YFile’s Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, January to March 2017

As a new year emerges, YFile takes a look back on 2017 to share with readers a snapshot of the year’s highlights. “Year in Review” will run as a four-part series, and will feature a random selection of top news stories published in YFile. Here are the stories and highlights for January to March 2017, as chosen by YFile editors.


York U research identifies icy ridges on Pluto
Using a model similar to what meteorologists use to forecast weather on Earth and a computer simulation of the physics of evaporating ices, a new study, published in the journal Nature by York University Professor John Moores, Department of Earth & Space Science and Engineering at the Lassonde School of Engineering, has found evidence that snow and ice features previously only seen on Earth, have been spotted on Pluto.

Abtract Black Hole. Cleaned and retouched image, original by NASA/European Space
The breakthrough by CERN is related to the Big Bang theory

Faculty of Science Prof. Scott Menary: York as a valued global contributor in physics
In this special YFile issue of Brainstorm, Physics Professor Scott Menary, of York University’s Faculty of Science, discusses his contributions to a game-changing research endeavour at CERN related to the Big Bang theory – the subject of a 2016 article in the journal Nature – further establishing the University’s reputation for excellence in physics.

York U receives top awards for excellence in marketing and communications
Work by York University’s communicators was recognized for excellence by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in its 2017 Accolades Awards and 2016 Circle of Excellence competitions. The University’s Open Your Mind brand campaign, news writing and a community relations campaign by the Faculty of Science garnered awards in the 2017 Accolades Awards that were announced in early January.

Safe exercise guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes developed by international team led by York U researcher
An international team of researchers and clinicians led by York University Professor Michael Riddell has published a set of guidelines to help people with type 1 diabetes exercise safely to avoid fluctuations in blood sugar. The research resulted in the first-ever set of consensus guidelines from leading experts.

From Left: Minister Helena Jaczek, Minister Steven Del Duca, PhD student Jesse Thistle, Premier Kathleen Wynne, PhD student Dessi Zaharieva and MPP Han Dong take a photo in front of the site of York University Subway Station.
Minister Helena Jaczek, Minister Steven Del Duca, PhD student Jesse Thistle, Premier Kathleen Wynne, PhD student Dessi Zaharieva and MPP Han Dong

Premier Wynne visits York U to discuss access, teaching & learning innovation and entrepreneurial education
York University welcomed a delegation to the Keele campus that included Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca, Minister of Community and Social Services Helena Jaczek, and Trinity-Spadina MPP Han Dong on Jan. 23. York University was one of the first stops on the premier’s week-long tour of post-secondary campuses in Ontario. The tour allowed the premier to connect directly with students about a range of topics including recent changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), the post-graduation job market, as well as research, teaching and learning at Ontario’s postsecondary institutions.


Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor makes official visit to York University
Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor The Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell made an official visit to York on Feb. 3 for a tour of the campus and to meet with students and researchers. The tour included: a presentation on the York-led Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project; an interactive demonstration of LUXX; a stop at Osgoode Hall Law School; a tour of world-leading vision research facilities at the Sherman Health Science Research Centre; and, a roundtable discussion on the future of diversity, innovation and sustainability in Ontario with graduate and undergraduate students.

3D structure of protein

Lassonde partners in research that could revolutionize new drug discoveries
Researchers from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering have developed a new set of algorithms that rapidly generate 3D structures of proteins, and could revolutionize the development of new drug therapies. One of the lead researchers on the project, Lassonde Professor Marcus Brubaker, says the current cryo-EM (electron cryomicroscopy) technology for developing 3D protein structures is a lengthy, computationally demanding task requiring specific expertise. Currently, it can take days to weeks for certain results.

AGYU Director Philip Monk named Governor General’s Award Laureate
Philip Monk, director of the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) since 2003, was among the eight winners of 2017 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, announced by the Canada Council for the Arts, Feb. 15. The award recognizes outstanding career achievement in the visual arts and Monk was the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award for his 40 years as a writer, curator, and director.

$113M in infrastructure funding was announced today at York U for science and health labs, a new Schulich School of Business building and sustainability. From left, Faculty of Science Dean Ray Jayawardhana, Dean of the Faculty of Health Paul McDonald, Vice-President Academic & Provost Rhonda Lenton, Minister of Transportation and MPP Vaughan Steven DelDuca, MP Humber River-Black Creek Judy Sgro, York U President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and York U Vice-President Research & Innovation Robert Hache
Governments partnered with York U to invest $113 million

Governments partner with York U to invest $113 million in research and learning
An infusion of $113 million from the Governments of Canada and Ontario and York University will modernize labs in the Faculties of Science and Health, create a new building for the Schulich School of Business, and boost energy-efficient cooling and power for 85 buildings on York’s Keele Campus. The investment will create exciting opportunities for the next generation of researchers and students who inspire progress at home and around the globe.

York University announces that Rhonda Lenton has been appointed president and vice-chancellor
Rick Waugh, chair of the York University Board of Governors, sent the following message to the community on Feb. 28: On behalf of the Board of Governors of York University, I am delighted to announce that after an extensive search process that began in December 2015, Dr. Rhonda Lenton has been appointed York University’s eighth President and Vice-Chancellor.


York PhD candidate earns international award for racial equity project
York University PhD candidate Bruno Véras earned the Antonieta de Barros Award for the promotion of racial and gender equity in Brazil. The award recognizes 30 initiatives or communication projects promoting racial equality and overcoming racism. Véras was the director of the project “África Aparece: Linguagem, Ensino Debates sobre a Cultura Afro-Brasileira” (Africa displayed: Language, Education and Debates on the Afro-Brazilian Culture).

Lions crowned Queen’s Cup champions with victory over Gaels
The York University Lions men’s hockey team won its first Queen’s Cup championship in 13 years with a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Queen’s University Gaels at Canlan Ice Sports. The contest started out slow with an uneventful first period, but the action picked up considerably once the second period began and the game quickly became a classic.

Nernadra Singh was awarded the Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division), by the Governor General, the Right Honorable David Johnston

Schulich EMBA student honoured with Meritorious Service Medal
He’s the chief of staff at Toronto’s Humber River Regional Hospital, a Kellogg-Schulich EMBA student at York University and also the recipient of the highly prestigious Meritorious Service Medal. Narendra Singh was awarded one of Canada’s highest honours, the Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division), by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada. Singh is working toward reducing the number of infant mortality rates in Guyana.

York Professor Ellie Perkins a recipient of Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program
York University was named in the second round of the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program, which awards funding to Canadian universities working to improve global talent exchange between Canada and other nations.
Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) Professor Ellie Perkins took the lead on the winning project, “Ecological Economics, Commons Governance, and Climate Justice,” and earned a share of the $12.5-million award going to 23 Canadian universities.

York University leads project to design innovative STEM teaching app
York University Professor Sushanta Mitra and his team at the Lassonde School of Engineering partnered with the public and private sector to develop a digital learning tool that aims to enhance academic success for high school students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The learning modules are built on Quanser’s trademarked qdex™ app development platform, and are specifically designed for rich STEM content.

Check back in the next edition of YFile for Year in Review: Top headlines at York University, April to June 2017.