Wednesday, August 19, 2009

  • Ontario funding for 10 'early researchers'
  • 'Shocking' images deter smokers, study says
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Ontario funding for 10 'early researchers'

The Ontario government has announced grants of $140,000 to projects headed by 82 young researchers, including 10 at UW, “who are making important scientific breakthroughs and creating the jobs of the future”.

The money comes from the Early Researcher Awards program, managed by the ministry of research and innovation. MRI minister John Milloy said the funding will support the work of 338 researchers “and will ensure that leading Ontario researchers have the resources they need to build their research teams. The funding will also help create jobs for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians from across Canada and abroad.”

The grants are tagged with the label of “Ontario’s Innovation Agenda”, said Milloy: “The McGuinty government understands that when we invest in our research talent, we are investing in the future of our health care, our environment, and our economy.”

The ministry also predicted that these projects will engage more than 6,000 Ontario high school students each year, “giving them an inside look at real research and inspiring them to consider a career in science and technology.”

A list of the UW projects receiving the grants, as posted online by the ministry:

The Stagnation of Social Inequality: Causes and Consequences of a Motivated Bias to Preserve the Status Quo, headed by Aaron Charles Kay, department of psychology.

Innovative Processing and Microstructural Modeling of Advanced Aluminum Alloy Systems, headed by Shahrzad Esmaeili, mechanical and mechatronics engineering.

Algorithm Design for Game-theoretic Environments and Settings with Uncertainty, headed by Chaitanya Swamy, combinatorics and optimization.

Maximizing Yield of Nanometer Circuits using a Design for Manufacturability Approach, headed by Mohab Hussein Anis, electrical and computer engineering.

Improving Database Management in Cloud Computing Environments, headed by Ashraf Ismail Aboulnaga, school of computer science.

Enhancing the Perceptual Experience in Network Visual Communications, headed by Zhou Wang, electrical and computer engineering.

Mathematical Foundations of Elliptic Curve Cryptography, headed by David Yen Jao, combinatorics and optimization.

Dispersion-cancelled Biomedical Imaging Using Chirped-pulse Interferometry, headed by Kevin Jeffrey Resch, physics and astronomy.

Examination of a Potential Link Between Ca2+ Pump Energetics in Muscle and Metabolic Disorders, headed by A. Russell Tupling, department of kinesiology.

Fatty Acid Determinations in Food and Blood with Novel Automated Devices and High Throughput Methodologies, headed by Kenneth Douglas Stark, kinesiology.

There was also a grant to Jaume Gomis of the Perimeter Institute, who is cross-appointed to UW’s department of physics and astronomy, for work on “New Phases of Matter and String Theory”.

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'Shocking' images deter smokers, study says

a release from UW’s media relations office that has already made the news internationally

Shocking pictures of diseased lungs, a brain damaged from a stroke and other disturbing images that appear on cigarette packs in Canada are effective in informing people about the harms of smoking and motivating smokers to quit, says a new article by UW researchers.

Canada was the first country to introduce pictorial warnings in 2001 and, over the past nine years, 27 other countries have introduced similar Canadian-style pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging. Many other countries are considering doing so.

A review article in the August 1 issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization concludes: "Substantial evidence from a broad range of studies supports the inclusion of graphic pictorial images on tobacco warning labels." It was written by Waterloo psychology professor Geoffrey Fong and co-authors David Hammond, professor of health studies and gerontology, and Sara Hitchman, psychology graduate student.

"Our research findings show that graphic pictures can enhance the effectiveness of warning labels by making them more noticeable, increasing thoughts about the hazards of smoking and increasing motivation to quit," says Fong.

Although smoking rates have declined in Canada, as they have in many high-income countries such as Australia and those in Western Europe, smoking still remains by far the biggest killer in Canada. Currently, 37,000 Canadians die each year of smoking — more than AIDS, car accidents and illegal drug use combined. Worldwide, in the 20th century, 100 million people died from tobacco use, but in the 21st century, tobacco-related deaths are projected to grow to one billion. And 70 per cent of the death toll will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the tobacco epidemic has not yet peaked but where tobacco-related deaths will accelerate to more than 10 million deaths a year by 2025.

To combat the looming disaster, 160 countries have pledged to implement tobacco control policies as part of the world's first health treaty: the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Many of these policies are familiar to Canadians: pictorial warning labels, advertising/promotion bans, higher taxes on tobacco products and smoke-free laws.

Much of the research on the impact of pictorial warnings has been conducted by the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project), a massive international research collaboration across 20 countries inhabited by more than 50 per cent of the world's population, 60 per cent of the world's smokers and 70 per cent of the world's tobacco users.

The ITC Project was founded by Waterloo's Fong in 2002 as an international system for evaluating tobacco control policies of the worldwide tobacco treaty across many countries. The findings of the ITC Project so far have strongly supported FCTC policies. The ITC Project issued a global report on pictorial warning labels for this year's World No Tobacco Day, an annual initiative of the World Health Organization.

Health warning labels on tobacco packaging are the most cost-effective tool for educating smokers and non-smokers alike about the health risks of tobacco use. This is especially important in low- and middle-income countries, where there are few other sources of information about the health risks.

Fong and his colleagues write that pictorial warnings may be particularly effective in populations with lower literacy rates, but that it is essential to select pictures that clearly tell of the harms of smoking rather than simply showing people smoking, which might inadvertently suggest approval of smoking. "Although pictures may say a thousand words, it is critical to select those that say the correct thousand words," they write.

In the eight years since the Canadian pictorial warnings first appeared, other countries have created new innovations in graphic pictorial warnings, including testimonials from smokers who have suffered from a smoking-related disease and greater vividness in the images. Waterloo's Hammond has created a web resource where pictorial health warnings from every country can be seen.

Canada is in the process of revising the country's pioneering approach to health warnings. "Canada was the shining example for the world when their pictorial warnings came out," Fong said. "Many years later, we know that the effectiveness of the Canadian warnings have declined considerably. We hope that when Canada's new warnings are introduced, they will again lead the world in their innovation and effectiveness."


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Link of the day

History of August

When and where

Hot water, heating and steam shut off in all buildings within the Ring Road, plus Village I, through Thursday 4 p.m., for maintenance of steam mains.

UW Book Club. Unfeeling by Ian Holding, 12:05 p.m., Dana Porter Library room 407. Details.

Tennis Canada 2009 Rogers Cup alumni night Thursday, Rexall Centre, Toronto. Discount tickets for students and alumni available; tournament runs August 15-23. Details.

Alzheimer Society barbecue Thursday 5-8 p.m., 831 Frederick Street, Kitchener. Details (RSVP required).

Warrior men’s soccer exhibition games vs. Seton Hill University, Friday 6:30, Saturday 2:00, Columbia fields.

‘Miss Saigon’ presented by The Singers Theatre, Friday-Saturday 8:00, Saturday-Sunday 2:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets $18. Details.

Alumni lunch and theatre event at Niagara-on-the-Lake, with “Play, Orchestra, Play” at Shaw Festival, Saturday. Details.

Warrior soccer team meeting and tryouts Monday, August 24, women 3:30, men 5:30, Columbia soccer field. Walk-ons also welcome Tuesday, September 8, 3:30 p.m. at the field. Details.

Warrior women’s rugby. Team meeting and tryouts Monday, August 24, 5:00, Columbia playing fields. Details.

Alumni event in Calgary: Garden tour at historic Lougheed House, August 25, 5:30 p.m. Details.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is August 31 (certified cheques, fee arrangements) or September 9 (bank payment). Details.

Surplus sale of furnishings and equipment September 3, 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall.

Labour Day holiday Monday, September 7, UW offices and services closed, except those involved in welcoming new students.

Orientation week September 7-12. Details.

School of Accounting and Finance grand opening of new wing at Hagey Hall, Tuesday, September 8, events 9:30 to 2:30. Details.

Weight Watchers information session about on-campus program Thursday, September 10, 12:00, PAS (Psychology) building rom 2438, information ext. 32218, e-mail amcharet@

New faculty workshop with briefings about office of research and graduate studies office (established faculty and administrative staff also welcome) Friday, September 11, 11:30 to 1:30, Math and Computer room 2017, with lunch and trade show. Optional 10:30 workshops on research ethics and research finance. Information and details e-mail kdsnell@

Fall term classes begin Monday, September 14. Open class enrolment ends September 25.

‘Making Your Graduate Experience More Relevant: Connecting Knowledge to the Needs of Society” interdisciplinary information session and lunch, Tuesday, September 15, 12:00, Environment I courtyard. Details.

Job information session for graduating students to explain the on-campus recruitment process, Tuesday, September 15, 3:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Details.

Grades for spring term undergraduate courses become official September 21.

Volunteer/internship fair representing a number of agencies, Tuesday, September 22, 11:00 to 2:30, Student Life Centre.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department:

• Officer, research communications, office of research, USG 9
• Administrative assistant, Centre for Teaching Excellence, USG 6
• Hardware specialist/ lab instructor, electrical and computer engineering, USG 8-11

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin