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Monday, June 10, 2002

  • Worldwide games are featured
  • Students join schizophrenia research
  • Of cabbages and kings
Chris Redmond

Partial eclipse of the sun | Smog advisory

Convocation schedule for the week

Wednesday, 2:00: environmental studies, applied health sciences, independent studies

Thursday, 2:00: arts

Friday, 2:00: science

Saturday, 10:00: mathematics

Saturday, 2:00: engineering

Worldwide games are featured -- from the UW news bureau

"Games from Around the World" is the featured exhibit at the Elliott Avedon Museum and Archive of Games at the University of Waterloo.

The current exhibit includes count and capture games, puzzles, a Bilboquet section (cup and ball or ring and pin games), and games from Egypt, China, Canada, Japan, England, France and many other countries. There is also a "hands-on" opportunity for visitors to play and enjoy the games. Games have been and are still being played by people from every corner of the world, said Elena Ignatov, museum technician. They're played for fun and stimulation and have a therapeutic value, and can teach skills used for other activities.

As well, games can tell us a great deal about the culture from which they have originated, she said. Many games are known in virtually every part of the world, yet their local variations speak about the nature of the culture to which they have been adapted. The free, on-campus exhibit is open to the public through November, with cash donations welcomed. Hours through the summer are Monday to Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. Groups wanting to visit outside of regular hours should call for an appointment.

This is the 32nd year of operation for the museum. It includes more than 5,000 objects, many of which have been exhibited at various times, and have come from many parts of the world and through public and corporate donations.

A few hundred of the games are documented on the museum Web site, which features photographs, tours and documentary text presented in the form of a virtual exhibition. Each documentary Web page includes one or more illustrations of collection objects, many of which were photographed by the late Gerald Hagey, a museum volunteer who was UW's first president.

Continuing with its primary research mandate, the museum answers e-mail inquiries from web viewers on an individual basis. The web site is regularly updated by its founder, retired UW professor. Elliott Avedon, from his home base in Florida.

The museum is operated by the department of recreation and leisure studies and is staffed by graduate students. It is administered by the faculty of applied health sciences as part of the Waterloo Heritage Collections Association, with funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

The public gallery of the museum is in B.C. Matthews Hall, off the Columbia Street entrance to UW. There's a public bus stop out front and a public parking lot ($3 in coins) to the right of the building.

Students join schizophrenia research -- by Lindsey Love Forester, from the UW Recruiter newsletter for employers

Schizophrenia, a psychological disorder, is one of the most disabling and emotionally devastating diseases known to the twenty-first century. While schizophrenia can affect anyone, it is much more common in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease. At the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, the Psychiatric Neurogenetics section is actively searching for the abnormal genes involved in the causes, expression, treatment, and possible cures for this disorder. CAMH is enlisting the help of UW co-op students to conduct studies that will potentially determine the genes that are predictors for schizophrenia. To date, CAMH has hired three co-op students with computer science and bio-informatic backgrounds to complete computer analyses of clinical and genetic data.

[With molecular model]

Simmie and Lanktree worked to identify schizophrenia-related genes

Anne Marie Simmie, a third year computer science student, made a significant contribution to CAMH by creating a user-friendly interface that the researchers can use to analyze data. When she arrived at the centre, data had to be extracted from a database and formatted by hand - an extremely time-consuming operation, which frequently took days to complete. Anne Marie created a program, Pedigree Editor, which facilitated the process by allowing the users to create a custom query, while automatically formatting the data. The Pedigree Editor reduced the time required to prepare the data file from several days to only a few hours.

Matt Lanktree, a second year computer science student, with an option in bio-informatics, dedicated his time to a completely different task. The purpose of the study, that Matt assisted with, focused on finding the location of schizophrenia genes in the humane genome. This could potentially eliminate misdiagnosis and enable doctors to develop gene therapies. Matt worked on an analysis of a large genome scan of schizophrenic patients and families in Israel. Thanks to Matt's efforts and dedication, not only was the analysis completed in a very short period of time, but the results obtained were of exceptional quality and will soon be published in a scientific journal. Matt intends to return to CAMH for a second work term, to continue working on this project.

Jung Rak Kim, a first year Mathematics student, also made notable contributions to the project. Jung assisted a research team, for his first work term last summer, with the design and development of a novel approach to analyze data in the genetics of complex traits. He performed an analysis of linkage disequilibrium mapping in genetics of schizophrenia. Two papers relating to this project will also be published in the near future. In April, Jung accompanied the research team to New York City, to present their project at the first annual pharmacogenetics meeting in psychiatry on April 12, 2002. Jung returned to CAMH for his second work term in the winter of 2002.

Working at CAMH was a rewarding experience for all three students. Their positions offered them outstanding learning opportunities in the context of a true research environment as well as the opportunity to experience the clinical aspect of the disorder by participating in weekly social groups with schizophrenic patients. This experience exposed the co-op students to the realities of the disease which they were analyzing. Dr. Fabio Macciardi, the students' supervisor, sums up their contributions by stating "These students have been outstanding contributors to our projects and without them an enormous amount of work would never have been possible."

Their positions at CAMH have helped the students in planning their future academic and career options. Matt thanks the co-op program for giving him the chance to work at CAMH. "There's no way I ever would have my foot in the door at such a renowned organization, the co-op program allowed me that opportunity."

The world of biotechnology

Bio 2002 under way in Toronto

Ontario 'strategy' and funding

Federal funds also expected

Toronto's Medical and Related Sciences Discovery District

Background: AgBiotechNet

Of cabbages and kings

The pension and benefits committee will meet for most of the day today, from 8:30 to 2:00 in Needles Hall room 3001. Agenda items range from the annual evaluation of the pension fund to the scheduled July 1 cost-of-living increase for pensioners, "breakdown of costs to administer the pension plan", and a proposed "progress report to the community".

The University Committee on Information Systems and Technology holds an open meeting today about its draft "directions statement", the document that calls for UW to become "Canada's connected campus". The emphasis is on the use of technology in teaching, learning and research, although the statement also has much to say about the necessary infrastructure on campus. It says UW should "increase the quality and quantity of "connectedness" of all computer users, both on and off-campus (via remote access), through expansion and enhancement of (i) off-campus network access, (ii) on-campus points of presence of the computing network, and (iii) development of wireless access for students and researchers to encourage maximum flexibility in computing infrastructure options". Today's open meeting starts at 11:30 in Davis Centre room 1302.

The Engineers without Borders group has several talks scheduled in the next while, including one tomorrow by systems design engineering student Scott Griffiths. He'll be reporting on his EWB internship in Guinea, in west Africa, starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Davis Centre room 1302.

And Thursday this week brings something called "Miracle on Melville Street", that being the location in Cambridge where UW's school of architecture will soon have its new home. "Come celebrate," says an invitation, promising "message from David Crombie . . . food from some of Cambridge's finest restaurants . . . music and exhibit from the School of Architecture". The event runs from 6:30 to midnight on Thursday night, and tickets are $45, from Rebekah Raude at ext. 2676.



June 10, 1976: "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg", produced by Waterloo Summer Theatre, begins a four-day run.

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