Researchers talk about integrity

Dr. Terry-Lynn Young, Faculty of Medicine
"...We know our data is solid..."

As a molecular geneticist, Dr. Terry-Lynn Young has specialized expertise in the founder population of Newfoundland. Her current projects concern the genetics of deafness and breast cancer. Working on blood samples from a family identified along Newfoundland’s south coast by now-retired Memorial geneticist Dr. Elizabeth Ives, Dr. Young was able to identify the responsible gene. She has also identified the gene responsible for a type of hereditary deafness in another large Newfoundland family. During her postdoctoral studies she identified 11 mutations in three cancer-susceptibility genes in Newfoundland families with breast and/or ovarian cancer. Her interest in returning to St. John’s to continue this research was supported when the Newfoundland and Labrador Research and Treatment Foundation was able to purchase a DNA sequencer for her laboratory. She also enjoys the opportunity at Memorial to work closely with clinicians, genetic counselors and families involved in the research studies. Watch the video... (Runs 2:50 mins., 3.18 MB)


Dr. Robert Bertolo, Department of Biochemistry, Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition
"...We make sure all the standards are in place..."

Dr. Robert Bertolo’s research involves basic scientific and clinical research to increase understanding about the role of gastrointestinal tract (GIT) in amino acid metabolism; applying this knowledge to develop effective nutritional therapies for patients with gastrointestinal problems. Developing more nutritional diets for patients suffering from gastrointestinal diseases will minimize the debilitating effects of such diseases and improve overall quality of life. Until recently, the small intestine was generally considered merely a digestive organ responsible to absorb dietary nutrients and deliver them to other organs. But new research shows that the small intestine is a very important metabolic organ capable of consuming a large proportion of dietary nutrients — particularly amino acids — before they can ever be distributed to the rest the body. Although evidence indicates that a significant proportion of dietary amino acids appear to be extracted by the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), how much remains a mystery, as does knowledge about the fate of these amino acids within the GIT. Finding the answers to these questions is the focus of Dr. Bertolo’s research. Watch the video... (Runs 3:30 mins., 3.89 MB)


Dr. Guang Sun, Faculty of Medicine
"...Original data is reviewed by lab staff through double and triple checking..."

Dr. Guang Sun is looking at the genetic reasons why overweight people seem to have so much trouble losing weight, even when they incorporate diet and exercise into their daily lives. Over 50 per cent of Canadians are overweight and about 15 per cent of adults 20 to 64 years of age are obese. His current research involves a comparative expression study on the alteration of global mRNA profiles of human adipose tissue in response to overfeeding in obese and non-obese subjects. He is also doing a study on global RNA expression profiles in skeletal muscles in obese and non-obese young males plus their responses to acute overfeeding. Predisposition to obesity and type 2 diabetes is largely determined by a person’s genetic background. More than 600 genes and loci have been associated with or linked to obesity, and multiple genes for type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about how many genes are involved in a specific population, for instance the Newfoundland population. This information will permit the identification of individuals at high risk for these two diseases, which will lead to more successful intervention and individual treatment. Dr. Sun's group has identified a number of genes responsible for the predisposition to human obesity, numerous obesity candidate genes. Dr. Sun's lab recently has discovered that serum calcium as a novel risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Watch the video... (Runs 3:31 mins., 3.92 MB)


Dr. Derek Wilton, Department of Earth Sciences
"...Because it is collaborative, we are part of a bigger piece of research machinery..."

Dr. Derek Wilton obtained his B.Sc. in geology from Memorial University, his M.Sc. in geology from the University of British Columbia, and his PhD in earth sciences from Memorial. He is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and, in 1991, was awarded the W. H. Gross Medal by the Mineral Deposits Division of the Geological Association of Canada which is given annually to a young geologist who has made outstanding contributions to the field of economic geology. A geologist in Memorial’s Department of Earth Sciences, he has received a teaching award from the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador. The award recognized an exemplary contribution by an individual in the areas of engineering and/or geoscience education. Dr. Wilton’s research interests include metallogenic studies particularly in Newfoundland and Labrador, ranging from individual mineral deposits to regional belts, as well as Labrador and Newfoundland geology and the history of geological thought with respect to Labrador and Newfoundland. Watch the video... (Runs 4:27 mins., 4.95 MB)


Dr. Norm Catto, Department of Geography
"...Anyone else who is interested can look at our photographs, our notes..."

Dr. Norm Catto’s research interests include coastal landforms, natural hazards, sea level change, and the impacts of climate change in coastal environments; the impacts of climate and weather events to transportation, fisheries, communities, and tourism; fluvial landforms and flood risk assessment; aeolian geomorphology and human stresses on dune systems; glacial landforms; and the history of climate change. His research has included projects and investigations in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Russia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Argentina, South Korea, New Mexico, and throughout Canada. He is a member of the steering committees for the Canadian Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations Research Network (C-CIARN) node dealing with Atlantic Canadian issues, chair the C-CIARN node dealing with Coastal Issues, am a member of the C-CIARN Fisheries node, and serves on the steering committee of the Canadian Risks and Hazards Research Network. Dr. Catto also edits Quaternary International, a professional international journal dedicated to the study of landscape evolution and climate variation throughout the past 3 million years.Watch the video... (Runs 6:25 mins., 7.16 MB)


Dr. Brian Staveley, Department of Biology
"...We design our experiments...so that people can follow..."

Dr. Brian Staveley’s research is aimed at increasing the understanding of the phenomenon of cell survival and the signaling mechanisms that prevent cell death. His work is also concerned with developing an understanding of the subtle cellular decisions that control and differentiate between cell survival and cell growth and he seeks to identify and characterize additional components of the akt signaling pathway especially the biologically significant transcriptional targets of foxo, and to discover the extent of the biological consequences of these genes. His recent work has helped develop models of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Watch the video... (Runs 5:14 mins., 5.83 MB)


Dr. Daniel Fontaine, Faculty of Medicine
"...It's always essential to have that database at hand..."

Dr. Daniel Fontaine is an anatomic pathologist with a specific interest in cytopathology, the study of disease in cells. About 90 per cent of his work in cytopathology involves analyzing Pap smears and he is particularly interested in the glandular cells that commonly come from the endocervix, or the inside of the opening of the uterus. Dr. Fontaine said it is now thought that glandular lesions of the cervix are HPV-related (human papilloma virus) and that is a research area he would like to pursue. Before he entered medical school, Dr. Fontaine already had considerable expertise in the medical field. Following a two-year training program in cytotechnology, he worked in New Brunswick in that field for five years. Finding he enjoyed working in the medical field, he completed a M.D. at Memorial in 1998 followed by five years postgraduate training in pathology at Dalhousie University . He is pleased to return to St. John’s and hopes to become more involved with the Cytopathology Laboratory at the Miller Centre and the cervical screening program in the province. Watch the video... (Runs 6:30 mins., 7.24 MB)


Dr. Claude Daley, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
"...It's part of science and research...the process demands that it be open and transparent..."

From 1982-'89 Dr. Claude Daley worked on the development of the latest Canadian Artic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations. During the 1990s until now he has worked on the new international Unified Requirements for polar ship construction, being developed by the International Association of Classification Societies in conjunction with many national governments. That work has guided and informed most of his research activities. Dr. Daley’s current research focuses on ice mechanics and ice loads on ships; plastic strength and design of ship structures; concepts for rational ship structural design regulations; structural risk; and related matters. He is a member of the ISSC (International Ship Structures Committee - member of the committee on Condition Assessment of Aged Ships). Dr. Daley is currently on the Board of Examiners of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador , on a curriculum committee of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and serves on the Executive Committee of the Senate of Memorial University. Watch the video... (Runs 7:10 mins., 7.96 MB)


Dr. Kelly Hawboldt, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
"...You do peer review within your department..."

After getting her undergraduate degree, Dr. Kelly Hawboldt worked at Norcen Energy Resources as a process engineer at a sour gas plant. Prior to and during her graduate degrees she worked at Bel-MK Engineering as an Environmental Engineer. This work was primarily with the oil and gas industry and to a lesser extent with other industries such as fertilizer and petrochemical. Dr. Hawboldt’s research interests lie in the gas management from industrial facilities, particularly petroleum operations. This includes identifying sources, chemical composition, gas destruction reactions, and recovery technologies (such as LNG and gas to liquids). The goal of this research is to mitigate gaseous emissions from these facilities. In addition, she is involved in environmental detection and monitoring research (analytical detection/measurement and plume delineation) in produced water and drilling waste from offshore platforms. Dr. Hawboldt is also working with a professor in the department of chemistry in pollutants in wastewater. Watch the video... (Runs 3:14 mins., 3.61 MB)