On November 16, 2016, President and Vice-Chancellor Elizabeth Cannon hosted the 2016 Peak Scholars Celebration Luncheon. Scholars were nominated by their Deans to be recognized for their achievements in entrepreneurship, innovation, and knowledge engagement where their academic work has had an impact outside of the academy; including community and knowledge engagement, entrepreneurship, tech transfer, innovation, and collaborative research, resulting in a positive social or economic impact in our communities.
In 2016, we also welcomed University of Calgary patent holders to the Peak Scholars community. Innovate Calgary joined the celebration to recognize 43 individuals who received patents between 2012–2016.
2016 Nominated Peak Scholars
Keith Dobson, Faculty of Arts, Professor, Department of Psychology
Opening Minds: The Anti-Stigma Campaign
While it is widely recognized that stigma is a significant problem for people with mental health disorders, the development of an evidence-based and effective strategy to reduce stigma has been challenging. Dr. Dobson has been a lead person in a team that has conducted an innovative program of research to tackle this important topic. The results are benefiting the lives of people with mental disorders, as well as their families, coworkers and employers.
Erin Gibbs Van Brunschot, Faculty of Arts, Associate Professor and Department Head, Department of Sociology
Offender Management - Electronic Monitoring (GPS-EM)
Together with Gerard Lachapelle, Dr. Gibbs Van Brunschot examined GPS-EM techniques used to monitor high-risk offenders across the province. As with many surveillance methods, GPS-EM is a helpful tool when used in combination with a roster of monitoring techniques.
Mary O'Brien, Faculty of Arts, Associate Professor, School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures
Engaging Language Expertise to Support Multilingualism
Dr. O'Brien's research focuses on second language acquisition, specifically on how languages are perceived and produced and on how they are taught and learned. In her work with the community, she focuses on supporting language learners, teachers, and members of the community at large in an increasingly multilingual world.
Aaron Goodarzi, Cumming School of Medicine, Assistant Professor
Public Awareness of the Health Hazards Associated with Radon Gas in Alberta
Dr. Goodarzi is leading a province-wide initiative to study household levels of radon gas, a radioactive and cancer-causing component of soil gas that is prevalent in the Canadian Prairies. Motivated by cell biology showing that alpha radiation from radon is enormously damaging to our DNA and that hundreds of Albertans are diagnosed with never-smoker lung cancer each year, Dr. Goodarzi and his team have now measured radon levels in homes across the greater Calgary area and determined what features of our houses correlate with the highest radon levels.
Jayna Holroyd-Leduc, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor
Elder Friendly care
Dr. Holroyd-Leduc helped form the Calgary Zone Elder Friendly Care Advisory Group, a grass roots initiative that includes front-line health care providers, citizens, administrators and decision makers from across the care continuum, with the goal to improve the care provider to older adults through the implementation of evidence-informed care into practice. Dr. Holroyd-Leduc has helped lead this group in implementing and evaluating Elder Friendly Care practices across all Calgary acute care sites, using peer-reviewed grant funding. This Elder Friendly Care initiative has now extended across the province of Alberta.
Zahinoor Ismail, Cumming School of Medicine, Assistant Professor
Early Detection of Alzheimer's and other Dementias: The Mild Behavioural Impairment Checklist
Alzheimer's and other dementias have been viewed traditionally as cognitive disorders, especially focusing on impairments in memory. However, neuropsychiatric symptoms are common in dementia and can even precede cognitive decline. We have developed research diagnostic criteria for Mild Behavioural Impairment, which links later life onset of sustained and impactful neuropsychiatric symptoms and the risk of cognitive decline and dementia and have developed an instrument to measure MBI, the MBI checklist.
Nathalie Jetté, Cumming School of Medicine, Professor
Toolsforepilepsy.com – An appropriateness study of epilepsy surgery
Dr. Jetté is a health services researcher interested in ensuring neurological patients receive timely effective quality-of-care. For example, years of uncontrolled epilepsy can lead to cognitive decline, poor quality-of-life and increased mortality. Epilepsy surgery has been shown to be superior and more cost effective than ongoing medical management in appropriately selected patients, but significant delays exist in referring patients (up to 20 years for adults). As part of the Canadian Appropriateness Study of Epilepsy Surgery, she and her team developed an evidence-based online clinical decision tool to help physician determine if a patient should be referred for an epilepsy surgery evaluation.
Gilaad Kaplan, Cumming School of Medicine, Associate Professor
Discovering the Link Between Air Pollution and Gastrointestinal Diseases
Dr. Kaplan is a gastroenterologist and epidemiologist who studies the environmental determinants of digestive diseases. His research discovered a link between air pollution and gastrointestinal diseases including appendicitis and IBD.
Braden Manns, Cumming School of Medicine, Professor
Canadians Seeking Solutions and Innovations to Overcome Chronic Kidney Disease (Can-SOLVE CKD)
Can-SOLVE CKD is a national CIHR Strategy for Patient Oriented Research Chronic Disease network, including 18 synergistic research projects and 5 core infrastructures. Its vision is that by 2020, every Canadian with, or at high risk for, chronic kidney disease will receive the best recommended care, experience optimal outcomes and have the opportunity to participate in studies with novel therapies, regardless of age, sex, gender, location or ethnicity.
Mary-Ellen Tyler, Faculty of Environmental Design, Associate Professor
Knowledge Engagement for Sustainable Regional Planning
Co-creation of knowledge with municipal planners and elected municipal councils in the Calgary Regional Partnership to link land use planning with water management and develop a set of regional sustainability indicators. Results incorporated into the current Calgary Metropolitan Regional Plan and supported by one of six national SHHRC Partnership Grants in Environment and Sustainability.
Loren Falkenberg, Haskayne School of Business, Associate Dean (Research)
Focused on delivering and discussing new research and its application to industry in a short timeframe, Haskayne Hour for the past three years has left more than 1700 attendees with applicable, new knowledge and better business practices.
Fenner Stewart, Faculty of Law, Assistant Professor
Dentons’ North American Energy Law Study Tour
This course provides engagement with some of the most significant energy lawyers, regulators, producers, stakeholders and academics from both Canada and the US, offering an insider's perspective into the challenges facing policy makers. By providing students the opportunity to engage directly with these policy communities, this course grants our students a genuine opportunity to understand the impacts of energy policy issues today, so that they can become the informed leaders, who will make the critical energy policy decisions facing Canada tomorrow.
Nicole Letourneau, Faculty of Nursing and Cumming School of Medicine, Professor
Dr. Letourneau’s research projects focus on developing and testing support programs to promote children’s health and development in families affected by toxic stressors, including maternal depression, family violence, addictions and poverty. She developed MOMS Link with colleague Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis and the Province of New Brunswick to help mothers affected by postpartum depression. The project reduced depressive symptoms in mothers by approximately 90%, spurring interest in commercializing this effective program. MOMS Link is currently available from Sykes Telecare.
Shane Sinclair, Faculty of Nursing, Assistant Professor
Understanding, Measuring and Enhancing Compassionate Care in Healthcare
Dr. Sinclair’s novel program of research focuses on understanding, measuring and improving compassionate care that is both patient informed and clinically relevant. He developed the first patient informed model of compassionate care and is currently developing the first reliable and valid patient reported compassionate care measure—both of which are funded by CIHR. He has rapidly established himself as an international leader in compassionate care research within a healthcare setting, complimenting his established research and leadership in psychosocial oncology and spiritual care at the end of life.
Frank Maurer, Faculty of Science, Department of Computer Science, Professor
Agile Surface Engineering and VizworX
Dr. Maurer’s research focuses on application engineering for multi-surface systems that integrate multiple digital display surfaces (including multi-touch screens, tabletops, and wall-sized displays) as well as the space between them to support problem solving and group collaboration. Applications include energy analytics, emergency management, and the future of retail spaces.
Christian Jacob, Faculty of Science and Cumming School of Medicine, Professor
LINDSAY Virtual Human
Dr. Jacob’s research interests revolve on The Computer as a Think Tool, a machine to Augment our Thinking, our Perceptions and our Creativity. His current research topics are: computational physiology; 3D human anatomy; interactive, multi-scale models of biological systems; augmented reality for data visualization and data analytics; game engine technology to create educational Body Universes.
Sheelagh Carpendale, Faculty of Science, Department of Computer Science, Professor
Information Visualization + Interaction Design
Dr. Carpendale’s research focuses on designing, developing and evaluating interactive visualizations and technologies so that they support the everyday practices of how people view, represent, manage, and interact with information. Her primary motivation is to promote information comprehension by creating appropriate tools that can help people negotiate the everyday transformation of vast amounts of information into knowledge.
Steve Larter, Faculty of Science, Department of Geoscience, Professor
PRG: From Discovery to Deployed Technology
Steve Larter and PRG(research group), made fundamental discoveries in understanding key microbial processes in the subsurface of the earth, defining the temperature base of the subsurface biosphere. They also explained the origin of heavy oil and bitumen and translated these understandings into patented inventions and through several spin out companies, to commercially successful, deployed solutions relating to oil and gas development and carbon management strategies. Gushor Inc., was acquired by Schlumberger, the world's largest oil service company, in 2013, the technologies now being used at large scale worldwide.
Fadhel M. Ghannouchi, Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor
GaN High Power Amplifier Development for Space Communications
GaN-based semiconductor technology offers high power density, high operating voltage and temperature, accompanied by an inherent robustness to radiation damage make GaN devices a potentially outstanding choice for applications in the harsh environments encountered in space missions such as satellite communications, Earth observations or even planetary exploration. The goal of this project, sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency, is the development of broadband high-power, high-energy efficiency amplifiers for Earth observation and data relay applications using GaN semiconductor technology meeting the technology readiness level, TRL 5. This collaborative development project will no doubt be an asset for future Canadian space missions such as the follow-on to the current RADARSAT Constellation missions or future nano or microsatellite constellations for global and cognitive IoT coverage solutions.
Maen Husein Jarrar, Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Professor
Reducing Environmental Impact of Drilling Fluids
Dr. Husein’s research interest is in the areas of heavy oil upgrading, minimizing the environmental impact of drilling operations, and produced water treatment to enable effective recycling. The project under the spotlight relates to in-house engineered nanoparticles and their role in reducing fluids loss to formation, strengthening the wellbore and reducing drag during drilling. Many fold improvement relative to commercial nanoparticles were reported, which led to four patent applications and a spinout company: nFluids.
Joo Hwa (Andrew) Tay, Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Professor
Aerobic Granulation for Wastewater Treatment
The main objective of Dr Tay’s research program is to further develop a cutting-edge and sustainable biotechnological approach to municipal and industrial wastewater treatment and environmental protection by the aerobic granulation technology. The novel technology generates many benefits, including low capital and operational costs, significant reductions of the reactor volume and land space requirements, high resilience to toxic chemicals, high effluent quality and low sludge production. The studies cover aspects ranging from fundamental scientific research, the translation of research results, and further development of applicable technology for the industry.
Orly Yadid-Pecht, Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor
Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education (EAE) Project on Alternative Light Sources
Dr. Yadid-Pecht is involved with entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property creation for the last 2 decades. The recent significant development completed with her group this year, is an Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education (EAE) project at the University together with industry, for an alternative light source, to serve Luxmux Corporation proprietary spectrometer technology. Two alternatives were developed, fiber supercontinuum based and Super Luminescent Diode (SLED) based, of which one was selected for incorporation within the company offerings.
David Nicholas, Faculty of Social Work, Associate Professor
Vocational Abilities Innovation Lab
This research program includes the development of: (1) promising practices related to employment opportunities and support for people with autism, (2) nationally-recognized employment support/'job coach' curricula to support people with autism and other developmental disabilities in the workplace, (3) autism service capacity building in under-resourced rural, remote and northern communities, and (4) a network of people with autism and their families who are conveying priorities about research in autism.
2012–2016 Patent Recipients