Friday, January 16, 2009

  • Duo of top scientists here Tuesday
  • College principal: 'I love my work'
  • Student mourned, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Duo of top scientists here Tuesday

Two of the world's scientific stars will speak on campus Tuesday, with one of them scheduled to give a lecture that's been cancelled twice before because of illness and circumstances.

He's Sydney Brenner, one of the world's leading pioneers in genetics and molecular biology, and winner of the Nobel Prize in "Physiology or Medicine" in 2002. He will share the Humanities Theatre platform with John Bell, Regius Chair of Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Brenner, who was most recently scheduled for a UW visit in October, will be speaking on "The Architecture of Biological Complexity". Bell will talk about his expertise in immunogenetics.

The event is sponsored by UW's faculty of science, the Gairdner Foundation, the government of Ontario and Sanofi Pasteur. Brenner is a Gairdner International Award winner, while Bell is on the Gairdner medical advisory board.

"Drs. Brenner and Bell represent the best of scientific inquiry," says Terry McMahon, dean of the science faculty. "At Waterloo, we are committed to imparting scientific knowledge in a manner that encourages academic excellence, creativity and the ability to address practical problems."

Brenner is known for his work in establishing the existence of messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid) and demonstrating how the order of amino acids in protein is determined. He conducted pioneering work with the roundworm — nematode Caenorhabditis elegans — a model organism now widely used to study genetics. He has been involved with major genome sequencing projects, which address important questions about biological function.

His research provides insights into aging, nerve cell function and controlled cell death which has implications for understanding a range of diseases including cancer, AIDS, strokes and neuro-degenerative diseases of the brain. Brenner continues his investigations at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, where he has developed new ways to analyze gene sequences. His work provides a deeper knowledge of the evolution of vertebrates.

Bell's scientific work focuses on the immune response and the genetics of auto-immune disease. He has contributed work that defined several of the genes involved in making a person susceptible to diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. As a member of numerous international and national medical and scientific boards, Bell's interest has not only been in advancing medical science but also in developing the careers of young scientists.

Tuesday's event begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Humanities Theatre. Admission is free.

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College principal: 'I love my work'

the latest donor profile issued by UW’s Keystone Campaign

Graham Brown used to play basketball and take part in triathlons. There’s little time for that now, although the principal of St. Paul’s College looks fighting-fit. “I try to run most lunch-hours,” he says. “But I don’t feel the need for many outside diversions. I love my work — and, in a sense, I’m working all the time.”

[Brown]Since arriving in 1999, Brown (right) has dedicated himself to renewing St. Paul’s as a contributor to UW’s academic and residential life, one with a more distinctive, relevant role.

In addition to his administrative duties, he teaches courses in his area of philosophy of religion. But the common thread running through Brown’s career, beginning in his years as dean of men at Victoria College, University of Toronto, is his focus on students in their broader learning environment, outside the classroom.

What programs have developed at St. Paul’s since your arrival? “The BES in International Development, a partnership with the Faculty of Environment, was successfully launched this fall. The Aboriginal Services Office developed out of older Canadian studies programs. It’s unusual: I don’t know of any other affiliated college that’s the home for counselling in Aboriginal matters for the entire university. We also support literacy camps at remote First Nations reserves.”

What else can the colleges offer the university? “At UW, the colleges are residential learning communities that provide an option for students in all faculties to reap the benefits of a small, intimate environment. Whether they’re techies, mathies, or artsies, they can rub shoulders, get different perspectives, see how different parts of the puzzle are compatible. That broadening is necessary for people to become educated citizens.”

How do you target your giving, and why? “I and my wife, Janet MacFarlane, direct our gift to the MacFarlane-Brown Scholarship for students entering programs in international development. Scholarships and other funding are important to attract the best students. Other donors will follow and will support other things; but I believe that the quality of the university starts with high-quality students.”

Any further thoughts? “St. Paul’s distinctive programs grew naturally out of the United Church’s values, especially those of the Methodists, who are oriented to building community and finding practical ways of serving others. I really appreciate this university’s support of the university colleges, founded by people of religious passion. It was an outstanding feat of foundational genius to include this partnership.”

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Student mourned, and other notes

Officials have confirmed that one of the people who [Eaton]died in a house fire in Waterloo's Beechwood neighbourhood on Wednesday afternoon was Daniel Eaton (left), 23. He was a student in UW's computer science program, though not currently taking any courses. He also operated the electronic gaming firm Tenkei Media, and figured in a documentary video about synesthesia research at UW, produced in 2007 for the "Discoveries and Breakthroughs in Science" series. Friends were posting tributes on Facebook last night. Also killed in the fire on Wingrove Court were his parents, John and Linda Eaton. This morning's Record has an extensive story about the family and what's now being described as a homicide investigation in connection with the fire.

This note comes from Kristin Snell of Waterloo International: "Meetings between Canadian (including UW) and California research officials under the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership have led to the first call for proposals for joint projects between Canadian university researchers and researchers at the University of California. US$2 million is available for this round of proposal. Projects must include a researcher from a Canadian University and the University of California. Grants will support activities such as roundtables, workshops, symposia and the development of R&D business plans. Priority areas are Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Green IT, Infectious Diseases, Next-Generation Digital Media and Sustainable Biofuels, although novel projects outside those areas are also welcome. More information is available online. UW researchers interested in applying to this program should contact Drew Knight in Waterloo International (dknight@ Letters of Intent are due February 23 for UW approval in advance of the agency’s February 27 deadline."

Ontario University Athletics holds an annual "Women of Influence Luncheon" to honour, among others, one athlete from each university across the province. This year's stars are being announced, in preparation for the luncheon on February 10 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, with Olympic wrestler Tonya Verbeek as guest speaker. Being honoured from a campus near you: "Kate Critchley, from Kitchener, captained the Waterloo Warriors field hockey team in her fifth and final year of eligibility. Kate has outstanding leadership abilities which served her team well on and off the field. A fine example of an outstanding student athlete, Kate excels in the classroom and on the field. Her academic average during the 2007-2008 season was 93 percent. In her spare time, Kate tutors high school students in science and math and is a demonstrator at the Waterloo Wellington Children's Groundwater Festival."

[Ready for a jump shot]Speaking of Warrior athletes, they're hoping for a big fan turnout tomorrow for a pair of basketball games — the UW women (including Kimberly Lee, right) vs. the University of Guelph at 2 p.m. in the Physical Activities Complex, and the men at 4:00, also vs. the Gryphons. It's the tenth annual Fantastic Alumni, Staff and Faculty Day, when members of all those groups (and their families) are invited to sit in the bleachers, cheer on the Warriors and maybe get involved in some prize competitions. "Both games feature great half-time entertainment," writes Adam Steeves of the athletics department. "The half-time buzzer of the women's game signals the start of this year's Alumni vs. Staff Monster Hoops Showdown. During the mid-way break in the men's game, compete in the annual paper airplane toss. Guide your glider onto a target for your chance to win some great prizes, including a Nintendo DS and a laptop computer." Admission is free with advance registration online.

Meanwhile, "the first Warrior Weekend of the term will be occurring," says Katie Williams of the student life office. "We invite all students to come out and participate in free, fun and entertaining events," Friday and Saturday evenings in the Student Life Centre. As always, there are movies: "Tropic Thunder" and "Eagle Eye" tonight, "The House Bunny" and "Lakeview Terrace" tomorrow. And there are crafts: "decorate your own box" tonight (not sure what that might look like) and "door hangers" tomorrow. And there's food: a cereal buffet on Friday and pizza and popcorn on Saturday. And there are activities. Tonight it's a pajama contest and pillow fight (BYOP), along with "outdoor frisbee (weather permitting)" and a chance to "learn a new dance". Saturday: "bingo, board games and euchre tournament." One big slumber party, in short, except that most slumber parties don't have their own web site.


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[IYA poster]

Campus in the dark: UW astronomers will welcome visitors to the Physics building from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday for an evening of astronomy to celebrate the start of the International Year of Astronomy. Campus lighting near the building will be turned off for the event to reduce light pollution, says physics and astronomy professor Gretchen Harris. The department also has an IYA promotional video, and an exhibition marking the IYA opens tomorrow in the Davis Centre library.

Link of the day

National Nothing Day

When and where

Pharmacy co-op jobs for spring term posted Friday-Sunday; interviews January 30-31.

Engineering alumni ski day at Osler Bluff Ski Club, Collingwood. Details.

Clubs, Services and Society Days with tables and displays in Student Life Centre great hall, 10:00 to 3:00.

Study in China summer program information meeting 12:00 noon, Renison University College cafeteria (also February 13 and March 13).

Knowledge Integration seminar: Thomas Homer-Dixon, Balsillie School, “The Causes of Group Identity Conflict”, 2:30 p.m., Environment II room 2002.

Wilfrid Laurier University opening of Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action, 2:30 p.m., WLU Science building room N1002. Details.

Nominating committee for provost: nominations for committee seats due today 3:00 p.m. Details.

Philosophy colloquium: Michael Cholbi, California State Polytechnic at Pomona, “Moore’s Paradox and Moral Motivation”, 3:30 p.m., Humanities room 373.

Warrior sports: Volleyball vs. Ottawa, Friday, women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m., PAC. Men’s team vs. RMC, Saturday 7 p.m., PAC. Women’s team at Brock Saturday. • Men’s hockey vs. Queen’s Friday 7:30, vs. RMC Saturday 7:30, Icefield. • Basketball vs. Guelph, Saturday, women 2 p.m., men 4 p.m. • Curling, OUA west sectional at Westmount Golf and Country Club, Saturday. • Women’s hockey vs. Guelph, Saturday 2 p.m., Icefield; at Windsor, Sunday. • Track and field at Windsor Can-Am Classic, Friday and Saturday. • Nordic skiing, qualifier tournament at North Bay, Saturday and Sunday. • Squash, crossover tournament at Toronto, Saturday and Sunday.

Free showing of “The Bicycle Thief” (1948), sponsored by Render (UW art gallery) and Recycle Cycles, Friday 6:30 p.m., refreshments beforehand at Queen Street Commons Café, 43 Queen Street South, Kitchener.

St. Jerome’s University presents “Confronting Evil Today”, free three-part mini-course by faculty member David Seljak, begins tonight 7:30, Siegfried Hall. Details.

Co-op job postings for spring work term begin January 17; employer interviews begin January 29.

Renison University College Founders’ Day celebrations Saturday: Evensong and Convocation 3:30 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener, reception 5:00 p.m., Renison great hall.

Barrington Cockett, UW geography student, memorial service Saturday 4:00 p.m., St. Jerome’s University chapel.

Artery Gallery operated by UW fine arts students holds opening reception for “Bandy”, exhibition of local music and art, Saturday 6:00 p.m., 158 King Street West, admission $5.

Drama students fund-raising event for trip to Italy, Saturday 6 p.m., Italian Cortina Club, 22 Kevco Place, Kitchener, tickets $25, details ext. 28235.

Banff Mountain Film Festival Sunday and Monday 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre, tickets $15.

Used book sale in support of Renison College library, Monday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Blood donor clinic Monday-Tuesday 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre, appointments at turnkey desk or call 1-888-236-6283.

UW Sustainability Project general volunteer meetings Monday and Tuesday 12:00 noon, Student Life Centre room 3103. Details.

Recreation and leisure studies professor Troy Glover, “Using Photographs to Understand How Citizens Value the Landscapes of Downtown Kitchener”, Monday 12:00, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

UW senate Monday 4:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Soirée Ciné: “Persépolis” (2007), Monday 6 p.m., St. Jerome’s University room 3027.

‘Opportunities in Policing’: presentation on “The Right Fit to Serve”, sponsored by residences Living-Learning programs and Waterloo Regional Police, January 27, 5:30 p.m., Village I great hall. Registration.

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