U of S Life & Health Sciences Research Day a showcase of up and coming research talent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 10, 2011 2011-03-05-ME The future of Canadian research will be on display March 11 at the Education Gym at the University of Saskatchewan as more than 120 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows come together at the 18th Annual Life and Health Sciences Research Day.

A highlight of the event will be the 10:30 a.m. keynote address by John Cross, a passionate voice from Saskatchewan's biotechnology industry for more than 30 years. Cross was founding partner and later President and CEO of Philom Bios, a Saskatoon based company that produced the world's first commercial phosphate and nitrogen inoculants. These products increase farm profits by allowing crop plants to use fertilizer more efficiently in an environmentally benign way.
Life and Health Sciences Research Day is open to the public as well as the campus community, providing an opportunity for students to share their findings with each other and faculty researchers. As well, their work will be judged by an expert panel and awards will be given for the best posters in several categories.
Examples include:
Ashlee McLardy, a Masters student in the College of Kinesiology, examined whether contraceptives taken during adolescence negatively affect bone health. Previous studies show that about 40 per cent of adult bone mass is accumulated during adolescence, a process that is enhanced by physical activity. McLardy looked at the effects of hormone-based contraceptives on bone density and bone mineral content, drawing participants from the Saskatchewan Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study. She found that oral contraceptive use did not affect bone health in adolescents, although further study is warranted to examine possible long-term effects.
Tracy MacDonald, a Masters student in Toxicology, has examined uptake and accumulation of different chemical forms of mercury in developing organisms. MacDonald exposed zebrafish larvae to four forms of mercury and used synchrotron imaging to see where the mercury would accumulate. She found that fish exposed to organic mercury experienced accumulation throughout their bodies. In comparison, non-organic mercury only ended up in the brain. This study underlines the importance of chemical form when investigating mercury toxicity.
Scarlett Ewen, a Masters student in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, is investigating the dietary habits acquired by Karen and Burmese refugees new to Canada and, specifically, Saskatoon. Ewen wants to examine how these families are reacting to a new diet and how they're coping without access to their traditional foods. This knowledge will inform the necessary education and support to help these newcomers adjust to life in Saskatchewan.
Examples of research from a broad array of health and life sciences will be represented. Areas include animal science, plant science, behavioural neuroscience, cardiovascular and respiratory health, environmental toxicology, food science and nutrition. Other topic areas include genetics, tissue engineering, advanced medical imaging, immunology, kinesiology, rehabilitation, health services and education.
The 18th Annual Life and Health Sciences Research Day runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For details, visit http://www.medicine.usask.ca/research/conference2011/index.html.
For more information, contact:
Angie Zoerb
College of Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-6957
Michael Robin
Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
(306) 966-1425

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