Panel on Science and Technology

Location: CS 101

This event is part of Research Month 2019. Visit our website for a full list of events.

Session Chair: Andrew Reynolds

Speakers
Treatment of Cannabis Metabolites in Water
Allison Mackie (Engineering)

From the Spiderman Snail to Sherman’s Lagoon – Worm-Snails Make it Mainstream
Tim Rawlings (Biology)

Gene expression profiling across electric organs of male and female electric fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio.
Vicky Salazar (Biology)

Diabetic Footwear and Footcare.
Janet Kuhnke (Nursing)

Abstracts

Treatment of Cannabis Metabolites in Water
Allison Mackie (Engineering)

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide and Canada has one of the highest past-year use rates in the world. After consumption, THC is metabolized to 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH) glucuronide which is then quickly hydrolyzed to THC-COOH upon excretion from the body. Low and sometimes negative removal rates of THC-COOH in wastewater treatment plants have been found and there are indications that the transformation products (TPs) resulting from oxidation of THC-COOH may be more toxic to aquatic species than THC-COOH itself. The goal of this project was to evaluate and compare conventional and advanced oxidation treatment processes for their ability to remove dilute concentrations of THC-COOH from aqueous solutions. Oxidation technologies evaluated in this study were chlorine, permanganate, UV, and combined UV/peroxide (H2O2).

From the Spiderman Snail to Sherman’s Lagoon – Worm-Snails Make it Mainstream
Tim Rawlings (Biology)

In 2017, my colleagues and I published a paper in the journal PeerJ on the discovery of a new species of worm-snail, Thylacodes vandyensis (“Vandy” for short) from a shipwreck in the Florida Keys.  During an interview for the Field Museum of Natural History associated with this publication, lead author Dr. Rüdiger Bieler, referred to these snails as “similar to Spiderman, although in slow-motion”, based on their propensity to shoot out a mucus web from an extra pair of tentacles at the base of their body.  For whatever reason, the image of a spiderman-like snail caught the attention of many on-line science media outlets, and articles about the Vandy and its spiderman qualities soon spread across websites and blogs, such as Nationalgeographic.com, Sciencedaily.com, and Smithsonianmag.com, and were featured in many newspapers worldwide, including the Daily Mail, the Miami Herald, and the New York Times.  For a period of several weeks, worm-snails made it mainstream, and then they slowly faded back into obscurity.  In early 2018, however, Vandy had one last spot in the limelight – the spiderman snail was featured, albeit loosely, for a two-week period (from January 15 – 26) in the widely syndicated daily comic strip, Sherman’s Lagoon by Jim Toomey.  As this example demonstrates, connecting scientific discovery to popular imagery clearly has the power to facilitate the rapid and widespread dissemination of scientific knowledge to general audiences, although sometimes with a focus on unintended details.

Gene expression profiling across electric organs of male and female electric fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio.
Vicky Salazar (Biology)

Gymnotiforms, a group of nocturnal fish from Central and South America, continuously generate electric signals to communicate in the dark with members of their social group. Although previous studies have shown that the electric signal of the gymnotiform fish Brachyhypopomus gauderio follows a sex-specific circadian rhythm, little is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these circadian changes. The objectives of this study are to: 1) sequence and assemble complete transcriptomes from the electric organs of males and females during the day and night, and 2) determine differences in gene expression across these conditions. Data from this study will uncover what genes may be essential to orchestrate the circadian changes observed in the electric organ of B. gauderio males and females. Funding: NSERC DG; CFI LOF; NSRIT; CBU RISE.

Diabetic Footwear and Footcare.
Janet Kuhnke (Nursing)

External Locus of Control. Participants in this study describe their foot care and footwear as “out there” or as a separate entity from self. They describe the responsibility of their foot care and foot wear as belonging to someone else, and not necessarily self. 2. Fear of a foot complication or amputation, or worry about having a foot ulcer, is major part of their narrative. Fear is real and worsened as most could describe or were aware of a community member or family member that was undergoing active foot ulcer care or amputation. 3. Participants do not describe consistent or regular access to diabetes foot care. They use wide-ranging educative sources and do no verbalize credibility of such.  4. Amputation is cognitively normalized; accepted as part of their future narrative. Many describe a parent, friend or community member whom are undergoing, or have undergone, an amputation.  5. Finally, participants do not fully engage or link their blood glucose level results to increased or increasing risk of development of a diabetic foot ulcer or amputation.