The next Research on Tap: Forgiveness vs. Revenge

Dr. Stacey L. MacKinnon knows how tough it is to decide between forgiveness and revenge. The Assistant Professor of Social Psychology once opted for playful revenge against her husband for a relatively minor offence — a decision she would come to regret.

“I am not a great cook,” laughs MacKinnon, thinking back. “So I somehow believed I’d feel better if my sister-in-law and I made my husband dinner and then spiced his Spanish pork chop so awfully he wouldn’t be able to eat it. We were initially disappointed when his pork chop tasted better than ours. But, within a few hours, it was clear he didn’t feel very good. And, unfortunately, neither did we.”

MacKinnon can’t recall the offence that inspired their culinary revenge. She does remember her husband forgave her, though he retains a lingering mistrust for her pork chops.

While forgiveness appears to have been the preferable choice in this example, MacKinnon says there are problems with a straight-up policy of forgiveness.

“No one agrees what forgiveness is,” explains MacKinnon. “Is it something the forgiver does privately without telling the wrong-doer? Is it something that needs to be acknowledged by both parties? If so, how do you forgive someone who is dead? Does the perpetrator have to apologize in order to be forgiven?”

MacKinnon says there are few details about forgiveness we all agree on. We know it’s a difficult thing. And that’s why she says a sometimes useful alternative is just talking with friends or co-workers about the problem.

“Talking about revenge, specifically, has the potential to be somewhat therapeutic,” says MacKinnon. “Especially if you don’t plan to carry out the revenge. You can think of wild schemes to get back against the person, and it’s completely harmless. Often these sessions end with a great deal of laughter over the creativity of the revenge plots. There’s a lot to be said for blowing off steam in a safe, controlled environment.”

You can discuss some of Dr. MacKinnon’s ideas with her at the next Research on Tap. Every month, we bring a UPEI researcher to Mavor’s in the Confederation Centre of the Arts for an evening of ideas and good cheer. MacKinnon’s discussion is titled "Revenge and Forgiveness: Deciding whether or not to, how to, and how it's going to feel afterward."

For more details, visit here

Photo credit.

Watch: UPEI and AVC research on the farm

 UPEI’s fall recruitment campaign included a series of TV commercials featuring the theme “UPEI is here.” One of the commercials demonstrated some of the service projects and research carried out by the Atlantic Veterinary College. After the jump, watch an extended video from that same shoot, starring three outstanding AVC students, and several enthusiastic cows.

Read more about some of AVC and Maritime Quality Milk's on-farm research here and here.

UPEI researchers in the news, part eight

After the jump, a couple of high-profile stories about two UPEI researchers in the latest issue of Progress Magazine and great coverage and reception for ORD’s Research on Tap.


Just before Christmas, Progress Magazine profiled two UPEI researchers as part of its special report on innovation in Atlantic Canada. In “Extra bacteria, hold the coral,” writer Allison Lawlor tells the story of Dr. Russell Kerr, UPEI’s Canada Research Chair in Marine Natural Products, and winner of the Premier’s Medal for Innovation. Kerr’s research involves the discovery and production of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents from sea coral.

Dr. Russell KerrDr. Russell Kerr

Writes Lawlor, “His work is being heralded by academics and garnering the attention of pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies throughout North America. ‘Right now the market is limited because there’s only so much coral you can collect from the sea,’ says Kerr. ‘By fermenting the bacterium that produces these compounds, the supply is endless.’”

Read the whole article here.

Dr. Greg KeefeDr. Greg Keefe

In the same issue, Lawlor also profiles Dr. Greg Keefe, one of two of AVC’s Innovation PEI Industry Research Chairs, and director of Maritime Quality Milk. Keefe has developed an inexpensive, easy-to-use kit to help dairy farmers decide whether or not to treat cases of bovine mastitis with antibiotics, or to let the cow’s immune system take care of the infection on its own.

“Last year Keefe and his research team sent kits to 54 farms across Canada. The farmers used the kits for one year to determine whether or not to treat their infected cows. The data the farmers returned to Keefe and his team is now being analyzed.  ‘We’re seeing a decrease in antibiotic use of about 40%,’ says Keefe.”

Read the article, “Got Milk!”, here.

In advance of ORD’s latest Research on Tap, Dr. Ed MacDonald appeared on CBC Radio’s Information Morning. MacDonald held a public discussion at Mavor’s in the Confederation Centre of the Arts about the history of tourism on PEI. Dr. Katherine Schultz, UPEI’s Vice-President of Research and Development, was a guest on CBC Television’s Compass, explaining the idea behind Research on Tap.

For more information about next month’s Research on Tap, visit here

(Top photo:  Dr. Ed MacDonald discusses the history of tourism on PEI at Research on Tap)

Tiny parasite; big problem

“It’s one of those cases where you knew it was when, not if, the problem would arrive, and yet there was little that could be done to solve it until it became a dire situation,” explains Dr. Larry Hammell, Innovation PEI Research Chair and director of the AVC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences.

Hammell and his team at CAHS have been working for several years to find a solution to the problem of sea lice in farmed salmon. Sea lice are a natural parasite (actually belonging to the crustacean family and not a true louse) that attach to and feed on salmon. They occur naturally in the wild, but are more of a recurring problem in farmed fish.

“In the wild, salmon are always moving,” says Hammell. “They pick up early-stage sea lice, and drop off eggs. A wild Atlantic salmon might have up to 20 sea lice on it without any real problems.”

Sea lice: Photo:  L. HammellSea lice: Photo: L. Hammell

In an aquaculture environment, Hammell explains the salmon can’t escape the sea lice. At the peak of summer, when the water temperature is optimal for sea lice, a new generation can develop every two weeks.

“We have some very effective tools for treating sea lice. The one farmers have used in Atlantic Canada for the last eight or nine years has been very effective. You would have been hard-pressed to find uncontrolled infection during that time. But sea lice, like any parasite, are tricky. They can eventually adapt to these tools.”

Hammell says salmon farms in Chile first reported sea lice developing resistance to this same treatment about two or three years ago. Concerns that sea lice in the Bay of Fundy might develop the same resistance were realized this past summer.

“Resistance developed almost simultaneously in farmed salmon in the Bay of Fundy, Scotland, and Norway — which is a real mystery,” says Hammell. “We know wild salmon from these three areas meet as part of their migration somewhere in the North Atlantic, but farmed salmon don’t migrate. We’re investigating the epidemiology of this resistance.”

Photo:  L. HammellPhoto: L. Hammell

In the meantime, there are other treatments for sea lice, but Hammell says there are regulatory hurdles to clear.

“The product we used in the Maritimes was delivered in salmon feed. There are a couple of other treatments we could consider that go in the cage as a bath using a tarp enclosure. An ideal situation would be to use multiple prevention methods and rotate treatments to not give the sea lice a chance to build up resistance but, until recently, there was not a lot of incentive for drug companies to go through the cost of registering their product in Canada. Our group is helping salmon farms and veterinarians pursue several avenues by evaluating the response to these new treatments in controlled field trials. It is a race to identify the optimal integrated strategy that reduces the impact of lice before next summer brings lice-favourable conditions again.” 

Watch: The art of clustering — the biotech way

And now, the second half of last month’s Research Breakfast, as delivered by Dr. Juergen Krause, Associate Professor of Business at UPEI. Watch the video of his presentation, The art of clustering – the biotech way, after the jump.

Your next chance to get up close and personal with a UPEI researcher is Tuesday, January 12, at 7 p.m. in Mavor’s in the Confederation Centre for the Arts. Join Dr. Ed MacDonald, acting Chair of the Department of History, for this month’s Research on Tap. MacDonald will host a discussion about the history of tourism on Prince Edward Island.

Find out more about the event here. Read more about MacDonald’s research on the history of tourism in this previous ORD Blog post