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Vanier Celebrates Women in Science

2014 Speakers

Dr Aimee Ryan
DEPARTMENTS OF PEDIATRICS AND HUMAN GENETICS, MCGILL

"Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Normal Embryonic Development"
Dr. Ryan's research team is focusing on the shape changes that take place during early development. Development at this embryonic stage has an impact on how the internal organs are formed, how they get positioned in the body, and ultimately how they perform their physiological functions. She and her team are studying how the presence of different members of the claudin family of proteins shape the embryo. The timing and pattern of where these molecules are found in the embryo plays an important function in the proper placement of organs across the left-right midline of the body. Dr. Ryan's research team is working to clarify the timing of the appearance of these molecules and their place of action within the embryo.

They are interested in how the patterning of molecule expression is similar across all vertebrate animals at this early stage in development. Their research may lead to early detection and prevention of developmental defects related to the heart and neural tube. In addition, there is evidence that changes in amounts of claudins has a role in cancer development.

The work that Dr. Ryan will present on October 15th will illustrate in a general way that the entire Vanier community can appreciate, the well-orchestrated timing and location of molecules that direct patterning and tissue movements in the early embryo that are essential to form our organs.

Dr Vicky Kaspi
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS, MCGILL; CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR AND LORNE TROTTIER CHAIR

"The Cosmic Gift of Neutron Stars"
Though thousands of light years away, neutron stars can act as precise cosmic beacons, a cosmic gift that sheds light on some of the most interesting problems in modern science. In this talk I will introduce these bizarre objects, and show how astronomers are using them to study topics which range from the origins of the Universe to the very nature of matter.

Dr Genevieve Metson
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCE SCIENCES, MCGILL

As a professionally trained dancer, Genevieve has always liked to explore movement and the relationship of movement to space and time. Her physical and artistic exploration of movement has shaped her interest in science, and she is now a researcher working on biogeochemical cycling, ecology, and sustainability. These fields focus on understandingsystems, linkages, and movement. Nutrients, like phosphorus (P), flow through the environment but change their properties depending on what they are coupled with, just as dancers change for partners and the space they are in. Her PhD research at McGill University was about P cycling in cities (especially looking at food systems and urban agriculture), but she is now expanding her research and looking at nitrogen, water, and the provision of ecosystem services across landscapes to find better ways to manage resources, especially in urban environments.

Karen Tennenhouse
DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS, VANIER

Karen Tennenhouse has been enthusiastically teaching, mostly in physics, for 40 years. Her education has included a B.Sc. (Honours) at the University of Manitoba, an M.Sc. at McGill, and graduate studies in computer science at Concordia.

Karen continues to be fascinated both by science and by science teaching: by the patterns of the physical universe and the ways that the human mind interacts with them. Her research topics have been in algebraic logic, object-oriented databases, and undergrad work in a cyclotron lab.

She has been active in many groups including unions, women's groups, and the Montreal Dialogue Group. She also enjoys spending time with friends, music, reading and cooking.

Karen is a recent recipient of the Vanier Teaching Excellence Award, and received a "mention d'honneur" from the Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale.

Dr Sylvie Tardif
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY, VANIER

Sylvie earned a Ph.D. degree in Organosulfur Chemistry from McGill University. Her Ph.D. degree was followed by an Eastman Kodak Postdoctoral Fellow associated with the McGill Chemistry Department related to patents & other projects on the development of potential sulfur compounds for specific photographic material with Eastman Kodak, Rochester, New York, USA, and a research collaborative project with Rohm & Hass, Pennsylvania, USA, developing sulfur containing compounds as potential acting precursors for studies on biocidal activity.

Her research with Merck Frosst was on the development of synthetic alkylation methods associated with the total synthesis of the registered drug Singulair ®. The methods were also used as a novel approach to the synthesis of cannabinoids.

Sylvie joined Vanier College in September 1998 and has been devoting herself exclusively to teaching since that time. As of today, her teaching experience at the College level includes Dawson, Marianopolis & Vanier Colleges where she has taught General Chemistry, Solution, Organic and Bio-Organic Chemistry. Her university teaching experience includes UBC, McGill and Concordia Universities where she has taughtdifferent levels of Organic Chemistry with their respective laboratory sections; Spectroscopy and Structure of Organic Compounds; Microscale Advanced Inorganic and Organic Chemistry; and Advanced Organic Chemistry for Biochemists.