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A vIrTUAl UNDerseA ADveNTUre Dr. Ballard looks on at an Immersion Presents Theatre In an age of portable video games, instant messaging and the Internet, how do you spark of Ocean Technology, Marine Institute. “We are interest in students to pursue careers in ocean sciences? Enter Dr. Robert Ballard, a legend in the ocean extremely pleased to be able to offer students the exploration field, with Immersion Presents - an innovative educational tool designed to inspire the next opportunity to explore the advanced technologies generation of ocean explorers. being used in ocean activities and showcase the career opportunities that these technologies afford Ballard, hailed for his discovery of the Titanic, is using a combination of satellite and Internet technologies to them.” create a virtual underwater experience. Students and researchers can observe and interact with some of the world’s most incredible undersea habitats and animals - without even getting their toes wet. Immersion Presents will allow students to learn first- hand about ocean technology and reinforce the idea Immersion Presents’ telepresence technology made its Canadian debut this spring at the Marine Institute that you do not have to spend your days in a wet suit (MI) in St. John’s, when students were treated to a real-time adventure at the Monterey Bay National Marine in order to pursue a career in the ocean sciences. Sanctuary in California. Through web video, several hundred students could observe what was happening underwater and pose questions in real-time to on-site scientists. Ballard visited the Marine Institute in June 2008 to officially launch its permanent Immersion Presents Theatre - the only location in Canada. Immersion Presents operates through 30 sites in aquariums, museums DID YOU KNOW? and science centres in the Unites States and Mexico. From October 15-18, Memorial University A highlight of the program is a recent expedition of the research vessel Endeavor. Last July, researchers played host to ? from Memorial University and the University of Rhode Island (Ballard’s home-base) took part in a week-long Knowledge in Motion. expedition off this province’s coast. Elements of the mission were incorporated in the Immersion Presents This international program, including videos and blogs by the researchers. conference explored MI is now working closely with educators to integrate the new technology into the school curriculum. how institutions of “Immersion Presents is a fun and powerful science education program,” said Dwight Howse, head, School higher education can further knowledge transfer in a regional Volume 15 Issue 5 development context. www.theamb as sad or.ca MeMOrIAl UNIversITY reseArcher FOIls The FlU A unique method of detecting and Beaulieu also envisions other applications for the technology could also ensure the safety of biohazard measuring the influenza virus discovered by Dr. Luc technology. For instance, “one of the things I’m lab workers, and by extension the public, using leak- Beaulieu of Memorial University has secured him the envisioning is a chip,” says Beaulieu. “All through sensing levers. Airborne communicable diseases may 2008 Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award. The prize, this chip would be cantilevers in ‘pockets,’ and each also be preventable on airlines using an on-board air valued at $25,000, is given to outstanding young pocket would be receptive to a different molecule. This monitoring system. “Before the plane even landed on researchers at Canadian universities, colleges and chip could then be used to help diagnose what sort of Canadian soil, you could sense if the virus was in the major research institutes. contaminants might be in a particular atmosphere, atmosphere,” says Beaulieu. even when they’re in very small amounts.” Beaulieu’s cantilever sensor, developed in collabora- All of these applications and more are well within tion with Ken Hirasawa from the Faculty of Medicine, Beaulieu’s levers also have potential as a diagnostic the realm of possibility, Beaulieu attests. The value can best be described as an almost invisible beam tool. Just imagine a painless, non-invasive and of his continued research, thanks to his Petro-Canada that is fixed at one end and free at the other, jutting instantaneous test for detecting numerous ailments – Award, lies in that potentiality. out of its base at about a 45 degree angle. all the patient need do is breathe on a small card. The On this lever, Beaulieu lines up receptor molecules that react with the flu virus. When the lever is placed in the presence of the virus, it bends. The amount of bending is directly relatable to the concentration of virus in the air. The real-world result is a tiny, portable, and virtually immediate way of knowing if you are at risk for contracting the flu. Beaulieu’s work is indicative of the kind of innovative research being carried out at Memorial University and supported through the province’s Industrial Research and Innovation Fund (IRIF). Recognizing the value of Beaulieu’s research, Memorial availed of $170,876 from IRIF to support the early stages of Beaulieu’s research into understanding and pushing the limits of cantilever-based sensors. Dr. Luc Beaulieu poses with a cantilever sensing system Photo: Chris Hammond heArT-sTOppINg geNe sTOppeD IN ITs TrAcKs For generations, 16 families in Newfoundland at Memorial was the key. In close collaboration for Interdisciplinary Research in Human Genetics. and Labrador have been haunted by a mysterious dis- with clinical staff that identify and treat patients Thanks to Young and a team of genetics researchers ease that claimed the lives of their young men, striking and families affected by ARVC, Young and her team at Memorial University, the new facility is being them down in their prime, often utterly without warning. embarked on a dedicated journey of discovery. created for research in founder population effect in Newfoundland and Labrador with a focus on human Today, those families are breathing a little easier – Such dedication paid off with the identification genetics research. and living a lot longer – thanks to an interdisciplinary of the gene mutation that causes ARVC. “I think it team of genetic and clinical researchers at Memorial was a combination of team work, perseverance on University, led by Dr. Terry-Lynn Young. our part, and being very good at what we do,” says Young of their success. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) affects the muscle of the heart, turning healthy Today, a simple blood test can determine if you tissues into fibrous, fatty ones. This weakens the are at risk for ARVC. Individuals with the mutation heart, decreasing its ability to pump with the power can undergo a surgical procedure to have a small needed to send blood throughout the body. defibrillator device inserted into the wall of the heart. If the heart stops, the device delivers an electrical For those with ARVC this weakness can lead to charge shocking it back to life. arrhythmia, or an irregular beat, and occasionally defibrillation, a stopping of the heart. More disturbing, Young says some ARVC patients have been able to however, is that it can lead to sudden cardiac death. add 10 to 15 years to their lives thanks to the device, and says there are about 100 people in this province Young explains how this unexpected killer impacts “walking around with one of these in their chests” lives. “These families have horrendous stories about and that “many have already gone off.” their men dropping dead over the Christmas holidays, in front of their kids, in the woods, having a car accident Young is expanding her research into other forms that was unexplained. There can be an overwhelming of ARVC in global populations. An investigation into feeling of helplessness and desperation. One lady put a patient group in the United Kingdom has already it to me this way: she said, ‘everybody knows that in begun. However, the impact of Young’s research our family the men don’t last.’” does not stop there. Last August, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced $11.2 So how did they finally put a stop to this killer? million in funding under its Research Hospital Fund Young says that the research done by her lab team to establish The Newfoundland and Labrador Centre Dr. Terry-Lynn Young chIcAgO sKYscrAper pUT TO The TesT AT MArINe sIMUlATOr The full motion simulator at the Centre for Marine Simulation is encircled by a 360 degree video screen Photo: Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development perched on massive leg-like pistons heights. The simulator was programmed to mimic The CMS has since been awarded a second and encircled by a 360 degree video screen, the the sway forces that would act on the structure simulation contract with Motioneering and has also world’s only full motion bridge simulator is enough caused by various weather conditions. After many been asked by the company to host a workshop this to make even the most steadfast ‘landlubber’ long months of preparation, a test group was subjected fall for some of the world’s most elite structural for a high-seas adventure. to vibrations, twisting, and turning as though they engineering firms. Using the centre’s simulation really were on the 140th floor. facilities, participants will explore how and why This miracle of engineering and technology makes buildings move under external forces and, as a its home at the Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Their reaction? “It completely knocked their socks result, learn how to design human habitats with Simulation (CMS) in St. John’s. The centre specializes off. They never knew it was possible,” says Captain increased safety and comfort in mind. in simulation-based training and applied research Hearn with a broad smile. services in ship navigation, marine engineering and ship communications. Captain Christopher Hearn, the centre’s director, proudly notes, “this centre is the most complex DID YOU KNOW? and advanced marine simulation centre in North st. John’s-based c-cOre has been providing innovative engineering America. There’s no one that can do what we do. Our solutions to a global clientele for more than 30 years. Focused on clientele is international and everyone that comes r&D in ice engineering, harsh environment technology and petroleum here appreciates the unique suite of expertise that exploration, they received the 2008 Distinction in Innovation Award we have.” from the provincial government. That singular knowledge and experience is exactly why the CMS was recently contracted by Motioneering Incorporation of Guelph, Ontario to sIFe (student in Free enterprise) Memorial has been named best in conduct motion testing on something not marine- the world, winning the sIFe World cup in singapore. comprised of 50 based at all – a skyscraper named “The Chicago students from Memorial University, the team has represented canada Spire.” Motioneering was looking to collect information on how the building would react under on two previous occasions at the sIFe World cup, placing second in the ? various weather conditions. The usual wind tunnel world last year at the competition in New York. data and mathematical models simply would not do: they wanted to feel what it would be like to be on the 140th floor during one of Chicago’s famous Blue Line Innovations, a locally-based energy technology firm, windstorms. received the Association of energy service professionals Award The team at CMS created a luxurious condo in the for Outstanding Energy Efficiency Technology Deployment in 2006. simulator, complete with furniture, chandeliers The company’s PowerCost MonitorTM allows at-home users to track and wine glasses on a dining table. A 360 degree how much electricity they are currently using both monetarily and skyscape was created from multiple viewpoints and in kilowatts. get the eNTrepreNeUrIAl spIrIT rIsINg AT FAcUlTY OF eNgINeerINg NeWsleTTer The thrill of research lies in its potential: the potential the course of their work, a graduate student – Dean Pelley – for discovery; the potential for earth-shattering change; the learned that there was industry-wide concern over the design newfoundland and labrador potential for saving lives; and not least, the potential for of some of the hook release mechanisms on lifeboats. In is rapidly making a name for profit. This is certainly true at Memorial University’s Faculty response, Pelley developed a better hook release technology itself globally for its leadership of Engineering, where graduate students and researchers and started a new company - Mad Rock Marine Solutions – in nurturing innovation and continually look to solve real world problems, often with to bring it to market. That company is now a market leader research and development. amazing and practical results. and has had an enormous impact on maritime safety. Associate Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Brian Veitch says, “the “What I learned from this experience is that entrepreneurship The Ambassador newsletter faculty is very interested in supporting entrepreneurship can be a powerful route to impact.” says Dr. Veitch. highlights many of the and wealth creation. There are many professors here at innovative companies and Memorial involved in the ‘real world’ of business.” Having witnessed the success of Mad Rock Marine Solutions, industry successes dominating Veitch and his R&D colleagues created Virtual Marine the news in newfoundland and Dr. Veitch has dedicated much of his career to conducting Technology to bring yet another safety technology to market. labrador, and winning attention applied research in the field of offshore and maritime This time around, it was simulators used to train mariners safety. “As a researcher, I’m free to do whatever I feel is and offshore petroleum personnel how to operate small around the world. important. Safety is something I am passionate about - the craft in difficult conditions. idea of improving safety.” “It’s difficult to train people to operate real vessels such as Become a He explains that his manner of work produces two things lifeboats in harsh weather or under emergency conditions, sUBscrIBer in equal measure: new information and highly qualified people. “My research colleagues and the students with so we developed immersive simulators as a way to bridge the training gap. Again, it was a graduate student – Randy IT’s Free whom we work are the source of the ideas that spring out Billard - who took the helm of the new company and as it has of our research group, sometimes with surprising results,” grown, so have his entrepreneurial skills.” help us promote newfoundland he says. and labrador at home, across When asked to what he might attribute this apparent surge To illustrate, Veitch brings forward two previous students as in entrepreneurial activity at the faculty, Veitch replied, canada and around the world. excellent examples – Dean Pelley and Randy Billard. “Passionate people and innovative ideas. Under the right conditions, this combination sets off a wealth generating First, Veitch tells the story of when he and a colleague, reaction with student entrepreneurs in the thick of it. This is Antonio Simoes Re, conducted wave tank experiments. In the milieu we’re trying to create.” ConTaCT US e email@example.com t 709.729.1326 DID YOU KNOW? 1.800.563.2299 student-run eastern edge m ambassador Program robotics brings together four department of innovation, post-secondary institutions to Trade and rural create a single functional robot development for entry in the annual Marine p.O. Box 8700 Advanced Technology education st. John’s, nl A1B 4J6 (MATe) International remotely Operated vehicle (rOv) competition. The team captured top honours in 2008, as well as 2005 and 2006. www.theambassador.ca ? In 2009, the centre for Marine The Ambassador newsletter is a simulation (cMs) will recreate publication of the government The roosevelt – captain Bob of newfoundland and labrador. Bartlett’s ship – on their full no part of this publication may motion bridge simulator. The be reproduced without written public will be invited to see, hear permission from the department and feel what it was like on that of innovation, Trade and rural vessel in the North in 1909. development. Dr. Brian Veitch I FOr MOre INFOrMATION ABOUT The individUAls, cOmpAnies And OrgAnizATiOns feATUred in This issUe, visiT The fOllOWing WeBsiTes. www.immersionpresents.org www.mun.ca/research www.engr.mun.ca www.mi.mun.ca www.mi.mun.ca/cms www.madrock.ca www.med.mun.ca/arvc www.vmtechnology.ca check out the eXTrA! section of our website www.theambassador.ca for additional stories.
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