Guelph Profs Making Headlines

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Prof. Matthew Hayday, History, was interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen on Sept. 18 for a story on talks being held by historians in Ottawa on Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday. Hayday said it is important to bring in varying perspectives from the public on historical issues. Hayday and about 40 other historians are preparing two books to be published by 2017. The books “will examine how national and regional holidays and commemorative events are celebrated, and what politics underlie these decisions.”

Prof. Emma Allen-Vercoe, Molecular and Cellular Biology, was interviewed by the National Post on Sept. 17 for a story examining a recent Israeli study that suggests the additives in diet soft drinks could negatively impact on cell bacteria and microorganisms living in the gut. Allen-Vercoe, who studies the ecosystem of the gut and the role it plays in keeping the body healthy, said the study shows the importance of microbiota.

Prof. Ernesto Guzman, director of the Honey Bee Research Centre, was quoted in the Toronto Star on Sept. 17 in a story looking at the deaths of honey bees in Ontario. Guzman said that honey bees play a critical role in pollinating plants in Ontario, with their pollination activities contributing about one-third of the food eaten in Ontario.

Prof. emeritus Thomas King had his most recent book, The Back of the Turtle, reviewed in the Toronto Star on Sept. 17. The book is a fictional work that examines a community trying to recover from an environmental disaster caused by a company disregarding the health of people in the pursuit of profit. The reviewer says King’s “dialogue is memorable and, ultimately, his message leaves room for hope that the human spirit is resilient.”

Prof. T. Ryan Gregory, Integrative Biology, was interviewed by National Geographic on Sept. 16 for a story on why every face is distinct. The story examined a study that suggests evolution played a role in making faces more recognizable to other people. Gregory said that while this is a possibility, the findings are not definitive. He notes genetic diversity could have risen because of recent interbreeding of previously distinct populations or even by chance.

Prof. Elizabeth Ewan, History and Scottish Studies, was interviewed by CTV News Channel Sept. 14 and CTV News (Kitchener) Sept. 12 for her analysis of the upcoming Scottish referendum. Ewan discussed why polls have shown a tight race, and how the implications are unknown if Scots vote for independence from the United Kingdom. She said a close vote either way could lead to divisions in Scotland. Ewan’s research focuses on medieval and modern Scottish history.