York’s chancellor applauds research-funding story

I was pleased to see the Mirror’s coverage of the recent $21-million provincial investment in health science research, wrote York Chancellor Roy McMurtry in a letter to the North York Mirror Sept. 30. This type of research investment in our post-secondary institutions is critical in generating the cutting edge, first-rate research that drives economic growth in today’s global, knowledge-based economy and moreover supports the transformation of our future health and well-being.

Ontario universities have robust research programs, particularly in health and life sciences. Our researchers discovered insulin, stem cells and are in the forefront of one of the largest scientific projects in history – a global effort to unlock the genome of 50 of the most common cancers.

Our own York researchers, who were granted funding as part of this investment, are at the forefront of key research, ranging in focus from autism and protein biophysics to the role bacteria play in spreading genetic material and biological causes of cancer and neurological disorders.

York University applauds the Ontario government’s support of more than 116 research projects aimed at health research. These investments will help build on existing research talent and ingenuity to create globally competitive opportunities in every region of our province. They will not only provide a catalyst for innovation but will enhance the ability of Ontario universities to attract and retain the brightest research talent from around the world.

It is vital that governments continue to invest in university research to assist our top researchers advance disease prevention and develop new health technologies for the future health of all Ontarians and indeed all Canadians, wrote McMurtry.

ScotiaBank CEO announces million-dollar China scholarship to Schulich, says Globe

Bank of Nova Scotia CEO Rick Waugh has been well away from the tumult of Bay and Wall Streets this week and last (though we bet he’s on his BlackBerry 24/7), wrote business columnist Patricia Best in The Globe and Mail Oct. 1. Waugh is on a tour of Asian locales, making friends, cementing ties, shaking hands etc. Last week, in China, he announced a million-dollar scholarship for students at Guanghua School of Management at Peking University to attend the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. That, we hear, was a particular pet project of Waugh’s.

Snow detected falling on Mars

Icy snow falls from high in the Martian atmosphere and might even reach the planet’s surface, scientists working with NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander reported Monday, wrote Georgia’s Augusta Chronicle, Sept. 30.

“Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars,” said Jim Whiteway of York University in Toronto, the lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. “We’ll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground.”

The snow, along with frost and fog, began to appear about a month ago, Whiteway said, as temperatures cooled on Mars. “This is now occurring every night,” he said. In an interview after the media conference, he likened to snow to “diamond dust” that falls in the Arctic and Antarctica.

  • York University researchers lead the Canadian science team for NASA’s Phoenix Mission, marking the first time Canada has taken part in a Mars landing, wrote InsideToronto online news Sept. 30. The spacecraft carried a Canadian-built weather station, including sophisticated laser instrumentation designed and built by scientists at York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, the Canadian Space Agency, the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University and Denmark’s University of Aarhus.
  • Most of Canada’s broadcast media also reported the results of the Mars Phoenix Lander’s study of the Red Planet. Professor Jim Whiteway’s comments during a news conference were featured prominently by the Canadian media, including CBC Television.

York researchers win funding awards

York University Professors Kari Hoffman, Cody Storry, Michael Scheid, Wendy Taylor and Andrew Toms have each been awarded $100,000 through the Ontario government’s Early Researcher Award program, wrote the North York Mirror Sept. 30. The awards, to be matched by $50,000 in research investment by York University, provide funding for topics that include psychology, mathematics, particle physics and cancer research.

Top court to decide whether trash is private

The highlight of the Supreme Court’s fall term could well turn out to be garbage, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 1. Last weekend, at a legal conference organized by York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, Ontario Superior Court Judge Bruce Durno highlighted the case [of a Calgary drug bust sparked by seized trash] and noted a judicial trend toward allowing police to seize items that an individual has clearly thrown away. “Unless it happens to be attached to your arm with a bungee cord, it’s gone,” he said.

Osgoode professor takes part in forum on homophobia

Cornwall will play host to a public forum tonight on how homophobia can impede efforts to fight child sexual abuse, wrote the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder Oct. 1. The panelists include Michael Seto, a Toronto psychologist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and Bruce Ryder, director of the Osgoode Law School’s Centre for Public Law and Public Policy.

Schulich prof co-writes DigiMarketing

“All business people today need to be fully literate in the world of new media. Games, blogs and Web sites are not obscure destinations visited only by teenagers with a lot of free time on their hands. Instead, these channels have enormous audiences that include both genders, all age groups and (increasingly) rural populations,” write Ian Fenwick, a marketing consultant and management educator at York University’s Schulich School of Business, and Kent Wertime, president of OgilvyOne Asia Pacific, in DigiMarketing. Their comments were excerpted for a review of their book, published in The Globe and Mail Oct. 1.

They observe that, although revenue from traditional media now exceeds that of new media by more than 10 to 1, the growth of the latter’s revenue is almost four times that of traditional media. “No doubt traditional media will play an important role for years to come. However, the shift to new media is not a fad or a short-term trend; it is the inevitable result of a series of deep, long-term, structural changes,” they say.

Ballet, NAC director gave York student his first job

Among David Haber’s protégés are musical director Costa Pilavachi, until recently president of the British record label EMI, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 1 in an obituary. Haber had a crushing defeat when he was abruptly fired as artistic director of the National Ballet Company in 1975, after barely a year in the position. After leaving the NBC, Haber cashed in his savings and founded his own agency, Haber Artists Management. Pilavachi was his first assistant. The two men had met in March, 1976, when Haber gave a guest lecture at York University’s Schulich School of Business, where Pilavachi was a graduate student in arts administration.

“He was a major architect of the largest and most impressive arts festival in the history of western civilization, and that was Expo 67. There has never been anything like it anywhere in the world,” said Pilavachi, who was an Ottawa high-school student then. “This is what mesmerized me, meeting him for the first time,” he said. “I was a nobody and he gave me a chance.”