Science Matters Winter 2020
Dean's Message

2019 was an exciting year for the Faculty of Science. We experienced another year of strong growth in our undergraduate and graduate programs, and we continue to be Ontario's provincial Destination Science program. This year we welcomed a record breaking number of undergraduate students, there are more than 550 in the graduating class of 2023. We have more than 2000 undergraduate science students with enrolment growing 33% since 2016. We continue to invest in new faculty, which ensures we maintain our leading provincial faculty to student ratio of 1:16.
This year we officially opened the Essex Centre Of Research (CORe) with Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s minister of science and sport. Sitting on the old site of Cody Hall, the 46,0000 square feet provides much needed laboratories for our advancement materials, translational health and medical physics programs. The next time you are in Windsor, I invite you back to campus to tour Essex CORe and learn more about the exciting and ground-breaking research being conducted by our faculty, staff and students.  In 2019, we brought more than $17,000,000 in research funding to the University of Windsor and we expect this to increase again this year.
Last year we also saw a record number of undergraduate students studying abroad, with trips to Costa Rica, Iceland and Scotland. Every student who participated received a $1000 scholarship thanks to the generous support of a LEAD fund donor. Support like this ensures our students are able to participate in life changing experiences including: study abroad, service learning, internships and undergraduate research. Because of your support, we are a national leader in providing undergraduate students with an opportunity to participate in research, from the development of new sustainable materials, to making cancer history. 
To everyone who has supported the faculty, staff and students of Science through our annual campaign and directed donations - thank you! Our continued growth and success is dependent on your continued support.
Daniel Heath, an integrated biologist at UWindsor's Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, is heading a project to ensure the sustainability of freshwater fish stocks for generations to come.
Faculty Highlights

Daniel Heath, an integrated biology professor at UWindsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, is heading a genome project involving Canadian researchers from coast to coast.

Dr. Heath is a pioneer in environmental DNA (eDNA), identifying all the species which exist in the ecosystem from water samples. The newly funded research involves using eDNA to create what he calls a “fish survey toolkit.” The second part of the project involves creating a “fish health toolkit,” that identifies gene expression markers to denote if fish are healthy or stressed.

UWindsor chemist John Trant’s research into new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis has earned him a $375,000 grant from the Arthritis Society.
Faculty Highlights

UWindsor chemist John Trant’s research into new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis has won him a $375,000 grant from the Arthritis Society.

Dr. Trant researches drugs that could treat rheumatoid arthritis without suppressing the entire immune system. Current treatments are less specific and leave arthritis sufferers more susceptible to infection and cancer. Trant’s biomedical research combines chemistry with computer design, 3-D bioprinting, biology, and biophysics, to create custom-tailored drugs that block the molecular interactions that lead to rheumatoid arthritis.

Chemistry professors James Gauld and Tricia Carmichael co-hosted the first LGBTQ+ in STEM conference.
Faculty Highlights

The University of Windsor hosted the LGBTQ+ in STEM conference in October, 2019. A first of its kind Canadian event, brought the LGBTQ+ community and allies together to foster relationships and celebrate research in STEM.

The conference was organized by Chemistry and Biochemistry professors James Gauld and Tricia Carmichael.

Student Spotlights
Michael Nguyen, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was one of the first researchers to publish using the newly-constructed Very Small Angle Neutron Scanner (VSANS).

The VSANS is a state-of-the-art neutron diffraction instrument located in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Centre for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Maryland. PhD student Michael Nguyen and professor Drew Marquardt tested the instrument prior to it becoming available to the broader research community.
Michael Nguyen was one of the first researchers to publish using the new Very Small Angle Neutron Scattering instrument at the NIST Centre for Neutron Research.
Student Spotlights
Kathyani Parasram, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences, received international recognition with a first place award for her chronobiology presentation “Green Guts: Development of the Circadian Clock in the Drosophila Intestine,” at the Canadian Society for Chronobiology Meeting.

The biennial conference included researchers from Canada, Europe, and Japan, with more than 100 graduate student and postdoc trainees presenting their work.
Kathyani Parasram presented her research on chronobiology at McGill University in Montreal.
Student Spotlights
For the second year in a row, University of Windsor students brought home a monetary prize from a national competition promoting research into brain tumours.

Aleena Malik and Renée Goodman, students in Simon Rondeau-Gagné’s conjugated materials and organic electronics lab, won second place — a $750 cash prize — in the Pam and Rolando Del Maestro Family Undergraduate Student Research Competition, held at the 2019 Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada national conference on October, 18 in London, Ontario.
Aleena Malik and Renée Goodman won a $750 cash prize in a student research competition at the 2019 Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada national conference.
Student Spotlights
Four graduate students from the Faculty of Science won prizes in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Science Action video contest. Erica Geldart, Sara Mechael, Katrina Switzer, and Ian Thomas were selected among the 15 national winners.

The annual Science Action competition offers graduate students a chance to showcase their research through dynamic 60-second videos.
Sara Mechael in a freeze-frame from her prize-winning video.
Science in the News
Lisa Porter, professor in the department of biomedical sciences, and executive director of the WE-Spark Health Institute.
The future website of the WE-Spark Health Institute can be visited online at
Professor Lisa Porter received Windsor Regional Hospital's support in early 2019, to move forward with the WE-Spark Health Institute. Combining the best minds from the health care and academic sectors, t he health h ub participants will work in tandem to elevate research success, improve patient care and help retain the best local health care talent.

“It is the hospitals, the university and the college all coming together to unite and really say, this is a priority," says Dr. Porter. "I think we’ve got all the foundation work accomplished. We know we can do it and now it is just rolling it out on a larger scale.”

The institute brings aspiring health professionals and researchers from St. Clair College and the University of Windsor together for training programs, academic support, professional development and think tanks.

For the next five years, the University of Windsor will contribute $200,000 each year to the program .
A new field course brought students to Walpole Island First Nation territory in the summer of 2019.

The course, titled “Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the Environment,” offered students the opportunity to experience the amazing array of flora and fauna of Bkejwanong, or Walpole Island First Nation Territory, when the tallgrass prairies, savannas, grasses, and wildflowers were at their peak.

A documentary by Communication, Media, and Film student Peter Marval showcases the course experience.
UWindsor students had a week-long summer field course at the Walpole Island First Nation Territory. Photo credit Healthy Headwaters Lab.
The UWindsor Science Academy welcomed local secondary school students to campus for one week in July, 2019, to explore the science programs available to them.

Science-driven high schoolers, nominated by their teachers or schools to attend the free week-long program, participated in lectures, hands-on laboratory exercises, and research lab tours.

Dora Cavallo-Medved, professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, runs the Science Academy and says the program helps prepare students for successful careers in science.
Luca Pullo (centre) receives a UWindsor Science Academy Certificate of Completion from professor Dora Cavallo-Medved and provost Jeff Berryman.
Post-doctoral fellow Alex Smith and graduate students Brianna Lunardi and Elizabeth George of UWindsor’s Coastal Research Group in Prince Edward Island surveying the damage to beaches due to Hurricane Dorian.
UWindsor Researchers were in Prince Edward Island assessing damage from Hurricane Dorian.

Post-doctoral fellow Alex Smith and graduate students Brianna Lunardi and Elizabeth George ─ members of science dean Chris Houser’s Coastal Research Group ─ conducted surveys in Brackley Beach, on the island’s north shore, to evaluate erosion caused by the storm.

Hurricane Dorian formed on August 24, 2019 reaching the Caribbean two days later. It devastated the northwestern Bahamas before moving up the U.S. coast into Atlantic Canada.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board will gradually phase out animal dissection in high school classrooms and replace it with virtual technology, thanks to the efforts of UWindsor’s  Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods  (CCAAM).

CCAAM’s executive director Charu Chandrasekera and UWindsor dean of science Chris Houser were on hand for the announcement at St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School.
Grade 10 students at LaSalle’s Villanova high school look over a simulated frog dissection kit.
Federal minister Kirsty Duncan was on hand for grand opening of Essex CORe science facility.
Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s minister of science and sport, was on hand in June 2019, for the official opening of the Faculty of Science's new cutting-edge research facility — Essex Centre of Research (Essex CORe).

The CORe centre, which opened for use in December 2018 and connects to the existing Essex Hall, consists of three floors of open-concept lab space devoted to the following areas of research:

  • Advanced materials, including nano-technology and biometrics
  • Transitional health, which brings discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, with particular emphasis on cancer
  • Medical physics, including medical imagining and diagnostic technologies
A new imaging system was unveiled in the Essex Centre of Research (CORe) in November, 2019. It will enable high-quality analysis of DNA, RNA, and proteins collected from cells and tissues — benefiting at least eight cutting-edge cancer research programs at UWindsor.

The purchase of the FluorChem-HD2 Imaging System was supported by Caesars Windsor, with a $10,000 contribution from its Concerts for a Cure campaign, and a further $5,000 annual commitment to local cancer programs.
Dean of science Chris Houser, researcher Bre-Anne Fifield, Caesars Windsor representative Susanne Tomkins, and biology professor Dora Cavallo Medved celebrate the purchase of new lab equipment with the support of the casino.
Dr. Charu Chandrasekera, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM), explains to Eric Margolis how the lab utilizes 3D printing to produce replicas of human tissues and organs for research during CCAAM's grand opening on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
A new research lab dedicated to developing, validating, and promoting non-animal, human biology-based platforms in biomedical research, education, and chemical safety testing celebrated its grand opening in October, 2019.

Eric and Dana Margolis, from the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, were on hand to tour the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM), established with a $1 million donation received from the couple last year. In recognition, the Centre’s main research and training laboratory is named the Eric S. Margolis Research and Training Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Methods.
In Memoriam
A campus service memorial service was held for the five members of the UWindsor community who died in a plane crash January, 8, in Tehran.
Engineering doctoral students Hamidreza Setareh Kokab, Pedram Jadidi, and Zahra Naghibi, her spouse Mohammad Abbaspour Ghadi, and biology research assistant Samira Bashiri were killed in the January, 8, 2020 crash of Ukrainian International Airlines’ Flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Tehran.

A service in the student centre drew hundreds of mourning students, faculty, staff, University and local officials, and was webcast live to family, friends, and colleagues worldwide.
A memorial fund has been established for those wising to send gifts, the fund will support international students involved in research at the University of Windsor. 

Donations to the memorial fund can be made in the following ways:

Donor Impact
Mark Dudfield and Kate Messent of Better Blinds and Drapery donated $5000 to the Faculty of Science for an outreach program that would encourage young women to pursue science, technology, and math.

Young women aged 12-13 attended the third annual A Scientist Like Her event on Nov. 16, 2019.
For more information on how you can help support our outreach efforts, please contact
Gemma Grey-Hall 519-253-3000 x 3957
Already entering its fourth year, A Scientist Like Her encourages young women aged 12 to 13, to pursue science, technology, and mathematics. The event creates an environment where young women may try new things as well as use their creativity and problem-solving skills. It provides resources and role models to help highlight how careers in the sciences are viable career paths for females.

A $5000 donation from Mark Dudfield and Kate Messent of Better Blinds and Drapery made it possible for the Faculty of Science to run the annual A Scientist Like Her, event.

Messent has a background in education, having taught grades 7 and 8 for the Greater Essex County District School Board. As a teacher, she found that many young women often felt uncomfortable moving into the maths and sciences.

“They didn’t think that they would be welcomed in pursuing these fields,” says Messent. “And now that we are in business, we thought it was a great opportunity to build a partnership with the University of Windsor and develop an outreach program to encourage these young women and make them feel welcomed in these fields.”

Attendees gave positive feedback, with many saying they found the event quite helpful.

“This is because A Scientist Like Her allows them to see other women, professional women, as mentors in the sciences,” says Messent. “And it shows them that these are viable career options for them, something they may not have even considered without a program like this.”

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for us to partner with the University of Windsor,” says Messent. “We’re very proud of it, and we’ve received wonderful feedback.”
Our YouTube channel brings to life the stories from #WindsorScience - from student student opportunities to innovative research.
The Faculty of Science has helped students achieve their promise since the founding of the University in 1963. The Place of Promise campaign will help us attract and empower the finest faculty, staff, and, students through new capital projects, multidisciplinary research and the student experience.

Investments in our  strategic funding priorities  will help us achieve our goals to advance the Faculty of Science to a new unprecedented level.

For more information, contact  Gemma Grey-Hall  at or 519-253-3000 ext. 3957.
Faculty of Science
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Ave.
Windsor, ON  N9 B 3P4
519-253-3000 Extension: 30 09