Thursday, July 26, 2007

  • Energy chair arrives in September
  • Mathematicians measure cancer tools
  • Another look inside the time capsule
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Food services staff at barbecue] Link of the day

Hot dog!

When and where

Summer book sale of UW bookstore merchandise, South Campus Hall concourse, continues through Friday.

Computational Methods in Finance conference hosted by Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Thursday-Friday, details online.

Guest rooms at St. Paul's College graduate apartment building (suitable for visiting faculty, conference participants, friends or family), open house 12 noon to 2 p.m., sign up by e-mail:

'Teaching Applied Statistics Using a Virtual Manufacturing Process', Stefan Steiner, department of statistics and actuarial science, 4:00 p.m., Math and Computer room 5158, abstract online.

Career workshop: "Getting a US Work Permit" 4:30 p.m., Tatham Centre room 1208, details online.

Last day of classes for spring term Friday, July 27. Exams begin August 2. Extended library hours continue: Davis Centre library open 24 hours a day (except Sundays 2 to 8 a.m.); Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

PAS (Psychology) building shutdown of electrical power Saturday 8:00 am. to 10:30 a.m. for connections to new wing.

Open enrolment for fall term undergraduate courses begins July 30 on Quest.

Blood donor clinic Monday, 10 to 4, Student Life Centre multi-purpose room; sign up at turnkey desk.

Summer Jazz concert by UW Stage Band and Accent Choir, Monday 6:00 p.m., Village I lounge, admission free.

Book club at the UW bookstore discusses Smoke by Elizabeth Ruth, August 2, 12:00 noon, details online.

Civic Holiday Monday, August 6 (no exams, UW offices and most services closed; libraries open usual hours).

Tennis Canada Rogers Cup at York University, August 11-19. UW event alumni event Thursday, August 16: social gathering at Corona Pub, then tennis at Rexall Centre. Alumni ticket discounts available for every day of the tournament, also open to all students, faculty and staff, details online.

One click away

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Midnight Sun team ready to ship car to Australia
'Copyright and computer networks' talk to UW's CS Club
UW researcher's presentation on construction in Vancouver rain
Why EngSoc's Tool and bearers weren't at Canada Day
Chinese government said to have student spies in Canada
Extra Ontario funding for francophone universities
Collège Militaire Royale set to reopen
McMaster president opposes boycott of Israel
Strike and lockout shut down Bishop's U
New U of Windsor policy on 'intimate personal relations'
Signs that you are in Waterloo, Ontario
Honorary degrees 'make a mockery' of real ones
Maplesoft boasts 'next generation teaching techniques' at U of Guelph
'Obese girls were less likely to enter college'
Preventing homesickness in university students
Canadian population broken down by age and sex

Energy chair arrives in September

from the UW media relations office

A former manager of strategic planning for Hydro One will lead efforts at UW to identify and develop cost-effective energy options for Ontario and beyond. Jatin Nathwani has been awarded a $3 million provincial research chair to integrate new technologies that can enhance energy efficiencies and promote renewable resources within a reliable power system.

Beginning September 1, he will be the inaugural holder of the Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy and Sustainable Energy Management. His efforts will focus on achieving a healthy energy equation, one that offers the best balance between known sources and those yet to be discovered. The research will look at sourcing, storage and distribution alternatives. The goal is to encourage research that explores alternative energies or improves management of existing resources.

"The University of Waterloo is truly proud to play a part in addressing Ontario's energy needs," says UW president David Johnston. "Dr. Jatin Nathwani brings clarity of vision to advance and promote multi-disciplinary research that is compelling and will play a key role in preserving Ontario's energy options. He will help develop a broader public understanding of the complexity of policy choices in the energy sector."

Nathwani has managed a broad range of issues in the energy sector, including corporate strategy and policy developments, evolution of industry structure, regulatory affairs and environmental policy as well as technology integration and business practices. He was manager for strategic planning at Hydro One (formerly Ontario Hydro). He also co-authored several books on risk management and co-created the widely used economic indicator known as the Life Quality Index.

Nathwani's combined academic background and business experience will help bridge the gap between the academy and industry. He has been a long-time promoter of innovation through strategic research and development. He will provide leadership to the dozens of Waterloo researchers currently working on various aspects of energy and energy policy, primarily by establishing a centre for energy advancement.

"Our goal is to stimulate high-impact multi-disciplinary research on societal problems of energy use and development of policies and tools for environmental sustainability and economic growth," says Nathwani. "Alternative energies and better resource management — those will be UW's contribution to a balanced energy equation."

The work will draw upon the expertise of colleagues in UW's faculties of engineering, environmental studies and science. It will explore the cost-effectiveness of renewable and clean energy technologies and develop a comprehensive understanding of the effects of using those technologies.

Nathwani will focus UW's renewable energy technology development activity toward targeted innovations that are consistent with a sustainable energy plan for Ontario. A key goal of the work will be to train a new generation of highly qualified researchers and professionals with a broad understanding of the existing systems for production, distribution and use of electricity and other forms of energy.

The position, one of eight new endowed research chairs, is part of a $25 million Ontario government program established to address key public policy issues that affect the social and economic health of the province. "Ontario universities recognize the importance of these public policy issues and are committed to attracting international scholars to advance our institutions and the province," says Paul Genest, president of the Council of Ontario Universities, which administers the Ontario Research Chairs program.

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Mathematicians measure cancer tools

by Patricia Bow

Siv Sivaloganathan and Mohammad Kohandel are mapping frontier territory in the new field of mathematical medicine. Using the tools of mathematical and computational modelling, the two applied mathematics professors have developed a tool to help oncologists predict the best and most effective combinations of cancer-fighting therapies. To support this promising work Sivaloganathan and Kohandel, with Mike Milosevic of Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, have been awarded an NSERC/CIHR Collaborative Health Research Project Grant worth $430,000 over three years.

An article by Paula Gould for the July 4 medicalphysicsweb portal explains the research in lay terms. There has been great interest lately in angiogenesis — the process by which a tumour establishes its own blood supply — and in new anti-cancer therapies aimed at disrupting this process. When angiogenesis is hindered, the tumour is starved of nutrients and will not grow beyond a certain size, and is less likely to spread to other organs.

Other experimental and clinical research suggests that anti-angiogenic drugs may work best in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But how these therapies should work together, in what order, for how long, and in what dosages, creates a highly complicated puzzle, Gould writes. “This complex scenario has now been distilled into a single mathematical model that promises to help oncologists with their clinical decision-making.”

Sivaloganathan and Kohandel worked closely with oncologists to identify what factors should be incorporated into the model. Armed with this tool, and further developments of it, doctors will be better able to plan the most effective pattern of treatment for specific cancers and individual patients.

A paper about this research by the two researchers and their collaborators at Princess Margaret Hospital and MIT was chosen as a “feature article” by the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology. Feature articles have been singled out by the editors as being significant for “novelty, high level of interest and potential impact on future research.” Entitled “Dynamics of tumor growth and combination of anti-angiogenic and cytotoxic therapies,” the paper was published in the journal's July 7 issue.

Sivaloganathan and Kohandel are members of the Biomedical Research Group in applied math, a cluster of researchers who specialize in applying mathematical tools to issues in medicine and human biology. Sivaloganathan is also director of the Centre for Mathematical Medicine, based at the Fields Institute for Research in the Mathematical Sciences, Toronto. This year he was elected a Fellow of the Fields Institute.

In an earlier project, Sivaloganathan led researchers at UW and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in modelling a better way to treat hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain.” This condition, which often affects children, causes fluid to accumulate in the ventricles — the cavities within the brain — producing a build-up of pressure on brain tissue. Left untreated, hydrocephalus can lead to nerve damage or death. Standard treatment involves inserting a shunt into a ventricle to drain off excess fluid. But as the brain recovers and its elastic tissues move back into place, often the shunt becomes blocked and fails.

The researchers created a mathematical model to simulate these changes in the ventricle walls, a tool that will, when fully developed, help neurosurgeons find the best location to place the shunt so that it will function for as long as possible. And the work continues, Sivaloganathan says. He has organized an international Workshop on Brain Biomechanics to take place at the Fields Institute tomorrow. It will discuss developments in the mathematical and computational modelling of hydrocephalus and syringomyelia, a disease that affects the spinal cord.

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[WatNext logo]Another look inside the time capsule

Here’s another look inside the “electronic time capsule” in which more than 100 faculty, staff and students left their predictions during UW’s 40th anniversary celebrations in 1997. Their thoughts — some serious, some not so — are being unpacked through the Daily Bulletin throughout the summer of this 50th anniversary year.

"Hopefully environmental studies will have another building," wrote Geoff McBoyle, who had become dean of ES just a few months earlier. There are still just ES I and ES II — but the school of architecture, which was then part of the ES faculty, is now a unit of engineering and has its own building beside the Grand River in Cambridge.

"The math building will be attached to Math II, an adjoining building for some computer design and engineering faculty," one staff member predicted. "Biology III will be in the construction phase." Not exactly, but UW does now have the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology, with work on the Quantum-Nano Centre (connected, indeed, to Math and Computer) scheduled to start soon.

"North campus is a hive of industry with the new industrial partners and hotel accommodation," Peter Russell of earth sciences predicted. Half right: there's no hotel, but the Research and Technology Park is a going concern. "Students pay more for their education," Russell also wrote, "though many students offset this completely by UW alumni scholarship awards. . . . The university launches a $500 million funding drive."

A computer science student — perhaps not foreseeing that fewer students would be drinkers following the shortening of Ontario's high school curriculum — predicted that by 2007 UYW would have "10 on-campus pubs". Another student foresaw "better food on campus", and a third added, "I hope Tim's is still alive and well ten years from now," but didn't guess that there would be four, count 'em, four Tim Hortons outlets by 2007.

And one student's prediction failed to come true, by just a few months. "By 2007," he (or she) wrote, "Davis Centre will be the only library in the world where students' knapsacks still need to be inspected manually by staff. That's the heritage of UW." An electronic security system was activated in Davis in November 2006.


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