Lecture Series

before Fall 2005

Winter 2005

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Many Faces of Prion Diseases

Catherine Bergeron, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C), Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Principal Investigator, Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, U of T;  Staff Neuropathologist, Toronto Western Hospital

Prion diseases, such as mad cow, affect both humans and animals.  They are caused by the abnormal folding of the prion protein, an abundant brain protein of uncertain function.  The human form of the disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), can be inherited as a result of the mutation of the prion gene (15%), rarely transmitted through contaminated tissues, neurosurgical instruments or dietary products (BSE), or occur spontaneously (85%).  CJD presents as a very rapid neurological illness and is uniformly fatal.  Health Canada has funded an active surveillance system to monitor CJD in Canada.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Evolution of the Toronto Airport

H. N. (Hank) Edamura, B.A.Sc., P. Eng., F.E.I.C., F.C.S.C.E., M.A.S.C.E., Joint Venture Director, MGP Project Managers, Principal and Senior Vice President, Marshall Macklin Monaghan

The airport serving the Greater Toronto Area had its beginnings as Malton Airport, built in the late 1930s, located in farmland far from the great city of Toronto. Since then, the airport facility has been expanded gradually to meet the demands of modern aviation. Terminal 1, designed and built in the late 1950s, opened in 1964 to the accolades of the aviation industry. The new terminal, whose first phase was just finished, will be the second coming of Terminal 1 when it is completed in 2009.

Co-sponsored by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Unleashing the Powers of Plastic Transistors

Beng Ong, Ph.D., Fellow, Research and Technology, Xerox Innovation Group;  Manager, Advanced Materials and Printed Electronics, Xerox Research Centre of Canada; Department of Materials Science and Engineering, McMaster University

Today's electronics, from radios and cellular phones to PDAs and computers, are all driven by silicon technology. However, for many electronic devices (e.g., flat-panel displays) which do not require fast switching speeds, silicon technology has become unjustifiably or prohibitively costly. Plastic transistors represent a low-cost alternative for these and other novel applications. Unlike silicon circuits, which are manufactured by complex photolithographic processes in sterile environments, plastic circuits can be printed using common printing technologies in less stringent conditions. Being thin, lightweight, and flexible, plastic circuits can enable a whole new generation of otherwise elusive, structurally intriguing electronics.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Evolution in Real Time: Drug Resistance in Fungal Pathogens

James B. Anderson, Ph.D., Department of Botany, U of T

The evolution of resistance to antimicrobial agents for control of pathogens in medicine and agriculture follows from Murphy's Law, the principle that anything that can possibly go wrong will.  Fungal pathogens of humans are no exception to this universal theme; resistance to many of the available antifungal drugs is now common.  In my laboratory, we study the evolution of antifungal drug resistance as it happens in experimental populations, how various molecular mechanisms of resistance are recruited by natural selection and how these mechanisms impact on reproductive output.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Biophotonics: Bringing Light to Life

Brian C. Wilson, Ph.D., Department of Medical Biophysics, Ontario Cancer Institute/U of T

Biophotonics is the science and technology of light applied to medicine and biological sciences. This spans a wide spectrum of applications, from early detection and treatment of cancer and development of ultrafast lasers for precision surgery, to non-invasive methods to measure tissue structure and function, to novel forms of optical microscopy and the use of nanoparticles for bioimaging. The core science and technology underlying these developments will be explained and illustrated by many of the applications. This will address the two questions: "why is light such an important tool in life sciences?" and "why is biophotonics growing so rapidly today?"

Sunday, February 20, 2005  

Einstein’s Jurors: The Race to Test Relativity

Jeffrey Crelinsten, Ph.D., Co-founder, The Impact Group

Einstein's theory of relativity changed our notions of space and time and has dramatically altered the way we look at the universe and our place in it.  Yet to this day a working knowledge of the theory is beyond most people.  Despite countless books on the subject, people largely regard relativity as abstruse and incomprehensible.  The history of how astronomers received relativity and how the public reacted to what was reported helps explain how these cultural attitudes were laid in the early part of the twentieth century.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Power System Blackouts: From Analysis to Mitigation

Bogdan Z. Kasztenny, Ph.D., General Electric Company

Within the last two years, blackouts in Northeast U.S. and Canada, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, England, Croatia, India, Australia, and New Zealand have affected more than 130 million people worldwide. These blackouts have served as catalysts in propelling the power industry towards finding solutions.  Major blackouts are initiated by a sequence of low-probability multiple contingency events with complex mutual interactions. This presentation covers the basics of power system operation, the mechanics of widespread outages, and ways to prevent blackouts.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Let’s Talk Science, especially for kids ages 7 - 12

Explore science through hands-on experiments. Take home more than just your experiments, take home the experience!

Webcasts are not available for lectures prior to the Fall of 2005.

You can click on the appropriate years at left to see

the RCI’s speakers and topics for those years.