Paul C. Boutros BSc. Chemistry ’04. Dr. Boutros is an independent researcher with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and co-leads the Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network. He has already been awarded the CIHR/Next Generation First Prize and an Invitrogen Canada Young Investigator Silver Award. Most recently he has been named Prostate Cancer Canada Rising Star in prostate cancer research.

Contribution to Science Award: James D. Reimer, BSc. Earth Sciences ’78, MSc. ’80. UWaterloo’s Earth Sciences Museum currently enjoys several educational displays supported by Mr. Reimer and his family. He is a Past-President and honorary member of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, and a director of the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources. Currently, Mr. Reimer is the Vice President of Geosciences & Technology at Painted Pony Petroleum in Calgary, Alberta.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Gregory Allan Dick BSc. Physics ’93.  Mr. Dick currently serves as Director of Educational Research at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo. He is an active member of Canada’s Science & Technology Awareness Network and the Wilfrid Laurier Centre for Women in Science. Mr. Dick shares his expertise in education through speaking engagements at international education forums and events.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Leslie Ruth Dunning, BSc. Earth Sciences ’77. Ms. Dunning has enjoyed a 36 year career with the Canadian Red Cross, culminating as Director General where she championed many successful initiatives including Aboriginal engagement, online learning and cross-cultural training. In addition to her work, Ms. Dunning was heavily involved in not-for-profit organizations advocating for the safety and well-being of children and youth.

Distinguished Alumni Award: Dr. M. Arshad Siddiqui PhD. Chemistry’90. Dr. Siddiqui is currently the President and CEO of Paraza Pharma Inc. in Montreal, a company dedicated to developing innovative medicines of the future. Early in his career at BioChem Pharma, he and his team members received the Prix-Galien Canada Research Award for the discovery of an anti-HIV drug that has become the cornerstone therapy for affected patients. 

Public lecture illuminates brain research

Professor Melanie Campbell speaks at THEMUSEUM.

By Victoria Van Cappellen. This is the latest in a series of #UWCommunity stories that feature Waterloo in the community.

More than 65 members of the local community came to hear Professor Melanie Campbell present her public lecture, “The eye, a window on the brain,” at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener on Wednesday, February 24.

A professor in both the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Optometry and Vision Science, Campbell shared her unique perspective on how the properties of light can be harnessed to image the human eye and diagnose a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

Opening with a basic explanation of light’s properties and components, Campbell’s demonstration kits gave the audience opportunities to test properties such as dispersion during the lecture. Throughout her presentation, she touched upon the many challenges researchers face in imaging the human retina, particularly as the optics within the eye vary from person to person.

Afterwards, lecture attendees were invited for a special tour of LIGHT Illuminated, an exhibit created by Waterloo Physics and Astronomy graduate students in celebration of the United Nations’ Year of Light. Two of the exhibit’s creators, Science graduate students Aimee Gunther and Ian Andrews, were on-hand to answer questions and demonstrate fascinating facts behind the displays.

Coordinated by the Faculty of Science Outreach and hosted by THEMUSEUM, this public lecture is a great example of how the University of Waterloo works with local organizations to further our outreach and impact. By providing an exclusive opportunity for our globally renowned faculty and aspiring students to share their expertise, the University and our regional partners are helping to make our community, and the world, a better place.

See it first hand: LIGHT Illuminated continues on display at THEMUSEUM until March 28, 2016. 

Big Ideas Challenge awards fellowships for Wellbeing and the Planet

by Susan Fish

The Big Ideas Challenge for Social Good went big this year and awarded 10 fellowships to aspiring social entrepreneurs: Five in a ‘People and Wellbeing’ category, and five in a ‘People and Planet’ category.

The competition, which was organized by St. Paul’s GreenHouse, had a circus tent theme. Director Tania Del Matto said that’s because GreenHouse seeks to “expand the tent of youth-led social innovation and entrepreneurship as a pathway for young people to build the business and career skills they need to be problem solvers and leaders.”

The fellowships consist of a stay in GreenHouse from May to August 2016. Recipients will receive training, mentorship, and access to $15,000 in startup funding. Ventures that were not successful in being awarded a fellowship have been offered additional time with GreenHouse staff to map out the next steps to move their ideas forward.

The fellowships were open to all Waterloo Region social entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 29. Sixty-nine different emerging social ventures expressed interest in submitting, with 22 of these being invited to participate in a closed boardroom pitch competition on March 7.

 Nikhil Jagga (HeadHealth)

Jim Rush (Dean of AHS), Nayani Rajamohan (Saakshi Innovations), Jordan Moat (Branch Manager, Libro Credit Union), Tania Del Matto (GreenHouse Director), Sharita Henry (SUNSHINE), Tina Chan (PASS Kit), Zied Etleb (Curiato), Karla Boluk (Assistant Professor, Faculty of AHS) , Jessie Maggard (Business Development Manager, Ontario Centres of Excellence). Missing: Nikhil Jagga (HeadHealth).

The five fellowship recipients in the area of People and Wellbeing were:

Nikhil Jagga, whose product HeadHealth is a discreet wrist counter to help those with anxiety and/or depression;

Tina Chan, who is developing PASS Kit, an alternative to online stress relief support;

Zied Etleb, whose venture Curiato is developing an adjustable pressure mattress to prevent bedsores;

Sharita Henry, who is developing SUNSHINE, an integrated support system for people living with Autism Spectrum Disorders; and,

Nayani Rajamohan, of Saakshi Innovations, whose social enterprise supports the South East Asian classical performing arts.

  Timothy Lipp (Stoke).

Jordan Moat (Branch Manager, Libro Credit Union), Amelia Clarke (Director of Master of Environment and Business), Richard Norton (The Edible Art Project), Tania Del Matto (GreenHouse Director), Richard Yim (Landmine Boys), Joanna Hausen (Bee Balm), Sean Geobey (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environment)  Renata Burns (AdNature), Jessie Maggard (Business Development Manager, Ontario Centres of Excellence). Missing:  Timothy Lipp (Stoke).

In the areas of People and Planet, the fellowship recipients were:

Renata Burns. who is developing AdNature, a website to make it easier for people in the Waterloo Region to find outdoor recreational activities;

Richard Norton. who is using public art installations to teach people about local food systems and sustainability through his project, The Edible Art Project;

Richard Yim, whose project, Landmine Boys, is building an autonomous machine to defuse land mines safely and without detonation, thus saving the land to use for farming;

Joanna Hausen, whose social venture Bee Balm is concerned with healthy, natural and ethically sourced skin care products; and,

Timothy Lipp, who is creating microenterprises in Kenya around clean cook stoves through his venture, Stoke.

Joanna Hausen said, “The fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for young entrepreneurs like ourselves to feel supported and challenged as we pursue a sustainable social venture. We cannot thank everyone involved with the Greenhouse program enough.”

At a celebratory dinner, GreenHouse acknowledged the support of sponsor Libro Credit Union Prosperity Fund and its strong alignment with GreenHouse in terms of supporting the wellbeing of people, businesses and communities. GreenHouse also appreciates the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Youth Entrepreneurship Sponsorship Program, which sponsored the Big Ideas Challenge and which is a leader in providing resources and supports to entrepreneurs at all stages of their startup journey. 

Friday's notes

You Have the Power to Give Life - logo.Why not give the red before you celebrate the green? That’s the message from Canadian Blood Services as blood donor clinic season approaches next week. Did you know:

  • 1,900 new donors are needed weekly to help patients. 
  • Less than 4 per cent of the eligible population will donate blood, yet 52 per cent will, or know someone who needs blood.
  • It can take 8 blood donors a week to help one leukemia patient
  • It can take up to 50 blood donors to help a car accident victim.

“Join the movement and give life,” writes Canadian Blood Services Territory Manager Sharr Cairns. “Someone you know may thank you for it.”

You can book a time now at, download the GiveBlood app, or stop by the Student Life Centre Multipurpose Room from Wednesday, March 16 to Friday, March 18 between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Contact Sharr Cairns directly to book an appointment with three or more donors.

Here's today's Nutrition Month "Myth vs. Fact" supplied by Health Services Nutritionist Sandra Ace:

Myth:  Coconut oil helps people to lose weight.

Fact:  Weight loss frequently tops the list of the purported benefits of coconut oil despite its high content of both calories and saturated fat. Even Dr. Oz says so, therefore it must be true, right?

As it turns out, the hype about coconut oil being “the miracle fat that fights fat” is based on a 2009 study of 40 obese Brazilian women by a master’s student. Participants were randomized to receive a daily allotment of 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of either soybean oil or coconut oil.

All participants took part in a fitness program supervised by an athletic trainer and were provided with nutrition coaching which encouraged increased consumption of vegetables and fruits and decreased consumption of sugars, starchy foods and fat. At the end of three months, both groups were found to have the same amount of weight loss, about 1 kg (2.2 lbs). A decrease in waist circumference of just over 1 cm (about ½ inch) was noted in the coconut oil group.

In another study, 20 obese people (13 female, seven male) living in Malaysia were given a virgin coconut oil supplement over 4 weeks. No change in weight or fat mass was observed across genders, however in the male group only there was a mean decrease in waist circumference of just under 3 cm. While these small scale studies noted a modest change in waist circumference in some subjects, there is currently insufficient evidence that coconut oil supports weight loss or decrease in body fat.

If you are trying to reach a healthier weight, focus on making small but sustainable changes or contact a Registered Dietitian for advice.

Graduate students, share your feedback

In early February, graduate students received an email asking to participate in the Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) to tell Waterloo about their university experience. The purpose of this survey is to improve teaching, learning, graduate student services, programs, student support and overall campus life for current and future graduate students.

Graduate students are being asked to provide feedback about their graduate and professional school experience here at the University of Waterloo on topics such as: satisfaction of graduate student financial support, skills and professional development, graduate program choices, Graduate Student Association (GSA) services, and your overall experience at Waterloo in general. 

Students that submit their survey responses will receive $5 added to their WATCARDs and will be automatically entered in a draw to win a $500 student award

The survey will be available from February 3 to April 4. Following the survey, summary results will be available on the Institutional Analysis & Planning website.

Help make a difference! Check your @uwaterloo e-mail accounts for your survey invitation.

For more information about the survey, visit the 2016 CGPSS webpage.

Link of the day

Blue Monday as it might have sounded in 1933

When and where

GLOW 45th Anniversary Week, Monday, March 7 to Friday, March 11.

HeForShe Arts Week, Tuesday, March 8 to Tuesday, March 15.

Public Seminar featuring Eric Peterson, founder and executive director, Hakai Institute, BC, “Wired Watershed: Hakai’s Critical Zone Observatory on BC’s Coastal Margin,” Friday, March 11, 1:00 p.m., EV1-350.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Why economic growth is about so much more than economic growth”, featuring Chris Lau, Friday, March 11, 2:30 p.m., AL 113.

Bridges Lecture - Mathematics, Music, and Visual Art, Friday, March 11, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University.

Student portal hackathon, Saturday, March 12, 10:00 a.m., STC 0060.

Pi Day, Monday, March 14.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 11 - Design, Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18.

Code Squad Conference, Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18.

KI-X 2016, Monday, March 14, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EV1 250.

Engineering Explorations 2016, Monday, March 14, 5:00 p.m., Engineering 5.

CV tips, Tuesday, March 15, 12:00 p.m., TC 1112.

KI-X 2016, Tuesday, March 15 to Friday, March 18, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., EV1 250.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series featuring Prof. Emeritus Andrew Wong, Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, “Discovering Deep Knowledge from Biosequence Data”, Tuesday, March 15, 3:30 p.m., C2-361.

TheGROOVE, Tuesday, March 15, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

Author event featuring Robert J. Sawyer, Tuesday, March 15, 7:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

Public Lecture: Understanding the refugee crisis - historical, local and global perspectives, Tuesday, March 15, 7:00 p.m., Kitchener Public Library Auditorium.

Blood Donor Clinics, Wednesday, March 16 to Friday, March 18, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily, Student Life Centre Multipurpose Room.

TheGROOVE, Wednesday, March 16, 12:10 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

UpStart Festival of Innovative Theatre, Wednesday, March 16 to Saturday, March 19, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier - Night 1, Wednesday, March 16, 7:00 p.m., Quantum-Nano Centre Room 0101.

Velocity Fund $5k Qualifier - Night 2, Thursday, March 17, 7:00 p.m., Quantum-Nano Centre 0101.

Noon Hour Concert: Haydn String Quartet, Friday, March 18, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Education by Design: The KI Story”, featuring Prof. Ed Jernigan, Friday, March 18, 2:30 p.m., AL 113

March Break Open House, Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m.

KI-X 2016, Saturday, March 19, 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., EV1 250.

World Water Day Celebration, Tuesday, March 22, 10:30 a.m., EIT Atrium.

World Water Day Keynote Lecture by Linda Gowman, Trojan Technologies, “Reflections on water and jobs,” Tuesday, March 22, 11:30 a.m., EIT 1015.

World Water Day 2016 graduate student poster exhibition, Tuesday, March 22, 1:00 p.m., EIT Atrium.

World Water Day 2016 Panel Presentation on Water and Jobs, Tuesday, March 22, 4:00 p.m., EIT 1015.

theGROOVE, Tuesday, March 22, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3067. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

TheGROOVE, Wednesday, March 23, 12:10 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

Noon Hour Concert: Immortal Beloved featuring Colin Ainsworth, tenor and William Aide, piano. Wednesday, March 23, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Peter Mollinga, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, “On Publishing in Water Alternatives,” Thursday, March 24, 11:00 a.m., EV2-2002.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Peter Mollinga, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, “Downstream of the dam: Farmers, pipelines and capitalist development in the Sardar Sarovar project,” Thursday, March 24, 2:30 p.m., EV2-2002.

Good Friday holiday, Friday, March 25, most University services and buildings closed.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Bejoy Thoma, Ashoka Trust for Reseach in Ecology and Environment, India, “Resilience, vulnerability and environmental change: Insights from the rapidly urbanizing Arkavathy sub-basin,” Monday, March 28, 10:00 a.m., EV3-4408.

theGROOVE, Tuesday, March 29, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3067. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

TheGROOVE, Wednesday, March 30, 12:10 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

HeForShe Advocate Event featuring Jennifer Berdahl, PhD, Montalbano Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business, “From fixing the women to liberating the men: Gender in Organizations,” Wednesday, March 30, 4:00 p.m., STJ 3014.

WaterTalk Lecture by Prabhakar Clement, Auburn University, “Worthiness of complex groundwater models for decision making-when should we say enough is enough?“ Thursday, March 31, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Research Talks event featuring Canada Research Chair Jennifer Clapp"Trade: opportunity or threat for global food security?" Friday, April 1, 12:00 p.m., DC 1302. Please register – seating is limited.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Prabhakar Clement, Auburn University, “Authorship and author rank: Misuses, misunderstanding and a meaningful solution,” Friday, April 1, 12:30 p.m., RCH 211.

CrySP Speaker Series featuring Seda Gürses, Princeton University, “PET Sematary: Privacy's return from the dead and the rise of Privacy Engineering,” Friday, April 1, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents the University of Waterloo Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, Friday, April 1, 7:30 p.m. 

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents “Reaching Out: University Choir,” Saturday, April 2, 7:30 p.m., First United Church, 16 William St. W. Waterloo.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents UW Jazz Ensemble, Sunday, April 3, 2:00 p.m. Conrad Grebel Great Hall.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents Chiaroscuro: Chamber Choir, Sunday, April 3, 7:30 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, Monday, April 4, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

theGROOVE, Tuesday, April 5, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3067. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

Ed Jernigan Thank You Event, Wednesday, April 6, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., University Club. Register now.

PhD oral defences

Combinatorics and Optimization. Nishad Kothari, "Brick Generation and Conformal Subgraphs." Supervisors, Joseph Cheriyan, U.S.R. Murty. Thesis available on MGO - Oral defence Tuesday, March 22, 2:00 p.m., MC 6496.

Kinesiology. Amaya Singh, "The Influence of Acute Aerobic Exercise on Excitability and Rapid Plasticity in the Primary Motor Cortex." Supervisor, Richard Staines. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Tuesday, March 22, 2:00 p.m., BMH 3119.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Nafeesa Mehboob, "Smart Charging of Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Distribution Systems Considering Uncertainties." Supervisors, Claudio Canizares, Catherine Rosenberg. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3003. Oral defence Monday, March 28, 1:30 p.m., EIT 3142.

Kinesiology. Amy Hackney, "Aperture Crossing in Challenging Environments: Factors that Influence the Passability of Narrow Spaces." Supervisor, James Frank. On display in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Monday, March 28, 2:30 p.m., BMH 3119.