Knowledge is beautiful. Researchers at the U of S know it better than anyone.

The third annual University of Saskatchewan Images of Research competition was held in the spring of 2017. The competition is an avenue for U of S students, staff, faculty and alumni to showcase the groundbreaking research, scholarly and artistic work taking place at the U of S.

View all of the winning images April 11-13 and April 17-18, 9:30am-4pm on public display in the north concourse of Place Riel.

100 submissions were received. The competition was divided into four thematic categories, a "Viewers' choice" category, and a new "Best description" category:

  • From the field: Images which demonstrate the researcher’s experience doing field work anywhere in the world
  • More than meets the eye: Images which reveal the subject in greater detail than is possible with the human eye (eg. x-rays, creative expression, microscopic images, computer models, etc.)
  • Community and impact: Images which represent the impact the researcher’s work has had or could have on people, the environment, health, the economy, etc.
  • Research in action: Images which demonstrate what the researcher's work is all about
  • Viewers' choice: Images which received the highest number of votes during a public voting period
  • Best description: Images accompanied by the clearest, most informative and most vibrant descriptions and titles

Canada 150 Project LogoAnd new this year, a 1-minute video research pitch category was added in celebration of Canada 150th anniversary of confederation, where researchers were asked to explain how their research was making a difference for Canada.  Those research pitches are viewable here. The Office of the Vice-President Research would like to thank all of the expert judges and everyone who submitted their work to the competition. Following deliberation by a number of multidisciplinary judging panels, the following submissions were selected as the 2017 Images of Research.

Two pigs. Two Nations. One health. (Grand Prize)

Taryn Roberts, third-year student in veterinary medicine
I had the incredible experience of being one of six Western College of Veterinary Medicine students participating in Global Vets Africa. Here we had the opportunity to give back to vibrant communities whose health, livelihood and welfare are very much intertwined with that of their livestock. We travelled with veterinarians from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, the only veterinary school in Tanzania, on ambulatory clinic visiting farms like this one, providing veterinary care to their animals. The Global Vets program allows WCVM students a novel perspective on their future profession, gaining insight on how veterinarians outside of Canada adapt to challenges unique to their environment and on the role of animals in international communities.

Bloom where you are planted (Winner - Viewer's Choice, More than Meets the Eye)

Awang Hazmi Awang Junaidi graduate student in veterinary biomedical sciences

These are no ordinary flowers! They are actually a group of aggregating cells, namely a colony of gonocytes, germ cells in the newborn testis that after maturity give rise to sperm. When grown in culture, gonocytes will exhibit various types of cytoplasmic extensions appearing as leaf-like, finger-like or bulges that act as 'limbs' that assist their migration toward each other to form this flowery-like colony. These attributes are crucial in ensuring their survival. Failure to migrate will lead to their death. This research will provide valuable insight into how male germline cells develop and it has implications for preserving male fertility. The image was taken using scanning electron microscopy and was colorized to highlight the formation.

Deep space inside you and me (2nd place – Viewer’s Choice)

Rui Fang, research assistant in biomedical engineering
Hundreds of muscle-derived stem cells 3D cultured in alginate hydrogel can been seen in this picture. All the shining spots are the cells growing healthily in a body-like environment.  Stem cells are a main source of cells that can grow into large amounts for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Producing enough functional cells is a strategy to repair organs, such as hearts where cardiomyocytes cannot regenerate, themselves. Heart failure after myocardial infarction is the leading cause of death and patients’ lives cannot be saved other than with a heart transplantation, though there are few donors. My research is to repair myocardial infarction by inducing stem cells into beating cardiomyocytes. By complementing sufficient cells, hearts can be repaired and finally, lives can be saved.

Illumination (Winner - Community and Impact)

Alana Krug-MacLeod, first-year undergraduate student in environmental biology
A light goes on when sustainability issues stare a person in the face! When visitors taste the hospitality of Qikiqtarjuaq's Inuit in the Arctic char, that light illuminates justice and injustice.  Every cut of the traditional ulu highlights what stands to be lost if the necessary confluence of environment, equity and economy is dismissed. My research reflects on the types of experiences that lead youth to the awareness, connections, and actions required to foster sustainability. Carefully planned educational programs, such as the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition that provided the experiences described above, enlighten and engage youth, who go on to shine their own lights on sustainability challenges.

The Herring Spawn (2nd place - Community and Impact)

Julie Wittrock, PhD candidate in veterinary microbiology
Recently, a group of colleagues gathered to work on a paper discussing the attributes, skills, and knowledge needed by wildlife health professionals to effectively and successfully manage and understand the complex issues faced by wildlife populations today. While taking a break from writing, we strolled the beach where the herring spawn was taking place on Vancouver Island. This spawning event, for me, exemplifies the complex, cumulative, and multi-factorial nature of wildlife health. As researchers and resource managers, how can we support and balance the demand and stress on herring populations, so that they can continue to exist and support various other wildlife (sea lions, sea birds, eagles, harbor seals, other fish etc.) and the humans who expect to harvest them? Health is about an ecosystem, not an individual.

It’s about time (1st place - Research in Action)

Lorne Doig, research scientist at the Toxicology Centre
Canada is a land rich in lakes. However, we often lack the monitoring data necessary to understand the long-term impacts of our activities on individual systems, or how these resources are responding regionally to climate change. What is the natural or background state of a system? Did environmental quality change with the onset of industrial operations? Such information aids in effective resource decision-making. Pictured are Drs. Paul Jones and Lorne Doig as we lower a 7-m pipe through the ice to extract a core of lake sediment. Many aquatic organisms leave behind remains that are preserved in the sediment profile. By analyzing these remains and dating them, we can reconstruct the ecological history of a waterbody. In this instance, we are looking for ancient DNA and invertebrate remains to infer climate-land-water interactions in the Boreal forest over the past eight thousand years.

Work comes first (2nd place - Research in Action)

Gary Beckhusen, master's student in archaeology and anthropology
In July of 2016, I visited the Mackenzie Mountains to gather the samples needed to date a recently recorded archaeological feature. The feature, a caribou fence, had been used by Mountain Dene peoples of the Sahtu region to aid in harvesting caribou. My job is to gather the data necessary to provide absolute build and use-life dates to the ancestral community. This project blurs the line between the natural and social sciences by recording part of the rich cultural heritage of the Mountain Dene, and by contributing to the dendrochronological and environmental history of the region. The site is considered at-risk, therefore the research must be conducted in a thorough and efficient manner. An added bonus was the beauty of the site, it was a shame that more time couldn't have been taken to simply enjoy being there. As it was, work came first.

A tale to tell (2nd place - More Than Meets the Eye)

Lorne Doig, research scientist at the Toxicology Centre
Lakes, rivers, streams and ponds are home to a wide variety of invertebrate species, each with its own environmental preferences. Because their lives are short, the communities of these animals can change quickly in response to various stressors, including pollution, habitat loss, or changes to climate. Sensitive species can disappear. Tolerant animals can thrive. Aquatic invertebrates can therefore serve as indicators of ecosystem health, and are often used in freshwater monitoring programs. Pictured is a scanning electron micrograph of a midge larva, a bottom-dwelling invertebrate common to most freshwaters world-wide. I use this group of animals in my research to assess both recent and historical changes, natural or otherwise, to freshwater ecosystems. This specimen comes from Rarotongo, the largest of the Cook Islands.

A Battle of Giants (Winner - From the Field)

Joanna van Bommel, undergraduate student in biology
The horses of Sable Island have existed in a feral state since their introduction to the Nova Scotian sandbar in the mid-1700s. A fact I was clearly reminded of when two stallions moved past ritualistic defense displays and began to fight in front of me. In this case, the stallions were defending their mares from being stolen by the other, while also fighting for access to the pond seen in the background.  These bands are part of a study looking at how accessing water from ponds versus dug-out wells affects band size and composition. This research  incorporates aspects of social behaviour, habitat selection, and resource trade-offs. A deeper understanding of how the environment affects social structures will allow us to better model the Sable population, as well as other species with similar social bands, such as endangered mountain gorillas.

Finding fossils under a watchful eye (2nd place - From the Field)

Michael Cuggy, lab coordinator and sessional lecturer in geological sciences
When working on the shore of Hudson Bay, even in August, the weather can be unpredictable and cold. Despite this weather we continue to search for fossils under the watchful eyes of our bear guard. These elusive soft-bodied fossils from over 400 million years ago help answer crucial question in how complex animals diversified into the varied organisms we see today.

Lena Johnny, 101 years old (Winner - Best Description)

Keith Carlson, professor in history
This is an image of Lena Johnny, a 101 year old Sto:lo elder, that I took during an interview with her. She was a remarkable and strong willed woman. She refused to use her false teeth, she smoked three cigarettes per day, and she insisted on eating one KFC drumstick for lunch each day (nothing else was acceptable).  Her father Patrick Charlie had been a key informant for an earlier generation of ethnographers. Mrs. Johnny worked with me and one of my graduate students sharing her information about spirituality and providing a female perspective on certain legendary stories that were typically only known to academics through male voices. Her experiences in residential school had been traumatic — her daughter, who sat with Mrs. Johnny during our many conversations — explained that her mother had scars on her back from where she had been whipped at residential school.

Wilderness Highways to Sustainability (2nd place - Best Description)

Alana Krug-MacLeod, undergraduate student in environmental biology
Ecologist Rachel Carson observed that arousing emotions leads to a desire for knowledge, and ultimately, to commitment to protect that which we love. As I investigate what inspires youth to desire, understand and implement sustainability, this same idea often emerges. Students on Ice (SOI) takes youth to remote places in Antarctica and the Arctic, explicitly aiming to foster emotional connections to the poles that lead participants to be lifelong agents of sustainability. I know firsthand, as do many SOI expeditioners, that the Adelie penguins noisily waddling and sliding their way along krill-pink penguin highways on the spectacularly beautiful Danco Island in Antarctica inspire enduring commitment to sustainability.