Minister of Advanced Education takes in a behind-the-scenes U of R tour

By Costa Maragos Posted: December 13, 2017 12:30 p.m.

Touring the U of R’s Biomechanics Lab are (l-r) President Dr. Vianne Timmons, Dr. John Barden, Associate Professor in our Kinesiology Faculty, Nick Ryan, PhD student and Herb Cox, Minister of Advanced Education.
Touring the U of R’s Biomechanics Lab are (l-r) President Dr. Vianne Timmons, Dr. John Barden, Associate Professor in our Kinesiology Faculty, Nick Ryan, PhD student and Herb Cox, Minister of Advanced Education. Photo - External Relations

Dr. Chris Somers, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, is like most researchers at the University of Regina. When given the opportunity, Somers will gladly take time to give a tour of his research lab.

That was certainly the case when Somers and his team of graduate students hosted an interactive lab tour for the Honourable Herb Cox, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Advanced Education and Mark McLoughlin, Deputy Minister of Advanced Education.

They were accompanied by President Dr. Vianne Timmons and Nelson Wagner, Associate Vice-President, Facilities Management.

“I was excited and honoured to showcase what we do directly to the Minister and Deputy Minister,” says Somers, who is also the Canada Research Chair, Genes and Environment. “I appreciated them making the time to connect with us on the U of R campus.”

Herb Cox in Biology Lab
Undergraduate student Shayna Hamilton (r) giving a tagging demonstration to Herb Cox, Minister of Advanced Education. Photo by Chris Somers

The tour of Somers’ lab featured research taking place on the genomics and genetics population structure of whitefish in Canada, and the ecology of sport fish in Saskatchewan – research with a huge impact on the community

The students, under Somers’ supervision, are also doing field work on the behaviour of sportfish after catch and release during ice fishing.

The tour included a session at the U of R’s Concussion Testing Lab, led by Dr. Patrick Neary, Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

Next was a visit to the Biomechanics Lab, run by Dr. John Barden, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, and research into spinal motion for people with low back pain, gait variability for people with multiple sclerosis, and effects of concussions.

“This was a great opportunity for the Minister to meet some of the students who are involved in this research, as part of their training,” says Barden. “We were also pleased to share with Mr. Cox the strong support we are receiving from provincial funding agencies including the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation.”

For Cox, the visit was an opportunity to see the positive impact the University is having on students and the community.

“I was very impressed with my tour of the University of Regina,” says Cox. “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with President Timmons and her team and learn about all the exciting things happening at the University. I also appreciated the opportunity to meet professors and students that are doing exemplary research.”

The University’s research community works very closely with provincial funding agencies and departments on numerous projects.  

“Minister Cox was very excited to visit our campus, and it was an honour to accompany him on a tour of our facilities,” says Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Our students, faculty and staff are incredible ambassadors for our University, and once again they proved that by showing Minister Cox and Deputy Minister McLoughlin the great work they are doing and the pride they take in it.”

Cox also toured a number of U of R residences, including the College West residence, currently under renovation. The final leg of the tour included a visit with Livia Castellanos, Associate Vice-President (International). The Minister received an engaging update on the successful recruitment and support given to international students who now make up about 14 per cent of the student population.

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