News

2021


December

Dr. Liqin Chen changing lives of Memorial science students

Creating a scholarship or award is doing more than financially supporting a student’s journey to higher education.

In certain circumstances, such as those of Xiaolei Li (M.Sc.’16) and Fereshteh Shahhoseini, receiving funding can be a life-changing event.

November

Official opening of Core Science Facility

Memorial University held the official opening of the spectacular Core Science Facility today as federal, provincial and university representatives celebrated the construction of this sophisticated research and teaching building.

Nearly $1.2-million provincial investment for cutting-edge research

As part of Research Week, Memorial is celebrating support from the provincial government that will enhance the university’s reputation as an international innovation leader.

On Nov. 26, Andrew Parsons, minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, announced nearly $1.2 million in funding for four projects involving researchers based in the faculties of Medicine, Science, and Engineering and Applied Science and at the Marine Institute.

UNESCO Discovery Geopark created with support from Memorial researchers and students

This past summer, the Bonavista Peninsula celebrated its first anniversary of achieving a UNESCO designation.

The Discovery UNESCO Global Geopark was built around recent discoveries by, and with support from, researchers and students from Memorial’s Department of Earth Sciences.

Not one, but two, 2021 Loran Scholars at Memorial

Memorial University has not one, but two, Loran Scholars this year.

Malorie Osmond and Madison Malloy are two of the 30 Loran Scholars for 2021, having been selected from 72 finalists and more than 6,000 applicants.

The Loran Scholars Foundation, established in 1988, is a national charity that works with universities, donors and volunteers across the country to find and nurture young people who demonstrate the qualities and values of the foundation, including integrity, compassion, determination and a high level of personal autonomy.

Terra Nova Young Innovator studying link between environmental toxicants and chronic disease

An analytical chemist is launching an ambitious research study focused the effects of indoor pollution, the first of its kind in Canada.

Dr. Karl Jobst, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, is the 2021 recipient of the Terra Nova Young Innovator Award, valued at $50,000.

Medicine researchers identify first gene for common cause of hearing loss

Memorial University and Western University researchers recently published their discovery of the first gene for a common cause of hearing loss in adults.

The study was designed by Nelly Abdelfatah, PhD candidate, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University; Dr. Terry-Lynn Young, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University; and Dr. Susan G. Stanton, Western University, and published in Human Genetics.

Contest: citizen geologists challenged to find fossils at Quidi Vidi

What’s better than finding fossils?

Finding fossils and winning a prize!

The Johnson Geo Centre, in collaboration with the Faculty of Science’s Department of Earth Sciences, is challenging the public to play Fossil or Not-a-Fossil and help search for early animal life in the walls and breakwaters around Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s.

 

Researchers capitalize on scientific machine learning expertise

Memorial can play a big role in the next data-driven scientific discovery, says a Faculty of Science researcher.

Dr. Alex Bihlo, Canada Research Chair in Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, is spearheading a collaborative research group that’s focused on scientific machine learning.

Faculty of Science, Landwash Brewery partner on unique new beer

Everything is science … including making beer.

Memorial University’s Faculty of Science recently got first-hand insight into that process recently, following a partnership with Mount Pearl’s Landwash Brewery, which saw a special beer created to promote the faculty.

Memorial researchers deploy underwater gliders to gauge ocean health

Scientists are immersing themselves into new studies aimed at understanding oxygen dynamics in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The northern region of the gulf is an important ecosystem in the harsh North Atlantic. In September, a team deployed one of Memorial’s eight underwater gliders off the west coast of the island. The glider — an autonomous underwater vehicle — is currently collecting data between Rocky Harbour, N.L., and La Romaine, Que. It will be retrieved near the end of November before ice forms for the winter.

 

Memorial researchers deploy underwater gliders to gauge ocean health

Scientists are immersing themselves into new studies aimed at understanding oxygen dynamics in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The northern region of the gulf is an important ecosystem in the harsh North Atlantic. In September, a team deployed one of Memorial’s eight underwater gliders off the west coast of the island.

Science Atlantic celebrates 60th anniversary

The Faculty of Science recently recognized Science Atlantic’s upcoming 60th anniversary with a plaque unveiling.

The plaque was unveiled by biochemistry student Zoe Rowe and is located in the lobby of the Chemistry-Physics building.

October

Students, staff and faculty honoured at Faculty of Science Awards

The Faculty of Science held its annual Dean’s Awards ceremony recently, recognizing the top 10 per cent of its students.

This year, 363 students made the Dean’s List — the largest number in the faculty’s history.

A Q&A with 2021 Alumnus of the Year Dr. Liqin Chen

When Dr. Liqin Chen (PhD’93) arrived in St. John’s in 1990 to complete his PhD in chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Laurence Thompson, he had very little.

Thirty years after he left China for a new life in a new country, Dr. Chen is now head of TLC Pharmaceutical Standards, a multimillion-dollar international pharmaceutical company with customers in 75 countries.

Celebrating a decade of Schulich Leaders Scholarships

Cole Walsh (B.Sc.(Hons.)’16) became a Schulich Leader in 2012, and says he is thankful for the support from the Schulich Foundation.

He remembers driving to the post office every day, eagerly hoping to find a letter telling him he’d been selected.

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald receives Medicine's honorary white coat

Medical schools began holding white coat ceremonies to welcome their incoming classes of undergraduate students in the early 1990s.

However, Memorial’s tradition of presenting an honorary white coat to a leader in the medical profession in the province is just beginning.

This year’s recipient, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald (B.Sc.'90, MD’94, MPH’16), Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health, is the second. This marks a new tradition for the Faculty of Medicine.

More than $1.3-million provincial investment enhances Memorial's dynamic research capacity

Five leading-edge research projects are benefitting from more than a $1.3-million investment from the provincial government.

Andrew Parsons, minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, announced the funding on Oct. 4.

The projects are leveraging more than $4.3 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and other sources.

More than $1.3-million provincial investment enhances Memorial's dynamic research capacity

Five leading-edge research projects are benefitting from more than a $1.3-million investment from the provincial government.

Andrew Parsons, minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, announced the funding on Oct. 4.

The projects are leveraging more than $4.3 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and other sources.

September

October jam-packed with alumni awards and celebrations

Personal and professional development. Life education. Celebrations and stimulating discussions.

For the month of October, the Office of Alumni Engagement is offering a slew of events that ignite the mind.

 

Emerging ocean innovators and entrepreneurs latest cohort of national program

More than 20 research teams from across the country are taking part in a unique, Memorial-led program.

Lab2Market is a team-based, experiential learning program that trains PhDs and post-doctoral scholars to become future corporate innovators.

Memorial is one of only four universities in Canada currently offering the program

Botanical Garden, HOK partner on Core Science Facility landscape design

Now that the Core Science Facility is open to the public, many members of the community will want to check out the impressive building.

But before you go inside, be sure to take in the learning experience available outside.

Trio of emerging researchers funded $450,000 in Vanier scholarships

Three doctoral students are continuing their innovative studies at Memorial this fall thanks to securing prestigious awards.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, valued at $50,000 per year for three years, aims to strengthen Canada’s ability to attract and retain outstanding doctoral students and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning.

In total, the Government of Canada is investing $450,000 at Memorial.

Alumnus lands NASA job, thanks to harsh environment credentials

Dr. Liam Morrissey is living a dream many aspiring scientists have — and he knows it.

“It sometimes feels a little too good to be true,” said the born-and-raised Newfoundlander and Labradorian and three-time alumnus of Memorial (B.Eng.’14, M.Sc.’16 and PhD’21).

August

Rocky Harbour blue whale comes home to Memorial

The majestic blue whale skeleton hangs from the double-height atrium of the Core Science Facility (CSF) as if it were swimming, making visitors feel as if they are watching it from underwater.

The entire 6,500-pound skeleton measures 25 metres long — about two school buses — and is the centerpiece of Memorial’s newest facility; its pose reflecting Memorial’s motto Provehito in Altum, Latin for “launch forth into the deep.”

Memorial a partner in accelerating precision medicine in Atlantic Canada

Atlantic researchers – including those at Memorial University – are receiving $3.6 million in new provincial and national funding focused on cancer research.

Memorial is part of the Atlantic Cancer Consortium (ACC), a group of doctors and scientists at leading cancer centres, hospitals and research institutes in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland & Labrador focused on providing improved cancer outcomes and advancing the quest to deliver precision medicine to cancer patients across the region.

Nearly $1-million infrastructure investment big boost for cutting edge research

Five diverse Memorial projects are benefitting from more than $970,000 in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

On Aug. 11, the CFI announced the latest results of its John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), which provides foundational support to Canadian researchers.

July

Blue whale skull unveiled at Memorial's Core Science Facility

Senior university leadership, along with members of the provincial and federal governments and donors, were on hand Tuesday morning for a sneak peek of the blue whale skull that will be a cornerstone of the Core Science Facility.

Pandemic teaching by the numbers

Memorial employees have consistently risen to challenges since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Memorial is featuring some of those stories, including this one submitted by the Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography's Dr. Kelly Shorlin, on a new website, Exemplary together.

Memorial's 40th annual Alumni Tribute Award recipients revealed

Memorial University has announced the recipients of the 40th annual Alumni Tribute Awards.

Among them, Dr. Liquin Chen PhD'93 (Chemistry) has been named Alumnus of the year.

New core science facility to provide modern and collaborative teaching, research spaces

With the official opening of Memorial University’s new Core Science Facility (CSF) scheduled for September, units moving into the building are busy this summer packing up and moving equipment and supplies.

The 480,000 square feet building is the university’s biggest infrastructure project for the St. John’s campus since 1961. It will provide modern and collaborative research and laboratory teaching spaces primarily for the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

June

Two first-year students awarded prestigious STEM scholarships

Jake Breen visited Memorial University for a summer volleyball tournament when he was 13.

He liked the atmosphere in St. John’s and on campus and thought it would be a great place to live and study.

This fall Mr. Breen is coming back to Memorial, this time as science major.

 

Silicon Valley Backs N.L.-based tech company's improved privacy experience

Metricsflowa N.L.-based Genesis graduate company, is prioritizing privacy by improving its website’s user experience.

Recent backing from GoAhead, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund, will strengthen the company’s cookieless analytics platform. The startup previously raised a round of financing in 2020.

The company’s co-founders are Memorial alumni Isaac Adejuwon (B.Eng.’16) and Bukunola Ladele (B.Sc.’15).

Memorial achieves top marks among international universities

Memorial continues to be recognized among the best global post-secondary institutions for the study of a variety of subjects.

It ranks in 20 of the 54 categories assessed as part of the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy’s 2021 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

The rankings are an objective and independent assessment of a university’s performance. Its methodology includes a number of indicators such as research output; research influence; international collaboration; research quality; and international academic awards.

Pair of scientists receive $1-million Canada Research Chair investment

A major federal investment is ensuring two researchers will further their research ranging from climate change to marine mineral resources.

Drs. Alex Bihlo and John Jamieson have been renewed as tier 2 Canada Research Chairs (CRC). Tier 2 chairs are five-year awards for $100,000 each year.

Dr. Bihlo, associate professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, continues his work as Memorial’s Canada Research Chair in Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing.

Dr. Jamieson, assistant professor, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, has been renewed as Memorial’s Canada Research Chair in Marine Geology.

Both researchers were initially appointed as CRCs in 2016.

Study casts doubt on how ocean currents operate, role in climate system

A new study has cast doubt on the view that variations in the density of some of the deepest currents of the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean are caused by winter surface conditions and represent changes in the strength of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC).

The meridional overturning circulation is characterized by a northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic, and a southward flow of colder, deep waters.

The research, published recently in Nature Communications, is the result of the international effort of 15 research institutes and was led by Dr. Feili Li and Prof. Susan Lozier from the Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with Dr. Brad DeYoung, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography at Memorial University.

 

Psychology researcher finds memories can start from age two-and-a-half

What is your earliest memory?

According to Dr. Carole Peterson, a University Research Professor in the Faculty of Science’s Department of Psychology, the answer is: it depends.

Scientists unite to determine environmental lessons learned from the anthropause

The concurrent confinement of 4.6 billion humans under the COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity to learn how human pressures impact wildlife and the environment.

Dr. Amanda E. Bates, a marine ecologist at Memorial University, as well as master’s students Brandy Biggar and Mary Clinton and PhD student Cerren Richards with the Department of Ocean Science and Rylan Command, a master’s student at the Marine Institute’s School of Ocean Technology, joined a global working group of 340 scientists to study this anthropause — or halt to normal human activity — seeing it as a unique opportunity to explore interactions between human presence, wildlife and ecosystems.

 

Students seek community volunteers for citizen science project

A pair of undergraduate students are looking for volunteers to join a project examining food prices in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Willa Neilsen and Morgan Davidson are working with the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), led by Dr. Max Liboiron, associate professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 

Patience, forgiveness key to achieving a degree with mental illness, says spring grad

Amanda Parsons came to Memorial University to feel closer to her late father, who was born in this province.

Born in British Columbia, the spring bachelor of science (chemistry) graduate started at Memorial right out of high school, but eventually found the pressure of her studies unmanageable.

May

International student collects a Memorial master's degree -- for the second time

When Mostafa El Halimi’s brother convinced him to move to Canada with him to continue their education, he knew exactly where he wanted to go.

“I knew when I came to Canada that I was going to study something related to the ocean, because it had become a lifestyle to me,” said Mr. El Halimi, who graduates with a master in environmental science degree this spring.

 

Joyce Foundation Bursary recipient does not, will not, quit

Adversity didn’t slow Blake Colbran’s educational and personal journey towards greatness. In fact, it only propelled it.

A 2019 recipient of the Joyce Foundation Bursary at Memorial University, Mr. Colbran’s mantra is “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

 

Chemistry researcher receives $655,900 to advance decarbonizing N.L. oil and gas

Dr. Michael Katz, Department of Chemistry, has been awarded funding for a proof-of-concept project that would see metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) used to separate carbon dioxide (CO2) from offshore oil and gas exhaust streams.

He's receiving $655,900 from the offshore research, development and demonstration (RD&D) component of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) to develop a small-scale filtration system to separate CO2 from a simulated exhaust stream.

 

Canadian Nutrition Society gives top honour to Biochemistry faculty

The Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS) has bestowed its top honour on two Memorial researchers.

Professor emerita Dr. Margaret Brosnan and Dr. Robert Bertolo, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, are the newest recipients of the CNS-SCN Fellow Distinction Award.

 

April

Memorial's most cited researcher recognized for 'unsurpassed' contributions

One of Memorial University’s most prolific and best-known researchers is being recognized at home and internationally for his work.

Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi is a University Research Professor with the Department of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Science who specializes in food science, nutrition and agriculture.

In February he was named the 2020 Dean of Science Distinguished Scholar Medal recipient; this month, he received the 2021 Award of Merit from the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS).

He has also been named the American Chemical Society’s United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service 2021 Sterling Hendricks Memorial Lectureship Award Recipient.

 

Astronomy scholar discovers new type of star

A Memorial Faculty of Science alumna has made a discovery that can potentially reveal what the universe is made of.

Anna O’Grady (B.Sc.’16), originally of Kilbride, is currently an astronomy PhD student at the University of Toronto.

In October she published a paper in The Astrophysics Journal confirming the existence of a new type of star known as a super asymptotic giant branch, or super-AGB, star.

 

National recognition, funding for improving lives of people impacted by cancer

A Memorial researcher is among the first winners of a lucrative award from that recognizes her leading-edge work for cancer survivors.

Dr. Sheila Garland, a clinical psychologist and associate professor, psychology, Faculty of Science, who is cross-appointed to the Discipline of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, is among 15 inaugural recipients of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) Emerging Scholar Award.

Valued at $120,000 per year, the award is tenable for five years.

 

OP-ED -- Critical minerals: Will N.L. seize a 'once-in-a-century' opportunity to help build a better world

On March 11 the federal minister of Natural Resources, our very own Seamus O’Regan, announced Canada’s list of 31 critical minerals (not to quibble, but they are really elements; minerals are composed of elements).

Other G-7 nations and the European Union have developed their own sets of critical minerals. For example, the U.S. has 35 minerals deemed critical to U.S. security and economy, and the EU defines a list 30 critical raw materials.

 

Measuring Success: Increasing quantitative literacy in Biology

The Department of Biology at Memorial has a strong history of providing quantitative training opportunities to students.

But demand for these skills has increased enormously with the advent of open data and programming software.

Dr. Amy Hurford is an associate professor jointly appointed in the Faculty of Science’s departments of Biology and Mathematics and Statistics. She is leading an effort to increase quantitative skills from first to fourth year in the biology curriculum.

 

Memorial PhD student mentoring Indian women in STEM

When Shivani Semwal was an undergraduate student in her home country of India, she had no idea what she wanted to do after she finished her program.

Through her family network, she met Darshana Joshi, an Indian graduate student completing a PhD at the University of Cambridge. Ms. Semwal says Ms. Joshi became her mentor and helped her realize what she wanted to do.

Memorial researchers conducting survey on animal-assisted therapies for families of children with autism

Memorial researchers are conducting a needs assessment on animal-assisted therapies for families of children with autism spectrum disorder.

 

Research into animal adaptations may relate to human diseases

Can the way animals adapt to different environmental conditions provide information about certain diseases in humans?

Madhushika Silva believes it can.

The Memorial student is currently completing a PhD investigating muscle protein structure and function under the supervision of Dr. David Heeley in the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science.

Ten Thousand Coffees platform connects students with alumni

A Memorial triple alumna and Rhodes Scholar compared her recent experience with Ten Thousand Coffees to a MasterCard advertisement.

“Priceless,” said Dr. Ann Colbourne (B.Sc.’80, B.Med.Sc.’85, MD’87), who noticed the mentorship opportunity in an Memorial alumni email she received last December.

March

Global partnership strengthens Memorial's marine geoscience research

Researchers and graduate students will continue to benefit from a unique scientific ocean drilling program thanks to a renewed partnership.

Memorial and the Canadian Consortium for Ocean Drilling (CCOD) are maintaining participation in the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) until at least 2023.

Researcher receives (USD)$150,000 to examine impacts of pandemic

An associate professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science, has been selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts as a recipient of the 2021 Pew Fellowship in marine conservation.

As one of nine international conservation researchers awarded the fellowship this year, Dr. Amanda Bates will receive $150,000 over three years to examine the long-term impacts of the pandemic lockdown on marine systems worldwide.

 

Mel Woodward Cup invests $40,000 in student-led hearing loss, health tech companies

Robin Murphy learned about the risks of hearing loss and the importance of protecting against it while growing up.

A startup he founded to do just that won $25,000 in seed funding last night at the 2021 Mel Woodward Cup (MWC) finals, a pitch competition for student entrepreneurs at Memorial University.

Align Canadian immigration, diversity and employment policy, say academic staff members in co-operative education

This past year has been especially challenging for international co-operative education students, say two Memorial academic staff members.

Theresa MacKenzie and Rebecca Newhook are academic staff members in co-operative education for the faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) and Science.

More than $6.7-million investment in facility to address modern environmental challenges

Memorial is celebrating a major federal investment for state-of-the-art equipment to be housed in a new multidisciplinary research centre.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more than $518 million on March 3 to support the infrastructure needs of universities and research institutions across the country. The funding comes from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)’s Innovation Fund.

The CFI is investing a total of $6,773,058 for the Atlantic Canada Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry Centre (ACESCentre), which will be located in the Core Science Facility.

 

February

Ocean deep, provincewide: Teaching Tuesdays with Danielle Nichols

When the global pandemic began, the Faculty of Science’s Department of Ocean Sciences saw an opportunity.

The department based in the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) in Logy Bay investigated something it wanted to do for a long time: Rework its successful and popular hands-on marine biology program for high school students to a remote delivery option.

Biochemistry PhD graduate takes regional 3MT competition

It may have taken him a while to get there, but it was worth the wait for Dr. Olatunji Anthony Akerele.

The recent PhD (biochemistry) graduate won first place in the 2020 Eastern Regional Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition hosted by Saint Mary’s University in Nova Scotia.

Dr. Akerele was also honoured with the People’s Choice award for his presentation, Omega-3 Intake During Pregnancy: Finding the Perfect Maternal Diet for Brain Health.

Physics alumnus grateful for guidance from meteorologists, professors

Aspiring meteorologist Jordan Ford discovered one of the most popular routes to achieving his dream started with a Memorial University bachelor of science degree, with a major in physics.

January

Acting Dean of Science to host undergraduate student town halls

Dr. Travis Fridgen, Acting Dean, Faculty of Science, will host two Virtual Town Halls for undergraduate students.

The first event, aimed specifically at first-year students, will allow the newest members of our science community to ask questions and raise concerns based on their own unique perspective. The one-hour session will take place on Feb. 9 at 11:30 a.m. 

The second town hall welcomes all science undergrads, including first-year students, and will take place on Feb. 12 at 11:30 a.m. 

A message to students from the Acting Dean of Science

Dear Students,

Happy New Year and welcome back to classes this semester. We are two full weeks into the semester, and I hope you are all building upon the successes you had in the Fall semester.

 

Graduate student receives scholarship for childhood cancer research

A doctoral student in the Department of Biochemistry has received a substantial graduate scholarship from the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute (BHCRI).

The BHCRI’s Cancer Research Training Program will provide PhD student Modeline Longjohn with $35,750 over two years while she completes her doctorate at Memorial.

 

Study shows climate change affecting future health of Arctic fish

Researchers say they have evidence linking climate change to a decline in Arctic charr, a cold-water fish found in many northern locations, including Labrador.

Memorial and the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) played a major role in a paper published Jan. 11 in the prestigious journal Nature Climate Change.

The scientists say rapid changes to the global ocean are having significant implications on the health of the planet and society.

 

2019


September

Alumni Profile - Frank J. Ryan

Frank J. Ryan grew up in St. John’s, NL. He graduated from Memorial University with a B.Sc.(Hons) in 2011, majoring in Earth Science and minoring in Business Administration. In 2014, he completed an MBA at Memorial with a focus in finance and leadership.

May

Memorial to host fun-filled day of science promotion

Memorial University is opening its doors once again for Science Rendezvous.

The marquee event of Science Odyssey, a nation-wide celebration of science and technology taking place May 4-19, kicks off on Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on the St. John’s campus.