2012: The year in research

In January, we profiled UPEI’s newest Canada Research Chair. Dr. Sophie St-Hilaire is UPEI’s CRC in Integrated Health Research for Sustainable Aquaculture. Read about her in our post Sustainable Aquaculture.

Dr. Michael van den Heuvel, UPEI’s Canada Research Chair in Watershed Ecological Integrity, launched a three year project to build a monitoring network in the waters of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Read about it in our post Keeping an eye on the Northumberland Strait.

UPEI Business student Haley Beer wrote an award-winning paper about applying business practices to not-for-profit organizations. Read about it in “We can help them help more people.”

In early February, UPEI’s Office of Research Development changed its name to Research Services. Find out why at ORD becomes Research Services.

Along with the name change, Research Services shook things up by launching its new web-fillable forms. Read about them in Save a tree. Use our fillable PDF forms.

Dr. Trina Bailey at the Atlantic Veterinary College knows about knee injuries. She had her ACL damaged while hopping between rocks at Nova Scotia’s Peggy’s Cove. She’s investigating new treatments for the equivalent injury in dogs. Read about it “There has to be a better way.”

Dr. Robert Hurta was awarded funding for his research by the TELUS Motorcycle Ride for Dad. The group funds prostate cancer research. Learn more about the project at our post Watch: Bikers, and blueberries, and cancer.

Dr. Leigh O’Brien was a Fulbright Visiting Specialist at the University of Prince Edward Island. Her research into the challenges of students with special needs is both professional and personal. Learn about it in Professional expertise, personal passion.

Dr. Don Desserud, UPEI’s Dean of Arts and a professor of political science led a Research on Tap event entitled “Is it time we elected the Governor General.” Read his central arguments here.

The international media is following closely the progress of an exciting new drug that could be a useful tool in the fight against stroke. Did you know about its roots at UPEI? Read about it at Promising new stroke drug’s UPEI connection.

Dr. Richard Raiswell, assistant professor of history, wants his students to have first-hand knowledge of the ancient books he discusses in his classes. That’s why he set up a video link to the University of Toronto’s archives. Read about it at Old books, new technology.

Dr. Malcolm Murray, professor of philosophy, moonlights as an accomplished playwright. Read about a staging of his latest play, appropriately named, The Philosopher.

The UPEI Research Blog ran a series of videos featuring the research of the Centre for Veterinary Epidemiological Research (CVER). Watch: Maritime Quality Milk around the world, CVER in Southeast Asia, and AVC Research in Chile.

Dr. Ian Dowbiggin, professor of history, writes a blog for Psychology Today. Read one of his posts, hosted on the UPEI Research Blog, here.

June Countryman, assistant professor of music, is conducting research on some of the more playful ways children develop languages. Read about them at Playground songs, chants, and rhymes are forms of literacy.

Dr. Joshua MacFadyen, a research associate of the Institute of Island Studies, co-curated an exhibit at the Confederation Centre for the Arts. Read about it in PEI National Park: a story told in photos.

The UPEI Research Blog began a series of articles on the Student as Scholar initiative. Read about them in “We want to inspire creative thinkers”, Research as Learning, and Learning outside the book. Look for more of these articles in 2013.

In July, we introduced you to the new Margaret and Wallace McCain Chair in Human Development and Health. Learn more about Dr. William Montelpare’s research here.

Dr. Bruce Craig, of the history department, led a Research on Tap about the US election and boldly predicted Barack Obama to be the winner using indicators from history. Read about it here.

Dr. Marina Silva, associate professor of biology, launched a project in the fall where PEI residents can help track the movements and population of red foxes through a new website. Read about it at Spot a red fox? Report it at upei.ca/redfox.

Dr. Jim Sentance, professor of economics at UPEI, weighed into the hot topic of the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax on PEI. Read about it at Hate the politics, not the tax.

Dr. Adam Fenech, director of UPEI’s new Climate Lab, led a Research on Tap with his weather predictions for the winter of 2013. Watch his overview here and read a roundup of the discussion here.

Dr. Dan Hurnik is UPEI’s Industry Chair in Swine Research. He’s working to help detect infectious diseases with a new social media for pig vets. Read about it here.

Dr. Ian Dohoo has been at the Atlantic Veterinary College since it was literally a hole in the ground. Read about his incredible career in The godfather of epidemiology.

Dr. Phillip Smith, professor of psychology, is leading the PEI collection efforts for the International Parenting Survey. Find out how 15 minutes of your time can help influence policy on the Island here.

PEI dads and mums: participate in the International Parenting Survey!

The University of Prince Edward Island invites PEI parents of children aged 2-12 years to complete the International Parenting Survey. It takes just 15-20 minutes and will help Canadian researchers and policymakers better understand challenges and needs of parents.

“Parents across the country and around the world are taking this survey,” says Dr. Philip Smith, professor of psychology at UPEI and co-investigator with the International Parenting Survey. “The data collected on PEI will be used to compare our population with others around the world, but it will also give researchers and policymakers here a good indication of the challenges faced by Island parents.”

The anonymous survey asks parents about their child’s behaviour, their confidence in responding to problems, how they manage their child’s behaviour, and their preferences for how to get support in their parenting.

Data collection on Prince Edward Island is being led at UPEI by Dr. Smith, with the assistance of honours psychology student Elena Buliga. Dr. Smith says researchers are hoping for participation from both mothers and fathers in the survey.

“In other jurisdictions, they’re getting much more participation from mums than dads,” says Dr. Smith. “In fact, 92% of parents who took the survey in Ontario and Alberta were mothers. We’d love to have a more balanced reflection. We, of course, very much want mothers to participate, but we hope fathers will take a few minutes to complete the survey as well.”

Parents can find out more information and take the survey, in English and French, at ips-canada.net.

Dave Atkinson, Research Communications 
(902)620-5117, datkinson@upei.ca 

The “godfather of epidemiology”

 “When I first arrived at UPEI in 1985, the Atlantic Veterinary College was literally a hole in the ground,” says Dr. Ian Dohoo, Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology, Department of Health Management. “A team of about 20 of us worked out of the basement of the utility building. It was noisy, the ventilation was lousy, but everyone was excited to be a part of the team. There was a strong feeling that we were working together to build something great.”

The university community will come together on December 4 to celebrate the teaching and research career of Dr. Dohoo. The event will also launch Methods in Epidemiologic Research, of which he is the primary author.

Veterinary epidemiology was still a rapidly evolving discipline when Dr. Dohoo was recruited by the AVC’s founding dean, Dr. Reg Thomson. Dr. Dohoo spent the next 25 years building the AVC’s expertise in the area, leading a contemporary to refer to him as the “godfather of epidemiology.”

Dr. Ian Dohoo works in the basement of the UPEI Utility Building before the official opening of the AVC in 1986: UPEI photographyDr. Ian Dohoo works in the basement of the UPEI Utility Building before the official opening of the AVC in 1986: UPEI photography

“Even after all this time, most people don’t understand what epidemiology is and how important it is to all of us,” explains Dr. Dohoo. “Epidemiology is the study of disease within a population. It shares the same root as the word ‘epidemic,’ but it deals with all kinds of diseases within either human or animal populations.”

By the mid-90s, Dr. Dohoo was leading a team of researchers which informally called itself the Population Health Group. This group would go on to develop and gather together some of the world’s leading researchers in veterinary epidemiology and biostatistics. It later morphed into the Centre for Veterinary Epidemiological Research, or CVER.

By the early 2000s, Dr. Dohoo and his colleagues Dr. S. Wayne Martin (Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology, University of Guelph) and Dr. Henrik Stryhn (Professor of Biostatistics, UPEI) were working to turn their expertise into a textbook. The result was Veterinary Epidemiologic Research (2003), which has become a standard textbook for graduate education in veterinary medicine around the world.

“Within a few years of publishing, I was hearing back from professors at medical schools telling me they were using our book to teach human epidemiology,” says Dr. Dohoo. “The methods and principles are identical, whether you’re working with human or animal populations. But I was also hearing that medical students were often put off by some of our examples and case studies, which were obviously animal diseases. That’s what brings us to this latest book.”

Methods in Epidemiologic Research is essentially the same book as Veterinary Epidemiologic Research, but with human health datasets. It is authored by the same team of Dohoo, Martin, and Stryhn, and launches December 4. Dr. Dohoo proudly points out that the book was written, edited, and published on Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Dohoo will also be honoured with the Calvin W. Schwabe Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at an event in Chicago on December 2.