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Monday, March 12, 2018


Balsillie School partnership extended for ten years

The CIGI Campus in uptown Waterloo.

The University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) have signed a10-year funding agreement renewal for the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA). The school, located on the CIGI Campus in uptown Waterloo, houses graduate programs offered by both Laurier and the University of Waterloo in international affairs and global governance.

The extension comes after an initial 10-year agreement between the three institutions in 2007, the year that former co-CEO of BlackBerry Jim Balsillie made a $33-million investment to establish the school.

“The Balsillie School has made enormous progress in its first 10 years in establishing itself as one of Canada’s leading schools of international affairs,” said John Ravenhill, director of the BSIA. “I’m delighted that the three partners in the school have now provided a strong foundation for the school’s further development in the next decade.”

The school’s unique partnership between a think tank focused on global governance and two universities known for innovation in research, teaching excellence and the student experience, provides unparalleled opportunities for collaboration among faculty, students and policy practitioners.

“Internationalization and research are pillars of our institution and this partnership is directly in line with our values,” said George Dixon. “We are pleased this partnership will continue and look forward to the benefits it will continue to bring to our students, our community and the country as a whole.”

“Laurier is fully committed to building on the tremendous success of the past decade in enhancing the impact of our graduate programs, our research excellence and meaningful knowledge mobilization, and outreach through these kind of strong partnerships,” said Robert Gordon, vice-president: research and acting provost at Laurier as well as chair of the BSIA Board.

 “In only 10 years, the Balsillie School has been able to establish itself as one of the premier institutions for graduate education and research in international affairs in Canada,” said Aaron Shull, managing director and general counsel of CIGI. “We are pleased to continue this important endeavour with our partner organizations and look forward to building on a strong foundation.”

The BSIA partnership renewal incorporates operational, student support and physical location considerations that will support continued growth of the school.

A 10th anniversary celebration for the school will be planned for the fall.

New weapons in the battle against superbugs

A closeup of bacteria.

Scientists at the University of Waterloo and the University of Manitoba have developed a new therapy—a biocide that is able to target antibiotic-defiant bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), infecting hospital patients worldwide.

Professor Emmanuel Ho.“We wanted to be able to help vulnerable patients suffering from chronic infections,” said Emmanuel Ho, a professor in the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Science. “Once they’re infected with a resistant strain of bacteria it’s very difficult to get them well again.”

This latest development provides hope in an age where bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics faster than researchers can develop new ones. The World Health Organization estimates 700,000 people die annually from antibiotic-resistant infections and they expect this toll to climb to 10 million by 2050, higher than the current death rate from cancer.

University of Manitoba researcher Song Liu created a potent biocide that kills all bacterial cells - even the antibiotic-resistant ones - that it comes in contact with. The biocide was limited to surface wounds due to its poor selectivity between bacterial and mammalian cells, but if they could deliver the biocide to a target inside the body, it would kill even the most resistant superbug.

Complementing Liu’s work, Ho encased the biocide in solid-lipid nanoparticles (SLN) and then added an antibody, a protein that would seek out MRSA bacteria over other cells. Much like a Trojan Horse, when the SLNs reach the bacteria, they release the biocide, killing the target but leaving healthy cells unaffected.

“The results from our initial experiments are very promising,” said Ho. “Still, we have a lot of work to do before this is available as an alternative to antibiotics. Our next step is to find out whether the biocide gets released outside or inside the cell.”

The researchers say bacterial resistance is unlikely to develop with their SLN particles because the antibodies that are being used to target MSRA won’t cause the bacteria to develop an enzyme or other defence mechanisms in response.

The article appeared recently in Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine.

Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" for March 12

Here's the latest Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" provided by Health Services Dietitian Sandra Ace:

Myth:  Diet drinks containing aspartame are bad for you.

Fact:  Despite what you may have heard about aspartame, a nonnutritive sweetener used as a calorie-free replacement for sugar, it has not been proven to have a harmful effect on health. Aspartame was approved as a food additive in 1981 and has been extensively studied and approved for use in more than 90 countries throughout the world. Aside from the effects in people with a rare genetic condition called phenylketonuria, at this point aspartame use has not been found to cause, cancer, diabetes or other illnesses. Research on artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, is ongoing and may help to further identify potential health risks or benefits.

The safety of sweeteners is tested in laboratory animals at exposure rates that far exceed normal human levels of consumption. Scientists in the Food Directorate of Health Canada have established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 40 milligrams/kilogram of body weight per day. This ADI is an international standard also recognized by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization. To put the ADI for aspartame in perspective, this would be a limit of 3000 milligrams per day for a adult weighing 75 kilograms (about 165 pounds).  A 355 mL can of diet soda contains about 200 milligrams of aspartame and a packet of tabletop sweetener contains about 35mg. This means that in order to exceed the recommended limit, an adult weighing 75 kg would have to drink more than 15 cans of diet soda a day or consume more than 85 packets of aspartame per day.

If you frequently consume diet soda for weight management reasons, you may want to rethink this approach. A July 2017 review in the Canadian Medical Association, did not find evidence that aspartame or other nonnutritive sweeteners were effective in promoting weight loss.

Minimize sodas in general, whether regular or diet, because they have no nutritional value. If you like fizz in a carbonated drink, try sparkling water. If you prefer a sweeter taste, flavor it with a spritz of fruit juice. This allows you to control how much and what kind of sugar goes into your beverage.

Monday's notes

Friends and colleagues of Alfrieda “Freddie” Swainston are invited to her retirement celebration on Thursday, March 29 at 3:30 p.m. at the University Club. Freddie started working at the University in 1969 in an administrative support role. She then worked part-time at the library while studying for her undergraduate degree. She began full-time work after graduation in August of 1974. In 1984, she moved to Human Resources where she finishes her career as Associate Director of Human Resources. Through her many roles, Freddie has been a valuable member of our staff and deserves special recognition for her contributions to promoting equity and diversity within the Waterloo community.

Join HR to say thanks to Freddie for her contributions on March 29. Please RSVP on the HR Events page.

Retail Services will be hosting a Pi Day Scratch and Save Event on Wednesday, March 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the South Campus Hall concourse. Visit the Bookstore, Waterloo Store or Write Stuff in SCH and scratch to reveal your piece of the pie - discounts of up to 31.4 percent off your purchase. Scratch cards will be available at the cashier desks. Some conditions apply, so see in-store for details.

Human Resources has reported that retiree Stanford Jones died on March 1. Jones started working at the University in August 1965 and retired in November 1979 as a Manager in Village 2. He was predeceased by his spouse Beulah.

Link of the day

The iconic sleeve of the 12-inch single for New Order's Blue Monday, designed to look like a 5.25 floppy disk.

35 years ago: Blue Monday

When and where 

Knowledge Integration Exhibition “KI-X 2018,” Monday, March 12, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., St. Jerome’s University, Siegfried Hall Residence Wellness Centre.

Lecture - LGBTQ+ Studies and Disability Studies in Conversation with Dr. Margaret GibsonMonday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Dunker Family Lounge (REN 1303), Renison University College.

Warriors Recreation March Madness 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Saturday, March 10, 2:00 p.m., PAC.

Lecture - Embracing Hope: Strengths-Based Research as a Pathway to Change with Dr. Elizabeth Cooper,  Tuesday, March 13, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Dunker Family Lounge (REN 1303), Renison University College.

PhD seminarIncremental difficulty in platformer games,”Rina Wehbe, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Tuesday, March 13, 10:00 a.m., DC 3317.

Student Housing Showcase 2018, Tuesday, March 13, 12:00 p.m., Stratford Campus.

Knowledge Integration Exhibition “KI-X 2018,”, Tuesday, March 13, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., St. Jerome’s University, Siegfried Hall Residence Wellness Centre.

Intellectual Property Workshop Series, “Copyright and Software,” Tuesday, March 13, 12:30 p.m., DC 1304. Supported by the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) and the Games Institute.

Professional School Interviews (Standard & MMI) Q&A, Tuesday, March 13, 12:30 p.m., TC 1112.

Challenge Yourself: International Co-op Work Term Opportunities – undergraduate students only, Tuesday, March 13, 1:30 p.m., TC 1208.

Law School Admissions, Tuesday, March 13, 5:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifiers – Night 1, “3-minute pitches in front of a panel of judges,” Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 p.m., Location TBD.

Public lecture, "The Impacts of Neoliberalism on Social Work, Social Services and Communities" with Dr. Ousmane BâWednesday, March 14, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Dunker Family Lounge (REN 1303), Renison University College.

Pi Day 2018 Scratch and Save Event, Wednesday, March 14, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., SCH Concourse.

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) Part 2, Wednesday, March 14, 10:30 a.m., TC 1112

Knowledge Integration Exhibition “KI-X 2018,”,Wednesday, March 14, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., St. Jerome’s University, Siegfried Hall Residence Wellness Centre.

Noon Hour Concert: Love Lies Sleeping, Wednesday, March 14, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. 

President's Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health Forum, Wednesday, March 14, 2:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Multiple-Mini Interview (MMI) Practice Session, Wednesday, March 14, 5:30 p.m., TC 1214.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifiers – Night 2, “3-minute pitches in front of a panel of judges,” Wednesday, March 14, 7:00 p.m., Location TBD.

Drama and Speech Communications presents UpStart '18 - Festival of Student Work, Wednesday, March 14, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

NEW - Public Lecture, "When Diversity is Our Strength: Negotiating Discussions and Discourses of Race in the City of Toronto with Dr. Shana Almeida," Thursday, March 15, 9:00 a.m., Dunker Famiy Lounge, Renison University College.

Science - Résumé Tips – undergraduate & graduate students only, Thursday, March 15, 5:00 p.m., STC 0040

44th Annual Senior Undergraduate Exhibition, Thursday, March 15, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., East Campus Hall.

XDM Call for Projects, “Codes of Conduct” Exhibition – digital media, technology, art, and interaction collide! Proposals due Friday, March 16.

NEW - Gustav Bakos Observatory March Break tour, Friday, March 16, 2:00 p.m., PHY 313.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Crime and Victimhood in a Digital Era”, featuring Caitlyn McGeer, PhD candidate, Centre for Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, Friday, March 16, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408.

Knowledge Integration Exhibition “KI-X 2018,”, Saturday, March 17, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., St. Jerome’s University, Siegfried Hall Residence Wellness Centre.

PhD seminarLeft them 4 dead: Perception of humans versus non-player character teammates in cooperative gameplay,” Rina Wehbe, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Tuesday, March 20, 10:00 a.m., DC 3317.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Wednesday, March 21,  9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., DC building atrium.

NEW - Federation of Students March General Meeting, Wednesday, March 21, 12:00 p.m., SLC Great Hall.

Noon Hour Concert: Green Earth Suite, Wednesday, March 21, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. 

Bridges Lecture Series featuring J. Andrew Deman (PhD, English)/Naomi Nishimura (Computer Scientist)/Josh Neufeld (Microbiologist), “Recursion: the loops that make the world go round,” Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m., St. Jerome’s University, Academic Centre Vanstone Lecture Hall.

Velocity Start: The Startup Rollercoaster, “Panel of entrepreneurs talking about the mistakes made during the startup journey,” Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

World Water Day: The Answer is in Nature – Friday, March 22, STC main atrium.

LGBTQ+ Making Spaces workshop, Friday, March 23, 9:00 a.m., EV3 3408.

Lecture - Challenging Assumptions: Using Research to Evaluate Child Welfare Worker Qualifications with Dr. Kristen Lwin, Monday, March 26, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., Dunker Family Lounge (REN 1303), Renison University College.

Better Now Community Dialogues, “Six Big Ideas To Improve Health Care For All Canadians,” Tuesday, March 27, 6:00 p.m., Stratford Campus.

EURAXESS information session: European funding and networking opportunities, Wednesday, March 28, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., QNC 1501.

NEW - University Club Easter Lunch Buffet, Wednesday, March 28 and Thursday, March 29, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Vision Science Research Seminar Series featuring Dr. Christian Casanova, Université de Montréal, “Neurodegenerative diseases,” Wednesday, March 28, 4:30 p.m., OPT 347.

Global Populism and Democratic Futures Summit, Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 p.m. to Thursday, March 29, 8:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs.