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Monday, March 30, 2015

  • Disclosure: $100,000 salaries for 2014
  • The FACS on Molecular Biology's new laser
  • A portrait of love and upheaval in Iraq
  • CUSC student survey winds up this week
  • Big Ideas and other notable notes

Disclosure: $100,000 salaries for 2014

The University of Waterloo has released a list of the 1,213 employees who were paid more than $100,000 in 2014.


Public-sector employers in Ontario are required to publish the list every March since the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act was passed in 1996. Other universities, school boards, hospitals, colleges, municipalities, and the government itself are making similar information for last year public this week.


The $100,000 list includes most of Waterloo's professors, and a number of staff members and senior administrators. It includes people employed by St. Jerome's University, Renison University College, Conrad Grebel University College and St. Paul's University College as well as by the University of Waterloo itself. The list has grown by 7 per cent since 2013.


In addition to the salary, a figure is given for taxable benefits received by each individual, for such extras as employer-paid life insurance.


Last year's salary disclosure is also available online.


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Professor Terence Tang with the laser device.
The FACS on Molecular Biology's new laser

by Victoria van Cappellen.

Last week, the Molecular Biology core facility lab unveiled its newest analytical service: the BD FACSAria™ Fusion fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS).


The laser system in operation.This specialized form of multicolor flow cytometry allows researchers count, sort and analyze individual cells using fluorochromes, a fluorescent biomarker that can re-emit light when excited by another light source like a laser.


“There are so many researchers across campus working with biological materials and cells,” says Professor Brian Dixon, one of instrument’s co-purchasers. “We see a huge benefit to research in everything from immunology to nanotechnology and drug delivery.”


BD FACSAria™ isolates cells by separating the sample stream into droplets that can only hold one individual cell. A laser hits the sample droplet and determines if the fluorochrome within the cell is present. By marking with a particular fluorochrome whatever molecule – antibody, virus, protein, nanotech device – that can enter the cell, the cell sorter can tell exactly what percentage of cells contain that molecule.


With its three lasers tuned to 355 nm (UV), 488 nm (blue), and  640 nm (red), the BD FACSAria™ can differentiate up to nine different color combinations simultaneously. This is an improvement over the previous instrument, which could only detect four colors.


“It’s a balancing act between colors, excitation, and biomarkers,” says Dr. Terence Tang, the Molecular Biology core facility lab manager. “My training from BD on this instrument allows me to help researchers maximize what they can do.”


In addition to detecting biomarkers, the BD FACSAria™ can isolate a pure cell population based on a positive or negative sorting result. For example, if a user is interested in working further with lymphocytes, these cells can be differentiated from the rest of a whole blood cell population using the CD45 marker.


The Molecular Biology core facility also offers genome sequencing analysis right in the same room. The MiSeq can analyse an entire bacteria genome in two days and the human genome in three days.


“The MiSeq sequencer really rounds out our service portfolio,” says Tang.


Both the FACS and genome sequencing services are available for hire by the entire research community. To schedule an analysis or contact Dr. Tang for a consultation, please visit the FACS facility and Molecular Biology core facility service pages.


The BD FACSAria™ Fusion is managed through the FACS Users Committee, which includes Prof. Brian Dixon (Biology), Prof. Maud Gorbet (Systems Design Engineering), and Prof. Brian Ingalls (Applied Mathematics).


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A portrait of love and upheaval in Iraq

by Kari Stewart.

The Widow poster.Get a taste of Toronto theatre right here on campus with “The Widow”, a play written by Studies in Islam Professor Amir Al-Azraki. After debuting to excellent reviews at Summerworks 2014, this one-time only performance will bring the same dynamic cast to the Theatre of the Arts at the end of the month.


“The Widow” tells the story of Nour, a widow from the 2003 Iraq War who initiates an affair with Samir, and outspoken young teacher. After receiving threats from a religious militia group, Samir flees Iraq, leaving Nour to deal with all of the consequences. As a jobless refugee in Canada, Samir returns to Nour in Iraq despite his family’s warnings. 


NOW Magazine gave it four stars, calling it “a gripping, heart-wrenching drama about forbidden love in present day Basra…[a] badly needed snapshot of the struggles faced by moderate Iraqis.”


The play will be performed at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31 (doors open at 6:00 p.m.) in the Theatre of the Arts. Tickets are $12 for the general public and free for students. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Humanities Theatre at 519-888-4908, and students can reserve their tickets online.


The event is sponsored by Studies in Islam, the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, and Renison University College. Please contact Laura Mackenzie with any questions.


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CUSC student survey winds up this week

"Make your mark," poster with a hand using a stamp.Time is running out for graduating students to share their experiences at the University of Waterloo as part of the Canadian University Survey Consortium's (CUSC) student satisfaction survey.

A sample of graduating students received email invitations to participate in the survey, which will close on Friday, April 3.


"This is your opportunity to provide feedback about your experience throughout your time here at the University," says a note from Institutional Analysis & Planning (IAP). "You will be asked about your activities and university experience. Some questions include:


  • What aspects of your experience at Waterloo have been most positive?
  • How could we improve student experience at Waterloo?
  • How satisfied are you with student services offered at Waterloo?


Your responses to these questions and more will help Waterloo identify specific areas of the Waterloo experience that are successful and those that could be improved."

The goal of the survey is to improve teaching, learning, programs, supports and overall campus life for current and future students. The survey is being administered at many Canadian institutions which allows for comparison of student experiences at Waterloo to experiences at other Canadian institutions.

Following the survey, summary results will be available on the Institutional Analysis & Planning website.

For more information, visit the 2015 CUSC Student Survey website.


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Monday's notes

A first aid kit for mental health and custom-fit compression sleeves for breast cancer survivors are just two of the startup ideas teams will pitch at the inaugural Big Ideas Challenge for Health and Wellbeing today.


Nine teams will pitch their ideas for new social ventures to a panel of community and University leaders. The winning team will receive space at St. Paul’s GreenHouse, the only campus-linked accelerator residence in Canada focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship. The runner-up will receive subscription to an online market validation tool donated by the Accelerator Centre.


The event takes place in St. Pauls' Alumni Hall beginning at 4:00 p.m.


Here's today's Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" supplied by Health Services Dietician Sandra Ace:


Myth:  Coconut oil is the healthiest oil to use.

Fact:  Many health benefits have been attributed to coconut oil in recent years but there is currently not good evidence to support any “superfood” claims, for example that it can cure Alzheimer’s, promote weight loss or prevent heart disease. Coconut oil is a solid fat that is about 90% saturated, a type of fat associated with increased heart disease risk. Unlike saturated fats from animal sources, coconut oil is composed largely of medium-chain fatty acids which may impact blood fats differently than fat from animal sources like meat or butter. However, while coconut oil does slightly increase “good” HDL cholesterol, it may also slightly increase “bad” LDL cholesterol. Choosing unsaturated vegetable oils, like canola or olive oils, has been shown to raise HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol and is still the foundation of a heart-healthy diet.


If you like its sweet, nutty flavor, use coconut oil occasionally but also include other oils in your diet. Since all fats and oils contain about 120 calories per tablespoon use them in small amounts; Canada's Food Guide advises adults to include 2 to 3 tablespoons of fats and oils per day.



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Link of the day

World Bipolar Day

When and where

Retail Services Big Bookstore Blowout Sale, Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., SCH Concourse.

Getting a U.S. Work Permit, Monday, March 30, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208.


AAAS Research Symposium Proposals Information Session, Monday, March 30, 2:00 p.m., NH 3001.


Big Ideas Challenge for Health and Wellbeing, Monday, March 30, 4:00 p.m., St. Paul's University College Room 201. Details.


Ignite Waterloo, Monday, March 30, 5:00 p.m., Modern Languages. Details.


Department of History presents Professor Ian Taylor, University of St. Andrews, “Why Africa is not rising: History reproducing?” Tuesday, March 31, 10:00 a.m., EV3 3412. Refreshments provided.


Documenting Your Teaching for Tenure and Promotion (CTE908), Tuesday, March 31, 11:45 a.m., NH 3001. Details.


Balinese Gamelan Ensemble Concert, Tuesday, March 31, 1:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. Details.


Global Business & Digital Arts and Digital Experience Innovation Project Showcase & Reception, Tuesday, March 31, 1:30 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus. Details.


Telling stories: An intergenerational Dialogue on Housing, Tuesday, March 31, 2:00 p.m., HH 1101. Details.


Mechanical Engineering Capstone design symposium, Tuesday, March 31, 2:00 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sedra Student Design Centre, Engineering 5.


Chemical Engineering Capstone design symposium, Tuesday, March 31, 3:00 p.m. to 5 p.m., Engineering 6.


The Widow; a portrait of love and upheaval in Iraq, Tuesday, March 31, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Details.

Noon Hour Concert, The Western Collective: Chamber Ensemble, Wednesday, April 1, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel. Free admission.


2015 Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics featuring David Levine, "The Case Against Patents," Wednesday, April 1, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Details.


Philosophy Colloquium featuring Heidi Grasswick, Middlebury University, “Scientists as Experts: Understanding Trustworthiness Across Communities,” Wednesday, April 1, 3:30 p.m., HH 373. Details.


Fine Arts Life Drawing session, Wednesday, April 1, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.


Gustav Bakos Observatory Tour, Wednesday, April 1, 8:00 p.m., PHY 308. Details.


Norman Esch Capstone Design Awards, Thursday, April 2, 2:00 p.m., Sedra Student Design Centre, Engineering 5.


Biomedical Discussion Group Lecture featuring Dr. Dirk Duncker, “Exercise Training in Adverse Cardiac Remodeling,” Thursday, April 2, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304. Details.


University-wide Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Finals, Thursday, April 2, 2:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Details.


Good Friday holiday, Friday, April 3, most University buildings and services closed.


UW Chamber Choir Concert: St. Matthew Passion, Friday, April 3, 7:30 p.m., Centre in the Square. Details.


OHD Staff Conference 2015, Tuesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 8. Details.


Department of History presents Professor Eric Jennings, University of Toronto, “Global, Colonial, and Transnational Paths: Thinking through Francophone Spaces in World War II and Beyond,” Tuesday, April 7, 10:30 a.m., Ev3 4408. Refreshments provided.


Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, April 7, 1:30 p.m., Tannery Event Centre.


GreenHouse Social Innovation Showcase, Tuesday, April 7, 4:00 p.m., STP 201. Details.


Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience presents the 9th Annual Brain Day, Wednesday, April 8, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EV3 1408. Details.


Fine Arts Life Drawing session, Wednesday, April 8, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.


CTE presents Clicker (CTE726), Thursday, April 9, 12:00 p.m., MC 4040. Details.


Examination period begins, Friday, April 10. Details.


Online examination days, Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11.


TD University of Waterloo Discover Day in Health Sciences, Tuesday, April 14, 8:00 a.m., Modern Languages. Details.


UWRC Book Club featuring "My Year of Meats," Wednesday, April 15, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.


LEARN Instructor User Group (CTE686), Thursday, April 16, 12:30 p.m., EV1 241. Details.


WISE Lecture Series featuring Professor George Gross, professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "Demand Response and Capacity Auctions for Ontario," Friday, April 17, 2:00 p.m., CPH 4333.


Senate meeting, Monday, April 20, 3:30 p.m., NH 3001.


Friday's Daily Bulletin