Collaborative research is the key to the LFCE
The newest kid on the block for researchers at the University of Saskatchewan is a world-class facility that brings together under one roof all aspects of raising livestock in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE) is a $38-million world-class complex of field and science laboratories, operating three distinct research and teaching units. Plant, soil and animal scientists from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, veterinarians with expertise in infectious diseases as well as in animal behaviour from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), and environmental engineers from the College of Engineering are leading research projects with considerable overlap, breaking down silos to work together.
The mandate of the research centre includes providing livestock producers and consumers with solid, research-based information on emerging issues related to beef cattle health, reproduction, nutrition, genetics and public safety, as well as plant breeding for forage crops, grazing management and the environment.
Funding for the Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence was provided by USask, the federal and provincial governments, as well as several organizations, corporations and individuals.
College of Law implementing innovative Indigenous initiatives
From graduating the first Indigenous lawyer to be called to the bar in Western Canada, to founding the country’s first Native Law Centre, USask's College of Law has long been a leader in supporting Indigenous students.
It’s a foundation the college continues to build on with a plethora of new innovative initiatives, including implementing mandatory Indigenous law courses for all first-year students, and founding programs to teach Indigenous law students in Nunavut, as well as from Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The bottom line is this: If you are going to be a lawyer in Canada in the 21st century, whether you are Indigenous or not, you need to have a good understanding of Indigenous issues and perspectives, from Gladue factors analysis to pipeline debates,” said College of Law Dean Martin Phillipson (LLM’91).
The new Indigenous law curriculum supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, and received unanimous faculty support.
The college is also finalizing a new program for 2019 to enrol two Indigenous students each year from Newfoundland and Labrador, an area of the country without its own law school.
Strike a pose
Yoga continues to be one of the fastest growing health practices in the areas of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being in North America.
The question of whether the benefits of a regular yoga practice extend to the prevention of injury is being investigated by Dr. Cathy Arnold (BSPT’84, MSC’96, PhD’08) from the School of Rehabilitation and her research team.
The team has received a College of Medicine Research Award (CoMRAD) grant to evaluate the effect of yoga on fall risk factors. They will also examine whether yoga has the potential to change the ability to successfully control landing and descent using a simulated fall among peri-and post- menopausal women.
“Yoga is an increasingly popular health practice with potential benefits linked to improving balance, muscle strength and quality of life, but there is no evidence that yoga can improve the capacity to reduce the risk of fall-related injury,” said Arnold.
Arnold and her team will be collaborating with Ground Yoga in Saskatoon, Sask. to perform a community-based yoga intervention.
Outpouring of support for students in crisis
On March 6, 2019 our community truly came together to show support for students in crisis.
An amazing 640 students, alumni and members of our campus community rallied to support students facing a financial crisis, through donations to the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust.
And thanks to generous donors Professor Emeritus Dr. Kay and Mrs. Dora Nasser, who matched donations to help even more students, the total raised for students is an incredible $166,517!
Nasser, who was on campus to help celebrate One Day for Students with a kick-off breakfast for socially conscious students, said it is a very important day for him.
“It’s one of the best things in my life—to be able to see students that are enjoying what they are studying, and at the same time, learning to give value to their community, to themselves and the rest of the world. This is what all our work is all about.”
Education announces active learning classroom construction at USask
The College of Education is proud to announce construction of the Grit and Scott McCreath Active Learning Classroom, a progressive project designed to improve teaching and learning for future educators.
The classroom upgrades and addition of new technology are made possible through over $100,000 being donated by Grit (BEd’91) and Scott (BCOMM’69) McCreath.
“Creating an active learning classroom in the College of Education is so important,” said College of Education Dean Michelle Prytula (BCOMM’92, BEd’95, MEd’04, PhD’08). “Not only will our teacher candidates have the opportunity to learn in this type of environment, but they will also have the opportunity to practice teaching in it as well. We are so grateful to the McCreaths for their support. Grit and Scott are truly difference-makers in so many ways. I am thrilled to be working with and learning from them as we develop this wonderful space.”
“This project is the culmination of a lifetime of connection to the U of S,” said Grit. “Clearly, the U of S is a passion for us and to do this provides us with unbelievable joy.”
Ramp walking helps diagnose lameness in dogs
Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) are taking tips from the field of human medicine and rehabilitation to develop a technique to help detect and diagnose injuries in dogs.
Gait analysis, pressure walkways and angled walking are popular techniques used in human medicine. But, while this research has a long history in human diagnostics, it is relatively new in veterinary medicine.
Dr. Romany Pinto (DVM’06), a clinical associate in rehabilitation at the WCVM, hopes similar research in dogs will lead to a non-invasive, quick and easy technique that aids in diagnosing lameness in dogs.
The study is designed to get at the mechanisms underlying gait patterns, specifically focusing on stance time (the amount of time the limb is on the ground as a proportion of stride time), stride length (the length each limb moves in a stride), and limb force of healthy and lame dogs to increase the precision and accuracy of the diagnoses of subtle injuries that can cause dogs to become lame.
Rural retention key to new MD student course
College of Medicine students are taking part in a first-of-its-kind provincial program.
USask MD students began placements in the new Saskatchewan Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (SLIC), recently launched by the College of Medicine. They will spend all 48 weeks of their third-year program in a single location, rather than moving through a series of six-week specialty-based rotations in a variety of urban, rural and remote locations.
What differentiates the SLIC from rotation-based learning is the opportunity for students to be a longer-term member of a health-care team, to follow patients over a continued course of care, and to gain substantial, uninterrupted rural medicine experience.
“It’s an excellent way to learn. These students become immersed in these communities and the relationships they form—with their physician supervisor and other health-care providers, with patients and with the community—are an integral part of the experience and their learning,” SLIC director Dr. Tara Lee (BSc’01, MD’06) said.
Dietitian call centre now open
Following a successful pilot project in early 2018, a new dietitian call centre has opened within the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition.
Eat Well Saskatchewan was a pilot project funded through a partnership between Dietitians of Canada and the Government of Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (Saskatchewan) last year.
In the new partnership with the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, the federal government is providing $210,000 of new funding over three years to continue Eat Well Saskatchewan. The call centre will provide free nutritional information to the public and health-care professionals.
“The college was a natural choice to become the home for the call centre,” said Dr. Carol Henry (PhD), associate dean of nutrition. “It complements the similar services we’re providing to the pharmacy community and provides an environment in which evidence-based nutritional information can be trusted.”
USask launches new master’s in field epidemiology
USask is preparing to take bold new steps in the study and control of disease in animal health with a new Master of Science degree program in field epidemiology.
Scheduled to launch at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) this fall, the master’s program is the first of its kind in Canada, as well as one of only two similar training opportunities around the globe.
“Our program differs from most training programs because it is situated both within a veterinary and academic unit, and is specifically for veterinarians. The focus will be on animal health issues but will not rule out links to human or public health issues,” said Dr. Tasha Epp (DVM’00), associate professor in the WCVM Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.
This hands-on, project-based program is structured to provide students with opportunities to participate in ongoing, real-life animal disease investigations. It will help them best understand the ways in which disease flourishes in an animal setting, how its spread can be carefully managed to prevent further outbreak, and how these skills can position them as future leaders in animal health.
‘Deep learning’ software automatically detects diseases
Patients could soon get faster and more accurate diagnoses with new software that can automatically detect signs of diabetes, heart disease and cancer from medical images.
PhD student Yi Wang developed software that can get higher image quality. It improves current computer-aided diagnosis (CADx) technology, which assists doctors to detect diseases from medical imaging scans such as ultrasound, computer tomography (CT) and retinal fundus imaging, which captures photos of the back of the eye.
Wang’s software makes diagnosis faster—it takes less than 30 seconds and it is around 10 times faster than current ones.
“Our software is a good tool to complement radiologists’ and doctors’ expertise, not to substitute it,” said Seok-Bum Ko, an electrical and computer science professor and Wang’s supervisor. “There is a concern that this type of new ‘intelligent’ technologies will replace humans, like in science fiction. That is not the case, because we will always need people to make machines work.”
Wang and Ko, who have been awarded funding from the federal agency NSERC, are already teaching the software to detect lung and breast cancer from CT and ultrasound images respectively, with very positive results.