Keeping Our Members Informed and Connected
Vol. 1, No. 5, December 2020
With gratitude and appreciation for our community
We can all look back, knowing with great certainty, that 2020 was a test of our courage, determination, and resiliency.

In March, Windsor-Essex launched its first health institute, at the same time a world-wide health crisis was at our doorstep. It was something we would have never anticipated, but all of you - healthcare providers, researchers, educators, students, volunteers, and our Windsor-Essex community - quickly stepped up to meet the challenge.

We launched our COVID-19 Rapid Response grant call and applications poured in. We were overwhelmed by your home-grown, innovative ideas, awarding over $400,000 in local grants with more than 100 collaborators. Some of your projects focused on the effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and healthcare workers. Some dissected best practices to help small businesses overcome crises. You contributed toward the evolution of the testing process with a portable Lab-on-a-Chip, rapid PCR, environmental testing and serology. You created locally-made hand sanitizers, engineered hands-free door handles and produced evidence based home-made masks for our community. These are just a few examples of the immense collaborative efforts put forward by you and our community partners.

Thank you to the visionary leaders of our four partner institutions for surpassing all expectations of what we can accomplish. Thank you to the dedicated and hardworking front-line workers throughout the community who continue to carry us all through. We are grateful to all those in Windsor-Essex who continue to support our healthcare leaders and each other through these difficult times.

Henry Ford is noted for saying, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” This is more than just our history, it is who we are.  We look forward to achieving more together in 2021.

On behalf of myself and our WE-SPARK staff, we wish you peace, health and happiness. You inspire us all. Stay safe and we’ll see you in 2021.

All the best to you and yours,
Dr. Lisa Porter
New software will help build and manage research projects
Some good news to close out 2020. WE-SPARK has acquired a REDCap license to provide a secure, web-based application for building and managing your research projects. REDCap is widely used by best-in-class academic research centres and government agencies around the world.

With REDCap, you can seamlessly collect, store and share PHIPA compliant health research data with collaborators efficiently and under one platform.

Record attendance marks success of biennial cancer research conference
The Windsor Cancer Research Group (WCRG) hosted its 5th Biennial International Cancer Research Conference at the end of November. Transitioned to a 3 day virtual event, a record 270 registrants participated from 5 different countries. Along with 99 research presentations, the conference also hosted an equity, diversity and inclusivity session, an online social gathering and a research information and outreach team workshop for graduate students and trainees. WCRG would like to thank everyone who attended the conference and their sponsors for making the conference a success!

Virtual Think Tank series continues
Thank you to everyone who participated in the December 4th Think Tank! Click here for an easy to read summary of Think Tank Outcomes - a quick reference for what was accomplish in just a few hours.

Mark your calendars for the 2021 Think Tank series starting on February 5th. Register on our website.

Would you like to present at a future Think Tank? Email us!
Student volunteers here to help
WE-SPARK’s Volunteer Network Coordinator, Ryan Palazzolo (UWindsor) has been working with fellow students Tejas Shinde (St. Clair College) and Vanessa Montemurri (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry – Windsor Campus) to create a network of student volunteers. They're ready to take on WE-SPARK projects in January - including data entry, social media planning, website analysis and the creation of knowledge translation tools. An exciting way to kick off 2021!

Looking for volunteers? Contact Ryan for more information.
Helping you move your research project forward
The Igniting Connections Collaboration platform was created to help field research-related requests. If you are looking for collaborators, help with research project development, research data management, access to equipment, or anything else to move your research project forward, please try this platform by clicking the “Submit a Request” button at the upper right of our WE-SPARK Health homepage.
Translating research into action
Knowledge Translation (KT) is key to sharing what we learn with others. WE-SPARK can help you throughout the KT cycle with tools, resources and workshops. Check back to our website often as we are continuously growing this section. And if you don’t see what you need, contact Adriana Baggio, WE-SPARK’s KT Research Associate for a consultation.
Researcher Spotlight
Each newsletter we will introduce you to our Core Principal Members - researchers who are currently supported as a lead on a provincially or nationally funded health project, or an investigator initiated clinical trial.
Dr. Adrian Guta
Dr. Adrian Guta is one of WE-SPARK Health Institute's Core Principal Members. An Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Windsor, he completed his Ph.D. at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto, and obtained his M.S.W at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto and his B.A. (Hon.) at the University of Toronto.

Research Focus: Social and Structural Determinants of Health, HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care; Substance Use and Harm Reduction, Community-based and Participatory Research Approaches, Bioethics, Public Health Ethics, and Research Ethics.

Member Highlights and Successes
Letting us know about the accomplishments of you and your colleagues allows us to celebrate the great work being done in our region and further build collaborations. Here are just a few of your latest successes.

Funded Projects

Bianca D’Antono (PI/PA), Lance Rappaport, University of Windsor ($30,000), Grant-in-Aid, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, BEL-AGE Phase 2: Psychological Burden and Pathological Aging in Men and Women with and without Coronary Artery Disease: Ten Years Later; (2021-2024) 

Christina M. Sheerin (PI/PA); Lance Rappaport, University of Windsor ($86,823), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Functional relations between alcohol use and mental/physical health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; (2020-2021)

Lance Rappaport, University of Windsor (PI/PA) ($66,350), Insight Development Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Implications of Phasic Emotion Dynamics for Adolescent Development and Well-Being; (2021-2023)

Publications / Articles

Abeare, C., Erdodi, L., Messa, I., Terry, D. P., Panenka, W. J., Iverson, G. L., and Silverberg, N. D. (2020). Development of embedded performance validity indicators in the NIH Toolbox Cognitive Battery. Psychological Assessment. American Psychology Association.

Brophy, J.T., Keith, M.M., Hurley, M., and McArthur, J.E. (2020) Sacrificed: Ontario Healthcare Workers in the Time of COVID-19. NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. doi/10.1177/1048291120974358.

Comí, M., Ocheje, M., Attar, S., Mu, A., Philips, B., Kalin, A., Kakosimos, K., Fang, L., Rondeau-Gagné, S., Al-Hashimi, M. (2020). Synthesis and Photocyclization of Conjugated Diselenophene Pyrrole-2,5-dione Based Monomers for Optoelectronics Macromolecules.

Im, J., Soliman, M.A.R., Alkhamees, A.F., Eaton, S., Quint, E., Shahab, S., O'Connor, A., Haberfellner, E., and Dyer, E. (2020) Cervical Spine Chondrosarcoma in an Adult with a History of Wilms Tumor. World Neurosurg. 144:117-120.
Lubanska, D., Soliman, M.A.R, Shamisa, A., DeCarvalho, A., Rodzinka, A., Nyayachavadi, A., Rondeau-Gagné, S., Kulkarni, S., and Porter, L.A. (2020) The Role of Human Endothelial Cells in the Brain Tumour Organoid (BTO) Platform as a Unique Tool in Discovery of Novel Treatment Approaches in Glioblastoma. Neurosurgery 67: 278
Mactavish, A., Mastronardi, C., Menna, R., Babb, K. A., Battaglia, M., Amstadter, A. B., & Rappaport, L. M. (revise & resubmit). The acute impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s mental health in Southwestern Ontario. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Pre-print available at 10.31234/

McArthur, Jane. Silenced and sacrificed: COVID-19 health-care workers’ secret suffering unveiled. The Conversation Canada. December 14, 2020.

Nguyen, M.H. L., DiPasquale, M., Rickeard, B.W., Yip, C.G., Greco, K.N., Kelley, E.G., and Marquardt, D. (2020) Time-Resolved SANS Reveals Pore-Forming Peptides Cause Rapid Lipid Reorganization. New Journal of Chemistry.

Ranney, R. M., Zakeri, S. E., Kevorkian, S., Rappaport, L., Chowdhury, N., Amstadter, A., Dick, D., & Berenz, E. C. (in press). Investigating relationships among distress tolerance, PTSD symptom severity, and alcohol use. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.
Rappaport, L. M., Cusack, S. E., Sheerin, C., & Amstadter, A. B. (in press). Intraindividual association of PTSD symptoms with binge drinking among trauma-exposed students. Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Appointments & Awards

Drew Marquart has been elected President of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering.

Dorota Lubanska and Mohamed Soliman were granted the Journal of Neuro-Oncology Award by The Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) for their abstract The Role of Human Endothelial Cells in the Brain Tumour Organoid (BTO) Platform as a Unique Tool in Discovery of Novel Treatment Approaches in Glioblastoma. Read the award announcement.

Marcus Drover has been awarded the 2020 John Charles Polanyi Prize in Chemistry in recognition of his work in developing cleaner energy sources as an early-career researcher in the province of Ontario.

Congratulations everyone!
Be sure to submit any news items as they happen and we will include them.
Pictures and links to details are welcome.
In the News
St. Clair among top research colleges in Canada
St. Clair College made the list of Canada's Top 50 Research Colleges in 2020, according to an annual ranking by Research Infosource Inc.

Community learns about the latest COVID-19 research from WE-SPARK's Dr. Lisa Porter and Windsor Regional Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Wassim Saad during a Coping with COVID webcast.
Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, St. Clair College & University of Windsor research team enters 2nd phase of COVID-19 study on psychological Impact on local healthcare workers.
Read more.
Research team recipient of $1.13 million NSERC project to explore the behaviours of disease-causing proteins.
Ontario considers field hospitals for long-term care residents, cites Windsor Regional Hospital & St. Clair College partnership.
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer the topic of this year's annual Cancer Education Day.
For more announcements, grant awards, new research discoveries and inspiring stories,
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