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Collaboration key to continuing field research during COVID-19

May 5, 2021 | from Science Behind the Scenes

Collaboration key to continuing field research during COVID-19

British Columbia-based ECCC Research Scientist, Christine Bishop, has collaborated with the En’owkin Centre in the Okanagan Valley in the interior of the province for the last twenty years to advance their mutual interest in the conservation of the Western Yellow-breasted Chat. Despite not being able to travel to Penticton in 2020, Christine says the strong foundation in partnership between the two organizations, combined with an adaptive field work protocol, empowered the En’owkin Centre to continue the research project. “When you have a long-term database, you might think one year is just another dot on the graph,” she says. “But it’s actually really important, when you are talking about wildlife populations, to be able to track them from one year to the next because things can change a lot between years.”

Dr. Carrie Bourassa on tuberculosis among Indigenous Peoples and her personal story with the disease

March 24, 2021 | from The Science of Health

Dr. Carrie Bourassa on tuberculosis among Indigenous Peoples and her personal story with the disease

Every year, March 24 provides an opportunity to raise awareness of TB, which is a serious infectious disease that affects people’s lungs. TB is still not eradicated in Canada and in particular in the North among Inuit communities. Overall TB rates in Canada are quite low (around 4.9 per 100,000 people), but for Inuit Peoples the TB rates are 300 x higher, comparable to rates in developing countries.

The Q&A of QA: how the NML uses Quality Assurance to produce quality research

March 15, 2021 | from The Science of Health

The Q&A of QA: how the NML uses Quality Assurance to produce quality research

Running a world-class research facility involves a lot of precision and expertise. Have you ever wondered how facilities like the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) produce trusted work? The answer lies in part with the brilliant scientists who conduct the research, but also relies on a team of expert support staff who maintain a workplace with strict technical measures at every turn to ensure a quality outcome

Big questions about tiny particles

March 8, 2021 | from The Science of Health

Big questions about tiny particles

Understanding the effects of new products and technologies is increasingly important in our fast-paced world. By understanding the potential health impacts of new products, research scientist provide guidance on ways to use them safely, resulting in policies, regulations and guidelines that weigh risks and benefits of all kinds of innovations.

Motivation, Aspiration, Inspiration of an Inquisitive Mind – Dr. Violina Lozeva-Thomas

March 1, 2021 | from The Science of Health

Motivation, Aspiration, Inspiration of an Inquisitive Mind – Dr. Violina Lozeva-Thomas

Dr. Lozeva-Thomas comes from a family of smart, strong, independent, well-educated women. They helped shape her life (and her inquisitive mind) from an early age. She always knew that she wanted to enter the medical profession in order to help people overcome their illnesses. What she didn’t know was how far that dream would take her — and that the different paths she would follow would lead her to where she is right here, right now.

Translating knowledge into action: Understanding the health effects of industrial air pollution

February 24, 2021 | from The Science of Health

Translating knowledge into action: Understanding the health effects of industrial air pollution

Industrial emissions, or pollutants released into the atmosphere from industrial activities, contribute to local and regional air pollution. In fact, major industries, such as petroleum refineries, power plants, metal smelters and pulp and paper mills are significant emitters of three of the most common outdoor air pollutants particulate matter, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

On the Road to a Healthier and Safer Future: NML’s Work on COVID-19 Vaccines

February 17, 2021 | from The Science of Health

On the Road to a Healthier and Safer Future: NML’s Work on COVID-19 Vaccines

In line with ongoing global efforts to combat the pandemic, scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) are working tirelessly to develop new and improved vaccines for COVID-19 and its variants in the upcoming years.

Defying the Odds, Making an Impact - Dr. Neda Nasheri

February 17, 2021 | from The Science of Health

Defying the Odds, Making an Impact - Dr. Neda Nasheri

As a child, Dr. Neda Nasheri felt drawn to making a positive impact on the lives of others. However, the odds were stacked against her.

Despite the fact that her educational pursuits were encouraged by her family, the political situation in her country, her gender and her religion meant that she was denied higher education. Not one to back down from adversity, Dr. Nasheri found a way to achieve her undergraduate degree at a specialized private university, which led her to an academic career in sciences and, ultimately, to her work at Health Canada.

The CFIA leads a new approach to One Health risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2

February 10, 2021 | from Cultivating Science

The CFIA leads a new approach to One Health risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2

This past year the whole world was pulled into the life of an epidemiologist.

Epidemiologists in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Animal Health Science Directorate are used to following infectious diseases around the world as they come and go. These emerging diseases sometimes raise the alarm for scientists in multiple countries. In some cases, when they make it into the mainstream media, family and friends express concern as well. The work of epidemiologists was at the forefront and words like the “R number” became a common household term, as the rise of the SARS-CoV-2 virus brought about a global pandemic. Despite the challenges the pandemic has placed on health systems, economics, food supply, education and mental health, it has also provided opportunities to advance science.

Making sense of the numbers: Air Health Trend Indicator

February 10, 2021 | from The Science of Health

Making sense of the numbers: Air Health Trend Indicator

Daily exposure to air pollution can affect our health, potentially leading to chronic lung disease, heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Health Canada Research Scientist Dr. Hwashin H. Shin uses her expertise in mathematics and statistics to better understand the link between air quality and the health of Canadians.

It Starts with the Youth: Improving Sexual Health Care in Canada

February 10, 2021 | from The Science of Health

It Starts with the Youth: Improving Sexual Health Care in Canada

It is no secret that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on youth in Canada. As I have highlighted in my latest annual report, school closures, increased unemployment, limited access to services, and prolonged physical distancing measures have meant that youth have experienced isolation, mental health challenges, and potentially unsafe home environments.

Cracking the COVID-19 Code

January 18, 2021 | from The Science of Health

Cracking the COVID-19 Code

Over the past few decades, advancements in science have greatly improved the methods that are used to study infectious diseases. One of the most powerful of these advancements is genomics – studying infectious diseases on a deeper genetic level to uncover pathogens or “blueprints” of a virus.

How safe is the air you breathe?

January 13, 2021 | from The Science of Health

How safe is the air you breathe?

It can be easy to take for granted that the air we breathe is healthy. Dr. Scott Weichenthal, a Research Scientist at Health Canada and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, is examining the content of the air we breathe in several cities across Canada. His research seeks to understand the short and long-term health effects of exposure to specific types of airborne particles found in air pollution.

The Canadian Arctic: An Environment to safeguard

December 16, 2020 | from Science Behind the Scenes

The Canadian Arctic: An Environment to safeguard

In honour of Arctic Science Month, we check in with three Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) scientists; Chris Derksen, Sandy Steffen and Hayley Hung, who carry out research in the North. They share why it is so important to study the Arctic.

The Unsung Heroes behind the Made-In-Canada COVID-19 Lab Test

November 23, 2020 | from The Science of Health

Accurate and timely testing is an essential part of Canada’s response to control the spread of COVID-19. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they self-isolate to limit further spread and the contact tracing process begins to identify other individuals who may have been exposed. This process helps to protect not only the individual but also their family and their community so that everyone can follow public health recommendations. In the absence of an authorized vaccine, testing and contact tracing are some of our most powerful public health tools to limit the spread of the virus.

Much ado about radon: Dealing with the issue at home

November 19, 2020 | from The Science of Health

Radon is a radioactive gas released by the decay of uranium deposits in the soil. It’s odourless and colourless, and when it’s released outdoors the low concentration poses absolutely no health risk. However, inside our homes, radon can become trapped, reaching levels that become dangerous over time. All homes have some radon, but levels vary depending on local soil deposits, type of construction, and ventilation.

Polar Bears: The very large canary in the coalmine for our generation

November 17, 2020 | from Science Behind the Scenes

This month, we catch up with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) research scientist, Evan Richardson, to talk about his research on polar bears and the impacts of climate change on the iconic northern species.

Observations from Space help understand Environmental Issues on Earth

October 23, 2020 | from Science Behind the Scenes

This month, as our neighbours and colleagues in the United States celebrated Earth Science week, we look at how one Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) scientist is using Earth Observations from NASA satellites to inform efforts to combat climate change.

Cooking up a storm

September 28, 2020 | from The Science of Health

Cooking up a storm

Did you know that cooking is one of the largest sources of air pollution in your home? Every time you turn on that stove, particles may be released into the air, which could cause health issues in the long run. The solution is not to stop cooking entirely and eat out every day! Instead, just ventilate when you cook. Turn your kitchen exhaust fan on when you start cooking and leave it on for about 5 to 15 minutes after you finish cooking, or open a window, to help improve the air quality in your home.

The air around us: Evidence from the Subway Air Quality Study

September 21, 2020 | from The Science of Health

The air around us: Evidence from the Subway Air Quality Study

Have you ever wondered about the quality of the air that you breathe while you are stuck in traffic? Keith Van Ryswyk, a researcher on air pollution exposure at Health Canada, has been looking into it and the results are interesting.

ECCC Scientists contribute to worldwide effort to track Climate

September 17, 2020 | from Science Behind the Scenes

ECCC Scientists contribute to worldwide effort to track Climate

For many of us, working at Environment and Climate Change Canada is more than a job – working directly on the frontlines in the fight against climate change is a calling. At ECCC, many of our scientist are dedicated to tracking the long-term effects of a changing climate, contributing to an important body of evidence that informs the public, as well as decision-makers. We are proud to share the work of Lawrence Mudryk, Ross Brown, Chris Derksen, Kinson Leung, Vincent Cheng and David Phillips as part of the recently published State of the Climate in 2019 report.

ECCC Research Scientist’s findings point to success of the Montreal Protocol

September 15, 2020 | from Science Behind the Scenes

ECCC Research Scientist’s findings point to success of the Montreal Protocol

In 1987, all 197 member states of the United Nations came together to adopt the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This environmental agreement regulated the production and consumption of human-produced chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — found in products such as aerosols — that deplete the ozone layer. Now, more than 30 years later, we continue to recognize the positive impacts of this landmark protocol to protect the shield that absorbs most of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation.

Linking Air Pollution and Health

September 11, 2020 | from The Science of Health

Linking Air Pollution and Health

Do air pollution and climate change affect us even before we are born? That is what Health Canada scientist Dr. Eric Lavigne is trying to find out. His research looks at how human health is affected by the air around us, including pollution, outdoor temperatures, climate change and allergens.

How ECCC is managing pollution from small gas engines

August 18, 2020 | from Science Behind the Scenes

How ECCC is managing pollution from small gas engines

This month, we are profiling ECCC’s work on managing pollution from small gas engines. Be sure to follow the department’s social media channels to learn interesting facts about pollution from everyday tools, and actions you can take to help make our air cleaner.

The science of adapting to climate change

August 17, 2020 | from The Science of Health

The science of adapting to climate change

In the face of a changing climate, Canadians must learn to adapt to protect their health and their communities. Even as we take efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, changes in climate will continue to affect our lives and health. Knowledge of the impacts of climate change and the options for adapting has increased greatly over the last 20 years, thanks to experts and scientists who continue to work on this key issue.

COVID-19: Putting NML to the test

August 6, 2020 | from The Science of Health

COVID-19: Putting NML to the test

On January 26, 2020, a team of specialized respiratory illness researchers at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) restlessly awaited the arrival of a delivery that would change Canadian history. A sample from Canada’s first presumptive positive COVID-19 case. As soon as the patient was presumed positive for COVID-19, the NML was preparing to have the virus shipped to their laboratory in Winnipeg to confirm the diagnosis.

Emerging science fostering regulatory policy development

June 25, 2020 | from Cultivating Science

Emerging science fostering regulatory policy development

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) safeguards the health of Canadians by using science to figure out what poses the greatest risk to the food supply, and conducts inspections accordingly.

Christy Arseneau - Science Director, CFS-AFC

March 5, 2020 | from Canadian STEM Femmes

Christy Arseneau - Science Director, CFS-AFC

Christy Arseneau is Science Director, Forest Health and Biodiversity, at the Atlantic Forestry Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She is originally from Dalhousie, NB, and has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto.

How does science assessment help with plastic pollution reduction?

February 28, 2020 | from Science Behind the Scenes

How does science assessment help with plastic pollution reduction?

To address the growing problem of plastic entering the environment, the Government of Canada is taking action to reduce plastic pollution, including banning harmful single-use plastics where warranted and based on science, as early as 2021.

The late Steven Solomon honoured at Aurora College

February 19, 2020 | from Below the Waterline - GSC at BIO

The late Steven Solomon honoured at Aurora College

Steve Solomon, a valued colleague at the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) who died in 2011, was recently honoured by Aurora College in the Northwest Territories with a plaque at the Western Arctic Research Centre in Inuvik.

Meet those leading the way in the field of air pollution science

February 11, 2020 | from Canadian STEM Femmes

Meet those leading the way in the field of air pollution science

The Exposure Assessment Section of Health Canada is a multi-disciplinary research team in the field of air pollution science. Their work supports government decision-making, academic advancement, and scientific resolution of questions related to air pollution exposure in Canada. The team includes dedicated scientists with expertise in epidemiology, geography, (bio)statistics, environmental health and modeling, engineering, and toxicology.

CFIA scientists investigate “fruitful” technology

February 10, 2020 | from Cultivating Science

CFIA scientists investigate ‘fruitful’ technology

Science at CFIA is ever-growing, always changing, and constantly improving. As our science changes, the tools, techniques and infrastructure must also evolve to meet the needs of our innovative scientists across the country.

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