McCall MacBain Postdoctoral Fellows Teaching and Leadership Program
Applications are due August 14 at 5pm
This program supports the development of leadership and educational skills of Postdoctoral Fellows, training them with evidence-based teaching methods to build the next generation of world-class instructors. This program aims to create better teachers, and in turn, better students.
The program consists of 3 training opportunities:
Monthly Workshops aimed to teach essential teaching and leaderships skills
Weekly Journal Club readings designed to supplement workshops with core papers in education cognition research
Monthly Invited speakers presenting on cutting-edge education research
The series of workshops will build a foundation for program members to create their INSPIRE course module and pursue discipline-based education research.
How and why you should write an Op/Ed (Wade Hemsworth)
This workshop will prepare Program Members for how to write an Op/Ed article on the topic of their choice. Writing an Op/Ed will help members fine tune their communication skills by writing for a lay-audience about a complex topic. Op/Eds can be published on the McCall-MacBain program website and submitted to other publication outlets (The Sil, The Spec, etc.)
How to prepare/design a presentation or lecture (Joe Kim)
In these two workshops, Joe will first describe how he plans out his lectures (before converting them to PowerPoint). He will then teach the program members how to design PowerPoint slides (including multimedia).
How to give a lecture that incorporates Education Cognition research (Faria Sana)
Faria will give some background about active learning and why it is so vital to use in the classroom, as well as practice active learning techniques in the workshop.
How to write effective multiple-choice questions (Joe Kim)
This workshop will have program members practicing how to write effective multiple-choice questions (MCQs) using Bloom’s Taxonomy
“It was an amazing immersive experience,” Dennis says about the program. “I truly believe that my participation in this program can at least in part be credited with helping me land interviews and a tenure-track faculty position at California State University.”
The first-of-its-kind program, funded by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, helps postdoctoral fellows hone their skills as future educators and academic leaders. The program was developed by Program Faculty Advisor Joe Kim and Program Manager and Research Coordinator Connie Imbault from the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior.
“Our inaugural group of Postdoctoral Fellows have already achieved amazing accomplishments, from publishing op-eds in national media outlets to securing tenure-track faculty positions,” says Connie. “We can’t wait to meet our second cohort and see the remarkable things they can do. Their success makes us so thankful to the McCall MacBain Foundation for their generous support in funding this program.”
Up to 10 Postdoctoral Fellows will participate in professional development workshops and journal club meetings, complete a discipline-based education research project and publish an op-ed about their research. Dennis was among the first-year Fellows to have an op-ed published in The Conversation Canada.
Open to all postdoctoral students in the Faculty of Science, the deadline to apply for the 2020-2021 program is Aug. 12. An online information session will be held on Aug. 5 at 11 am. The Faculty of Science will reimburse postdoctoral supervisors 20 percent of their postdoctoral fellows’ stipends during the fall and winter terms.
Here’s what other postdoctoral fellows had to say about the McCall MacBain Postdoctoral Fellows in Teaching and Leadership Program:
“Without the support of this program, I would not have had the confidence to write an op-ed, let alone submit it to The Conversation Canada and have it published. I you are interested in a career in academia, where teaching is a requirement, this program is an excellent opportunity to learn critical teaching, learning and science communication skills.”
Emily Dunford Department of Kinesiology
“I would strongly recommend the McCall MacBain program to any postdoc at McMaster who has an interest in teaching or educational research. It was a fantastic experience and a great introduction to the teaching and learning community here at Mac. I’ve started a new teaching-focused position in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and hope to be involved in the program again.”
Pat Clancy Department of Physics & Astronomy
“I had the opportunity to connect with post-doctoral fellows from other Departments, talk with them about teaching and their research and form a community that otherwise would not have been possible without the fellowship. The McCall MacBain program provided additional teaching tools that I will always carry with me. When I think about designing my lectures, I now have different perspectives of looking at the content and its delivery, at the assessments and at student engagement.”
If you’ve had a surgery postponed due to the pandemic, or one is on the horizon, there may be some work you can do right now to prepare and to help improve your postoperative outcome.
Prehabilitation, a strategy that uses exercise to improve patients’ functional capacity before surgery to help improve outcomes, is increasingly recommended for those facing scheduled surgeries, and it’s improving outcomes and experiences for patients across a wide range of situations.
There’s no guarantee, of course, but it gives patients much greater agency over their own health, and it’s never a bad idea to do what you can to lower your risk of complications following surgery.
Statistically, dying within a month after an operation accounts for 7.7 per cent of deaths globally, which makes it one of the top three factors contributing to global fatalities, trailing only heart attack and stroke.
The success of a surgical procedure depends on more than the skill of the medical staff and the complexity of the operation. It is becoming apparent that the likelihood of the patient returning to a physically and psychologically healthy state is also dependent on what they do in the weeks leading up to the surgery.
Scientists have shown that an effective way of increasing chances of success is to physically train in the time leading up to a surgery. In this time of uncertainty, when many surgeries have been delayed, prehabilitation might be an opportunity to help optimize outcomes.
Doctors are often concerned with a patients’ risk factors, like high blood pressure, blood lipid status or obesity, many of which are difficult to control. Perhaps physical fitness, something you can change with exercise training and impacts several risk factors, should be added to this list. Exercise training can improve your physical fitness incrementally in as little as two weeks, making it a viable option for people about to undergo a surgical procedure.
The current fitness of the patient is an important factor to consider when prescribing a pre-surgical exercise program, as someone with a higher fitness level will most likely be able to complete a more challenging program, such as high intensity interval training combined with strength training, and will require more activity to see physical gains. By contrast, an older, frail patient undergoing chemotherapy in preparation for a surgical procedure will be more limited in their fitness level, and may only be able to complete deep breathing exercises with a focus on strengthening their inspiratory muscles, which are respiratory muscles used when inhaling, such as the diaphragm.
Like training for a race or sporting event, prehabilitation programs are most effective when combined with nutritional and psychological interventions. Surgery induces a stress response causing an increased need for additional energy sources, which can be relieved with nutritional supplementation, such as eating a diet higher in protein.
Addressing a patient’s anxiety regarding pain management, and behavioural modifications like quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, have been shown to independently decrease the risk of postoperative complications. The best postoperative results have been observed when a multi-pronged approach, or a program designed to address all aspects of a patient’s health, has been applied.
In health care, it’s possible to switch gears. If we use prehabilitation and approach surgery like training for a race, we could see better outcomes, fewer deaths and healthier patients. This is even more important now, amid the current pandemic. With so many surgeries delayed, many patients have some extra time for prehabilitation that could improve their outcome.
What if I told you that right in your backyard there lives a creature that eats five times its weight every day and grows a thousandfold in weeks. Instinctively, you’d probably want to stay away from the gluttonous beast! However, it wouldn’t be interested in you at all — in fact, it’s a vegan. Feel safer now?
In addition, plants that are fed on by insects produce toxic chemicals to defend themselves from predators, which caterpillars must be able to render harmless. Rapid growth usually requires the best food and easiest metabolism. So, how does a creature that feeds on toxic plants and produces detergent in its gut grow so rapidly?
There is no delicate way of putting it: caterpillars are able to do this by pooping (not addressed in this article) and peeing effectively. Until now, how insects pee has been studied in mosquitoes and flies, but not caterpillars. But you can’t learn how a whale pees by studying a camel.
Caterpillar kidney design
For the past five years, members of Michael O'Donnell’s lab at McMaster University (including myself) have been investigating how excretion works in caterpillars. It turns out that caterpillar kidneys — outpouchings of the gut termed Malpighian tubules — have several cool adaptations that enable caterpillars to safely consume so much food.
Caterpillar kidneys are much more complex when compared to those of other insects — they are closer in complexity to human kidneys than those of adult moths and butterflies of the same species. Generally, animal kidneys require water flow from blood into the kidney because toxic wastes need to be dissolved in water so they can be excreted.
Caterpillar kidneys are connected to the intestine, enabling them to extract water from their food instead of using water from their blood. In fact, not only do caterpillars power their excretion with gut water, they use their kidneys to transfer some of the gut water into their blood, which helps them to grow rapidly.
However, this arrangement doesn’t work when there’s not enough water in the gut. In this case, the caterpillar kidney switches to using the water from their blood, so it can work uninterrupted. This allows their kidney to use water from the caterpillar’s blood to produce urine.
Our work at McMaster University shows us how caterpillars have highly efficient kidneys that enable their growth. Understanding this can help us interfere with their feeding on our crops. Of particular importance is how the caterpillar kidney is different from that of other animals (including us). This will ensure that any control strategies implemented will not affect the bees, birds and humans in the same habitat.
Now, more than ever, while faced with COVID-related food shortages, we must be cognizant of where our food comes from and what it takes for it to get to us. Finding out how caterpillars pee will help us put a dent in that $470 billion of crops we lose to insect pests every year.