VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

Internal Award Recipients 2021

AMPLIFY

Robin Davies ($2000) - Conversations in the Arts & Humanities

PROJECT ASBRACT: Conversations in the Arts and Humanities is a podcast which began in 2019 as a way of promoting the Faculty of Arts and Humanities' Colloquium, a long-running monthly public lecture series. Expanding to podcast format, Conversations evolved into unrehearsed chats between host and guest, loosely focused by upcoming presentation topics and providing a relaxed aural companion to the lecture series while also covering topics like teaching strategies, Faculty career paths, and extracurricular interests. Currently, six conversations are produced annually, aligning with the six Colloquium presentations; each episode is broadcast on CHLY just prior to its associated Colloquium presentation, before being archived online. We would like to expand Conversations with the goal of ultimately profiling all Faculty in the Arts & Humanities. Given the broad appeal, accessibility, and flexibility of the podcast medium in communicating different information to many kinds of audiences, we envisage a range of uses for an expanded show: Faculty can use podcast content in course syllabi, testing out concepts in an informal discussion; students can use the podcasts as a way to get to know potential instructors before the semester begins; community members can explore episodes as a point of first contact with Faculty interests and expertise; and, overall, the podcasts can function as an engaging way of promoting VIU itself—a crucial consideration at a time when outreach, recruitment, and retention are more important than ever. 

Marie Hopwood ($2000) - Turn Up the Volume: Sharing Archaeological Research through Podcasting

PROJECT ABSTRACT: The Raise Your Glass to the Past (RYGTTP) experimental archaeology of beer project is geared towards inspiring people to make meaningful connections to the ancient past through archaeologies of beer and brewing. Beer itself is a deeply ancient beverage, vying with bread for which consumable was the prime instigator inspiring people to settle down and farm. For three years the RYGTTP project has granted me more meaningful conversations about archaeology than through any other kind of knowledge mobilization. While initially this project was pitched towards VIU students, the greatest response has come from outside of campus in broader audiences across Vancouver Island, across Canada, and beyond. Yet with every conference presentation, every article submission/publication, every interview, I am consistently starting the dialog again in the same place. Always establishing the foundation before the deeper (and more interesting) information can be introduced. There is the growing sense that there should be something to bridge this gap so that more research can be added upon the established space. Over the last year it has become clear that the archaeology of beer is no longer novel in academia, but is an accepted and growing area of archaeological research. More and more connections are being made between existing modes of knowledge rather than each archaeological site existing in its own unique vacuum. Towards the goal of enhancing accessibility of archaeological knowledge beyond archaeologists and academia I propose to start a RYGTTP podcast. This podcast will be focused towards audiences interested in ancient evidence for brewing around the world. It will incorporate my own research, as well as that of VIU archaeology students and interviews with professionals (professors, curators, brewers, and journalists). The goal is to produce portable archaeology-based media that is not limited by geographical space or even by time.

EXPLORE

Melanie O'Neill ($2000) - The Impact of Covid-19 on Mental Health

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Due to its enduring and pervasive influence on daily life, the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown measures have resulted in negative repercussions for mental health. Although evidence is limited, recent literature suggests that the pandemic can create mental health challenges and worsen existing ones (Ornell et al., 2020). Apart from increasing the existing knowledge base surrounding the mental health consequences of COVID-19, the present study aims to identify psychological factors and theory-based psychological constructs that affect behaviour during a pandemic. Thus, the research question is as follows: What is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures on the mental health of the general population in Canada? This includes the role of variables associated with the ability to cope effectively with change, such as self-efficacy (NGSE), adjusting to change (ADAPTA), and cognitive flexibility (CFI). Additionally, the current study will investigate relationships between psychological functioning, behaviour, and individual factors, such as personality traits (BFI; NPI) and personal values (EVA; SCA-B). Behaviours of interest to this study include compliance with social distancing measures, avoidance of non-essential travel, and wearing of personal protective equipment. Expanding current knowledge on these topics is essential for developing interventions that increase psychological well-being during and post-pandemic (Plomecka et al., 2020).

ENGAGE

Pam Shaw ($2000) - CSI Let's Talk Seafood...and eat it too!

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Let’s Talk Seafood and eat it too! is a community engagement and knowledge mobilization initiative that aims to facilitate understanding between Lighthouse Country community members, VIU students, researchers and industry through a series of six seafood themed lectures and lunches. These sessions will address industry needs for public relations by showcasing sustainable practices and facilitating demand for seafood products. This will be done through VIU student and faculty lectures, locally sourced seafood lunches, and collaboration with industry partners. The purpose of this project is to develop relationships and open dialogue with the local community to secure the future of the surrounding aquaculture industry. The six speaker sessions planned for 2021/2022 focus on student research and experiences, industry challenges and opportunities, and VIU faculty research. Each session will involve one industry partner, a local chef, and 20-30 community members from the Lighthouse Country region. This is a multifaceted project that involves the Centre for Seafood Innovation, VIU students and researchers working on seafood related research, and the local community (Lighthouse Country). This will be a relationship building platform for facilitated discussion between researchers, industry and community members

Ken von Schilling ($2000) - EGBC Bridge Breaker Design Project

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (EGBC) holds an annual popsicle stick bridge breaking competition as part of the National Engineers and Geoscientists Month community outreach programs. This competition is focused on building interest in the Engineering field among students aged eight (8) to eighteen (18) but is open to all who wish to participate. The EGBC Vancouver Island Branch has reached out to the ENGR 212 – Engineering Design 3 class to design a new bridge breaking machine. The current machine is a large wooden apparatus that uses exercise weights to apply force to the bridges. This apparatus is cumbersome and takes multiple able-bodied personnel to assemble and operate. The goals of the new design are to increase accessibility around the use of the machine, improve set-up and operational time, decrease the size of the machine, and improve the inherent safety of the testing process. The new design will be used in the April 2022 Bridge Breaking Competition.

Matthew Bowes ($1931) - Campbellton Neighbourhood Action Plan Project

PROJECT ABSTRACT: The Campbellton Neighbourhood Action Plan is a yearlong applied research project conducted by the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve Research Institute’s (MABRRI) Graham Sakaki and Vancouver Island University (VIU) Geography’s Matt Bowes. An action plan is a framework for implementing activities/actions that are decided (or adopted) by the community, for the betterment of the neighbourhood. Situated on the banks of the Campbell River to the west of the downtown core, the Campbellton River Village holds potential for a neighbourhood where people feel safe, proud of where they live and connected to nature. The latter is juxtaposed by Campbellton’s commercial industrial and commercial infrastructure that dominates the landscape, disconnecting the area from the natural features that makes this neighbourhood unique. Partnerships, community engagement, collaboration and experiential learning are central to VIU’s Vision Statement and 2017-22 Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity Plan. Partners include MABRRI, the Masters of Community Planning program (MCP), the City of Campbell River (CCR) and the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association (CNA). This applied research project will also provide opportunities for students from Geography 342: Urban & Regional Planning and Geography 446: Applications in Urban & Regional Management to participate in multiple phases of the research providing them with real world experience in their field of study (Urban Geography). These actions and relationships between the CNA, CCR and VIU will help to re-imagine and improve this unique part of Campbell River. Public engagement is an important part of the planner’s role. Accordingly, research methods include site visits, open houses, dotmocracy, a public survey and design interventions

Avi Sternberg ($2000) - Community Engagement on Tla'amin Foodways and Culinary Arts

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Food is a gift of nature that arises from our connection to land, plants, animals and waters that nourish and sustain our communities. Respectfully engaging in cross-cultural dialogue and indigenous way of knowing and doing, the Vancouver Island University (Powell River) Culinary Arts Program, Trades and Applied Technology, would like to explore with the Tla’amin Nation traditional foodways and culinary revitalization. Anchored in relationship building, dialogue and practice, we anticipate emerging ideas and alignment with the Tla’amin Nation’s community, cultural, and economic priorities. Engaging in conversation over the course of a meal and participation in a field excursion are fundamental activities for culturally safe and appropriate ways of cultivating respect. The intension is to build a foundational relationship between the VIU Culinary Arts (Powell River) - Professional Cook Program and the Tla’amin Nation that will allow for dialogue, partnership, and scholarly and creative activity.

GATHER

Rita Gower ($3000) - Applied Learning in Sustainable Food Systems: Value Added Oyster Product Development

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Vancouver Island University (VIU) Culinary Arts partnered with the Centre for Seafood Innovation (CSI) to create an innovative course; Applied Learning in Sustainable Food Systems: Value Added Oyster Product Development, known as the “Oyster Challenge,” to expose students to employment opportunities and address food industry challenges. The food processing industry is the second largest manufacturing sector in Canada offering tremendous opportunities for students and nimble post-secondary institutions. Currently institutions involved in food systems focus on culinary arts or farming and do not address other food system actors. For instance, aquaculture, seafood, and processing are gaps in food systems programs. The pandemic demonstrated that the Canadian food system is vulnerable, with shocks to supply chains such as severe labour shortages and a lack of innovation. The Oyster Challenge seeks to support Vancouver Island’s food production by developing students’ understanding of the entire food system, from farm to fork, and sets the stage for VIU’s future involvement in solving food system challenges. This project will also broaden culinary students’ career scope by enhancing knowledge of careers in the food processing industry. The Project In the Oyster Challenge, students create new oyster recipes which they present to industry experts. Through the immersive experience students learn about oyster aquaculture, food production and processing – including oyster research, government policy, and product development. They also gain experience with novel High Pressure Processing (HPP) technology and can connect with professionals and employers in the food production industry. The Oyster Challenge is the Centre for Seafood Innovation’s (CSI) first applied research project and is truly a collaborative undertaking. Partners and funders include Culinary Arts, CSI, the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada, and VIU internal grant programs.

Geraldine Manson ($2920) - Traditional Plant Workshop and Garden Cafe

PROJECT ABSTRACT: The Traditional Plant Workshop and Garden Café is a knowledge mobilization initiative that aims to enhance our understanding of traditional values, language, and knowledge surrounding native plants and traditional foods on Vancouver Island. This project will focus on locally traditional plants, medicines, and foods. The four main objectives of this project will be to: [1] build a collaborative team of Indigenous Knowledge Holders; [2] identify the team’s pertinent knowledge of traditional plants; [3] disseminate findings at a public workshop; and, [4] summarize lessons from the workshop into a final report for future use. The knowledge mobilization component of this project will primarily occur during objective 3, at the workshop facilitated by Indigenous Knowledge Holders and hosted at Qualicum Community Centre on March 15, 2022 for an audience of Elders and community members, VIU faculty and students, and public participants. The Traditional Plant Workshop will focus on plant names, known locations for gathering, and techniques and tools for harvesting, as well as the cultural, nutritional, and medicinal properties of native plants and how they are prepared. The Garden Café will be held during a break in the workshop and will involve a demonstration of preparing locally harvested clams for preservation as well as cooking them in a traditional chowder dish. Participants will leave with a holistic understanding of harvesting and utilizing a variety of native plants and foods. Additionally, one VIU student will be hired for this project and have the opportunity to harvest and prepare traditional plants, create promotional materials, facilitate the event, and engage with Indigenous Knowledge Holders. Finally, lessons learned at the event will be summarized in a final report so they can be applied at VIU in the future to develop course content that preserves language and disseminates traditional plant and food knowledge using proper protocols.

Marie Hopwood ($3000) - Raise Your Glass to the Past: A Knowledge Sharing and Tasting Event

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Time Travel.  How did the ancient past sound, smell, feel and taste? Is that even possible to know? And if you could, would you want to hear, smell, touch, eat and drink those experiences? Our task as archaeologists is to interpret excavated materials in a way that humanizes past people, allowing all of us to understand the deep time ancestry of humanity. A powerful way to help audiences make meaningful connections to distant places, peoples and cultures is through culinary tourism. The Raise Your Glass to the Past: Experimental Archaeology of Beer research project builds on this concept. Through research and experiential engagement, we brew ancient-inspired beers based on archaeological evidence with the goal of assisting the broader public in making meaningful connections to the ancient past and the people who invented and perfected brewing. Many people are surprised to learn that the first brewers were women, often brewing for their families. The surprises continue when they learn how much of our modern assumptions about beer are heavily biased by Prohibition, and that these ideas held no sway for ancient peoples who lived millennia before the Temperance Movement. Further, audiences are pleasantly surprised to experience how delicious these tastes of the past can be. The Raise Your Glass to the Past tasting and knowledge sharing event is held annually on the Vancouver Island University (VIU) campus. The evening is organized as an educational event with professional presentations by Dr. Marie Hopwood and multiple VIU Anthropology students sharing archaeological evidence for brewing, as well as tastes of the ancient-inspired ales brewed by Dr. Hopwood and her community partner, Dave Paul of LoveShack Libations brewery. The event brings together both academic and public audiences, crafting meaningful linkages with archaeological knowledge and the humanity of our ancient past.

INQUIRY

Eric Demers ($3160) - Vancouver Island University Bird Banding Project

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Many bird populations in North America are experiencing declines and conservation of these species is often hindered by a lack of information on regional- or ecosystem-level declines. A network of strategically located bird monitoring and banding stations can provide essential baseline information on avian populations, which cannot be obtained with other projects. To help address this lack of knowledge, the VIU Bird Banding Project was established in 2013, with specific goals to: (a) monitor migrant and resident birds to contribute to regional and continent-wide efforts to monitor changes in their populations; (b) provide practical educational and training opportunities for Vancouver Island University (VIU) students through courses and research opportunities; and, (c) conduct public demonstrations where guests can learn about bird identification, ecology and conservation. This long-term project has been highly successful in meeting the above goals, including by offering training and volunteer opportunities for over 150 VIU students, providing highly relevant skills for students to pursue graduate school and careers in wildlife biology, and contributing to ecological knowledge shared with community partners. The main objective of this proposal is to continue the avian monitoring and research capacity at VIU for the coming years. The VIU Bird Banding Project will continue to provide significant scholarly, educational and community engagement benefits to the university.

INNOVATE

Rita Gower ($5000) - Applied Learning in Sustainable Food Systems: Value Added Oyster Product Development

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Vancouver Island University (VIU) Culinary Arts partnered with the Centre for Seafood Innovation (CSI) to create an innovative course; Applied Learning in Sustainable Food Systems: Value Added Oyster Product Development, known as the “Oyster Challenge,” to expose students to employment opportunities and address food industry challenges. The food processing industry is the second largest manufacturing sector in Canada offering tremendous opportunities for students and nimble post-secondary institutions. Currently institutions involved in food systems focus on culinary arts or farming and do not address other food system players. For instance, aquaculture, seafood, and processing are gaps in food systems programs. The pandemic demonstrated that the Canadian food system is vulnerable, with shocks to supply chains such as severe labour shortages and a lack of innovation. The Oyster Challenge seeks to support Vancouver Island’s food production by developing students’ understanding of the entire food system, from farm to fork, and sets the stage for VIU’s future involvement in solving food system challenges. This project will also broaden culinary students’ career scope by enhancing knowledge of careers in the food processing industry. The Project In the Oyster Challenge, students create new oyster recipes which they present to industry experts. Through the immersive experience students learn about oyster aquaculture, food production and processing – including oyster research, government policy, and product development. They also gain experience with novel High Pressure Processing (HPP) technology and can connect with professionals and employers in the food production industry. The Oyster Challenge is the Centre for Seafood Innovation’s (CSI) first applied research project and is truly a collaborative undertaking. Partners and funders include Culinary Arts, CSI, the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada, and VIU internal grant programs.

Marla Morden ($4995.70) - Building Innovative Approaches to Cognitive Reorganization During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period in Order to Birth New Insights and Understanding.

PROJECT ABSTRACT:  Research exploring cognitive change during pregnancy has yielded few new insights in the last two decades. Despite several recent meta-analyses, the overall consensus remains largely unchanged: cognition during pregnancy and the postpartum period is poorly understood (Henry & Rendell, 2007; Anderson & Rutherford, 2012; Brown & Schaffier, 2019). Objective measures demonstrate a small decline in specific cognitive domains during pregnancy (Cuttler et al, 2011; Davies et al., 2018) but these findings are inconsistent, and difficult to link to functional every day behaviours. Moreover, they cannot account for neural and animal models indicating pregnancy-related cognitive advantages (Luders et al., 2019; Orchard et al., 2021; reviewed in Brown & Schaffir, 2019), research suggesting a threat-detection advantage (Anderson, M.V. & Rutherford, M.D.), or enhanced memory for socially relevant information (Christensen et al. 1999). In light of recent research describing how maternal experiences may exert a longterm impact on the developing fetus (Cortes Hidalgo, et al. 2020; Dean et al., 2018), there is an urgent need to better understand maternal peripartum experiences and functioning. The proposed Innovate project aims to create novel methods and measures for investigating cognitive reorganization during pregnancy and the postpartum period. To achieve this end, an extensive literature review of relevant and emerging methodologies and cutting-edge technologies, will be conducted. Next, novel research methods, including some based on the groundbreaking work of Simons & Chabris (1999), will be developed to capture complex cognitive processes (Protzko & Colom, 2021). Finally, a series of pilot studies will be run to evaluate the novel methods and assess their ability to capture cognitive reorganization during the peripartum. The overarching goal is to develop novel measures that will yield insights beneficial for new mothers and parents, their infants, and the wider community, and may also enhance our understanding of cognitive processes during adulthood more 

SHARE

Cameron Gordon ($781.20) - Multicultural Considerations for Integrating Positive Psychology and Strengths-Based Approaches in Mental Health Treatment

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Interest in the field of positive psychology has grown since its inception, which includes increased attempts to integrate core positive principles into psychotherapy and amplify strengths-based approaches within mental health care. However, these efforts are in the nascent stage and to date, it’s unclear whether novel strengths-based approaches adequately account for multicultural considerations. Further, it’s unclear what efforts are being made, if any, to ensure these approaches are appropriately tailored and disseminated to marginalized communities. The purpose of this panel is to discuss necessary multicultural considerations for positive psychology integration and strengths-based approaches as it relates to 1) treatment research and development, and 2) the implementation and dissemination of these approaches to underserved communities. The discussion will feature a diverse panel with experience utilizing or studying strengths-based approaches in a wide range of multicultural domains including income (Katherine Lenger), race (Broderick Sawyer, Chardée Galán), and sexual orientation (Sarah Whitton), along with expertise in positive psychology, broadly (Marianna Graziosi, Cameron Gordon). This panel also features diversity in career stages including a graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, assistant professor, full professor, and professional consultant; thus, offering unique perspectives about how panelists have encountered and attempted to address this topic across different career stages. First, we will present a case study that highlights the importance of multicultural considerations in positive psychology-based treatment development. We will then discuss how positive constructs (e.g., gratitude, elevation, hope) and strengths-based approaches (e.g., values identification, mindfulness, compassion) could differentially map onto various domains of diversity and marginalization. Last, we will discuss efforts to balance broad inclusivity versus tailored idiographic approaches to implementing and disseminating these techniques.

Brian Dick ($1200) - Long-term Impact of COVID-19 on the First-Year Engineering Experience at a Mid-sized Teaching-Focused University

PROJECT ABSTRACT: COVID-19 impacted delivery of the first-year engineering design curriculum throughout the post-secondary system. At Vancouver Island University, instruction of the first-year curriculum shifted to an entirely remote learning environment, where students were not expected to be in physically contact at any point during the term. In response, the first-year design curriculum was adapted to a flipped classroom model using a modular approach for content. Long-standing issues of student mental health became more critical as students worked remotely; methods introduced to encourage self-care and peer support helped to address this challenge. These adaptions met the constraints imposed by COVID-19 health and safety protocols, while ensuring delivery of core learning outcomes capturing individual and team work, communication, professionalism, ethics and equity, decision-making and problem analysis, and design. This paper provides a reflection on the efficacy of the COVID-19 adaptions, and details how the first-year engineering curriculum was subsequently modified for the return to face-to-face instruction.

PUBLISH

Spencer Russel ($1000) - Experimental Induction of Tenacibaculosis in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) using Tenacibaculum Martimum T. dicentrarchi and T. Finnmarkense.

Chris Gill ($2000) - Publication Assistance for Open Access Publishing of Harm Reduction Drug Checking Technology Developments.

Shannon Dames ($1885) - Frontiers in Psychology

Joanne Schroeder ($1663.40) - CABI Subscription Tourism Cases

Spencer Russell ($1000) - Tenacibaculum ovolyticum quantitative-PCR assay development

Paul Watkins ($1000) - Soundin'Canaan: Black Canadian Poetry, Music and Citizenship

Michael Govorov ($513) - Spatial Point Pattern Analysis of Crime

AMPLIFY

Antje Bitterberg ($2000) - Early Childhood Education and Care Practicum: Creating a Site Specific to the Orientation of Practicum Mentors

Changes in the landscape of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) have created a shift in practice. To support this shift, mobilize knowledge, and learn what matters to our community partners, our Vancouver Island University [VIU] ECEC department has identified the creation of a ‘VIU ECEC Practicum Mentor Orientation’ as key piece to connect our program with educators who act as mentors to ECEC students in practicum, and to offer rich practicum experiences to VIU ECEC students. In this participatory action research project, we will explore how we can better support mentor teachers, and, drawing on our findings, will create an engaging mentor orientation aligned with guiding documents such as the BC Early Learning Framework (ELF), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, and the ECEBC Code of Ethics. A Community of Practice Model (CoP) will be used to explore the lived experience of mentorship with eight student-mentor pairs. A survey, interviews, and focus groups will add further perspectives about the experience of mentorship and inform the creation of the mentor orientation. This project builds on work and relations Antje Bitterberg and Cheryl Cameron have nurtured in their roles as instructor and practicum coordinator respectively, and Early Childhood Pedagogy Network pedagogists, which led to the creation of VIU’s ECEC blog ‘Re-searching Early Childhood Pedagogies: A Blog Co-composed by VIU ECEC Students, Faculty, and Community Members’. This blog weaves together local stories of ECEC and has evolved into a CoP where we take time to write, wonder, and create together. We attend to the urgency of rethinking education in a public space by making our pedagogies visible, inviting multiple interpretations and contestation. The blog and mentor orientation are sites of research, where research is of our communities. The practicum mentor orientation will inform the blog and vice versa.

Shaun Sun ($2000) - Web-Based Statistical Software Application for Statistics Education

I was awarded an Innovate grant to develop a collection of smart phone/web applets to assist teaching Statistics and Mathematics courses at VIU. Introductory statistics students can now use this application (1) to conduct simple statistical tests and (2) to analyze data and (3) to perform simulations for the purpose of demonstrating basic concepts in Statistics and Mathematics. This summer, I plan to include more functionality such exploratory data analysis, statistical graphics and interactive data virtualization to the application to better support VIU students. The goal of this project is to develop web-based statistical software application which would, in turn, make students’ smart phones into lab computers, allowing students to perform statistical tasks that otherwise can only be done in computer labs. The application is built using the statistical computing language R and can provide a superior mobile experience for both VIU faculty and students. Since the transition to online learning due to Covid-19, my students have been using the application regularly and their feedback are very positive. As more students using the application, the cost of cloud computing has been increasing. For this reason, I am applying an Amplified grant to cover the projected sever cost for May 2021 to April 2022.

EXPLORE

Heather Wiebe ($2000) - How Do Amino Acid Substitutions Confer Pressure-Resistance in Deep-Sea Fish? 

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Life in the ocean presents a unique environmental stress in the form of high hydrostatic pressure, which can reach up to 1000 atmospheres at its greatest depth. High pressure has serious effects on the macromolecules which make up living tissue. For example, increasing pressure will typically result in the dissociation of protein subunits, local conformational changes or in the most extreme cases, complete or partial protein unfolding. All of these changes will result in loss of protein function and are incompatible with life. Despite this, over 1500 species of marine organisms are estimated to live at pressures greater than 100 atmospheres. This is due to evolutionary adaptations that allow them to cope with the stresses of high pressure. One such adaptation is substitutions in the amino acid sequence of the proteins of deep-sea fish compared with their shallow-water relatives. However, the mechanism by which these substitutions allow the proteins to resist pressure inactivation is currently unknown. This project will make use of state-of-the-art computational techniques to shed light on the physio-chemical mechanisms used by deep-sea organisms to cope with the effects of high hydrostatic pressure, and to study whether these adaptations affect the functionality of proteins involved in important metabolic pathways. We will work towards these goals using molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry methods to compare the volumetric, thermodynamic and catalytic properties of deep-sea and shallow-water homologs of lactate dehydrogenase, a well-characterized protein which is known to have pressure-resistant amino acid modifications. This research will greatly increase our understanding of the interplay between sequence, structure and pressure, and the outcomes will have applications in the rational design of pressure-resistant proteins as well as providing valuable research training for VIU undergraduate students.

 

Sarah Carruthers ($1900) - Use of Digital ePaper Tablet to Support Whiteboard-style Instructional Workflow during WFH in the Covid-19 Pandemic

PROJECT ABSTRACT: With the transition to remote instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many instructors have had to adapt their teaching to a digital mode of delivery. Instructors who in the past would have made use of a whiteboard during face to face instruction have had to modify their instructional technique. Some instructors have continued to create and share handwritten notes during lecture using a variety of technologies. In this research we investigate the effectiveness of one such technology in terms of its usability and its acceptance: the QuirkLogic Papyr ePaper tablet. To gain a deeper understanding of how this technology can support instructors’ workflows, we use an exploratory approach to explore how instructors adapt their workflows to include handwritten notes during live video lecture. The effectiveness of the instructional mode is also evaluated from the student’s perspective. The aim of this research is twofold: 1) to better understand how instructors who would normally rely on the whiteboard for their teaching adapt their teaching to a remote teaching environment, and 2) to improve the design of this technology to better support common instructional workflows.

Antje Bitterberg ($2000) - Early Childhood Education and Care Practicum: Creating a Site Specific to the Orientation of Practicum Mentors

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Changes in the landscape of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) have created a shift in practice. To support this shift, mobilize knowledge, and learn what matters to our community partners, our Vancouver Island University [VIU] ECEC department has identified the creation of a ‘VIU ECEC Practicum Mentor Orientation’ as key piece to connect our program with educators who act as mentors to ECEC students in practicum, and to offer rich practicum experiences to VIU ECEC students. In this participatory action research project, we will explore how we can better support mentor teachers, and, drawing on our findings, will create an engaging mentor orientation aligned with guiding documents such as the BC Early Learning Framework (ELF), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, and the ECEBC Code of Ethics. A Community of Practice Model (CoP) will be used to explore the lived experience of mentorship with eight student-mentor pairs. A survey, interviews, and focus groups will add further perspectives about the experience of mentorship and inform the creation of the mentor orientation. This project builds on work and relations Antje Bitterberg and Cheryl Cameron have nurtured in their roles as instructor and practicum coordinator respectively, and Early Childhood Pedagogy Network pedagogists, which led to the creation of VIU’s ECEC blog ‘Re-searching Early Childhood Pedagogies: A Blog Co-composed by VIU ECEC Students, Faculty, and Community Members’. This blog weaves together local stories of ECEC and has evolved into a CoP where we take time to write, wonder, and create together. We attend to the urgency of rethinking education in a public space by making our pedagogies visible, inviting multiple interpretations and contestation. The blog and mentor orientation are sites of research, where research is of our communities. The practicum mentor orientation will inform the blog and vice versa.

Kyle Duncan ($2000) - A New Tool for Simultaneously Determining Cellular Uptake of Pharmaceuticals and Metabolome Fingerprints

PROJECT ABSTRACT: In order for pharmaceuticals to illicit a response they must reach their respective target. However, many targets are inside cells, making it necessary for drugs to cross the cellular membrane. Thus, the amount of drug that accumulates into the intracellular environment is a critical parameter for evaluating the efficacy of new prospective drugs. However, measuring cellular drug uptake is challenging, and few methods to date can quantify intracellular drug concentrations while simultaneously profiling the cellular metabolome. This project fills this fundamental gap by providing a new tool to measure cellular drug uptake and generate a snapshot of the cellular metabolome. The determined intracellular drug concentrations can be used to gauge the potential for a drug to cross the cell membrane, while the snapshot of the metabolome can provide insight into any deleterious toxic effects from pharmaceutical treatment. Overall, this exiting new tool will lay the groundwork for future studies investigating chemical transport into cells, and the effect of chemical treatment on underlying metabolic pathways.

INQUIRY

Heather Wiebe ($5000) - How do Amino Acid Substitutions Confer Pressure-resistance in Deep-Sea Fish?

SEE ABSTRACT ABOVE (EXPLORE)

 

Mike Lester ($4802) - Bioacoustics of Vancouver Island Marmots and their Habitat.

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Bioacoustics is a rapidly developing area of ecological research that provides a powerful means of exploring the sounds that animal produce in their natural habitat. Many species have highly distinct vocal repertoires and some taxa are able to communicate both sender and context-specific information over several kilometers (Kershenbaum et al. 2019). By placing acoustic Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) in areas of interest, we can identify species and their interactions over very large areas. This project will investigate the bioacoustics of Vancouver Island marmots (Marmota vancouverensis) and by association, their sub-alpine habitat – an ecosystem disproportionately threatened by climate change (Price and Daust 2016). Like many marmot species, The VI marmot produces a very loud alarm call, or whistle, but the VI marmot also possesses a quieter “Kee-aw” alarm call which is unique in the genus (Heard 1977; Blumstein 1999). The literature on the analysis of this particular call is sparse, and little is known of its evolution in this island endemic species. Accordingly, there is much we can learn about VI marmot calls and the information contained in their acoustic signatures. This project will provide a valuable insight into VI marmot call structure and variability and may provide useful information regarding demographics and predator response behaviour in this critically endangered mammal.

Kyle Duncan ($4998) - A New Tool for Simultaneously Determining Cellular Uptake of Pharmaceuticals and Metabolome Fingerprints

PROJECT ABSTRACT: In order for pharmaceuticals to illicit a response they must reach their respective target. However, many targets are inside cells, making it necessary for drugs to cross the cellular membrane. Thus, the amount of drug that accumulates into the intracellular environment is a critical parameter for evaluating the efficacy of new prospective drugs. However, measuring cellular drug uptake is challenging, and few methods to date can quantify intracellular drug concentrations while simultaneously profiling the cellular metabolome. This project fills this fundamental gap by providing a new tool to measure cellular drug uptake and generate a snapshot of the cellular metabolome. The determined intracellular drug concentrations can be used to gauge the potential for a drug to cross the cell membrane, while the snapshot of the metabolome can provide insight into any deleterious toxic effects from pharmaceutical treatment. Overall, this exiting new tool will lay the groundwork for future studies investigating chemical transport into cells, and the effect of chemical treatment on underlying metabolic pathways.

BC MINISTRY OF HEALTH COVID-19 RESEARCH GRANT

Alana Devereaux ($3852) - Acute-Care RN's Experiences during the Covid-19 Pandemic

PROJECT ABSTRACT: COVID-19 was declared to be the first ever coronavirus pandemic on March 12, 2020. The last pandemic virus was the less severe H1N1/09 flu, and as such, the urgent need for pandemic preparedness seemed to have since dissipated. This is unfortunate as it is difficult to predict the severity of any future outbreak, and COVID-19 is posing a substantial threat globally. Registered nurses (RNs) are significantly impacted by pandemics. As the largest body of health care professionals, RNs are required to care for individuals with suspected/confirmed cases of pandemic virus. However, minimal qualitative research has been conducted with acute-care RNs working during pandemics, as these are rare occurrences. Therefore, this proposed interpretive description aims to investigate the question ‘What are acute-care RNs’ experiences working front-line during the COVID-19 pandemic?’ Using qualitative semi-structured interviews, this research study will give acute-care RNs working front line a voice to explore their COVID-19 experiences. Through these discussions, the researcher aims to uncover how participants were impacted both professionally and personally working in the pandemic response. This is with the overall goal of identifying practices that can help to protect these health care workers from identified concerns in future pandemic outbreaks.

INNOVATE

Sarah Carruthers ($5000) - Use of Digital ePaper Tablet to Support Whiteboard-style Instructional Workflow during WFD in the COVID-19 Pandemic

SEE ABSTRACT ABOVE (EXPLORE)

Spencer Russell ($5000) - Gene Cloning and Gill Expression of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) ATPase Genes.

PROJECT ABSTRACT: The gills of fish serve an essential role for balancing ion transportation through the use of chloride cells, different enzymes, ion transporters and ion channels. Fish that live in both saltwater and freshwater often undergo a period of physiological, morphological and behavioural changes to prepare for and acclimatize to differing salinities for long-term periods. In salmonids, the transition from stream-dwelling parr to saline-tolerant smolts is referred to as smoltification, and the transition is well defined through observations and quantitative measures such as morphometrics and the McCormick assay, which assesses relevant enzyme activity in the gill. Recent advancements in quantifying salmonid smoltification have occurred by developing reverse-transcriptase quantitative-PCR (RT-qPCR) assays based on changes in two isoforms (a1a = freshwater form and a1b = saltwater form) of the sodium-potassium pump (Na+/K+ ATPase, or NKA) and a Na+/K+/2Cl– cotransporter (NKCC). Greater gene expression for a1b is recorded as parr transition to ocean-ready smolts, in contrast, a1a is almost undetectable as salmon acclimatized to marine environments. The understanding of smoltification in salmonids using enzymatic and genetic tests have generated better aquaculture practices, where accurate measurements of salmon smolt fitness have resulted in lower mortality rates at oceanic netpen sites, increasing economic revenues for aquaculture companies. This process, however, is less well understood for many of species of fish, including several Acipenseriformes, an ancient precursor to the teleosts (sturgeon and paddlefish) and thus is in need of further investigation. Salinity tolerance in Persian sturgeon (Acipenser persicus), green sturgeon (A. medirostris) and white sturgeon (A. transmontanus) has been primarily recorded through qualitative observations, including survival rates, but few quantitative techniques have been applied. Importantly, gill proteins associated with anadromy (i.e., NKA and NKCC) in salmonids have been identified, through genomic and enzymatic assays, as being similar to those in Persian and green sturgeon - this similarity may extend to white sturgeon. Examination of the genes potentially associated with freshwater and saltwater tolerance in white sturgeon would be of great value in understanding salinity preparation at the genetic level providing significant additions to the toolbox for assessing seawater readiness, but may also reflect on the evolution of salinity tolerance in fish.

Jasmine James ($5000) - Nectar or Ambrosia? A Preliminary Investigation into the Production of Nectar and it's Microbiome

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Nectar is a nutritious liquid offered by many plant species as an attractant and reward for pollination. The quantity, timing and way in which nectar offered can determine the pollinator community associated with certain plant species and how effective those pollinators might be. However, nectar is also a valuable food source for many microbes, including various species of yeasts and bacteria. These microbes begin colonizing nectar as the flowers open and may be introduced directly by pollinators or passively by wind. Interestingly, the nectar microbial community can differ among different flowers on the same plant depending on which microbe arrived first. Over time, the nectar community can change as competition increases with the arrival of new microbes, and as the existing community changes the chemical composition of the nectar through metabolic processes. In turn, these chemical changes can alter the attractiveness of nectar, thereby impacting the pollinator community and potentially altering the reproductive success of the plant. Currently, these plant-insect-microbe interactions are poorly studied, yet they offer the potential to further our theoretical and applied study of eco-evolution in real time. We propose a pilot study, using the orchid Platanthera transversa (flat spurred piperia), to investigate the nectar microbiome. In the field, we will determine the average quantity and timing of nectar production and the associated pollinator community that introduces microbes. In the lab, we will characterize the microbial community of nectar at different points in time to gain a better understanding of the colonization and succession processes occurring. Finally, we will use targeted assays to determine the sugar and amino acid profiles of nectar. This information will help us determine energetic benefit for pollinators and microbes, and facilitate future nectar manipulation studies to assess the impacts on microbial communities.

Antje Bitterberg ($5000) - Early Childhood Education and Care Practicum: Creating a Site Specific to the Orientation of Practicum Mentors

PROJECT ABSTRACT: Changes in the landscape of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) have created a shift in practice. To support this shift, mobilize knowledge, and learn what matters to our community partners, our Vancouver Island University [VIU] ECEC department has identified the creation of a ‘VIU ECEC Practicum Mentor Orientation’ as key piece to connect our program with educators who act as mentors to ECEC students in practicum, and to offer rich practicum experiences to VIU ECEC students. In this participatory action research project, we will explore how we can better support mentor teachers, and, drawing on our findings, will create an engaging mentor orientation aligned with guiding documents such as the BC Early Learning Framework (ELF), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, and the ECEBC Code of Ethics. A Community of Practice Model (CoP) will be used to explore the lived experience of mentorship with eight student-mentor pairs. A survey, interviews, and focus groups will add further perspectives about the experience of mentorship and inform the creation of the mentor orientation. This project builds on work and relations Antje Bitterberg and Cheryl Cameron have nurtured in their roles as instructor and practicum coordinator respectively, and Early Childhood Pedagogy Network pedagogists, which led to the creation of VIU’s ECEC blog ‘Re-searching Early Childhood Pedagogies: A Blog Co-composed by VIU ECEC Students, Faculty, and Community Members’. This blog weaves together local stories of ECEC and has evolved into a CoP where we take time to write, wonder, and create together. We attend to the urgency of rethinking education in a public space by making our pedagogies visible, inviting multiple interpretations and contestation. The blog and mentor orientation are sites of research, where research is of our communities. The practicum mentor orientation will inform the blog and vice versa.

BC MINISTRY OF HEALTH COVID-19 RESEARCH GRANT

Chris Gill ($33 000) - HarmCheck: Rapid, Quantitative Drug Testing During and Beyond COVID-19 Response Measures

PROJECT ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges in all our daily lives. These challenges are greatly amplified for vulnerable populations such as individuals living with opioid use disorders. This project will develop and apply superior analytical technologies to help address the increased loss of human life in the current opioid overdose crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 response measures. The proposed research helps to address the 3 key goals of harm reduction drug checking: 1) To provide harm reduction information regarding drugs directly to individual clients on-site to influence positive behavior modifications (e.g. reduce dose or discard); 2) To use interactions provided by harm reduction drug testing to increase client engagement with the heath system (e.g. safe supply, and treatment); 3) To provide accurate drug surveillance information regarding current and emerging threats in street drugs to better guide public health response, intervention decisions (e.g. emergency alerts), and inform government policy changes. In particular, this research will deliver high quality drug surveillance information to persons who use drugs, health care providers and government decision makers in a way that is crucially needed but not currently possible. We are requesting funds to immediately support our ongoing efforts that use paper spray mass spectrometry (PS-MS) to provide accurate and timely drug surveillance information, key to safeguard lives at exacerbated risk from the dual public health emergencies British Columbia and Canada now face.