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(April 11, 2002, Gazette)

Introducing... Memorial welcomes new research talent

Memorial continues to attract outstanding researchers to its faculty complement. This year they come from as far as Nepal and as close as our own backyard. Their areas of research expertise include the politics of Northern Ireland, international corporate finance, bone cancer research and artificial intelligence. The upcoming issues of the Gazette will profile some of our new research and teaching talent. Here are the first to be featured.

Dr. Hélène Paradis

Dr. Robert Gendron

Dr. Peter Hart

Dr. Dev Raj Mishra

Dr. Robin Whitaker

Dr. George Mann


Dr. Hélène ParadisAssistant professor, Dr. Hélène Paradis
Assistant professor,
Basic Medical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine

Research Interests:
Dr. Hélène Paradis is particularly interested in the molecular processes linking developmental biology to cancer. She and her colleague, Dr. Robert Gendron, have identified a novel regulatory type factor, tubedown-1, present at high level during fetal development in tissues such as bone, blood and blood vessels. “After birth, the detection of this factor is not observable in most tissues,” explained Dr. Paradis. “But we have discovered that it is also present at high levels in pediatric bone tumours and in some neuroblastomas. Treatment of these cancers is difficult and can require highly toxic therapy that can predispose these children to secondary cancers later in life.”

Drs. Paradis and Gendron have determined that tubedown-1 is important for the growth of experimental Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of bone cancer. “We hope that research into natural molecules such as tubedown-1, that control the growth of cancers, can one day be used to design less toxic treatments,” she said. Dr. Paradis’ work in the role of tybedown-1 in pediatric tumours is funded by the Childrens Oncology Group through a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.


Born in Montreal, Dr. Paradis earned her PhD at the University of Montreal in molecular biology and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She then accepted a faculty position at the University of Cincinnati, where she worked for the last several years developing her current research projects.

Dr. Robert GendronDr. Robert Gendron
Assistant professor,
Basic Medical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Research Interests:
Dr. Gendron’s research has concentrated on molecules involved in controlling blood vessel growth and differentiation. Blood vessels are central to the growth of tumors and to the progression of a range of diseases – they support diseased tissues through a process called angiogenesis. By studying the molecules involved in controlling blood vessel growth, he aims to target this process in diseased tissues.

Through a number of collaborations, Dr. Gendron and his colleague, Dr. Hélène Paradis, have focused some of their work on studies of angiogenesis in the normal, developing and diseased eye in order to learn more about the regulation of blood vessels in health and disease in general. When blood vessels grow uncontrolled in the relatively closed environment of the eye, they can result in blindness. The identification of the novel protein tubedown-1, involved in the control of growth and differentiation of blood vessels, by Drs. Gendron and Paradis, has applications to a range of eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy. The two researchers have been funded by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health for their work on the role of tubedown-1 in retinal angiogenesis.

Born in Montreal, Robert Gendron did his B.Sc. at Concordia and McGill, and his PhD in physiology at McGill. Supported by a Medical Research Council of Canada fellowship, he continued his training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston in cell differentiation during embryogenesis and cancer biology. Dr. Gendron then took a faculty position at Childrens Hospital Research Foundation and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio.

Dr. Peter HartDr. Peter Hart
Associate professor,
Department of History
Faculty of Arts

Research Interests
Dr. Hart’s research finds its focal point in Irish history. As a history professor and researcher, he has studied how the IRA, religious segregation, and British Intelligence affect the lives of individuals, as well as a nation. His particular interest lies in recent Irish history, as it lends itself to research techniques, such as personal interviews, that facilitate the gathering of primary sources. Upcoming conferences in Italy and Ireland will provide research opportunities in civil war and terrorism, as well as in Irish Republicanism, respectively. By studying and writing about the recent history of various Irish groups, Dr. Hart hopes to bring the stories of real people to an international audience.

Dr. Hart has dedicated much of his career to the research of recent Irish history. As a PhD candidate at Trinity College in Dublin, he researched, interviewed, and collected vast amounts of information on members of the IRA, leading to the 1988 publication The IRA and its Enemies. Funded by the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Dr. Hart also spent a great deal of time in Ireland, speaking with elderly Protestants about their experiences as a small, yet distinct, minority in their country. Over the last decade, Michael Collins, a powerful Irish leader, has been of particular interest to the historical researcher, who has written a book on the subject, slated for release in late 2002. Dr. Hart’s most recent publication, British Intelligence in Ireland, will be published within the next few months.

Born in St. John’s, Peter Hart studied for one year at Memorial University of Newfoundland, eventually graduating with a BA (Hons.) in history from Queen’s University, a MA in International Relations from Yale, and a PhD in history from Trinity College, Dublin. Dr. Hart then accepted a five-year teaching and research position at Queen’s University in Belfast, followed by his recent appointment as a Canada Research Chair in Irish studies and an associate professor and graduate supervisor in Memorial University of Newfoundland’s history department.

Dr. Dev Raj MishraDr. Dev Raj Mishra
Assistant professor, finance
Faculty of Business

Research interests:
Dr. Mishra’s research focuses on international corporate finance, corporate risk management, market microstructure, and emerging markets. In August 2001, he completed his dissertation entitled Essays on International Corporate Finance. “I have a keen interest in understanding how the value of a firm is created and protected,” he said. Dr. Mishra is currently working on research related to stocks and derivatives, including topics such as implied world equity risk premium, Canadian perspective on foreign exchange derivatives use and firm characteristics, and the liquidity effects of addition to and deletion from the TSE 300.

Dr. Mishra taught in Nepal and the United States before joining the faculty at Memorial. His course list includes international corporate finance, advanced corporate finance, corporate risk management, derivatives, and capital budgeting. “I enjoy searching for the finance-related knowledge and research that’s out there, and disseminating it to students who ultimately will be able to apply it and benefit from it.”

Dr. Mishra completed a BBA at Tribhuvan University in Nepal. He also completed a master’s degree in business, focusing on marketing, at Tribhuvan. In 1998, Dr. Mishra earned an MBA in finance from Indiana University and went on to pursue his doctorate in finance at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Robin Whitaker
Assistant professor
Department of Anthropology
Faculty of Arts

Main research interests:
Dr. Whitaker’s research often concentrates on political conflict, political transitions, and the politics of representation, and her current research on the politics of Northern Ireland addresses emerging debates concerning the anthropology of democracy and gender. Regardless of topic, Dr. Whitaker’s research is always informed by a feminist theoretical perspective. Future research may focus on what Dr. Whitaker refers to as the Newfoundland migrant labour force in Ireland, particularly as students and youth in Newfoundland travel to Ireland to work.

Supported by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, ISER Research Grants and the IFUW Ida Smedley MacLean Fellowship (among others), Dr. Whitaker pursued fieldwork in Northern Ireland towards her dissertation, Talking Politics: Gender and Political Culture in the Northern Ireland Peace Process. While in Northern Ireland, Dr. Whitaker became involved in local politics, extending her stay and becoming active in the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, one of 10 political parties elected to participate in peace talks. Her five years in Northern Ireland concluded in 2001 with the completion of her dissertation, and her appointment to Memorial University of Newfoundland as assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology.

Dr. Whitaker hails from Portugal Cove, and completed her BA at Memorial University of Newfoundland with a major in anthropology and a minor in women’s studies. She continued her anthropology studies with an MA from York University, and at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she was awarded her doctorate in 2001.

Dr. George MannDr. George Mann
Assistant professor,
Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
and Applied Science

Research Interests:

With the increased application of artificial intelligence in computer-controlled devices, intelligent systems have emerged as a new form of technology that can be used for operating devices in environments where it may not be safe or feasible for people to work efficiently. Intelligent systems are those that emulate the human ability to perceive, reason, make decisions, and act. There are many subsystems involved in the study of intelligent systems, such as machine vision, intelligent control, robotic systems, automation and many more. Dr. George Mann’s research focuses on intelligent control. His work attempts to understand and model the complex environment in which intelligent systems operate, and by understanding this environment, design an intelligent system that can function optimally within it. Dr. Mann is also appointed as the C-CORE Junior Chair in Intelligent Systems and will work with Dr. Ray Gosine on projects for the industrial sector.

Dr. George Mann began as a lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka. While completing his PhD in mechanical engineering (intelligent control systems) at Memorial University, he had the opportunity to work as a research engineer at C-CORE. During this time he worked on intelligent systems research for mining automation projects. These projects aimed at developing vision systems to make decisions autonomously to improve the production in underground mining.


Born in Sri Lanka, Dr. Mann received a B.Sc. (Hons.) in mechanical engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, and then went on to complete a M.Sc. in computer integrated manufacture from Loughborough University of Technology, United Kingdom. After teaching for a number of years at the University of Moratuwa, Dr. Mann completed a PhD in mechanical engineering (intelligent control) at Memorial University, followed by an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University working on intelligent control of parallel robots.