Campus Digest: ORFRI announces backing for six projects

Six London-based research teams – five based at Western, one at the Lawson Health Research Institute – will share more than $7.4 million from the Ontario Research Fund-Research Infrastructure (ORFRI) program to further their discoveries. London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews announced the grants last month at Robarts Research Institute.

“We are grateful the province continues to fund research that has impact both within Ontario and abroad,” said Amit Chakma, Western president. “By supporting our researchers, the provincial government helps improve health care, bolster economic prosperity and ensure Ontario’s social and cultural institutions thrive.”

ORFRI provides grants to Ontario universities and research hospitals to help obtain equipment and resources for research labs. The fund helps researchers in a range of disciplines generate new ideas, stimulate technology development and support the growth of strong regional economies.

The six funded projects included:

  • Centre for the development and testing of MR-compatible medical devices and technology, led by Physics and Astronomy professor Blaine Chronik, $705,911;
  • National Centre for Audiology, led by Communication Sciences and Disorders professor Prudence Allen, $765,565;
  • Facility for load-bearing imaging, biomechanics and clinical orthopaedics research, led by Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor David Holdsworth, $1,342,675;
  • Advanced Facility for Avian Research takes flight: New technologies to study global, regional and local-scale movement ecology of free-living birds, led by Biology professor Christopher Guglielmo, $1,171,999;
  • Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping, led by Schulich professor Ravi Menon, Canada Research Chair in Functional and Metabolic Mapping, $2,494,098; and
  • A large area detector dual energy CT scanner for low radiation dose functional imaging research in oncology and cardiology, led by Schulich professor Dr. Ting-Yim Lee, through the Lawson Health Research Institute, $961,524.


A paper authored by Lisa Archibald and Janis Cardy, both Communication Sciences and Disorders professors, and Marc Joanisse and Daniel Ansari, both Psychology professors, was named among the Top 100 most talked-about academic papers of the year, according to The Altmetric 2013 Top 100.

Ranked No. 82, the paper, Language, Reading, and Math Learning Profiles in an Epidemiological Sample of School Age Children, was published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, which boasted 13 of the Top 100 articles. In fact, 42 of the Top 100 papers were published in open-access journals.

The Altmetric 2013 Top 100 showcases the most popular research articles online published in the past year. Many of the papers received a huge amount of attention because they related to current events, reflected interesting scientific findings, and or were just plain quirky.

*   *   *

Western’s Division of Housing and Ancillary Services was on the move over the holidays. Over the break, Housing moved to new offices inside Ontario Hall, 230 Sarnia Road, room 3C10. Previously, the division called Elgin Hall home.

If entering Ontario Hall via the Sarnia Road entrance, the main entrance to the building, the new offices are to the left. If entering from the parking lot at the rear of Ontario Hall, enter through the west side door. Take the elevators up to Floor 3; the offices are through the front lobby to the right.

*   *   *

Following the completion of an institutional incorporation process, King’s University College is now a separate entity apart from its initial parent, Diocese of London, both institutions announced last week.

“This has been an extremely positive process,” said David Sylvester, King’s principal. “King’s is a leading Catholic institution in the country thanks to the vision of the Diocese of London and I am happy to recognize its contributions. This is an incredibly positive step for the King’s community and it is the natural evolution of King’s. It also reflects the status of other similar institutions across North America.”

“King’s is one of the best Catholic universities in Canada,” said the Rev. Ronald Fabbro, CSB, Bishop of London. “The incorporation process is similar to what has happened with other schools and hospitals founded by dioceses and religious orders. It is my intent and hope that King’s will continue to grow and prosper.”

Established in 1954, King’s was the vision of the diocese and Western. Since its founding, King’s was formally owned and governed by the diocese, which had set aside 11 acres and constructed a building to assist in the fledgling educational institution. In 1972, King’s took responsibility for the overall operations and governance of the college. The incorporation process was the next logical step in the maturation of the King’s as a major Catholic university in Canada.

The transfer, which has been under discussion for a number of years, was approved by the Vatican in August 2012. The transfer was recently completed after various government regulatory processes were completed.

As part of the transfer, King’s will obtain official ownership of the land and buildings currently held in its footprint.

“We have operated administratively separate from the Diocese since the 1970s,” Sylvester said. “Students, faculty and staff will see no change in our day-to-day operations.”

*   *   *

A memorial service for William Fyfe, former dean of the Faculty of Science, has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, in the Physics and Astronomy Building Atrium.

All are welcome to attend; RSVP to Heidi Van Galen at by Jan. 15.

Fyfe, 87, died on Nov. 11. Prior to his retirement, he had 20 years of service at Western.

Fyfe is survived by wife, Patricia, and sons, Christopher Fyfe of Cambridge and Stefan Fyfe of Norway.

Born in Ashburton, New Zealand, Fyfe was the first student from his one-room school to attend university. He received his BSc, MSc and PhD from Otago University, and then taught at the University of California, Berkeley; Imperial College, London; and the University of Manchester, before coming to Western in 1972, as chair of the Department of Geology. He served as dean of the Faculty of Science from 1986-90.

He was widely considered to be among the world’s most eminent geochemists, and his prominent research achievements in geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology and environmental geology gave him international stature.

*   *   *

Students who forget what time class is, what building it’s in and, even, the quickest way to get there, can now find it all with the click of a button. The new Western Now app allows students to create and access personal schedules, use GPS to navigate campus and email their professors directly.

Melvin Samuel, web and mobile analyst with Student Support Services, said the initial idea began in 2012, with talk of possibility moving some key student applications and services to mobile devices. While students were not specifically asking for this application, Samuel knew the demand was there.

“We can see how many mobile devices are used to access our services as well as which services are used the most,” he said. “So, despite not receiving any emails specifically requesting this application, the message was loud and clear.”

Samuel added the initial feedback has been great, with many requests for more features and expanding the application to other mobile echo-systems.

“We encourage students to keep sending in feedback as the evolution of the application relies heavily on their input,” he said.