Dr. Orland Hoeber
Faculty of Science
Dr. Orland Hoeber holds a B.Sc. (mathematics) and M.Sc. (computer science) from the University of Saskatchewan and a PhD (computer science) from the University of Regina. His primary research interests include information visualization, human-computer interaction, information retrieval, Web intelligence and Web search.
Based on his doctoral research, Dr. Hoeber has developed a public Web search engine called thehotmap.com, a next-generation Web search interface that uses visualization and interaction to support searchers in crafting effective queries and exploring their search results.
“The site builds a visual representation of information you are seeking,” he said. “As you conduct your search, you get a visual representation of what your search results look like, rather than just text. It allows the searcher to explore within the search results rather than look at individual sites one by one. And it provides suggestions of other terms that can easily be added to the query.”
Dr. Hoeber has also been working with a fellow computer science professor, Dr. Ed Brown, in the creation of a user experience lab. The focus of this lab is on supporting research activities in human computer interaction and visualization. The ultimate goal is to enable researchers to remotely monitor test subjects as they use computer software in simulated work environments.
Dr. Craig Purchase
Faculty of Science
A native Newfoundlander from Botwood, Dr. Craig Purchase completed his B.Sc.(Hons) and M.Sc. at Memorial University, a PhD at the University of Toronto and a NSERC postdoctoral fellowship at Dalhousie University. He then spent two years with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, first at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, and then at the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s.
An assistant professor with the Department of Biology since January, Dr. Purchase specializes in the evolutionary ecology of fishes. A key area of interest is gender and population differences in how fish respond to environmental variation, including growth rate, age and size at maturation, and quantity and quality of offspring produced. His future research will focus heavily on fish sperm.
“Suppose a male fish has been healthy, grown at an optimum rate, migrated to a certain area where there are a lot of females, and was able to convince some of them to mate with him,” said Dr. Purchase. “None of that matters if his sperm doesn’t perform optimally, and he would be an evolutionary dead end. I’m interested in how environmental variation influences sperm swimming ability and how different populations may have adapted to it.
“A fish, as a relatively large animal, can perhaps be fairly tolerant of slight changes in the chemical composition or temperature of the water, but a sperm is a single cell with a very high surface area and a very short lifespan,” he added. “So it should be much more sensitive than the fish itself to environmental changes. This could have major implications.”
Dr. Krisztina Bajzak
Assistant professor of obstetrics
Dr. Krisztina Bajzak has returned to Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine with highly specialized skills in laparoscopic surgery in the field of gynecology. Using minimally invasive surgery, she is able to carry out procedures such as hysterectomies and cyst removals with less scarring, pain and post-operative complications. She will now be able to train residents in these procedures as well as assist attending physicians who wish to advance their laparoscopic skills.
Dr. Bajzak received her MD from Memorial in 1993 and completed an obstetrics and gynecology residency at Memorial from 1993-1998. During this time she also started a master of science (clinical epidemiology), completing this degree in October 2000. From March 2000 to November 2003 she was a partner in a general obstetrics and gynecology practice in Pittsburgh, PA. In May 2004 she moved to a general gynecology group practice specializing in minimally invasive surgery in Raleigh, NC.
Dr. Bajzak is an editorial board member of the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology and has served as a reviewer for this journal and the Journal of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. She is member of the board of trustees of the AAGL, a society dedicated to advancing minimally invasive gynecology worldwide, and serves as chair of their research committee and as a faculty member in several of their courses.
Dr. Pat Gagnon
Faculty of Science
Dr. Pat Gagnon holds a PhD, M.Sc. and B.Sc. from Laval University and is a professor of marine biology and ecology at the Ocean Sciences Centre. A specialist in the ecology of rocky subtidal ecosystems, he studies the interactions between invertebrates, seaweeds, and their physical environment, as well as the mechanisms that regulate benthic populations and communities.
Research in his lab, the Cold Ocean Benthic Ecology Lab, or COBEL, involves behavioural, feeding, and growing experiments with organisms both in the lab and in the field through such techniques as wave tank and mesocosm experiments, scuba diving, underwater videography, remote sensing and GIS. Dr. Gagnon uses computer technologies and images captured by satellites and cameras attached to aircrafts flown over the ocean to study changes over time in shallow seabed ecosystems.
“These kinds of studies can help us answer questions like how invasive species and natural and anthropogenic disturbances affect native species and ecosystem stability over large tracts of seabed,” he said. “You can’t cover large areas when you dive because it’s time consuming, costly and physically demanding. Remote sensing provides interesting ways of capturing novel information that you would otherwise miss by scuba diving alone.”
Dr. Gagnon has spent much time researching two invasive species whose synergistic interactions cause significant changes in the dynamics of kelp habitats in Eastern Canada. Kelp habitats provide shelter and suitable environment for a number of ecologically and commercially important species to reproduce and feed. There are concerns that kelp decline could alter the structure and function of ecosystems and the associated fisheries. He is also about to begin research on a recently introduced decapod crustacean which may interfere with the primary diet of native species.