Category Research spotlights

Research Projects with Dr. Suzanne Hood: Changing the teaching methods in U.S. community colleges and publishing a review about sleep disturbance

“Making a difference by changing the way we are teaching the next generation”

Dr. Suzanne HoodDr. Suzanne Hood is currently on the second year of a five years’ project which includes various collaborators including Dr. Kerry Hull about changing the education system in community colleges in the US. The research focuses on one particular class: Anatomy and Physiology, a pre-requisite course for students wishing to purse nursing or other allied health professions. Available data suggests that failure among students currently rests at 50%, leading researchers to reflect on the cause(s) of such an alarming rate. An example of a group less likely to succeed would be first generation students as they will tend to identify as more anxious and be more doubtful of their likelihood to succeed. With her strong background in psychology, Dr. Hood brings in a significant expertise to analyze what practices are better, what group of individuals are doing better and getting feedback from the professors to make distinctions between different learning types and memories in humans. The research will hopefully identify and help students better understand the subject and content of the course all while more appropriately storing the information delivered to them. As part of this research, Dr. Hood and her team collect data from the community college instructors as well as the students on the impact(s) of using evidence-based teaching activities. The goal is to better equip, through coaching, instructors on how to use evidence-based teaching methods such as peer-to-peer teaching in their Anatomy and Physiology classes; decreasing their reliance on traditional approaches such as simple lecturing. The study is not only going to help the educators and helping Suzanne realize her own teaching methods and how she can improve so student can succeed in her class.

In addition to this significant collaboration to evidence-based teaching methods, Dr. Hood currently oversees a group of undergraduate students making a detailed review of the literature available on sleep disturbance in individuals of 65 years old and above. Research has shown that more than 30-50% of people within this age range have troubles sleeping, while providing very little explanation. Sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and sleep disturbance has been known to cause cognitive challenges as well as affecting our physical health. This comes to no surprise considering how mind and body are interconnected. Students that are part of her research group are currently exploring what available research evidence exist regarding the various treatments available including prescribed drug therapy, alternative medicine (acupuncture, cannabis, etc.), cognitive therapy, and more, with a focus on what has been published and what may be missing in the literature. Dr. Hood’s assessment of the students’ exercise will allow her to guide sleep researchers in new studies that may help fill in holes in our current knowledge of the overall matter: sleep disturbance among the elderly. The biggest question is what is currently working and helping the older generation. The review will help to show how much scientific evidence exists for various treatments, and sleep researchers could use this information to guide new studies that would fill in gaps in current knowledge.

“The undergraduate students at Bishops are doing amazing work and at the same time, they’re acquiring experience”

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Welcoming New Faculty Member Dr. Sarathi Weraduwage: Establishing Plant Biochemistry Research at Bishop’s University.

“We need to optimize metabolic pathways in plants to ensure sustainable production of food and other plant products in the future”

Dr. Sarathi WeraduwageDr. Sarathi Weraduwage joined Bishop’s University in 2022 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. She is already well-known for her previous work at Michigan State University as a postdoctoral researcher and research assistant professor where she studied isoprene, a volatile hemiterpene made by some plants, as well as the relationship between photosynthesis and plant growth specifically in the model plant Arabidopsis. Her work on isoprene helped redefine its role as a signaling molecule. Dr. Weraduwage has published many papers, and supervised and mentored many students.

Dr. Weraduwage hopes to establish a highly collaborative, top-notch research program in Plant Biochemistry and Physiology at Bishops University. As a Plant Scientist, the overarching goal of her research program at Bishop’s University is to discover biochemical and physiological strategies to enhance growth, productivity and resilience to stress in plants under future climate conditions. “I have always been fascinated by the immense diversity of growth habits in plants, the shear complexity of their metabolic (biochemical) pathways and their adaptability to varying micro- and macro-environments. Plants are so important to sustain life on earth. They nourish the entire world, provide the oxygen we need to breathe, recycle nutrients, and produce chemicals important for pharmaceutical and other industries”. Dr. Weraduwage explains that the negative effects of climate change on plant growth will pose a significant threat to meeting the demand for food and other resources posed by the ever-increasing global population. Her lab will address these challenges by targeting and optimizing important metabolic pathways in plants to improve stress tolerance, growth and yield under future environmental conditions.

Recently, Dr. Weraduwage was awarded an FRQNT Research Support for New Academics Grant to study novel roles of isoprene. She has also been awarded a Bishop’s University Research and Creative Activity Grant to carry out a collaborative research project on improving crop productivity under heat stress. To facilitate biotechnological research and the use of genetically engineered plants, Dr. Weraduwage is also working towards establishing a Plant Biosafety level 2 research laboratory and hopes to develop a well-equipped Plant Research Facility in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry in the future.

A key focus of Dr. Weraduwage’s research program is to provide undergraduates with meaningful and high-quality research opportunities so that they can apply their acquired knowledge in research and achieve their academic and career objectives. Second year Bishop’s University student, Janick Boily, will be the first summer student in Dr. Weraduwage’s lab. Janick has received an American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) to conduct a 10-week research project in Plant Biology. The ASPB-SURF will also provide one-year free membership in the ASPB and funding for the student to present their findings at the 2024 ASPB Plant Biology conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.

If you’re interested in learning more about plants and their biochemistry, and how to use biotechnologies to improve plant growth and productivity and their uses in industry, you can take some of Dr. Weraduwage’s classes: Introduction Cell and Molecular Biology (BIO196), Plant Physiology (BIO 345), Plant Bioinformatics – Principles and Practical Approaches (BCH342), Plant Biotechnology for Crop Improvement (BCH460) and Plant Biochemistry for Human Health and Nutrition (BCH317). If you are interested in carrying out undergraduate or graduate research in Plant Science, email Dr. Weraduwage:

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Do you have eTick?


Ticky-Tick, it is the month of coming out for ticks! From April to November, these little arthropods will come for you. From adventurous people to dog walkers, ticks will judge no one for their next meal.

In North America, there are dozens of species of ticks most of which are rarely encountered by humans. The species inhabiting areas frequented the most by humans are the blacklegged tick, the Western blacklegged tick, the American dog tick, the lone star tick, and the brown dog tick. Many tick species carry pathogens but not all of them can carry pathogens that can cause disease in humans and domestic animals. But how can you determine which ones do?

What is eTick?
eTick is an identification tool developed at Bishops University by Dr. Jade Savage, professor in the department of biology& biochemistry. eTick can rapidly identify the ticks you encounter and provide information on the health risks they pose. Once identified, your contribution will immediately appear on our interactive map. By using this specific tick identification tool, not only will you get a personalized service for the tick you submit but you will also be contributing to public health surveillance and investigation of ticks in your area.

Where can we download eTick?
By downloading the free eTick app for iOS and Android, become part of the surveillance team! You can also click here to go directly on the website.

etick QR Code

Who works for eTick?
While the platform is housed at Bishop’s University under the management of Dr. Savage, the eTick team includes collaborators at five other Universities, each one overseeing the activities of a regional team of tick identifiers. Dr Savage and Jérémie Bouffard (eTick project coordinator) coordinate eTick activities (including training for all regional teams) and supervise all QC personnel. In any given year, over 10 students and research professionals are employed as eTick regional identifiers in Canada. For the QC team, eTick prioritizes BU students whenever possible.

etick team


Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.

Jaeden Bardati, Bishop’s Graduate 2023: Accepted in the PhD Physics Program at Caltech

jaeden_bardati“What could satiate your curiosity more than discovering the most fundamental rules by which our universe is bound to follow?”

Jaeden has always been curious and interested in math, but his interest in physics did not flourish fully until he came to Bishop’s University. Through his classes, extra-curricular research, and interactions with the physics & astronomy community at Bishop’s, he realized that (Astro)physics is the subject for him.

The close-knit community and excellent research opportunities at Bishop’s played a significant role in his acceptance into graduate school. Due to the small department size, it is quite common to interact with the professors and graduate students which allowed him to see first-hand what graduate school was like, along with discussing physics outside of the regular curriculum with the great minds working at Bishop’s.

If he could give one piece of advice to aspiring graduate students (particularly in physics & astronomy), it would be to get into research as early as possible and find a good faculty member to mentor them through it. Small liberal arts universities, such as Bishop’s University, are best for this as they give more research and mentorship opportunities. Jaeden had the good fortune of doing research directed by Dr. John Ruan, whom he considers to be a great mentor and to whom he owes a lot for his success thus far.

Student Jaeden Bardati is deeply grateful to have been accepted into a fully-funded California Institute of Technology PhD Physics program along with a few other graduate programs including the PSI master’s program at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He is eagerly looking forward to immersing himself in physics and embarking on this next chapter of his life with enthusiasm and determination. He chose Caltech largely because of its strength in gravitational wave research and theoretical astrophysics in general.

Big news before leaving for his new adventure:

Jaeden and Dr. John Ruan are currently in the process of submitting a scientific paper for publication, in collaboration with Dr. Haggard (McGill University) and Dr. Tremmel (Yale University) in which he is the first author. Their research will help astronomers locate black hole mergers after obtaining a gravitational wave signal from future low-frequency detectors such as the space-based ESA mission: Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA).


Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.

Fondation Arbour Scholarship Laureates for 2022-23

The Office of Research and Graduates Studies is happy to share that all three students’ applications that Bishop’s University brought forward to Fondation Arbour have been awarded a Master’s Arbour Scholarship for 2022-23.

Congratulations to:

– Julien Houle, M.Sc. in Physics under the supervision of Dr. Valerio Faraoni.

– Michael Matesic, M.Sc. in Physics under the supervision of Dr. Jason Rowe.

– Poonam Sathe, M.Sc. in Computer Science (course-based stream).


michael_matesicMichael Matesic, M.Sc. in Physics under the supervision of Dr. Jason Rowe

Bayesian Assessment of Kepler’s Exoplanet Candidates with Simulation-Based Inference
Michael Matesic is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Physics at Université de Montréal under the joint supervision of Dr. Laurence Perreault-Levasseur and Dr. Jason Rowe. The focus of Michael’s research combines simulation-based inference with machine learning and evidence-driven Bayesian statistics to assess the reliability of purported exoplanet transit signatures. Michael received his M.Sc. in Physics from Bishop’s University and B.Sc. in Honours Co-operative Physics and Astronomy from the University of Waterloo.





julien_houleJulien Houle, M.Sc. in Physics under the supervision of Dr. Valerio Faraoni

Modified gravity and effective thermodynamics of gravity
Is Einstein’s general relativity the correct model for gravity? If not, alternative models are relevant to be explored. During his master’s degree, Julien will be exploring different models, including f(R) gravity and scalar-tensor gravity. He’ll be studying universes expanding at different rates in different directions, with the goal to understand their evolution better and try to view them through Valerio Faraoni’s effective thermodynamics of gravity emerging framework.





poonam_sathePoonam Sathe, M.Sc. in Computer Science | Course-based stream

Poonam Sathe obtained her master’s in computer science from Bishop’s University in 2022. The Fondation Arbour Scholarship allowed her to devote her full attention to search for position in the computer science industry and enhanced her knowledge of programming in the process. She currently works as a full Stack Developer at MDF Commerce.

The Fondation Arbour Scholarship competition is now underway! Apply for the internal phase by May 15th at noon. See full details about the scholarship on the website for the Office of Research and Graduates Studies

Welcoming new faculty member Dr. Vivian Valencia: Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Action.

“How can ‘lighthouses’ enable a transformation towards sustainable food and farming systems?” This is the key question that drives Dr. Valencia

Dr. Vivian Valencia joined Bishop’s University as a Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Action at the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) program in October 2022. The SAFS program is a new program that just launched this past fall semester, offering majors, minors, certificates and tailor-made master’s degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems ( Dr. Valencia explains that this program is quite unique and exciting because it places emphasis on improving the sustainability of all aspects of agriculture and food systems, focusing on the social, economic and environmental aspects of agriculture. As parts of SAFS, she created her first class on food systems, AGR11 ‘Lighthouse Farms for Sustainable Futures’, which started this Winter session 2023. In this brand-new course, students develop critical thinking skills to analyze food and farming systems from social and ecological perspectives. Students also discuss how ‘extraordinary’ cases in food and farming systems— ‘lighthouses’—inspire positive visions for what (more) sustainable futures may look like, and how ‘lighthouses may shine light on plausible pathways towards desirable and sustainable food and farming systems.

Dr. Valencia explains that the current food system is an important drivers of climate change—responsible for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions—and also of the biodiversity loss crisis. Food systems are neither working for the environment or people, both in terms of nutrition and social justice and equity outcomes. Reforming our food systems is key to tackle these crises. This calls for a systems-level change; that means not only reforming how food is produced but also the whole supply chain, all the way to our consumption habits. This won’t happen in small incremental changes (we simply don’t have the time given the climate and biodiversity crises!); we need rapid, structural and value changes. This is what Dr. Valencia calls a (radical) food system transformation.

Solutions to the limitations of our current food system will require new visions for the future, collaborations from stakeholders across the value chain and, above all, it will require disruption. Good disruption, says Dr. Valencia, the kind that makes us think differently about what is possible. Dr. Valencia seeks this ‘good disruption’ in ‘lighthouse’ farms and food systems initiatives. This way ‘lighthouse’ farms, and other ‘lighthouse’ initiatives in food and farming systems, may show the way forward, away from the undesirable aspects of our dominant food system and onto new, more sustainable pathways.

Dr. Valencia’s research on ‘lighthouses’ started when she was an Assistant Professor at Wageningen University (Netherlands), where her group pioneered the “Global Network of Lighthouse Farms” (, which brings together exemplary farms and foodscapes from around the world that have found radical solutions to address the sustainability challenges we currently face. This global network serves as a platform for collaboration with farmers, policy makers and other food system stakeholders. It is also an ‘outdoor classroom and laboratory’ for shared learning with real practitioners. Dr. Valencia continues her engagement with the Global Network of Lighthouse Farms as a Research Partner.

Dr. Valencia is continuing her exploration of lighthouses in the food system. She is now focusing on the Canadian context with the aim of identifying local farms and food system initiatives that are showing new, more sustainable ways of operating in the local context. Her students in AGR11 ‘Lighthouse Farms for Sustainable Futures’ have already pointed her to many interesting examples in the region.

Ultimately, through her teaching and research, Dr. Valencia wants to inspire other people to think differently about what kinds of positive futures are possible—also as a way of escaping dystopian views of our future and to assuage the ‘eco-anxiety’ that some students experience when learning about the issues that plague our food systems. She hopes that her teaching and research will enable students to become future changemakers to lead the change needed towards sustainable food systems.

“We need a radical change—there is no time for small, incremental changes”


Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.

Welcoming new faculty member Dr. Yasir Malik: Establishing hands-on cybersecurity defense program at Bishop’s

“My first-class assignment I give to my students is to watch Snowden”

Dr. Yasir Malik is no stranger to Bishop’s University welcoming environment as he was once a post-doctoral research fellow at Bishop’s University in 2013. Before arriving at Bishops, he was an assistant professor for Concordia University in Edmonton and taught at New York Institute of technology as well. His classes and research at Bishops University are focusing on machine learning and cybersecurity.

Yasir explains that the major problem with cyberattacks usually stems from software vulnerability and accordingly, more trained experts to solve these growing problems are needed. Canada is lacking trained professionals, there is a need to invest and develop programs that can become future leaders in the domain.  Grants, collaborations and working closely with the government will be important in the next few years to implement protocols. Right now, no other program exists in any Quebec’s institutions to train the next generation of workers. Bishop’s University will be the first.

Dr. Malik wants to establish the first hands-on lab in the province of Quebec. He is looking forward to applying for the Discovery Grants, NSERC Alliance a collaboration with University de Sherbrooke and planning to apply to the CFI grant as his next step. These grants will provide the funding to start a new cyber-lab so that students can gain hands-on experience. The center will be an analytical lab aimed or intended to attract and train students and professionals as well as build or improve new models for software security.

Yasir will soon have his own lab website displaying upcoming projects and attracting future students to apply to graduate studies. With the start-up fund supported by Bishop’s University, he will have two graduate students under his supervision starting in September 2023.

Right now, he has 100% attendance to his class despite it not being mandatory. Students are keen to learn about the opportunities available in the cybersecurity domain.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc. supporting the Research Office





Élodie Lescure receives the NSERC scholarship: Unveiling the cosmic origin of the heaviest elements

“Receiving the NSERC showed me that I had potential in research and was a sign that I was supported by my institution”

Élodie Lescure started her M.Sc. in Physics in September 2022 in the lab of Dr. John Ruan. She chose Bishops because of its vast expertise in physics research and the amazing mentors who helped her develop her full potential and broaden her critical thinking.  Once she arrived, she fell in love with the beauty of the campus and the great resources available.   Élodie also represents Bishop’s on  the Graduate Student Committee of the Canadian Astronomical Society .

The vastness of the Universe has always fascinated Élodie, and it was clear from the very beginning that astrophysics was her chosen field. Because so much is still unknown, she can be part of the exciting adventure of making new discoveries.  Her study topic focuses on neutron stars mergers and if they are dominant site of production for heavy elements. We know that our world is built from these elements, but the biggest question is: Where do they come from? What is already known is that neutron star mergers do produce heavy elements, but there is mounting evidence that this is not the only source of heavy elements in the Universe. Élodie is making connections by directly comparing the heavy elements produced in GW170817 (which is two neutron stars colliding producing a kilo nova) to that of the Milky Way.

Élodie is planning to finish her degree  during the summer of 2024. She is also registered in the Graduate Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization part time. She is using the tools learned in this program to help organize a viewing event on Bishop’s campus for the total solar eclipse of April 2024. Élodie would like to continue her studies at the doctoral level in the area of multi-messenger astrophysics. In yet more exciting news, , Élodie has also been accepted to the Vatican Observatory Summer School where she will  learn to work with large scale data, tools for accessing and analyzing images and datasets with hands-on experience with data analysis for their own astronomical projects.

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc. representing the Research Office

Bishop’s hires Dr. Joachim Jean-Jules as new Director of Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Dear members of the Bishop’s community,

It is my pleasure to announce the University has hired Dr. Joachim Jean-Jules as Director of its Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS), to support our campus researchers in their quest for academic excellence. 

Dr. Jean-Jules is keen to begin a dialogue with Bishop’s University researchers to hear about their priorities and their needs and how ORGS can best support them.

The University is very grateful to the Dean of Science, Dr. Kerry Hull, who assumed the duties of the ORGS Director on an interim basis. I also want to commend Dr. Samia Mihoub, who was until recently our Research Grants Officer, for her exemplary work over the last years.  We also extend our thanks to Jimmy Couturier, the Graduate Studies Coordinator, and Blazena Sokol, the Administrative Assistant, for their unwavering commitment and heightened efforts during the interim period.

Dr. Jean-Jules holds a Ph. D. in Business Administration from the Université de Sherbrooke, an MBA from Université du Québec à Montréal as well as a Master’s in Project Management from Université du Québec. He was until recently Research Director at the Canadian Institute for Entrepreneurship and Management (CIEM).

Please join me in extending our warmest Bishop’s welcome to Dr. Jean-Jules and wishing him a great deal of success in his crucial task.

Dr. Andrew Webster
Vice-Principal, Academic and Research 

Dr. Jason Rowe appointed as Canada Research Chair in Exoplanet Astrophysics for a second term

Headshot of Dr. Jason RoweBishop’s University is pleased to announce that Dr. Jason Rowe, of the Physics and Astronomy Department, has been renewed as the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Exoplanet Astrophysics for an additional five years.

This support from the National Canada Research Chairs allows Dr. Rowe and Bishop’s students and researchers involved with Dr. Rowe’s Exoplanet Research Lab to continue to discover and characterize exoplanets. Understanding exoplanets’ origins and composition may help determine the existence of other habitable planets and life beyond Earth.





Carina Nebula image taken by the JWST. The image is divided horizontally by a curved line like a mountain range forming orange-brown clouds at the bottom of the image. The top of image is blue with bright stars of different sizes speckled across.

Due to his outstanding contributions to exoplanet astrophysics, Dr. Rowe is among a select group of researchers with access to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which can see farther across space and time than its predecessor, Hubble.

Over the next five years, Dr. Rowe will lead the Canadian POET (Photometric Observations of Extrasolar Transits mission) exoplanet mission and will be a Co-Investigator for NASA’s New Frontiers Pandora mission and for Canada’s CASTOR (The Cosmological Advanced Survey Telescope for Optical and UV Research) project.

Bishop’s University congratulates Dr. Rowe on this recognition of academic excellence. Learn more about Dr. Rowe’s research here.

Sonia Patenaude
Communications Manager | 819-342-2587