Updated weekly, SFU's Scholarly Impact of the Week is selected by the Office of the Vice-President, Research and International to celebrate scholarly milestones and research impacts from across the SFU research community.
Examples can include: publishing a paper in a high-impact journal; patenting an invention; debuting a new performance piece; publishing a monograph or book; changing a government policy; or changing the way we think about or understand the world around us. We expect most of these to be "recent" impacts, but will also publish a transformative impact from the past, from time to time.
A novel idea to solve the “Hubble tension”
Levon PogosianFaculty of Science
Karsten Jedamzik (Université de Montpellier)
Cosmologists determine the current expansion speed of the universe in two ways. The first is based on the prediction of the standard cosmological model tuned to fit the exquisitely accurate cosmic microwave background data. The second is by directly observing the rate at which distant galaxies are moving away from us.
With both methods becoming more precise over the last few years, a significant disagreement emerged between the two. Resolving this discrepancy, known as the “Hubble tension,” has become the most pressing problem of cosmology. SFU physics professor Levon Pogosian and Karsten Jedamzik from the Université de Montpellier proposed that primordial magnetic fields, which have long been expected to exist in the universe, could help to reconcile the two measurements. Their paper, Relieving the Hubble Tension with Primordial Magnetic Fields, was recently published in Physical Review Letters.
Improving medical imaging for better outcomes
Ghassan HamarnehFaculty of Applied Sciences
Improving medical imaging and computer learning means more efficient and accurate interpretation of medical data. Computing science professor Ghassan Hamarneh specializes in medical image analysis and developing AI technologies for healthcare and biomedical applications. He and colleagues recently published Deep semantic segmentation of natural and medical images: a review, which evaluates current imaging approaches and suggests directions for future research.
Central bank communication that works
Luba PetersenFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Economics professor Luba Petersen’s research focuses on expectations and decision making in macroeconomic environments. Her recent study with Bank of Canada economist Oleksiy Kryvtsov explored the effects of monetary policy and central bank communication to stabilize and guide markets. Their paper, Central Bank Communication That Works: Lessons from Lab Experiments, was published in the Journal of Monetary Economics.
Raising awareness and opportunities to reduce food waste
Tammara SomaFaculty of Environment
In Canada, household food waste can be as high as 20%. This impacts the food supply chain, energy, resources and food security. In the first study of its kind, REM professor and co-founder of SFU’s Food Systems Lab Tammara Soma applied a consumer marketing framework to understand and develop more effective interventions to reduce food waste. Working with colleagues Belinda Li and Dr. Virginia Maclaren, their research, An evaluation of a consumer food waste awareness campaign using the motivation opportunity ability framework was recently published in Resources, Conservation and Recycling.
Optimizing social learning networks
Tenzin DoleckFaculty of Education
Social learning networks are ubiquitous in our contemporary hyper-connected reality. News and social feeds, forums and FAQs make it easy to disseminate and gather information. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) deliver education online to vast numbers. Tenzin Doleck and colleagues are studying ways to optimize social learning networks as an important, collective source of wisdom and ingenuity. Their study Evaluating the efficiency of social learning networks: Perspectives for harnessing learning analytics to improve discussions, was recently published in Computers and Education.
Difference Relates: Allegory, Ideology, and the Anthropocene
Caroline LesjakFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Our contemporary realities are exceedingly complex. Interconnected problems like climate change, the broader environmental crisis, and the ongoing expansion of global capitalism are multidimensional and difficult to comprehend. In her article, "Difference Relates: Allegory, Ideology, and the Anthropocene", SFU English professor and department chair Carolyn Lesjak discusses the recent book Allegory and Ideology by Fredric Jameson, a renowned Marxist theorist and literary critic. Lesjak discusses Jameson's theory of allegory as a ‘social symptom’ of our postmodern, global world and as an attempt to understand and define a world that is at once of our own making yet truly alien to us. In addition to her work in Marxist theory, Lesjak is a scholar of nineteenth-century British literature and culture. She has recently published The Afterlife of Enclosure: British Realism, Character, and the Commons (Stanford UP, 2021), which examines the material basis of character in Victorian literature and culture and its relationship to the enclosure movement and notions of the commons.
The need for GIScience in mapping COVID-19
Leah RosenkrantzFaculty of Environment
Nadine SchuurmanFaculty of Environment
Since the start of COVD-19 pandemic, real-time mapping of cases has served as an effective tool for communicating the disease’s impact. However, available data are often messy and inconsistent. Due to privacy restrictions, data are reported at the municipal or regional level, which doesn’t provide a clear picture of transmission and risk. Geographic Information (GI) scientists Leah Rosenkrantz, Nadine Schuurman and colleagues suggest using a GIScience approach to improve case tracking and reporting, and reveal how COVID-19 will have a long-term impact on global health. Their paper, The need for GIScience in mapping COVID-19, was recently published in the journal Health and Place.
Pascal Haegeli: Making models more useful for avalanche forecasting
Pascal HaegeliFaculty of Environment
Pascal Haegeli is an assistant professor of resource and environmental management at SFU and a renowned expert in avalanche safety research. He and his team are working on methods and approaches for making computer models that simulate the evolution of the seasonal snowpack more accessible for avalanche forecasters. In the study, Snow profile alignment and similarity assessment for aggregating, clustering, and evaluating snowpack model output for avalanche forecasting, he presents an algorithm that allows us to summarize simulations and compare them to observations in a meaningful way.
Faranak Farzan: A Novel Treatment for Youth Depression
Faranak FarzanFaculty of Applied Sciences
Mechatronic Systems Engineering Professor Faranak Farzan is the inaugural Chair in Technology Innovations for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health. She is also the founder and scientific director of the eBrain Lab at SFU where she is working with an interdisciplinary team focused on effective therapeutic solutions for youth mental health and addiction recovery. Her recent study, Neurophysiological markers of response to theta burst stimulation in youth depression, explored the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation, (noninvasive, targeted magnetic pulses) to understand the neurophysiology of depression and assess its potential as a treatment for depression in youth and in the wider population.
Judith Zaichkowsky: The convenience of shopping via voice AI
Judith ZaichkowskyBeedie School of Business
Today's consumers value convenience: The less time and effort they spend on a purchase, the better. At the same time, Artificial Intelligence is taking convenience to the next level as customers outsource their decisions to bots and algorithms. Beedie School of Business professor Judith Zaichkowsky and Philipp Klaus from the University of Monaco studied a new model of AI-influenced decision-making and published their findings. The convenience of shopping via voice AI: Introducing AIDM suggests that managers need to change the way they interpret customers' decision-making processes in the new, AI-influenced marketplace.