Balsillie School partnership extended for ten years
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
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.
“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.
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.