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. 

A new semester arrives for the math.epi.lab

With fall comes an opportunity to review our progress over the past year and plan for the coming academic year. September always feels much more like the "New Year" to me than January and I find myself spending time looking at the literature on productivity, and strategic planning in the hopes of  implementing strategies to work "smarter" instead of "harder" this semester. With that comes my renewed desire to have our website, blog, and social media streams more active and as a group we are committing to making that happen.

Today we gathered as a team to discuss our research, and to plan for the coming academic year. There have been lots of changes over the summer.

1) We are really pleased to be welcoming Emma and Gabrielle back to the team. 

2) Salah has accepted a CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellowship to start a joint postdoc in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) so we will likely see a little bit less of him this semester as he begins to make the transition to working out of the PHAC office here in Guelph.. 

3) We have bid farewell to Kelsey Spence and Ariel Brunn. 

3) We are welcoming four new graduate students to our team this semester. Their profiles will be going up on the team page of the website next week but we are really excited to have Wendy, Elissa, Roksolana, and Haley joining the team!

Dr. Amy Greer and Ariel Brunn after Ariel  finished her MSc defence in August

Dr. Amy Greer and Ariel Brunn after Ariel  finished her MSc defence in August

Dr. Amy Greer, Dr. Kelsey Spence, and Dr. Terri O'Sullivan after Kelsey successfully defended her PhD dissertation in August

Dr. Amy Greer, Dr. Kelsey Spence, and Dr. Terri O'Sullivan after Kelsey successfully defended her PhD dissertation in August

Fall semester highlights from the Math.Epi.Lab

  1. Dr. Emma Gardner successfully passed her doctoral qualifying examinations this fall. Congratulations Emma! Emma is now back in Rome at the FAO until fall 2017. 
  2. A huge thank you to all of our equine research participants. This fall we conducted on-farm data collection for Rachael's dissertation and we also collected data related to an outbreak of equine influenza in the Maritime provinces. Thank you to everyone who participated! Stay tuned to learn more about what we have found.
  3. Luz has published the first research chapter of her MSc thesis in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine.  Her paper examines owned dog ecology and demography in Villa de Tezontepec, Hidalgo, Mexico. Congratulation Luz!
  4. In December 2106, Kelsey travelled to the Annual Conference of Research Workers in Animal Disease (CRWAD) held in Chicago to present her research. At the meeting she was awarded The Biosafety and Biosecurity Award, sponsored by the Animal Health Institute and the Joseph J. Garbarino Foundation for the best student oral presentation in biosecurity. This is the SECOND time that Kelsey has won this award (she also won in 2014). Congratulations Kelsey!
  5. In January,  Dr. Greer participated in a workshop at OVC with researchers from the Koret Veterinary College at the Hebrew University to identify areas of potential research collaboration. It was fantastic to learn about the great animal health research being conducted in Israel. We identified several areas of potential collaboration including in the area of antimicrobial use in animals. 

Photo credit: T. O'Sullivan

Dr. Greer (far right) and researchers from both the Ontario Veterinary College and the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at the Hebrew University. 

Recruitment and data collection for our newest study is underway

Yesterday Rachael, Beatrice, and Enise were out conducting a farm visit! They are collecting all of the preliminary information we need from the farms that are participating in our new equine contact network study. If you are a horse or farm owner who is interested in participating in our new study please contact us. We would love to speak with you about the project. 

A blog post from Enise about her trip with World Vets

From June 29 to July 6, I had the chance to volunteer with World Vets in Granada, Nicaragua. World Vets is an organization which provides free veterinary services to pet owners in developing countries. The days were packed with hours spent at the World Vets clinic; around 250 cats/dogs and 80 horses were helped by our team in the form of vaccinations, deworming, spay/neuter and physical exams. In our spare time, we got to experience the beautiful city of Granada: the food, music, salsa dancing and volcanos. It was so rewarding to be able to travel, learn and help the local community!  

Here is a photo of myself and two friends (also from the University of Guelph) holding up our flag on Canada Day in Nicaragua.

Here is a photo of myself and one of the cutest patients of the clinic, Christian the puppy.

Luz met PM Justin Trudeau at a meeting in Ottawa this week.

Luz managed to get a selfie with our PM Justin Trudeau after the discussion.

Luz managed to get a selfie with our PM Justin Trudeau after the discussion.

The math.epi.lab's very own Luz Kisiel was invited to travel to Ottawa to participate in a discussion with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday, June 28, during the Mexican leader's state visit to Canada.

Luz has conducted research in Mexico looking at owned, and free-roaming dog population dynamics as well as rabies vaccination programs within the State of Hidalgo, Mexico. She was invited to participate in a discussion about collaborative research partnerships and opportunities for students in Canada and Mexico. 

The discussion was held at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa and was moderated by Dr. Ingrid Bejerman, Coordinator for the Canada in the Americas Initiative (CITA) at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.