Faculty of Science News Stories 2021

Take a look back at our UCalgary News stories from the past year

In times of unprecedented events in our city, our province, and around the world, science is more important than ever. Our commitments to innovation, entrepreneurship, and providing quality learning experiences to our students continued throughout another year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our faculty, staff, and students faced 2021 with initiative, resilience, and compassion. We connected with industry partners, with our communities, and with each other in new ways to help with efforts to solve some of the major issues facing the world. Read on to discover some of the published UCalgary News stories about the incredible work done by our researchers, students, and staff in the year 2021.

Note: We did our best to capture all the published stories featuring the Faculty of Science from this past year. If we missed one, please email the link to scicomms@ucalgary.ca.

Dr. Samira Siahrostami

Novel catalyst at core of new tech aimed at increasing access to potable water

Samira Siahrostami part of international research team producing hydrogen peroxide for on-site, on-demand water treatment

graphic illustration of brain

New research shows state of consciousness may involve quantum effects

Faculty of Science research team develops quantum model to explain how an anaesthetic affects consciousness

ChemEscape team in the lab

New consulting company encourages learning through activities and games

Innovation, teamwork at heart of ChemEscape Consulting Inc.

Destroyed Tapovan Vishnugad hydroelectric plant after devastating debris flow of Feb 7, 2021.

Coalition of scientists examine cause, scope of February 2021 disaster in India

Climate change is making mountain disasters more likely in areas of increased development (Dan Shugar, Geoscience)

Kaitlyn Trepanier in the Faculty of Science greenhouse

Genomics project awarded $6M in funding for research into oilsands remediation

Doug Muench’s research investigates role of plants in removing contaminants from process-affected water

graphic illustrating Ryo Suzuki's project

‘Touchable spoken words’ bring the fantastic to life

Ryo Suzuki’s augmented reality-focused proposal wins in 2021 Snap Creative Challenge

Dr. Marcus Samuel in Faculty of Science greenhouse

UCalgary scientists produce new canola type for potentially higher crop yield

Faculty of Science biologists used gene editing to produce a shorter canola plant with more branches and flowers

Bank of Canada

Computer science and business profs advise Bank of Canada on digital currency

Interdisciplinary team selected to propose a framework that supports centralized digital cash

Dr. Paul Barclay

UCalgary’s new nano-fabrication 'foundry' will advance quantum network devices

Canada Foundation for Innovation awards $18.2 million to 5 UCalgary-led research teams for investment in cutting-edge infrastructure

Dr. Belinda Heyne in the lab

Global study investigates decontamination methods for medical masks

Research collaboration could help alleviate shortages of personal protective equipment 


International research collaboration solves puzzle of patterns in flower heads

Faculty of Science computer scientists on team that advances fundamental understanding of plant biology

Cover of Getting to Proxima b

Science fiction writing workshop led by Faculty of Science brings dreams to life

Partnership with Calgary Public Library results in anthology Getting to Proxima b


Testing hospital wastewater for COVID-19 helps catch localized outbreaks faster

Wastewater monitoring has potential to revolutionize how we track public health


Earth’s magnetic field controls space weather, shields us from solar wind

International collaboration finds most electrically charged solar wind particles are directed to Earth’s magnetic north

Manpreet Sahota

Heart-led leadership key to success for science grad

Manpreet Sahota recommends ‘following your gut’ when it comes to crafting undergraduate experience

Dr. Bogdan Knezevic

Arch Awards: Dr. Bogdan Knezevic, BSc’15

Former student athlete and Rhodes Scholar recognized with Early Career Achievement Award

Pete's Pond (Courtesy Syncrude)

New research partnership helps measure health of reclaimed wetlands

Jan Ciborowski to lead creation of assessment approaches for measuring wetland success


1971 mission launched UCalgary’s international reputation for auroral research

Faculty of Science space physicists celebrate 50th anniversary of Canadian-built satellite ISIS-II

Margaret Cramm

Study of natural hydrocarbon seep in Arctic reveals methane degrading bacteria

Underwater samples used to learn more about life on Arctic seabed

Courtesy University of British Columbia

Physics researchers achieve first-ever cooling of antimatter by laser

Rob Thompson and Tim Friesen part of team that used Canadian-built laser to chill antimatter to near absolute zero for first time

Dr. Jane Willenbring

Virtual screening chronicles researchers who are writing a new chapter for women

Faculty of Science hosts Picture a Scientist documentary and panel discussion in recognition of International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Dr. Jennifer D. Adams

New study will unearth experiences of BIPOC students in Western Canada

UCalgary scholar Jennifer D. Adams aims to transform STEM culture by sharing accounts of marginalization and survivance

artwork from Chinook Blast 2021

Artists and scientists create dazzling window displays in downtown Calgary

Art of Science exhibition inspired by scientific research at UCalgary can now be enjoyed online

Gerardo Zegers

Killam Laureate searches for permafrost in the Canadian Rockies

Gerardo Zegers is one of 28 Killam Pre-Doctoral Laureates for 2021

Courtesy Exshaw School

Project bridges science and culture for Stoney Nakoda youth

UCalgary team aims to use grant funding to bring together scientific and traditional knowledge in the Alberta Rockies

Dr. Bernhard Mayer

UCalgary-led project tackles long-standing problem in oilsands industry

Geochemistry researcher Bernhard Mayer heads multi-institutional team seeking solutions to steam generator fouling

abstract network

'Imaginary' numbers have real function in quantum world

Faculty of Science mathematician Carlo Maria Scandolo on team that showed complex numbers are necessary for distinguishing quantum states

Kendra Wannamaker

'Infinite' learning possibilities inspire creative computer science grad

Kendra Wannamaker says computer science is at its best when students incorporate personal perspectives

Synergia Biotech founders, from left: Marc Strous, Christine Sharp, Agasteswar Vadlamani and Angela Kouris.

Grounded in UCalgary research, visionary startup aims for global blue dye market

Synergia Biotech ramps up plans to produce phycocyanin, a natural source of blue for food and beverage industry

Ryan Morrill

PhD student seeks to demystify mathematics through fun outreach initiatives

Ryan Morrill describes math as being like art and science mixed together

Dr. Mindi Summers

Caught the bug? So did Zoology 435 students!

Online course takes hands-on approach to researching biodiversity

Elizabeth Elliott qualifying for Worlds U23 Championship at last years skate sprint in Mont Saint-Anne Quebec

UCalgary training sweet spot for elite skiers gearing up for world championships

Four students head to Finland to represent Canada at Nordic Junior World Ski Championships

lab equipment

Student-led project develops chemical pathway to turn CO2 into useful products

Research led by chemistry PhD student Joshua Koenig opens door to more efficiently convert the greenhouse gas to fuels and chemicals

Dr. David Eaton

UCalgary geoscientists help pioneer new method to monitor hydraulic fracturing

Novel technique used by Faculty of Science geophysical research group could significantly reduce industry’s costs, improve operations

Rachel Mclean

Grad's research results in policy recommendations for Calgary's escooter program

Rachel Mclean used data modelling, computer simulation to investigate e-scooter use downtown

Dr. Bryan Kolb

Arch Awards: Dr. Bryan Kolb, BSc’68, MSc’70, PhD

UCalgary's Arch Awards' highest honour, Distinguished Alumni Award for Lifetime Achievement, goes to world leader in the field of behavioral neuroscience

Dr. Kyla Flanagan

Kyla Flanagan’s teaching excellence honoured with McCaig-Killam Teaching Award

Her innovative teaching helps forge a path for students to get excited about scientific discovery

UCalgary campus

2021 Parex Resources Innovation Fellows announced

Six UCalgary scholars granted fellowships for research into quality of life for older adults, treatment of chronic pain, parallel reservoir simulators, and more

Jonathan Cann

Sharing chemistry’s wonders thrills science grad

Mentorship and outreach vital ingredients in Jonathan Cann’s PhD experience

Dr. Gregory Welch

Killam Emerging Research Leader Awards recognize early-career faculty

Awards celebrate discovery in epidemiology, peacebuilding and printed electronics

Dr. Belinda Heyne

Innovation is the equivalent of art – it’s creation

Peak Scholar Belinda Heyne answers questions about how innovation shapes her research and teaching practice, and why commercialization isn’t a dirty word

digital bee

Latest buzz: Interdisciplinary group wins 2021 Staff Sustainability Award

Collaborative effort leads to digital collection of native bee species

Dr. Joe Harrison

New research reveals bacteria sense heat to learn about their location

Research by Joe Harrison — together with a transdisciplinary team of researchers — reveals thermal sensing allows bacteria to control their ability to infect hosts

Underwater cold seep

Study sheds light on how life survives in Earth’s deepest, darkest environment

University of Calgary biologists probe microorganisms hidden in 'deep biosphere'

UCalgary arch

Five UCalgary researchers named Killam Annual Professors

Faculty members recognized for excellence in geoscience, sociology, kinesiology, nursing, and arts

Ghostbusters car in field

Hollywood taps UCalgary seismologist’s expertise for Ghostbusters movie

Faculty of Science earthquake expert David Eaton called upon as consultant for Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Dr. George Shimizu and graduate student working in lab

Research demonstrates value of new carbon capture technology for industrial use

Groundbreaking metal-organic framework compound ‘CALF-20’ plays a key role in capturing carbon dioxide from flue gas

Dinosaur in egg

Perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo discovered inside its fossilized egg

International team of researchers find that baby dinosaurs prepared for hatching in a manner comparable with modern-day birds

Photo by Kathleen Lalor

Notes from the Field

A day and night in the life of bats, fish, and researchers in Kananaskis Country: Join Thiago Monteiro and Chloe Christenson on their journey of discovery at UCalgary's Barrier Lake Field Station

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