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The 2023-2024 York Circle Lecture Series

Presented in partnership with our York Circle Chair, Jennifer Steeves (BA ’94, MA ’96, PhD ’01), Associate Vice-President Research (AVPR), we are excited to welcome you back to Keele campus for the York Circle Lecture series. Join us on Mar. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Life Sciences Building. Hear from York's leading faculty members on a wide range of interesting topics that speak to some of the key themes that define York University.

Ian Stedman (MA ’09, PHD ’20), Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies

Personalized healthcare: a pipe dream or a real possibility

We are no longer shocked when we hear from our friends, family members and care providers that our healthcare systems are in a crisis. Hospitals are overwhelmed, doctors and nurses are in short supply, and private sector tools and services are slowly taking over as our first point of contact when we have healthcare needs. How can things improve? 

Driven by patient needs, accompanied by cost pressures and excitement surrounding new technologies, personalized healthcare is quickly emerging as a desirable paradigm. However, the unfortunate truth, is that laws and policies can sometimes hinder innovation and progress. This presentation will discuss how law and policy must be considered if we are to transform our healthcare systems into ones that strive for personalization by utilizing technologies like genomics, artificial intelligence and wearable devices.

Stephanie Gora, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering

Assessing the potential impacts of climate change on boil water advisories and other indicators of water safety in Canada

A boil water advisory (BWA) informs the public that there is an increased level of risk associated with their water and that they should boil it before consuming. Studies show that small communities in Canada are particularly likely to experience repeat and long-term BWAs. In response to climate change, precipitation and temperature patterns have changed, leading to changes in flooding, forest fires, droughts, freezing rain and sea water intrusion in particular regions. Academic and non-academic literature was reviewed to establish the most likely impacts of climate change on water treatment and infrastructure. 

In order to determine the most common causes of BWAs, a study was conducted to analyze anonymized data from public drinking water systems across Canada. A repeat of this study is currently being conducted using more detailed and targeted records from Newfoundland and Labrador. The results of this study will be presented alongside the national findings during this presentation. 

Uyen T. Nguyen, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Lassonde School of Engineering

Machine vs. machine: fighting bots, spam and clickbait with artificial intelligence

Smartphones, Internet connectivity, social media and other technological advances have brought people closer together, enabling instant and efficient communication and supporting e-commerce globally. However, these technological tools also allow spammers and scammers to easily target large populations of social media and internet users. This presentation will discuss recent research in using artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning and natural language processing, to detect Twitter bots, SMS spam and clickbait. The proposed solutions assist social networks and service providers in protecting users against these security threats. 

Sachil Singh, Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Faculty of Health

Racial biases in healthcare: algorithms to the rescue?

Algorithms are increasingly used in healthcare to improve hospital efficiency, reduce costs and better inform patient diagnoses and treatment plans. When implemented, it might appear that algorithms are abstract, autonomous and detached from their designers and users. With an eye on ‘race’, this presentation will draw on interviews with healthcare practitioners and data scientists to demonstrate some of the ways in which perceptions of algorithms as objective, neutral and unbiased technologies are misleading. When coupled with healthcare practitioners’ own racial biases, the compounding impact is one that can deepen already existing racial inequalities even beyond healthcare.

Ideas for Life, Living and the World Around Us

Since 2009, York Circle has showcased the ideas and research being generated by York University’s community. Topics come from every faculty and have included discussions around gender issues, brain function, mental health, international aid, sports injuries, financial policy and many more evolving subjects.

Join The York Circle! Membership is free! Once you’ve joined, we’ll invite you to each event where you can learn about current research on key topics from York’s professors.

Please note: Current students and faculty of York are not eligible to join The York Circle but can attend as a guest of a registered member.

For more information on The York Circle, call us at (416) 650-8159 or email us at