Research Snapshots

Cape Breton University researchers are doing amazing work on projects and publications, professional development, conference presentations and community engaged research. We’re eager to feature faculty research and academic pursuits in Research Snapshots.

Are you a CBU researcher with something to share? Submit Research Snapshots here.



June 2024

On June 26, CBU marine biologists Dr. Bruce Hatcher and Dr. Tim Rawlings, along with Caelin Murray and student researchers Aaryan Sharma and Preston Miller, retrieved a unit called an Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure (ARMS) from the seafloor in Sydney Harbour, positioned there as a test unit last summer. ARMS are effective ways of characterizing benthic marine habitats and monitoring changes through time. After retrieval, the research team disassembled the unit, photographed the plates, and preserved the organisms contained there for DNA barcoding/metabarcoding. Several ARMS are currently deployed on Scatarie Bank in the St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Area and will be retrieved this fall. Based on the experience gained with retrieval of the test unit, the team will make a refinement of procedures, so that it is better prepared for the collection of three ARMS units from Scatarie Bank later this year! These specialized ARMS have widespread application from tropical coral reefs to polar marine habitats, and are also effective at monitoring for non-native species.

CBU’s Dr. Jessica Whitehead, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Languages, was featured during the annual conference of the Film Studies Association of Canada, with the launch of a Canadian collection in the Media History Digital Library (MHDL) and a related project website. The conference was held at Concordia University, where Dr. Whitehead and her colleagues, Louis Pelletier and Paul Moore where applauded for their dedication to the MHDL and preserving the collection of Canada’s Film Press. CBU students Christopher Mulvihill and Gabriella Samways were invited to share their research during the conference, examining the Maritime Motion Picture Company, a project supervised by Dr. Whitehead.

The MHDL catalog currently includes 2,893,902 pages of digitized books and magazines from the histories of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound.

This past week (June 12-14, 2024), SASS students Morgan MacInnis and Jeffrey Genter presented original research papers at the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric (RhetCan) in Montreal. MacInnis’ paper focused on the rhetoric of cults while Genter’s investigated the role of non-verbal communication in educator ethos (credibility). Both worked throughout the Winter term to perfect their papers with the help of Drs. Doering and MacDonald. Dr. Jon Doering, as President of the RhetCan, organized a wonderful conference, at which both he and Dr. Shauna MacDonald presented their research as well. Dr. Doering’s work focused on AI’s influence on rhetoric, Dr. MacDonald’s on the rhetoric of Cape Breton lighthouses. Morgan and Jeffrey were the only undergraduate presenters, and we are so proud of how well they represented CBU!


May 2024


Dr. Janet Kuhnke, Associate Professor in CBU’s School of Nursing, was in London, UK in early May to share an update on Canada’s Wound Care Champion Program. Dr. Kuhnke was a guest presenter during a conference co-hosted by the European Wound Management Association and the Society of Tissue Viability. The conference theme, ‘Collaborative and sustainable wound care: making everyone’s contribution count’ focused on how global collaboration in wound care can help implement the highest quality of care at a local level in Europe and beyond’. Dr. Kuhnke’s community-based research focusing on prevention of intravenous abscesses, prevention of diabetes related foot ulcers and amputations, and mental health and spiritual wellness were well aligned with the conference theme.

On May 24, Dr. Kuhnke presented at the Canadian Association of Foot Care Nurse in St. John New Brunswick. Her first presentation focused on the importance of risk screening and stratification of the diabetic foot, with a second presentation on foot screening for persons identified as vulnerable.


On May 22, 2024, the UN’s International Day of Biodiversity, Tim Rawlings, Kellie White, and the Aquatics Team at ACAP-Cape Breton (Jen Cooper, Meaghan Fortune, Eve Bunbury) sampled environmental DNA (eDNA) at 10 sites along the shoreline of Lake Ainslie (Inverness Co). eDNA collected from Lake Ainslie will be included in a global study of lake biodiversity spanning 500 lakes across more than 80 countries. This research initiative headed by ETH Zurich professor, Dr. Kristy Deiner, and recognized as “a first-of-its-kind” by the journal Nature, will help scientists to improve their understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and to explore how lakes can act as “biodiversity sensors in the landscape.” Lake Ainslie in one of four lakes in Nova Scotia that will be sampled as part of the global initiative; the other three lakes are in mainland Nova Scotia. For more details, please see:



Dr. Tom Ue and research assistant Callum McNutt, both from the Department of Literature, Folklore, and the Arts (LiFTA), have co-written an essay titled “Who Would the Clones Vote For?: Agency, Citizenship, and Ethics in Star Wars: Episode II” for A Celebration of Star Wars: DePaul Pop Culture Conference (Blurb, 2024), an anthology edited by Stephanie Grau and Paul Booth: This essay attends to the clones’ narrative to make a claim for the Star Wars’ universe’s innerworkings. Ue and McNutt gratefully acknowledge the support of LiFTA and the School of Arts and Social Sciences. Proceeds from this anthology’s sales go to Global Girl Media: