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Thursday, January 6, 2000

  • Magazine notes five from UW
  • Skills for the electronic workplace
  • How muscles get their energy
  • On the twelfth day of Christmas


[Male and female in bright vests]
"Working for the Walksafe program," says the student awards office website, "is one of the 200 jobs available on campus through the Ontario/University of Waterloo Work Study Plan." The website includes a list of scholarships, awards and bursaries open for applications this term, as well as information about how to calculate student expenses and cover costs from scholarships, jobs, the Ontario Student Assistance Program and other sources.

Magazine notes five from UW

Maclean's magazine offers a profile of "100 Canadians to Watch" in its special January 1 issue, and five of the young 100 have links to UW:

Diane Cameron, 25, and Kate Hoye, 24, former undergraduate systems design engineering students at Waterloo, gained fame for the design of better equipment for gynecological exams, and have formed their own company, ERGyne Technologies Group. Hoye is currently a master's student in systems design at UW, and Cameron is working toward a PhD in civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University.

Shaun Chen, 19, is a first-year computer engineering student at UW, has won more than $5,500 in scholarships, in part for his community work combating racism and sexism. He helped run Toronto's first Breaking Down the Barriers conference last year.

Jack and Mark Nowinski, 19-year-old twin brothers and first-year electrical engineering students at UW, "have won nearly every national and international science fair competition they have entered." Among their inventions is an electrocardiograph which can be hooked up to a home computer. The device notifies medical specialists via modem of any serious irregularity.

Skills for the electronic workplace

To begin at the beginning: "Basic Computer Literacy . . . Software Concepts". That three-hour course will be offered on Monday, as the first event this term in the Skills for the Electronic Workplace program for faculty and staff.

"In this course," a brochure explains, "you will learn about, and try many types of software used at the University of Waterloo. This is a good course to take to help you learn about which applications are best suited for various tasks."

It touches on just about everything -- "UW Supported Software, Typing and Mousing Skills, Operating Systems, Networking Software, Word Processors, Database Managers, Electronic Spreadsheets, Presentation Software, Graphics Software, Desktop Tools, The World Wide Web, Software for Creating Web Pages, Programming Languages, Scientific Software, Statistical Software, Integrated Software, Anti-Virus Software, Backing Up Your Data, Software Piracy, PC Depot and Macintosh Depot."

The SEW program was launched last year "to provide instruction in a comprehensive way for people who are new to the electronic workplace and to assist those who have the technology, but do not use it to its fullest potential". There are 29 courses in the program altogether.

The 16 courses being offered in the next few weeks will include "Keyboarding and Mousing Skills", "Word Level 1", "Mail Merge Using Microsoft Word", "Filemaker Pro Level 1", and "HTML Basics for UW Web Pages", the brochure shows.

Regular computing courses in the IST program are also being offered this winter for staff, faculty and students. The following free courses are available in January:

Information and a registration form are available on the web.

How muscles get their energy -- from a UW news release

[Green] Better care for people recovering from heart attacks and boosting the performance of top athletes are the different goals of a UW research project led by Howard Green of the kinesiology department (pictured at right).

Green has long been involved in studies related to biochemical phenomena that take place within the body when muscles contract and develop force. In particular, he's looking at the role of high-energy chemicals in skeletal muscles, and in how cells adapt to protect the skeletal muscles' energy states.

His research could contribute to better treatment for people suffering from conditions where oxygen availability is compromised, such as heart attack victims and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- and it could help the training of athletes, mountain climbers, and astronauts.

Energy required for physical activity comes from chemicals in muscle cells. A high-energy compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) provides the energy needed for the transport of electrolytes across cell membranes, for mechanical work and for other processes needed to keep the cells viable. Green's challenge is to understand the processes that generate ATP, the process that utilizes ATP, and the integration between them.

There are several ways to provide a supply of energy to the muscles, and he and his graduate students are trying to understand these "pathways" -- the ways the cells respond to help maintain ATP. He is also collaborating with Patricia Schulte, a biologist, James Lepock, a biophysicist, and others at UW.

"We are looking at how both aerobic and anaerobic pathways change when they supply energy, how they interact with each other, and how they process enzymes within cell systems to perform work," he says, stressing that the "anaerobic" pathway is very short term, uses fuel very quickly, and produces far more waste products. Thus the aerobic (oxygen-based) pathway is the key to enabling an athlete, or a worker, to maintain a suitably high energy level.

"We can control the amount of oxygen a subject breathes in," he says, "and by gradually reducing it and comparing this with the way the muscle responds, we can come up with good data on how the metabolic pathways that produce ATP are functioning."

Green says the research team is working with people with congestive heart failure, where there has not been enough blood getting to the muscles. Many of these people have problems with fatigue -- and yet exercise is what they need. "So we are looking at them, trying to understand if their fatigue is abnormal or just due to inactivity, and whether the changes that occur help protect the energy potential of the muscle or make it worse. The important question is whether people with disease can display beneficial adaptations in response to chronic deprivation of oxygen, as healthy individuals appear to do; or whether changes occur that make management of the disease more difficult."

In these studies he is working with cardiology researchers at Duke Medical Center, North Carolina. A special program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council is designed to encourage NSERC-supported researchers to get involved in health-related research.

"We are trying to see if people with heart disease are still capable of exercising in a way that would be beneficial. If we can find out more about this we may be able to devise better ways to help them," he says. "We're trying to put various models together to see if they have anything in common. In brief, we are asking: How does muscle respond and adapt?"

On the twelfth day of Christmas

The winter term is well under way, and although there hasn't been much snow yet, presumably it'll come. And so Les Van Dongen of the plant operations department sends a reminder that casual snow shovellers are needed, any morning that it snows. The job pays $8.50 an hour. Anyone interested should show up at 7:30 ("dressed to work outside") at the grounds section in the General Services Complex courtyard -- near the smokestack. Shovels are provided. (Questions in advance: Van Dongen can be reached at ext. 4010.)

A memo came out the other day from Freddie Swainston in the human resources department, with information on "premiums and subsidies" to be paid to staff in various situations: "The recommended subsidy for safety shoes/boots is $65 per year if required by the nature of the job. The recommended subsidy for safety glasses is $65 every two years -- $80 for bifocals if required by the nature of the job. The recommended shift premium is 65 cents per hour for any hours worked between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The recommended meal allowance is $9."

James Brice, manager of the University Club, called with a message: "Yes, the University Club is indeed open this week, regular hours."

Auditions for FASS, UW's annual home-grown musical comedy, continue tonight and tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m. in Humanities room 378. The show hits the stage February 3-5.

"Volunteers are needed," says the Volunteer Action Centre, "for Providing Alternative Choices for Women. This program creates circles of support for federally sentenced women as they are released from Grand Valley Institution. There will be an information night on Tuesday, January 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Peter's Lutheran Church." Or the VAC can be reached at 742-8610 for more information.

Wanted: a student to review The Student's Guide to Canadian Universities, edited by Christine Ibarra and Blair Trudell, for the Gazette. Remuneration: a byline and fleeting fame (and you get to keep the book). Apply by e-mail to credmond@uwaterloo.ca -- that's me -- no later than 4 p.m. Friday (tomorrow), with a brief explanation of why you're qualified to write 500 words about this new book.

CAR


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
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