CIHR Impact Fellows Retreat

This week Dr. Salah Uddin Khan, Dr. Victoria Ng (Public Health Agency of Canada), and I had the great pleasure of attending the first CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellows Cohort Retreat in Toronto. Salah was awarded this prestigious postdoctoral award in the summer and began his fellowship in collaboration with the National Microbiology Laboratory this fall. The goal of these fellowships is to train PhD graduates in a way that focuses on both research and core competencies (such as project management, leadership, and change management) so that they can progress in their careers as leaders within the Canadian Health System. This was the first cohort retreat and it was a really excellent experience for both the fellows and their academic and organizational sponsors. I met many really interesting fellows who I expect will go on to do great things for the Canadian Healthcare system. One of the really amazing things about the inaugural HSI cohort? 80% of the fellows are women!  I am looking forward to the next retreat in spring 2018. 


Do you aspire to be a "future veterinarian?"


Logger deployment_1.jpg

We are currently recruiting undergraduate students interested in helping out with a large equine research project that will be running from November until the Christmas break 2017. No horse experience is necessary. This is a great opportunity for students interested in a career in veterinary medicine to learn more about veterinary research and get some experience working in a large animal (equine) environment. You will be providing technical and logistical support to the study coordinator, Dr. Tanya Rossi. Please contact Dr. Amy Greer in the Department of Population Medicine to learn more about this opportunity. 

Arrell Food Institute Scholarships due: December 15, 2017


Graduate students interested in joining our team  and who have interests related to food should contact Dr. Greer regarding the following scholarship opportunity

The Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph is now accepting scholarship applications for students entering a graduate program in the Summer 2018, Fall 2018 or Winter 2019 semesters. The Institute is seeking emerging scholars who are not only academically outstanding but also passionately committed to ensuring that future generations are well fed, that diets are nutritious and equitable, and that agriculture is sustainable. These scholarships are supported through the Arrell Family Foundation’s generous gift to the University of Guelph, and are valued at $50,000/year for 2 years (master’s students) or 4 years (doctoral students).

As a complement to their graduate research, successful Arrell Scholars will provide leadership within multi-disciplinary teams of graduate students, who will work with community, government and industry partners, and University of Guelph experts linked to the Arrell Food Institute, to address global food issues.

In order to be considered for this opportunity, prospective students must submit both a scholarship application AND a complete application for admission to a graduate program at Guelph no later than December 15, 2017.

For complete eligibility and application details, please refer to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies’ website.

Questions may be directed to the Graduate Awards Officers by email.

A huge thank you to outgoing Department Chair Dr. Cate Dewey!


Dr. Cate Dewey has recently completed her tenure as the Chair of the Department of Population Medicine and the Department hosted a reception in her honour last week. Cate was my very first contact with the Department when we were arranging my on-campus interview for my current position here at OVC. Since arriving at OVC, I have had the privilege of having Cate as a Department Chair, mentor, and cheerleader for my program of research. She has been incredibly supportive of all early career faculty in our Department and it has been wonderful to have spent my pre-tenure days with Cate as a  role model. Our new Department Chair is Dr. Todd Duffield and I expect great things from this Department moving forward. 

TB elimination meeting and the Uppsala Health Summit

Iqaluit, Nunavut (photo credit: A. Greer, 2014)

Iqaluit, Nunavut (photo credit: A. Greer, 2014)

Fall is always a busy time of year and many of the important infectious disease related meetings are held during the autumn months. Over the last several weeks I have attended a number of meetings that I felt were important to highlight on our team blog because they were so incredibly exciting to be a part of. On October 4th and 5th, I travelled to Ottawa to participate in a meeting co-hosted by the Nunavut Government and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). The purpose of the meeting was to develop a comprehensive action plan for the elimination of Tuberculosis across Inuit Nunangat with specific goals and priority areas for action. It was an honour to be asked to participate and I am optimistic that with improved infrastructure and support to Northern health systems, TB elimination is a real possibility. 

The meeting was held at the Uppsala castle in Uppsala, Sweden. (photo credit: A. Greer, 2017).

The meeting was held at the Uppsala castle in Uppsala, Sweden. (photo credit: A. Greer, 2017).

October also marked the 3rd annual Uppsala Health Summit. The Uppsala Health Summit is a recurring international policy arena for dialogue on challenges for health and healthcare, and how we can overcome them. The theme changes each year which makes it a dynamic and exciting event to participate in. Personally invited decision makers, opinion formers and experts participate in active dialogue in thoroughly prepared workshops and plenum sessions. The theme of the summit this year was Tackling Infectious Disease Threats: Prevent, Detect, Respond using a One Health Approach. It was a great opportunity to catch up with some colleagues that I had not seen in many years and also to meet some new researchers working in this area. 

Final dinner in Uppsala with great company and discussion. From left to right: Fernanda Dorea (National Veterinary Institute, Sweden), Florence Haseltine (Society for Women's Health Research, USA), Crawford Revie (Atlantic Veterinary College, Canada), Stefan Widgren (National Veterinary Institute, Sweden), Kun Hu (IBM Research, USA), Amy Greer (Ontario Veterinary College, Canada) and Stefan Engblom (Uppsala University, Sweden). 

Final dinner in Uppsala with great company and discussion. From left to right: Fernanda Dorea (National Veterinary Institute, Sweden), Florence Haseltine (Society for Women's Health Research, USA), Crawford Revie (Atlantic Veterinary College, Canada), Stefan Widgren (National Veterinary Institute, Sweden), Kun Hu (IBM Research, USA), Amy Greer (Ontario Veterinary College, Canada) and Stefan Engblom (Uppsala University, Sweden). 

Math.Epi.Lab post-doctoral fellow among first CIHR Health System Impact Fellows


Congratulations to our very own Dr. Salah Uddin Khan!  Salah is one of 46 PhD graduates across the country who will receive the first awards funded through a new program developed by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute for Health Services and Policy Research and the Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance. Read the full press release here. Salah will be working on a joint project in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada - National Microbiology Lab. 

2017 AAAS Golden Goose Award for Dr. Joyce Longcore

Dr. Joyce Longcore. Photo courtesy of the University of Maine.

Dr. Joyce Longcore. Photo courtesy of the University of Maine.

This morning I arrived at the office to an email from my doctoral supervisor Dr. Jim Collins at Arizona State University (ASU). The email had been sent to a long list of current and past collaborators of the lab all of whom have worked on or are currently working on research questions related to amphibian decline. The email was to inform us that last night in Washington, Dr. Joyce Longcore, Elaine Lamirande, Dr. Don Nichols and Dr. Allan Pessier, were awarded the 2017 AAAS Golden Goose Award. The award celebrates scientific success stories and Dr. Longcore and the other awardees are the perfect example of a great team doing some wonderful investigative work. 

Jim's email was also a reminder to me of how fortunate I was to complete my graduate training at ASU being mentored by Jim. As a member of his team, I also had the ability to interact with a large network of scientists, and graduate students from across the country that were all a part of a large, NSF funded Integrated Research Challenges in Environmental Biology (IRCEB) project focused on amphibian decline (Dr. Longcore was one of those scientists). It serves as an important reminder to me how experiences, conversations, and being treated as a colleague even when you are a graduate student can really shape the experience of graduate students. I have very fond memories of my time at ASU and the wonderful training environment in which I was "raised". Jim Collins, Elizabeth Davidson and the rest of the IRCEB team were all a huge part of that and seeing Dr. Longcore receive such a prestigious award in recognition of her work in the area of amphibian decline was a really wonderful surprise for a Thursday morning. 

Math.Epi.Lab retreat and our first lab meeting of the semester

Over the summer, I have focused my own professional development on productivity and strategic planning within a academic research environment. I was motivated to spend some time thinking abut this after realizing that our research team has grown substantially with upwards of ten members starting this fall. I read this paper in Molecular Cell and felt motivated to put a version of this plan into action this fall as a way to improve our team productivity and communication. 

On Friday September 15th, we spent the day working together as a group, discussing tools that we can we can use to make our research time more productive and efficient so that we are better able to balance our research, and teaching responsibilities with our personal lives. We also spent a considerable amount of time working on individual strategic plans for the fall semester. We will meet again in December to evaluate how well we were able to put our strategic plans into action over the course of the semester. Personally, I have found that my semester plan has helped me to prioritize my tasks and I feel much better organized as a result. 

This week we also had our first lab meeting led by Emma. We had a great discussion with each person bringing and presenting a paper from the peer-reviewed literature that was important to their development as a scientist. It was a great first lab meeting! At our next lab meeting Rachael is going to teach the group how to work with R markdown.