Welcome to the September 2019 issue of Brainstorm

“Brainstorm,” a special edition of YFile publishing on the first Friday of every month, showcases research and innovation at York University. It offers compelling and accessible feature-length stories about the world-leading and policy-relevant work of York’s academics and researchers across all disciplines and Faculties, and encompasses both pure and applied research.

In the September 2019 issue

Meet the researcher who single-handedly built Canada’s largest bee collection
Professor Laurence Packer’s lab houses bee specimens from over 100 countries and, in fact, he has very nearly completed his collection of the world’s bee genera in his online archive. This is the first digital archive of its kind, and its contribution to our understanding of bees is immeasurable.

Lassonde researchers perfect hybrid reconfigurable robotic harvester
Two mechanical engineers have fine-tuned robotic harvesting so that the machine gathers energy from the sun and wind, and adapts to windy weather. This could be a game-changer for green farming, labour and food production in Canada and around the world.

Surgeons’ interviews offer eye-opening implications for health-care system
New research finds that surgeons’ scheduling decisions are based on patient needs and idiosyncratic priorities. This study, in which researchers interview surgeons as they consider the centralized scheduling of surgeries, has profound implications for the health-care system and hospital administrators.

Q-and-A with composer reveals how and why she transformed a First World War tragedy into song
Stephanie Martin, of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, chats with Brainstorm about her powerful opera about a Canadian hospital ship that was torpedoed in June 1918. This is how history comes to life.

New research finds pro-white racial bias among minority children
A psychology professor at York University ran two separate studies – one with non-Black minority children in Canada and one with Malay and Chinese children in Southeast Asia – and found pro-white bias in both groups. It is important to understand why and how this is happening, especially since these unconscious preferences are also found in adulthood.

Launched in January 2017, Brainstorm is produced out of the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation in partnership with Communications & Public Affairs; overseen by Megan Mueller, senior manager, research communications; and edited by Jenny Pitt-Clark, YFile editor, and Ashley Goodfellow Craig, YFile deputy editor.