Explore Science@Carleton
June/July 2020

A collection of top stories, faculty news and important announcements from the past two months.

Faculty of Science celebrates new grads with #CarletonGrads2020 event!

New graduates were confirmed by Carleton’s Senate in June, and that’s when the online celebration began university-wide! New grads from programs within the Faculty of Science tuned into the Faculty of Science Virtual Graduation Celebration on June 24 to hear messages of congratulations from Chuck Macdonald, Dean of the Faculty of Science, keynote speaker Julie Angus, and much more.

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Departments within Faculty of Science send off grads with videos, inspirational messages

As part of Carleton's graduation celebration, departments within the Faculty of Science held their own online events, containing videos, inspirational messages and more to send off their new graduates. 

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Science leaders “Pass the Degree” in celebration of our new graduates!

Pass the degree! Leaders in the Faculty of Science took part in a degree-pass video in celebration of all of the accomplishments of our 2020 graduates in the Faculty of Science.

Prime Minister praises Canadian post-secondary graduates in live address at Carleton University

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a congratulatory speech from Carleton University on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 in recognition of Convocation ceremonies being postponed nationwide.

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Grad Stories 2020: York prof returns to the classroom at Carleton

Although York University Prof. Sandra Gabriele has practiced and taught design for almost 40 years, she still loves to be a student. “Early in my career, someone told me that one should go back to school every 10 to 15 years to keep current,” she says. In her latest effort to keep current, she completed a Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at Carleton University.

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Grad Stories 2020: Carleton post-doc educates children about cybersecurity

Carleton postdoctoral researcher Sana Maqsood has spent years studying how to keep students safe, most recently by leading a Carleton collaboration with MediaSmarts that upgraded a popular educational video game. The new iteration is called A Day in the Life of the Jos.

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Online Events

Online Science Café events resume in August - register now!


5: Science Café – Therapeutic Anti-Cancer Potential Of a Novel KDM5C Inhibitor
Guest Speaker: Kyle Biggar, Assistant Professor, Institute of Biochemistry
Time: 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Location: Virtual Event via Zoom
Register here!

19: Science Café – Vaccines against COVID-19: So Where Are We So Far?
Guest Speaker: Erling Rud, Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Sciences
Time: 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Location: Virtual Event via Zoom
Register here!

Recent Science Café events are available for online viewing

  • With no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, our immune systems are top of mind for many. In a Science Café, hosted online on May 26, 2020, Health Sciences Prof. Edana Cassol discussed how our immune systems recognize and respond to viruses, and how dysregulation of these processes can contribute to the development of disease. She also discussed her recent research evaluating how metabolism can be used to fine tune antiviral immune responses. Watch now
  • Although many people worry about man-made chemicals in their food, far more serious are four important fungal toxins or mycotoxins. In a Science Café, hosted online on June 17, 2020, Chemistry Prof. David Miller introduced this topic that has plagued humankind since Biblical times, outlining how it affects Ontario and parts of the developing world. Watch now
  • Wearing a mask in public places has become commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to short supplies of medical masks in some areas for frontline workers. In a Science Café, hosted online on July 8, 2020, Biology Prof. Alex Wong discussed some of the promises and pitfalls of UV-C decontamination of medical masks, and described his lab’s work in optimizing UV-C irradiation strategies. Watch now
Faculty News

Rowan Thomson named Assistant Dean (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)

Carleton Prof. Rowan Thomson has been named Assistant Dean (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) for a three-year term. In this role, Thomson will build on the Faculty of Science’s existing work in creating a diverse and inclusive environment for our students, faculty and staff.

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Faculty of Science announces new appointees to its leadership team

The Faculty of Science has appointed new Associate and Assistant Deans in various capacities. Sue Bertram, Professor in the Department of Biology, has been named Associate Dean (Recruitment and Retention.) Bertram will take over for Prof. Maria DeRosa, who has held the role since 2017. Julia Wallace, Instructor in the Institute of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Science and Department of Physics has been appointed Associate Dean (Undergraduate Affairs.) Wallace will take over for Prof. Naomi Cappuccino, who has held the role since 2019. Andrew Runka, Instructor in the School of Computer Science, has been named Assistant Dean (Academic Integrity.) This is a newly created position.

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Zona incerta: Prof. Melissa Chee’s lab helps unveil new knowledge on the brain’s zone of uncertainty

In research featured on the cover of the Journal of Comparative Neurology, Carleton’s Dr. Melissa Chee and UTEP’s Dr. Arshad Khan led a collaboration that revealed that dopamine is produced by neurons in the zona incerta.

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Carleton-hosted epidemiology and biostatistics conference gives rise to new published research in Canadian Journal of Public Health

Prof. Paul Villeneuve has co-edited a new special section on Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, and it’s a development that directly results from the Carleton-hosted Canadian Society of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CSEB) conference in May 2019.

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Physicists search for particles beyond Standard Model of particle physics

With construction set to begin in 2020, Physics Profs. Yue Zhang and Razvan Gornea have high hopes for the Hyper-Kamiokande Cherenkov radiation detector, including the potential discovery of an entirely new particle. 

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Carleton experimental physicists design and validate new technology for CERN’s High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider

Experimental physicists at Carleton are validating the new sensors and readout chips that will be used in the Inner Tracker of CERN’s largest detector: ATLAS. Slated for completion in 2027, the facility upgrade will significantly improve the Large Hadron Collider’s performance – and enable experiments that seek to demonstrate the existence of dark matter and other dimensions.

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Two Carleton labs join forces in international race to halt COVID-19 pandemic

Biology Prof. Kyle Biggar's lab has joined forces with Dr. James Green, professor in the department of Systems and Computer Engineering, to investigate which peptides (protein fragments) might be able to disrupt the virus interactions.

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Steven Cooke and William Twardek contribute to major migratory fish report documenting 76 per cent decline over 50 years

Biology Prof. Steven Cooke and PhD student William Twardek are co-authors on a newly released global report on the status of migratory fish. The Living Planet Index for Migratory Freshwater Fish is the first comprehensive global report on the status of migratory fish. The technical report finds migratory freshwater fish are under immense threat from human-made impacts and urgent action is required to halt and then reverse the alarming decline.

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More Faculty News

  • Chemistry Prof. David Miller is part of the Sioux Lookout Zone Children’s Environmental Health study team, which has recently been awarded the 2020 Health Canada, Health Environmental and Consumers Safety Branch ADM Award of Excellence. More
  • Seventeen projects led by or with participation from Science faculty members have been successful in their applications for CU COVID-19 Rapid Research Response Grants. More
  • Prof. Mark Boulay has received NSERC funding to continue search for dark matter with DEAP-3600 experiment. More
  • Prof. Lenore Fahrig has authored a Conversation piece on how smaller farmer’s fields can reduce biodiversity loss. More
  • Prof. Kim Hellemans spoke to The Charlatan about the mental toll of COVID-19. More
  • Rachel Buxton spoke to Wired about noise pollution reduction efforts. More
  • Prof. Hymie Anisman appeared in the Charlatan Science blog on the topic of seratonin. More
Student and Alumni News

Biology PhD Jill Brooks receives shark research and outreach award

Jill Brooks, a PhD student in Biology, has been awarded the Eugenie Clark Memorial Award from the American Elasmobranch Society. The award recognizes female early-career scientists who demonstrate uncommon perseverance, dedication and innovation in biological research and public outreach on elasmobranch fishes, such as sharks, rays, and skates.

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Class of 2020 Computer Science grad Avery Vine named Leading Innovator by The Logic

Each year, The Logic compiles a list of rising stars most likely to shape the future of Canada’s innovation economy. This year, Avery Vine hit the mark. The recipient of several awards during his time at Carleton, including Apple’s #WWDC19 Scholarship and Carleton’s Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement, he is about to start a new job at Apple.

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Student Science Success Centre launches refresher courses in Math, Computer Science and Chemistry

The Student Science Success Centre is offering a series of refresher courses to help incoming students in math, computer science and chemistry courses get a head start on key concepts needed to succeed in their university classes! Math Matters, Comp Matters and Chem Matters are offered in August. Consult the sites below for more details, dates and registration information. Please spread the word to any incoming students you may know who are enrolled in these classes!

Math Matters | Comp Matters | Chem Matters

Research by Carleton Master of Science students shows that opioid hospitalizations decrease on statutory holidays

Carleton graduate students Chantal Houser, David Huynh and Amir Jasarevic wondered if holidays would have an impact on hospitalizations related to opioid use. These events fluctuate according to seasonal and day of the week patterns, but it wasn’t known whether statutory holidays had an impact. In new research published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, the graduates of Carleton’s Master of Science in Health: Science Technology and Policy program have shown that opioid-related hospitalizations actually decrease on statutory holidays in Canada. 

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More Student News
  • PhD students Willow English and William Twardek have won awards for their northern research from the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies More
  • Earth Sciences PhD student Arjan Mann has co-authored an article in The Conversation on a fossil discovery that reveals the earliest relative of modern mammals More
  • Biology PhD William Twardek looks at why some chinook salmon don’t make it up the Whitehorse fish ladder More

Alumni Spotlight: Amisha Agarwal (BScHons/12) 

Alumna Amisha Agarwal (BScHons/12) was recently featured in a Hub for Good piece documenting how, in lieu of gifts for her birthday, she accepted donations for the Ottawa Food Bank. The massively successful food-raiser was a selfless way to help those who need it most during the COVID-19 pandemic. Agarwal has also helped in other capacities, volunteering regularly to help make PPE as part of CHEO’s #sewhelpful campaign.

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More Infomation About Carleton's Efforts to Flatten the Curve

Coronavirus Resources

Carleton University is following the advice of Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada for the latest information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommendations for prevention. Carleton’s Coronavirus website contains a summary of facts from these health agencies as well as answers to questions Carleton faculty, staff, students and the community may have. Please visit it for more information about the university’s plan for reacting to the pandemic. 

The university has prepared a list of frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19. Please review the FAQ to ensure you are up to speed with the latest information and updates. 

Please also see as list of what’s open and closed on campus, as well as a list of postponed and cancelled events university-wide.