Happy Holidays from UPEI's Office of Research Development

 From everyone at UPEI’s Office of Research Development, have a great holiday season. And while you sip eggnog and cut another chunk off the cheese ball, why not read some of these highlights from the ORD Blog…

The ORD Blog posted video to a couple of fascinating talks in early January from the UPEI Research Breakfast series. Watch Dr. Rick Cawthorn's presentation, "Is your snow crab bitter?", an examination of a parasite that threatens a valuable fishery in Atlantic Canada. Dr. Juergen Krause's presenation, "The art of clustering — the biotech way" is available here.

The ORD Blog spoke with Dr. Larry Hammell at AVC for the post, "Tiny parasite; big problem." Dr. Hammell discusses the trouble salmon farmers are experiencing with a resurgence of sea lice.

Dr. Stacey L. MacKinnon hosted the first Research on Tap of 2010. Read a bit of background into the discussion, "Forgiveness v. Revenge" here, and read a review of the evening here.

We wrote early in the year about Dr. Ian Dowbiggin's research into the history of marriage counselling. Read about his fascinating study here in the post, "We need to talk (about the history of marriage counselling)."

Dr. Mike Shaver lead the discussion at Februrary's Research on Tap. Read about his topic in the post, "Plastic Man defends his honour."

In this post, "Generating knowledge with a purpose", from February, we speak with Dr. Dan Hurnik about his research into the swine industry, and how he feels it is his responsibility as a researcher to improve the lives and livelihood of the people of Atlantic Canada.

UPEI's University Librarian Mark Leggott talks about the future of data management in the post "Mr. Potato Head: champion of open-source technology."

Dr. Jeffery Davidson tackles a problem Island mussel farmers are experiencing because of an invasive species. Read about it here in "More power, underwater."

Dr. Richard Raiswell relaunched a scholarly journal of the occult this year by the name of Preternature. We speak to him about it in the post "Beyond Nature."

Dr. Malcolm Murray attempts to being a bit of civility back into the debate between atheists and theists in his book "The Atheist's Primer." Read about it in our post "The friendly atheist."

There's nothing wrong with the current technology in batteries, says Dr. Rabin Bissessur, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. Read about his research in the post "Built a better battery."

UPEI and the AVC were honoured this spring to be announced as the home to one of only 19 prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chairs. Learn about Dr. Ian Gardner, and how his research will contribute to our future food security, in the post "Healthy Fish. Healthy Environment. Healthy Food."

AVC's Dr. Sunny Hartwig believes we will find a way to eliminate kidney disease in her lifetime. Read about her passion behind her work, and the generous award to fund her research in "No machine can do what the kidneys do."

Watch another couple of talks from the Research Breakfast series. Dr. Ian Dowbbiggin talks about the history of anxiety disorder in his presentation "Reasons to Panic?" Dr. Jason Pearson discusses chemistry without a laboratory in his presentation "Unlocking the crystal ball inside your computer."

Dr. Fiona Walton is teaming up with Gemini Award-winning filmmaker Mark Sandiford to track the use of traditional knowledge within Nunavut's education system. Read about this fascinating team in the post "Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit."

Dr. Fred Kibenge discusses the investigations he undertook to discover what was killing farmed salmon in the post "Solving a fishy mystery."

Dr. Karen Samis is a biologist who thinks a lot about borders — specifically, the borders that characterize the geographic range of a particular plant. Read about her work in the post "Plants with (and without) borders."

Dr. Lori Weeks worked on the Prince Edward Island data contained within the Atlantic Seniors Housing Research Alliance, and came up with some pretty interesting data. Read about it in the post "We couldn't help but make a few recommendations…"

Dr. Ian Dowbiggin kicked off the 2010/2011 Research on Tap series with a discussion of the history of anxiety disorders. Read about the research here, and a review of the evening here.

The most recent event in the Research Breakfast series saw Dr. Mark Fast at AVC give a talk called "Trying to Stop Sea Lice from Partying Like it's 1999." Dr. Khym Goslin spoke on "Instructional Leadership for the 21st Century."

These are just some of the stories we told you about this year. Here's to another great year of research from UPEI.

"If you can't explain it, you don't know it."

 “I sat through the science presentations at last year’s Graduate Studies Day,” says Dr. Donna Giberson. “I consider myself to be pretty up on most biological topics, but even the Biology presentations flew right over my head. And these were supposed to be for a general audience.”

Giberson is a Professor of Biology and NSERC Rep for UPEI. She and Dr. Brian Wagner, Assistant Vice President of Graduate Studies have organized an afternoon called “You’re Not Dumbing it Down: Making Your Research Accessible” on Friday, December 3, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm in Room 104 of the KC Irving Chemistry Centre.

“This is a real problem. Some of the students were making no effort to make their research understandable. I believe it is incumbent on the researchers to make themselves understood. That’s what we’ll be discussing this Friday.”

Friday’s session includes presentations from Dr. Mary Anne White, Research Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Dalhousie University, and a regular contributor to the Maritime Noon Phone-In on CBC Radio; Karen Birchard, Canada Correspondent for the Chronicle of Higher Education; and Jason Frenette, Research Partnership Promotion Officer with NSERC Atlantic.

“I think this is something that will appeal to anyone interested in communicating their research,” says Giberson. “This is not just a science issue. Every discipline has its own languageand that’s useful for communicating with colleagues. But we can’t assume the public knows our language and terms. It’s not dumbing anything down to speak clearly. If you can’t explain it, you don’t know it.”

Giberson says the ability for a researcher to communicate is crucial for connecting with funders, and to gain political and public support for their research.

“If you have a funding partner who doesn’t care that you can’t explain your work, congratulations,” says Giberson. “But that’s pretty rare. Most partners want us to be able to show the public what we’re doing. The goal is not to blow your horn, but to get the public interested in research. I think we can all agree that’s valuable.”