Go to RCI Home Pagehttp://www.yorku.ca/rci/Site/Home.htmlhttp://www.yorku.ca/rci/Site/Home.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0

Table 1: Calvin R. Stiller, CM, O. Ont., MD, FRCP(C), DFCAHS

The Translation of University Discoveries to World Markets           

The role of universities is the pursuit of truth.  Their societal responsibility is to translate those findings where possible into goods and services that serve the community.  Canada has lagged behind in this translation of discoveries to the community and many programs are seeking to find ways to improve this performance.

Cal Stiller, who started his career in organ transplantation and immunology research (publishing over 250 papers) and leading the major transplant program in Canada has been involved with promoting translation of research locally and nationally.  He was a co-founder of MaRS and the OICR and led the formation of venture capital to fill the gap that exists in Canada in early translation.


Table 2: Frederick P. (Fritz) Roth, Professor, Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research, U of T, and Senior Scientist, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital

Technology to Find Out What Our Genes are Doing

The next human generation will routinely read their own genomes to explore one aspect of their individuality.  Unfortunately, a genome sequence is like an encyclopedia written in an alien language, and our library of DNA sequences has greatly outpaced our understanding.  Few genes are thoroughly understood, and nearly half of our ~20,000 genes are a compete mystery.  Most progress is made via model organisms—worms, fruit flies, mice, baker’s yeast, zebrafish and cultured human cells—owing to the happy accident that each shares a common ancestor.  Roth’s group is developing new technology to accelerate the study of genes, their function, and how these functions interact to form living systems.  For example, they are adapting technology for sequencing DNA to learn which human proteins interact with one another, and how this network of interactions changes in response to cancer or viral infection.

Dr. Roth received his B.A. Degree in Physics and Molecular & Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in Biophysics at Harvard University.  After two years at Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA, he spent ten years leading a research effort at Harvard Medical School.  In 2011, he accepted an inaugural Canada Excellence Research Chair in Integrative Biology and moved to the U of T and Mount Sinai Hospital.  Roth’s team develops technology for large-scale study of gene function, with a particular interest in protein and genetic interaction networks.

Table 3:  Deborah MacLatchy, Vice President Academic and Provost, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo

Endocrine Disruption in Aquatic Environments

Endocrine disruptors are contaminants that change normal hormone (endocrine) processes in animals.  Sources in aquatic systems include sewage, pulp & paper mills, agricultural activities and oil and gas processing.  Fish downstream of these sources can be affected, due to effects on their reproductive hormone systems, leading to decreased gonad size and egg & offspring production.  

Deborah MacLatchy is a comparative endocrinologist and ecotoxicologist.  She is currently chair of the science directors of the Canadian Rivers Institute.  She focuses on understanding the source and identification of industrial endocrine disruptors on fish development, growth and reproduction as well as differences in species sensitivities.  She is a 2005 recipient, with Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd. and Environment Canada, of a NSERC Synergy award for partnerships for her collaborative work in fish on the issue of endocrine disruption from industrial contaminants. 

Table 4: Amanda Wright, Associate Professor, Department of Human Health & Nutritional Science, University of Guelph

Foods For Health    

Sales of foods and natural health products marketed on the basis of health claims have soared.  What role can foods and dietary constituents play in addressing the increasing incidence of chronic disease?  What evidence and standards should be required for the marketing and sale of these products?


Amanda received her Ph.D. in Food Chemistry and held NSERC postdoctoral funding in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the U of T.  She leads an interdisciplinary food-nutrition research group aiming to better understand the relationships between food properties and nutritional outcomes, particularly as they relate to digestive behaviour and bioavailability.  She teaches in the area of food and natural health product human testing and is Director of the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit at the University of Guelph, a group which engages undergraduate and graduate students in collaborative and contract nutrition studies.

Table 5: Chantal Buteau, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, Brock University

Mathematics and Music      

The legend says that it started with Pythagoras hearing harmonious sounds at the blacksmith shop.  He then went to work and calculated ratios of (harmonious) musical intervals.  This is the classical example of a link between mathematics and music.  But is there more?  Are there other mathematicians that did put their ears into music?  Are there musicians that inserted equations inside their masterpieces?  What kind of mathematics is heard inside the music?  And is there such a thing as math and music as a research discipline?

Dr. Buteau is a mathematician who completed her Ph.D in the domain of mathematical music theory at University of Zurich/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.  Her current research related to music deals with the mathematical modeling of melodic analysis of music as part of computational music analysis.  She serves on the Board of the international Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music.  Dr. Buteau has dedicated work in mathematics (and music) popularization activities, including articles and presentations for mathematics school teachers.

Table 6:  Paul Murphy, P. Eng., President and C.E.O., the Independent Electricity System Operator, Toronto

Keeping the Lights On: Renewables, Reliability and the Realities of Managing Ontario's Power System


Ontario's power system is undergoing a transformation.  Along with conventional resources such as nuclear and hydroelectric generation, Ontario is becoming more reliant on renewables like wind and solar, which have operating characteristics that make managing the grid increasingly complex.  At the same time, ambitious enhancements to the province's transmission and distribution infrastructure are changing the way electricity is delivered. Smart grid capabilities will enable local utilities to detect faults, isolate problem areas and resolve issues remotely – reducing outages to mere seconds.  And by using new tools to monitor, manage and reduce their usage, Ontario's electricity consumers are becoming partners in maintaining system reliability.

Paul Murphy is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Electricity System Operator.  Under his leadership, Ontario's IESO is responsible for overseeing the safe and reliable operation of Ontario's electricity system and administering the wholesale electricity markets.  Mr. Murphy has over 30 years experience in the operation of Ontario's electrical system and the development of competitive markets.  He also directed restoration efforts during the 2003 blackout, which affected over 50 million people.

Table 7:  Megan Brickley, Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Bioarchaeology of Human Disease, McMaster University

Bioarchaeological Investigations: The Battle of Stoney Creek

With the approach of the bicentenary of the War of 1812, now is an ideal moment to re-evaluate the information available on the Battle of Stoney Creek, a crucial event in this conflict.  Developments in bioarchaeology, as well as greater resources and time for analysis, are enabling Dr. Brickley and her team to contribute important new information on those who died at the battle.  A re-evaluation of age-at-death has produced very different results to the previous investigation, and dramatic new evidence has been found on injuries sustained.

Dr. Brickley has recently arrived in Canada from the UK to take up a Tier One Canada Research Chair. The full range of her previous experience - forensic work linked to conflicts, fragmented and co-mingled prehistoric human remains and life in the 19th century - have been combined in the work being undertaken on the bone fragments from Smith’s Knoll.  To date she has produced eight books and almost 50 papers and chapters, and is looking forward to adding to this list with her new findings.

Table 8:  John Luxat, Professor and NSERC/UNENE Industrial Research Chair in Nuclear Safety Analysis, McMaster University

Nuclear Energy Post-Fukushima:  What are the Global Prospects?           

At the turn of the century, the outlook for nuclear power was promising.  Climate change and CO2 emissions from electricity generation using fossil fuels were dominant global concerns, and countries around the world grappled with the burgeoning demand for energy and the need to reduce carbon emissions.  Plans for large new nuclear build were announced –notably in China and India.   Then the global recession occurred, followed a few years later by the great earthquake, tsunami and resultant Fukushima events in Japan.  Some countries, Germany in particular, responded immediately, turning away from nuclear energy.  Many other countries have not.  Should we be concerned about nuclear power?  What can analysis of nuclear energy and safety tell us? 

Prof. Luxat has established a vibrant nuclear safety research group at McMaster since joining in 2004, following a 32-year career in Canada’s nuclear industry.  He has served as President of the Canadian Nuclear Society, as a division executive in the American Nuclear Society, and is on the Advisory Board of the International Association for Structural mechanics in Reactor Technology.  He has advised the Canadian, Ontario and Alberta governments on nuclear energy and has worked with both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency.  He serves on the Board of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

Table 9:  Bruce Pollock, Vice President of Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and Professor and Director, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, U of T

Psychotropics and the Elderly: a Critical Public Health Issue

Older people are the largest consumers of medications, and adverse reactions to drugs (ADRs) are exponentially greater among this population, as are concomitant hospital admissions for preventable ADRs.  Psychoactive medications, either directly or through drug interactions, are among the most common medications associated with preventable ADRs in elders.  How can innovations and new approaches begin to ameliorate what has been called the “the most treatable illness in later life?”

Dr. Pollock’s research has focused on geriatric clinical psychopharmacology.  He has authored more than 300 papers and is listed among the 1% most cited authors in the field of geriatric psychiatry.  He has been honoured with the Weinberg Memorial Award for Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, and the 2011 Award for Research from the American College of Psychiatrists.  He recently served as President of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the first Canadian to hold this position.

Table 10:  Marcel Schlaf, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Guelph, and Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Western Ontario

Biomass as a Source of Renewable Chemicals and Fuels – The Promises and Challenges of Sustainability

Biomass can, in principle, serve as a source of renewable carbon-based fuels, petrochemicals and other high-value added products.  However the low energy density, high oxygen content and dispersed geographic distribution of biomass poses unique thermodynamic, chemical, logistic, ecologic and economic challenges to its large-scale industrial use.

Prof. Schlaf’s work focuses on the development of new catalysts and chemical processes for the conversion of biomass to fuels and petrochemicals.  His research group currently collaborates with scientists and engineers at the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR/UWO), Rio Tinto, ALCAN, ABRI-TECH Inc., Los Alamos National Laboratory, and several universities in Brazil.  In 2009 he was visiting professor at Peking University and Dalian University of Technology.

Table 11:  Tarlochan Sidhu, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, UOIT

The Smart Electric Grid – Is It a Smart Idea?


For the most part, electricity companies have been able to supply electric power to their customers with a very high degree of reliability and quality.  Then, why do we need a smart grid if the system is working fine?  What IS a “smart grid”?  Will a smart grid be really reliable and secure?  Will it really benefit consumers?  Is this the only way to encourage and handle renewable energy?  We will discuss these and other related questions from technical and other perspectives.

Prior to joining UOIT, Dr. Sidhu was Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Western Ontario.  He also held the NSERC/Hydro One Senior Industrial Research Chair in Power Systems Engineering.  He is regularly invited to give lectures and tutorials around the world on power systems.  He has served regularly as a consultant to power system industries both nationally and internationally.  He has published more than 200 papers.  More than 50 masters and doctorate students have completed their theses under his supervision/co-supervision.  He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Emerging Electric Power Systems, as an Editor of the IEEE Transactions On Power Delivery and as an editor of IEEE Power Engineering Letters.

Table 12:  Jane Aubin, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice-President, Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

CIHR's Strategic Plan 2009-2014 - Health Research Roadmap: Creating Innovative Research for Better Health and Health Care       

CIHR has a bold mandate: "to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health-care system."  In its Health Research Roadmap, CIHR committed to enhancing both its strategic and investigator-initiated open programs.  Our topics of discussion will include Roadmap Signature Initiatives such as the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research and Personalized Medicine.  We'll also discuss proposed reforms of the open programs designed to better accommodate the breadth of research and alleviate applicant and peer reviewer burdens that threaten sustainability of the Canadian health research enterprise.

Dr. Aubin received her B.Sc. (Hons; Chemistry and Mathematics) and the Gold Medal in Chemistry from Queen's, completed her Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics at the U of T, and did postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany.  Before assuming her present position, she was a Professor of Molecular Genetics at the U of T where, for more than 30 years, she led a research program focused on skeletal development and turnover in health and disease.

OUR MUSICIANS: ‘Three Docs and a Dame’

Nelles Van Loon, Ph.D. U of T, retired after a long career teaching English at Ryerson; David Bell, Ph.D. Harvard, retired after a long career in Environmental Studies at York; Lorne Tepperman, Ph.D. Harvard, still teaching Sociology at U of T; Patricia Duffy, lounge singer for twenty years or so [and mother of the lead singer for "Three Days Grace"].  Dave, Patti and Nelles have been working together since the early nineties.  Lorne joined about seven years ago.  Lorne and Nelles played in the band for the UC Follies in 1963 and Lorne and Dave did some gigs together the year after that.  All are members of the Hurricanes, an eighteen piece swing band that rehearses every Monday night.  Their repertoire is mostly standards - Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Harold Arlen, etc., along with the songs of the great Brazilian composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim.


Gala 2012 - Tables and Topics

(Thursday April 26 at MaRS)

There are 25 tables.  Here are the first twelve.

For Tables 13 to 25, go HERE