Vanier College Address 821 Sainte-Croix, Montréal, Québec Canada H4L 3X9 Vanier College Telephone 514.744.7500 Vanier College Fax 514.744.7505

STEM Centre
> STEM Centre > Science Week

Science Week 2018: March 26th to 29th

Save the Date!

Science Week 2018

Teachers interested in bringing their classes to any of the talks should contact Ashley Rankin at

Unless specified otherwise, talks will take place in the Auditorium.

Monday, March 26th

1:00-2:30 pm, Speaker, Auditorium
Toward a Cardio-Protective City
Dr. Francois Reeves, Université de Montréal

Since the Industrial Revolution, dietary and airborne nano-aggressors have been shown to have a direct effect on our cardiovascular system, causing atherosclerosis and thrombosis. They have also been shown to increase conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and obesity. Together food and airborne nano-aggressors create what's been called a "perfect cardiovascular storm." Numerous studies have demonstrated the multiple wide-ranging effects of green spaces on all aspects of human health, from dementia and depression to cardiovascular disease. Cardio-protective cities that have an optimal urban canopy promote an environment free of nano-aggressors in food and air. These cities are essential to reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

2:30-4:00 pm, Speaker, Auditorium
Brain Imaging, Big Data, and Neuroscience: Insights on the incredible plastic brain
Dr. Mallar Chakravarty, McGill University

In the last three decades, magnetic resonance imaging has been used to get insights on how the brain is structured and how it is wired. The accompanying explosion in computing and information technologies have allowed for an improved understanding of how the brain changes through maturation, through ageing, and in response to environmental factors (learning, pharmaceuticals, early life adversity, etc). Here I will demonstrate how these neuro- and computer sciences come together to allow us to gain better insight into how the brain changes and why.

Tuesday March 27th

2:00 -3:30pm, Speaker, Auditorium
The Math of Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Alain Tapp, Université de Montréal

Will computers ever be as smart as us? In 1950, at the dawn of computer science, the famous mathematician Alan Turing was already proposing a test to verify it. Recently, several celebrities from the scientific and technological world, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, signed a public letter exposing their fears of rapid advances in artificial intelligence. The question is certainly more serious than the many novels and science fiction films might suggest. Computers are already surpassing us in just about every game and they are making us more sophisticated and clever. Today's artificial intelligence is mostly machine learning, the science that studies how a computer can learn to solve a problem from examples. In recent years, we have even been talking about deep learning, an area where the Université de Montréal is at the forefront. The domain is much more accessible and rigorous than one might think. In this presentation, we will explore different technical and philosophical aspects of learning and intelligence. The presentation is intended to be accessible to all and aims to stimulate an informed reflection on the subject.

Wednesday, March 28th

10:30 am-12:00 pm, Speaker, Auditorium
Fractal Sets
Dr. Dmitry Jakobson, McGill University

We all know that the dimension of a set can be equal to 1 (line), 2 (plane) or 3 (space). In the talk, I will describe some unusual sets (called fractal sets) whose dimension is not integer: we shall see examples of sets whose dimension is between 0 and 1, or between 1 and 2. Fractal sets are often self-similar: if you magnify a small piece of a fractal set by a large factor, you will get an exact copy of the original set! Fractal sets describe many interesting objects in nature. We shall look at several examples of fractal sets and discuss their properties.

12:00 -1:30pm, Performances, STEM Centre (D-301)
Science Coffeehouse

For this special event, the STEM Centre will be transformed into a cozy coffeehouse venue. Science students and faculty will be showcasing their musical and artistic talents. Baked goods will be on sale as a fundraising event for the 2018 Robotics Team.

Thursday, March 29th

8:30 -10:00 am, Panel, Auditorium
University and Life after CEGEP — Perspectives from Vanier Science Student Alumni

Come meet with Vanier Science Student Alumni to find out about their experiences in University and beyond.

  • Juan Carlos Borges: Recently graduated from McGill with a bachelor in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Software Engineering. I have been involved in several technical design teams such as McGill Robotics. I am currently working as a Research Specialist at Automotive Data Solutions (ADS). Vicky Liparri: I'm in my second year of my master's degree in biology, studying genes involved in ivermectin resistance in nematodes and next year I'm starting vet school.
  • Mitch Dumont: I'm in my final semester of my degree in my fifth year of Electrical Engineering with a minor in Software Engineering. I've taken on several positions in student societies and event planning where I met many of my now closest friends and developed skills like leadership and project oversight. Currently on the job hunt exploring Technical Sales, Project Management and Consulting.
  • Stephanie Wiseman: Current year of study: first year dentistry at McGill (DMD 1) Academic history: BSc. Exercise Science with minor in multidisciplinary studies in science at Concordia, 1 year of masters in physical therapy at McGill Research: will be doing research related to oral care and oral health services in long term care facilities Undergraduate research in promoting angiogenesis following a myocardial infarction through pharmaceutical modalities.
  • Annie Xue: Studied health science in Cegep and then completed a B.A in Economics and minors in International Development and Management. Afterwards did one year Grad Program in Applied Marketing - graduated with Dean's Honour. During my undergrad, I established a student organization (K-RAVE) from scratch and grew the organization from a team of 5 to over 20 during my presidency. Currently working in retail banking at TD and recently accepted a promotion as Financial Service Representative in Toronto.
  • Sabrina Quiles: I completed a BSc at McGill in the Honours Biology program in 2016. During my undergrad, I did a research project in Dr. Alanna Watt's lab investigating the potential benefits of exercise on motor coordination in a mouse model of spinocerebellar ataxia type 6. I then joined Dr. Michael Hendricks' lab, where I helped to write code that could extract analyzable, quantitative data from video recordings of foraging behaviour in worms. Currently, I am in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience doing a masters in Dr. Jean-Francois Cloutier's lab at the Montreal Neurological Institute, where I've been working on characterizing a craniofacial developmental defect in one of our mutant mouse lines, as well as developing a new project to explore axon guidance mechanisms in the olfactory system. My research interest is in Neurobiology.

11:30am - 1:00 pm, Speaker, Auditorium
Wastewater Cleanup to Mustard Gas Detoxification: Surprising Applications for Molecular Sponges
Ashlee Howarth, Concordia University

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are complex molecular sponge-like materials. These materials are structurally diverse and can be constructed using several combinations of building blocks found on the periodic table. Through careful choice of building blocks, the chemical and physical properties of MOFs can be elegantly tuned and materials with very high surface area and porosity can be obtained—just like a sponge! As a consequence, MOFs have been explored for many potential applications including, but not limited to, gas storage, chemical separations, catalysis, drug delivery, light harvesting and energy conversion, chemical warfare agent detoxification, and the remediation of contaminated water. In this presentation, the bottom-up assembly of MOFs will be described and the important physical and chemical properties of these materials will be explained. Lastly, two very different applications of MOFs will be discussed to emphasize the diversity of these molecular sponges: (i) wastewater cleanup where MOFs can be compared to activated carbon found in a Brita® filter and (ii) mustard gas detoxification where MOFs can be incorporated in uniforms and gas masks for the protection of soldiers.