its series of profiles of Memorials latest faculty members, this
issue of the Gazette features researchers exploring the social history
of religion during the medieval period, conversion of light energy into
chemical energy, and fluid flow characteristics and performance of sandstone
oil and gas reservoirs. They come to Memorial from universities across
the globe including Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences,
University of Wales at Swansea and Johns Hopkins University.
Department of Chemistry
Faculty of Science
Main research interests:
Dr. Bottaros current work focuses on finding and identifying new
organic compounds in the marine environment and determining whether
they elicit a response using tests for bioactivity. This response may
be a positive or negative one, but Dr. Bottaro asserts that its
important to isolate the bioactive compounds and determine the mechanism
that is causing these effects. This type of testing can give an indication
of their impact on the environment, for better or worse. Dr. Bottaro
was recently awarded a DFO Research Grant in for $15,000.
Previous research also focused on environmental and marine tissues.
Dr. Bottaro worked on organohalogens, or halogenated organic compounds
known to be environmental contaminants. While the perception is that
they are man-made, the reality is that dioxins can be produced by natural
means, such as forest fires. There are also analogs of PCBs produced
in the marine environment by algae, sponges, seaweed and other multi-cell,
low-functioning animals. Her post-doctoral work involved the same organohalogens,
but emphasized novel compounds with moderately high molecular masses.
Dr. Bottaro describes herself as Canadian, as she has lived all over
the country, including New Brunswick, Labrador and Halifax. She received
her B.Sc. (Hons.) from St. Marys University in chemistry, and
received her PhD from Dalhousie University in 1999 with a concentration
in analytical chemistry. Dr. Bottaro became a Memorial faculty member
in January 2002 after completing a post-doctoral position at Dalhousie.
Department of History
Faculty of Arts
Dr. Bryan is interested in the social history
of religion during the medieval period, particularly in the area of
sin and scandal in medieval England. The newly-appointed professor questions
events in this period from a feminist perspective, noting that gender
is inevitably a part of her work as a female historical researcher.
With a Deans Research and a Vice-President Research grant, Dr.
Bryan will soon be embarking on a research trip to England, where her
primary focus will be the history of the diocese of Rochester in the
14th century. Primarily, Dr. Bryan is interested in how religion manifested
itself in the daily lives of medieval citizens.
As an undergrad at Brock University, Dr. Bryan became particularly intrigued
by medieval history through one of her more influential professors.
Much of her research has consisted of studying and teaching medieval
history, and in particular, the social history of religion, to students
in both Ontario and Newfoundland. In early May of this year, Dr. Bryan
will attend the 37th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo,
Michigan, where some 5,000-6,000 medievalist will be treated to almost
600 presented papers. As well, in late July she will be attending the
Harlaxton Symposium in Lincolnshire, England, where medieval history,
art, literature, and architecture are celebrated annually. Dr. Bryan
is currently teaching a fourth-year seminar course at Memorial University
that studies women in the middle ages, and will be offering another
in the fall focusing on ideas surrounding death and the after-life during
this time in history.
Dr. Bryan completed an honours degree in history and English at Brock
University, followed by an MA in medieval history from McMaster and
a PhD in medieval history from the University of Toronto. Shortly after
graduation, Dr. Byran taught single courses at both Brock and York,
followed by a 12-month contract teaching at Brock. She moved to Newfoundland
in August 2001 to accept a permanent teaching position as an assistant
professor in medieval history at Memorial.
Electrical and Computer
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Dr. Tariq Iqbal is interested in renewable energy systems. One of his
areas of interest is a hybrid energy system. An example of this would
be combining wind turbines and a fuel cell system to generate electricity
for a house. This system would work very well for remote communities
that are not connected to a main grid. Another area of interest is distributed
power generation. Instead of having one large power plant, it would
be more efficient and reliable to have 50 or 100 smaller power generating
units scattered within a given area. The transmission loss would be
greatly reduced and the same amount of electricity could be generated
much more efficiently.
Dr. Tariq Iqbal started out studying electrical engineering, but later
switched to the study of wind turbines. He worked for many years as
an assistant engineer and as a senior engineer at the Pakistan Institute
of Engineering and Applied Science in Islamabad. During this time he
taught courses and supervised experiments and graduate projects on topics
ranging from experimental electric vehicles to a miniature solar water
pumping station. As a PhD student, he worked with the Energy Research
Unit at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxford University.
Dr. Iqbal completed a B.Sc. (Hons.) in electrical engineering at UET
in Lahore, Pakistan. He then received a fellowship from the Pakistan
Atomic Energy Commission to study nuclear engineering and went on to
complete a M.Sc. in nuclear engineering at Quaid-e-Azam University in
Islamabad. On a scholarship from the government of Pakistan, Dr. Iqbal
moved to London to complete a PhD in electrical engineering at Imperial
College London. He went back to the Pakistan Institute of Engineering
and Applied Sciences to supervise graduate students and teach courses
such as renewable energy systems, digital control systems, power electronics,
applied electronics and instrumentation. Dr. Iqbal and his family immigrated
to Canada in December 2000.
Basic Medical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Main research interests:
Dr. MacPhee studies the molecular mechanisms
of uterine function during pregnancy, and placental development
especially in conditions like pre-eclampsia. These interests in developmental
biology fit well with existing strengths of researchers in the Terry
Fox Cancer Laboratory. Both of his research interests have implications
for better understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying human pregnancy,
and he is in the process of contacting faculty in obstetrics and gynecology
to proceed with work more implicated with human development.
Dr. MacPhee also has broad experience with confocal laser-scanning microscopes.
Last year the Medical School Laboratories opened the Confocal Digital
Imagery Centre, a self-contained facility within the Histology Unit
which houses an upright and inverted microscope capable of bright field,
dark field, phase contrast, DIC and fluorescence microscopy. Id
be happy to collaborate with faculty in terms of learning how to use
this machine efficiently, he said. Every different research
interest requires slightly different procedures and a lot of my experience
has been in troubleshooting those kinds of problems. Dr. MacPhee
is enthusiastic about the potential uses of the Confocal Digital Imagery
Centre. Through this equipment we can look at live cells as well
Dr. MacPhee earned a B.Sc. (Hons.) from UPEI, becoming involved in marine
biology research during summer jobs. Wanting to move into mammalian
development, he went on to do a PhD at the University of Western Ontario
in mouse development, followed by two post-doctoral fellowships
the first at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai
Hospital in Toronto, and the second at the Department of Biochemistry
at the University of Western Ontario.
Department of Earth Sciences
Faculty of Science
Dr. Pulham is beginning to establish research projects that will examine
fluid flow characteristics and performance of sandstone oil and gas
reservoirs. Initially, collaborative projects with the offshore oil
industry in Newfoundland and Labrador are planned; these will focus
on aspects of the Hibernia, White Rose and Terra Nova developments.
Dr. Pulham intends to also seek analogs; that is, similar reservoirs
in other parts of the world, with properties that are relevant to the
While Dr. Pulham is relatively new to teaching, he brings with him a
wealth of research experience from his 12 years in the oil and gas industry,
as well as five years as a research associate at the University of Colorado.
While involved in the petroleum industry, Dr. Pulham worked in Western
Europe (North Sea), North America (Gulf of Mexico) and South America,
primarily exploring new oil and gas reservoirs, as well as understanding
and evaluating already discovered reservoirs. His work at the University
of Colorado was also funded by the oil and gas industry, and focused
on the performance of oil and gas reservoirs, or the characteristics
of how oil and gas is delivered through reservoirs to wells.
Dr. Pulham completed his undergraduate degree in physical geography
and geology at Liverpool University. His PhD, from the University of
Wales at Swansea, focused on ancient deltas. He has been an associate
professor at Memorials Department of Earth Sciences since June
Department of Chemistry
Faculty of Science
Dr. Thompsons research focuses on taking light energy and converting
it into chemical energy. He said that fossil fuel materials would be
better used for other purposes, for example as building materials. Also,
concerns over environmental and political conflict resulting from the
use of fossil fuels as energy sources are the impetus for Dr. Thompsons
research. His research is a new field of study in the Department of
Chemistry, and six students will work in his lab this summer. Dr. Thompson
hopes that a device to convert light to chemical energy will be achieved
in his career; however, there are some challenges to overcome first.
In order to capture as much photon energy as possible, he must first
master controlling how electron motion occurs in molecules. Electrons
can be pushed with light, but once the light is off, the control over
the electron is lost.
Most of Dr. Thompsons post-graduate research has focused on photo-induced
electron transfer, turning light into electrical energy. His post-doctoral
research was funded by NSERC and completed at the University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill. At the Brookhaven Laboratory, he worked with
the photophysics and photochemistry group seeking alternative energy
Dr. Thompson completed his B.Sc. (Hons.) and his M.Sc. at Queens University,
as well as a PhD from York University. He was employed in research posts
at Wayne State University, Johns Hopkins University, and Brookhaven
National Laboratory (in Long Island, part of the Department of Energy)
before commencing his position at Memorial in September 2001.