York U is now home to a new one-metre custom telescope that will enhance hands-on learning experiences and undergraduate research opportunities for the York community and beyond. Installed at the Allan I. Carswell Observatory on Aug. 16, the telescope is the largest on a university campus in Canada. Read more here: https://bit.ly/2m7huzb
At the Faculty of Science’s annual summer BBQ, the dean recognized several faculty members – Jianhong Wu (Math & Stats), Christopher Caputo (Chemistry), Jennifer Chen (Biology) and Cora Young (Chemistry) – for their research leadership, as well as Don Hastie and Alex Mills for their distinguished service. Thank you to everyone who came out for this sunny, outdoor event.program, among others. Listen here.
Six undergraduate students won awards at this year’s Faculty of Science annual NSERC Summer Undergraduate Research Conference.
The winners of the oral presentations were:
● First Prize Nestmann Award – Kevin Borsos of the Department of Physics & Astronomy (supervisor Professor Anantharaman Kumarakrishnan)
● Second Prize – Ehsan Yavari (NSERC-URSA) of the Faculty of Health (supervisor Professor Tara Haas)
● Third Prize – Seja Elgadi of the Department of Chemistry (supervisor Professor Christopher Caputo)
The winners of the poster presentation were:
● First Prize Nestmann Award – Nadar Allam of the Department of Physics & Astronomy (supervisors Professors Ozzy Mermut and Bill Pietro)
● Second Prize – Ethan Brooks of the Department of Physics & Astronomy (supervisor Professor Eric Hessels)
● Third Prize – Quinton Weyrich of the Department of Physics & Astronomy (supervisor Professor Eric Hessels)
Amenda Chow, Yohana Solomon and Hongmei Zhu (Math & Stats) held a mini-workshop, “Experimental Math: Exploring Vibrations,” for high school students attending the Canadian Mathematics Society Summer Math Camp at York. In this mini-workshop, students learned the concepts of vibrations, mathematical modelling of vibrating waves and conducted exciting experiments with different shaped Chladni plates, musical instruments, flexible beams and slinkies.
SEEDS at YorkU, with founder Sapna Sharma (Biology), took more than 40 refugee children from the Middle East and Africa to Ripley’s Aquarium for their latest SEEDS trip. Biology graduate students, Arnab Shuvo and Arshad Imrit volunteered to teach the kids about aquatic ecology. Photo by Arnab Shuvo.
Jennifer Steeves (associate dean of research and graduate education) lent her expertise on Charles Bonnet Syndrome for the film Torching the Dusties, which had its international premier at Fright Fest in London, UK, this month.
PhD candidates Cherie Brown and Paige Whyte-Fagundes from the Zoidl lab (Georg Zoidl, Biology) received sponsorship from the Norton B. Gilula Foundation to attend the 2019 International Gap Junction Conference in Victoria, B.C. Brown received a Star Award recognizing her achievements as a rising star in the gap junction field. The title of her oral presentation was “Sensorimotor behavior in the connexin-35b (Cx35b) knock-out zebrafish (danio rerio). In this mini-workshop, students learned the concepts of vibrations, mathematical modelling of vibrating waves and conducted exciting experiments with different shaped Chladni plates, musical instruments, flexible beams and slinkies.
Steven Connor (Biology) will receive $125,000 in funding for his research project, which looks at mechanisms contributing to autism spectrum disorder. It is part of the federal government’s $61-million infrastructure investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) John R. Evans Leader Fund (JELF).
Amro Zayed (Biology) and Jennifer Grixti (Biology alumna) have a new bee species named after them, Liphanthus jenamro, collected by the pair a decade ago in Chile & recently described by Laurence Packer’s (Biology) grad student Negar Sharifi. Read more here in the journal Zootaxa: https://bit.ly/2Hah5n8
Joel Zylberberg (Physics & Astronomy) was appointed an Associate Fellow of CIFAR’s prestigious program, Learning in Machines and Brains. There are only about 40 fellows, and they are collectively the world leaders in machine learning and neuroscience (and the intersection between those fields).
Arturo Orellana (Chemistry) received a $440,000 NSERC CRD Grant with F. Hoffmann-La Roche to work on perfecting new methods of making pyridines. Read more in yFile.
PhD Candidate Allysa Lumley (Math & Stats) (supervisor Youness Lamzouri) received a two-year, NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship worth $90,000, York’s only one this year. She will be heading to the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques in Montreal shortly.
York’s new Faculty Orientation took place Aug. 27 and 28 with the Interim Dean, EJ Janse van Rensburg, Alex Mills, associate dean of students, and Don Hastie, associate dean of faculty, participating in the event.
Welcome to all 15 new faculty members:
● Christopher Jang, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, (Biology)
● Birgit Schwarz, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream (Biology)
● Sandra Rehan, Assistant Professor, (Biology)
● Nikola Kovinich, Assistant Professor (Biology)
● Tao (Toby) Zeng, Assistant Professor (Chemistry)
● Tihana Mirkovic, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, (Chemistry)
● Trevor VandenBoer, Assistant Professor, (Chemistry)
● Andrew McEachern, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream (Math & Stats)
● Robin Marushia, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream (STS/NATS)
● Claire David, Assistant Professor (Fermilab, Physics & Astronomy)
● Deborah Harris, Professor (Fermilab, Physics & Astronomy)
● Elaina Hyde, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, (Physics & Astronomy) (Arriving in November)
Starting in January 2020:
● Jude Kong, Assistant Professor (Math & Stats)
● Nassim Bozorgnia, Assistant Professor (Physics & Astronomy)
● Saeed Rastgoo, Full-Time sessional Assistant Professor (Physics & Astronomy).
Welcome to our new administrative leaders:
● Gerald Audette, Associate Dean of Faculty (Dean’s Office)
● Vera Pavri, Department Chair (Science & Technology Studies)
● Robin Metcalfe, Undergraduate Program Director (Science & Technology Studies)
● Paula Wilson, Undergraduate Program Director (Biology)
● Patrick Hall, Undergraduate Program Director (Physics & Astronomy)
● Hyejin Ku, Undergraduate Program Director (Math & Stats)
Welcome to our new administrative staff:
● Jervis Sequeira, Faculty Research Administrator (Dean’s Office)
● Jacquelin De Faveri, Research Officer (Dean’s Office)
● Lan Tran, Science Academic Advisor (Academic Services)
● Jonathan Cevallos, Facilities Manager (Dean’s Office)
● Matthew Murray, Operations Manager (Chemistry)
● Juan Lemus, Systems Administrator (ITS)
The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery workshop on the Set Theory of the Reals took place in August, co-organized by Juris Steprans (Math & Stats) and Michael Hrusak (PhD, York University 1999). The first speaker at the workshop was recent York Postdoc Osvaldo Guzman and included several participants with connections to York University, including current faculty, and former faculty, students and postdocs.
Bee researchers gathered at York for the annual BeeCon – Southern Ontario’s Bee Researchers Symposium – to talk about bee behaviour, genetics and genomics, and conservation. This year’s conference, organized by Laurence Packer (Biology), and biology research assistants Sheila Dumesh and Liam Graham, drew bee researchers from Ontario and beyond, including as far away as Australia. Read more in yFile.
The Zoidl Lab (Georg Zoidl, Biology) co-authored a study completed by an international group of vision researchers from Germany, UK, and the Netherlands. Working towards a comprehensive characterization of electrical synapse function, the new research points at roles of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII-β) in the retina, regulating both electrical synapses and chemical ribbon synapses and potentially also mediating cross-talk between these two types of synapses enabling processing of visual signals in the eye. This research was open access published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.
Sapna Sharma (Biology) and two of her former graduate students, Lianna Lopez and Bailey Hewitt, published the paper “Reaching a break point: How is climate change influencing the timing of ice break-up in lakes across the Northern Hemisphere” in Limnology and Oceanography. Sharma was also second author on “Consequences of lake and river ice loss on cultural ecosystem services” in Limnology and Oceanography Letters.
Paul Delaney (Physics & Astronomy) was interviewed about a wide spectrum of space matters this month, including exoplanets on AM640, AM1010 and Global TV. He was also on the AM60 Mike Stafford Morning Show discussing the Milky Way’s warped appearance, on Global TV about Area 51 and UFOs, CTV Your Morning on space junk, the CHML Scott Thompson show and CTV Toronto about the Perseid meteor shower and more. CP24 and CBC covered the installation (clip at 59:11) of the new one-metre telescope and interviewed Delaney as did Global’s Breakfast Television. Delaney also spoke to CTV NewsChannel about the Europa Clipper mission, Global TV about the possible black hole and neutron star merger, as well as CTV Your Morning about ocean worlds and settlements on exoplanets, and more.
The film company, Mirror Image, shot footage of Dawn Bazely (Biology) for a National Film Board series on Women in STEM. Bazely was also featured in YorkRegion.com talking about good and bad weeds, what to leave and what to remove.
Bridget Stutchbury (Biology) was quoted in a National Public Radio for Central California online article about birds adapting to climate change and if it’s too late.
The Notices of the American Mathematical Society featured Jianhong Wu (Math & Stats) for winning the 2019 CAIMS-Fields Industrial Mathematics Prize by the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society, and the Fields Institute “in recognition of his many contributions to dynamical systems in mathematical epidemiology and in particular his collaborative research with public health professionals in government and industry.”
Sept. 24 to Dec. 3 – A new lineup of speakers will headline the Research Seminar Series in Science & Technology Studies (STS). The series will run on Tuesdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sept. 26 – Faculty and staff take a look through the new telescope event from 7 to 10 p.m. Check your email and be sure to RSVP.
Sept. 26 to Nov. 18 – Toronto Public Library Series, “Feasting at the Table of Elements,” with Christopher Caputo, Cora Young, Pierre Potvin, Hovig Kouyoumdjian and Derek Jackson.
Oct. 17 to 19 – The Mathematics of Vision Workshop at The Fields Institute (Room 230) will look at the many ways “vision science” can serve as a fruitful proxy for research in neuroscience and artificial intelligence. The organizing committee includes Christopher Bergevin (Physics & Astronomy) and Joel Zylberberg (Physics & Astronomy). To register and for more information visit the website: http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/activities/19-20/vision
Nov. 1 to 3 – The 47th Ontario-Quebec Physical-Organic Mini-symposium (POMS), one of North America’s premier physical organic chemistry symposia, will be at York. For more information, visit the website www.yorku.ca/tbaumgar/POMS/ or contact organizers Thomas Baumgartner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Caputo at email@example.com.