Part of the University of Alberta's Endowment Fund for the Future and named after the first dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, the McCalla Professorships release professors from teaching duties for a nine-month period to present faculty members with an opportunity to further their research and scholarly activities. These individuals, nominated by their faculty, are outstanding academics who have made significant contributions to their field of research. These awards start each September, and are tenable at the University of Alberta.
The following is a brief description of the work being conducted by the 2003-2004 McCalla Professorship recipients.
Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics
Janusz Zwiazek (Renewable Resources)
Zwiazek's study examines beneficial effects of ectomycorrhizae on the water uptake and salinity tolerance in woody plants. The mechanisms controlling plant-water relations and salinity tolerance in ectomycorrhizal plants will be investigated in laboratory experiments and the effectiveness of various species and sources of ectomycorrhizal fungi will be tested for several species of plants. The most resistant associations will be selected to test for stress tolerance after planting in 1) urban areas affected by salt build-up due to winter road spraying, and 2) oil sands reclamation sites containing elevated salt levels. The study aims at developing fundamental knowledge of physiological processes that could be applied to address environmental concerns.
Faculty of Arts
Susan Hamilton (English)
Cobbe was one of the best-known feminists of her day, and one of very few women making a living writing for the press. Involved in campaigns for women's suffrage, she was also instrumental in the passage of the 1878 Matrimonial Causes Act and the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act. Bringing together the history of English feminism and the study of Victorian newspaper presses, Hamilton examines Cobbe's writing as a political practice that is distinct from the more overtly 19th century political genres of committees, platform speeches, and petitions. Her work opens up our understanding of Victorian feminism and its political workings, reconsidering what feminism looked like in the 19th century.
Claudine Potvin (Modern Languages & Cultural Studies)
Potvin's interdisciplinary project addresses the novel as a "museum narrative"; it examines the relation between the visual arts and the literary in Quebec contemporary literature written by women since 1980. This research tries to establish the degree to which the image or the allusion to the image generates the writing, or to which extent the fiction includes the artifice, the spectacle, and the optical mode. In that sense, the museum within the text, or the text as museum, elaborates an aesthetic of detail, which transforms the spaces of creativity, and subverts the institutional politics of art.
Andy Knight (Political Science)
Over the final decade of the last century, about two million children were killed in armed conflict, over one million were left orphans, more than six million were seriously injured or permanently disabled, and close to 10 million were left to suffer unimaginable psychological trauma and psycho-social illness. This appalling situation should not be allowed to continue. The Children in Armed Conflict project will aggregate, streamline and advance knowledge on the multidimensional impact of armed conflict on children, and suggest effective, sustainable child protection and rehabilitation strategies. Applied research focuses on Sierra Leone, but comparative data is gleaned from other war-torn countries.
Faculty of Education
Jan Jagodzinski (Secondary Education)
Psychoanalysis offers an understanding of certain elements of subjectivity that are central to teaching and learning. These include desire, drive, fantasy, anxiety, resistance, authority, and transference. Jagodzinski's research relates directly to making these psychoanalytic concepts accessible to visual art and media education through an articulation of these concepts as illustrated by a number of visual and narrative "texts." Further, a complex understanding of student and teacher identity to grasp more fully the "psychic life" of the classroom is explored by applying the developed paradigm through illustrative examples.
Faculty of Engineering
Jingli Luo (Chemical & Materials Engineering)
During the tenure of this McCalla, Luo plans to further develop fuel cells for value added products. Her recent research has been targeting development of high temperature H2S-O2 fuel cells. The importance of H2S-O2 fuel cell research is based on its environmentally friendly nature - it generates no greenhouse gases and simultaneously removes toxic pollutants. It has attracted wide interest from industries and has become strategically important research frontier. Her recent initiatives include development of new types of fuel cells. Due to the competitive nature of fuel cell research, accelerating the progress of the mentioned project with McCalla Professorship is important to maintain U of A's leading position in this area and the reputation as one of the top universities in Canada.
Horacio Marquez (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Dr. Horacio J. Marquez plans to continue his studies of nonlinear dynamical systems and control. The long-term goal of Marquez's research is to develop a comprehensive theory of nonlinear control design. He will devote his time as a McCalla professor to study nonlinear observer design, a well-recognized stumbling block in nonlinear system theory. Observers make use of mathematical models to estimate the internal dynamics of a system from external measurements. Marquez and his group intend to use nonlinear observers to detect faults in safety-critical area of control applications, such as in the control of nuclear plants or aircrafts.
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Paul Man (Medicine)
Chronic obstructive lung disease is a very common world-wide health problem. Interestingly, more than 50 per cent of patients who suffer from this condition die prematurely from a cardiovascular event. Man hypothesizes that the cause of atherosclerosis in these patients is low-grade systemic inflammation. His team's first line of investigation is directed to understanding the inflammatory process in the lungs and how it may be translated into systemic inflammation. The next step will be to investigate how to best reduce pulmonary inflammation, and determine if such a therapeutic strategy will result in lessening the low grade systemic inflammation.
Faculty of Nursing
Families provide the basics of healthy human development. However, family processes sometimes undermine child health outcomes. Canadian studies show that adaptive family functioning and good parenting practices protect all children, even children with as many as four risk conditions. Ways of understanding and promoting good family interactions are established through Drummond's research activities. Through partnering with community groups, high quality relevant research is carried out. Results are quickly utilized by appropriate agencies. The McCalla Professorship will support the further development of the Family Adaptation Model, a measurement of family interactions, and an approach to enhance adolescent parenting.
Poverty is the most important factor influencing individual health and well being, and there is evidence that society as a whole is affected by income inequality. Dr. Reutter's research seeks to understand poverty from the perspectives of people living in poverty as well as the public, health professionals, and policy decision-makers. The McCalla Professorship will allow her to explore the effect of socio-economic status on social isolation and social exclusion from the perspective of the poor, the non-poor, and policy influencers in selected neighbourhoods in Edmonton and Toronto. During this time, Reutter will also develop further research that explores factors and conditions that influence the policy process in the poverty arena.
Marc De Montigny
De Montigny's field of research is mathematical physics, particularly the symmetries of physical theories described by Lie groups and their representations. His present research project involves studying physical applications of Galilean invariance, the low-velocity limit of the symmetry of Einstein's special relativity. He plans to write a review article which will survey recent developments, including a formalism of Galilei covariance based on a five dimensional Minkowski space. This covariant approach allows variational formulations of phenomena related to superconductivity, superfluidity and Bose-Einstein condensation and their applications: nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and spectrometry, fast computers, magnetic sensors, measurements with slow atoms, etc.
Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation
Gordon J. Bell
Dr. Bell's research program is based in the area of exercise physiology and is centered on the effectiveness of physical activity prescriptions for archiving fitness, performance and health benefits. Current and future research activities include a collaborative Canadian Institute of Health Research project investigating the effectiveness of different physical activity prescriptions on health and fitness outcomes. It is hoped that this type or research will be applicable to individuals with Type II diabetes. Other research plans during the tenure of this McCalla Research Professorship include the investigation of the effect of acute and chronic exercise stress combined with ergogenic aids on various performance, cardio-respiratory, immune, hormonal and peripheral skeletal muscle adaptations.
Faculty of Science
Stan Boutin (Biological Sciences)
Dr. Boutin's research program has two major components that focus on how human and natural factors affect species distribution and abundance in the boreal forest. One component uses red squirrels in the southwestern Yukon as a model system to answer questions about mammalian evolution and population dynamics under variable food supply and climate change. The second component examines how the size, duration, and intensity of human land use affect threatened species (woodland, caribou), biodiversity, and ecosystem function. This work is done in northeastern Alberta where forestry and energy are the primary human disturbances. Boutin works with a team of researchers that apply the principles of active adaptive management to issues of overlapping resource use and regional integrated landscape management. The work combines the use of land use projection models and large scale field experiments to identify and address key uncertainties that preclude informed decisions about alternative management strategies.
Pawel Gburzynski (Computing Science)
Networking technology has reached the stage where, instead of trying to accommodate new applications into traditional paradigms, it makes better sense to redefine some elements of the telecommunication infrastructure. Dr. Gburzynski's research deals with protocols and implementation techniques for personal communication over wired and wireless networks. The practical goal of his efforts is to build a simple, general-purpose, networking device implementing locality-based communication scenarios, in which the primary way of addressing objects is via their relevant attributes, rather than accidental names and numbers. He is also interested in small-footprint operating systems for tiny personal communication platforms.
Jeffrey M. Stryker (Chemistry)
Transition metal organometallic chemistry is an interdisciplinary research area incorporating both organic and inorganic chemistry. Dr. Stryker's research involves the demonstration and development of novel concepts in organometallic chemistry, providing new understanding, new reaction processes, and new applications of importance to organic synthesis and catalysis. The fundamental challenge is that of molecular design, the creation of functional metal-containing molecules, structurally and electronically "programmed" to mediate specific chemical transformations: engineering on a molecular level. This approach has resulted in conceptually new research areas, inspiring Stryker and others to create innovative synthetic methodologies, catalysts, and applications. To this basic research agenda, Stryker and his team now add a challenging and practical objective: fusing molecular design and industrial catalysis - the creation of single-site supported co-ordination catalysts for olefin polymerization. Plastics!