We are celebrating and raising the profile of scholarly milestones and research impacts from across the SFU research community.
Examples of Scholarly Impacts 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; and/or
- Changing the way we think about or understand the world around us.
We expect most of the publications that are featured to be recent impacts—however, we will also publish a transformative impact from the past, from time-to-time.
As part of SFU's Scholarly Impact of the Week, selected researchers will work with a member of the VP Research and International Office's communications and marketing team for support. We will also work with researchers to discuss how we can mobilize knowledge on their work by submitting to The Conversation Canada—one of the world's most trusted independent sources of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered directly to the public.
If you have any questions, please reach out directly by emailing email@example.com.
Temporary nature-based carbon removals can help achieve Paris Agreement
Kirsten ZickfeldFaculty of Environment
Kirsten Zickfeld is a Simon Fraser University Distinguished Professor of climate science in the Department of Geography and director of the SFU Climate Research Lab. Her research focuses on the long-term effects of human activities on climate. She recently co-led a study that determined nature-based solutions to capture carbon—such as reforestation—could help achieve Paris Agreement climate goals, but only if paired with other aggressive carbon reduction strategies.
For the study, Temporary nature-based carbon removal can lower peak warming in a well-below 2 °C scenario, recently published in Nature Communications, Zickfeld and SFU researchers worked with collaborators from Concordia University and Microsoft.
Math as a window into the natural world
Ailene MacPhersonFaculty of Science
SFU Mathematics Professor Ailene MacPherson uses mathematical and statistical tools to address questions at the intersection of evolution, ecology and epidemiology. With advanced degrees in both zoology and mathematics, she has expertise in both biological diversity and applied mathematics.
In her recent paper, Unifying Phylogenetic Birth-Death Models in Epidemiology and Macroevolution, MacPherson worked with researchers from the University of Oregon and the University of British Columbia. The paper discusses several mathematical models used to track the evolution of species, and proposes unifying these models into a single framework that can serve as a guide for scientists and mathematicians.
Tsleil-Waututh and SFU use traditional knowledge in ocean research and restoration
Leah BendellFaculty of Science
Before colonization, the coastal waters of Burrard Inlet were an abundant source of food. SFU Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology Professor Leah Bendell and graduate student Bridget Doyle, in partnership with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to study if the addition of shell hash at specific sites in the inlet would help to restore traditional food sources.
The study, An evaluation of the efficacy of shell hash for the mitigation of intertidal sediment acidification, found that the addition of shell hash helped regulate the variation in sediment pH, an important finding in the understanding of bivalve habitat.
How COVID-19 lockdowns affected crime in Vancouver
Martin AndresenFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Simon Fraser University criminologist Martin Andresen researches the geographical and social factors associated with crime. His study on Vancouver, B.C. crime during the COVID-19 lockdown revealed some predictable trends amid the sudden social experiment of the pandemic.
The article, In a world called catastrophe: the impact of COVID-19 on neighbourhood level crime in Vancouver, Canada, discusses the findings.
New science innovations to address Parkinson’s and other diseases
David VocadloFaculty of Science
Parkinson’s disease is the most commonly diagnosed neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s and may affect one in 500 people in their lifetime. Symptoms include tremors, muscle stiffness, and impaired balance and coordination that worsen over time.
Research supervised by Professor David Vocadlo and led by Postdoctoral Fellow Matthew Deen and Senior Research Associate Yanping Zhu developed new chemical biology tools that could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s. The study, A versatile fluorescence-quenched substrate for quantitative measurement of glucocerebrosidase activity within live cells was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
Breakthroughs in quantum technology happening at SFU
Stephanie SimmonsFaculty of Science
Researchers worldwide have been working to solve the challenges of harnessing quantum characteristics for complex computation for many years. Simon Fraser University Physics Professor Stephanie Simmons and her team are at the forefront of this research.
With Professor Emeritus Michael Thewalt, Postdoctoral Fellow Daniel Higginbottom, graduate student Alexander Kurkjian and collaborators at the Université de Montréal, Simmons has published groundbreaking research in Nature magazine—the world’s leading multidisciplinary science journal. Their paper, Optical observation of single spins in silicon, documents their work to demonstrate a high-performance means to link silicon qubits, an essential precursor to building a silicon spin photonically-linked quantum computer.
Whence your microbiome?
Eric JonesFaculty of Science
David SivakFaculty of Science
Everyone has a gut microbiome, full of trillions of microbes that influence our health. According to researchers, everyone’s microbiome is different—of the trillions of organisms that reside in the gut, every individual has a unique combination. How do people acquire their personalized gut microbiome? And how can people change their gut microbiome to become healthier?
Postdoctoral Fellow Eric Jones and Physics Professor David Sivak set out to answer these questions. They collaborated with William Ludington from the Carnegie Institution for Science and Jean Carlson from the University of California, Santa Barbara on their recent study, Stochastic microbiome assembly depends on context.
Why do violent crimes escalate?
Eric BeauregardFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Do not answer the phone. Do not go into the basement. Fans of scary movies may think they can predict fatal outcomes – but real life is much different.
SFU Criminologist Eric Beauregard has extensive experience interviewing violent offenders. His recent research looked into why some violent crimes turn lethal and others do not. The goal is to help law enforcement and policymakers better understand and prevent fatal crimes.
Species at risk: Understanding the threats to BC salmon
Jonathan MooreFaculty of Science
Jonathan MooreFaculty of Environment
Over the past several decades, significant human-caused pressures have threatened Pacific salmon populations. Salmon may encounter many different stressors in both their freshwater and ocean environments that put them at risk.
SFU Resource and Environmental Management Professor Jonathan Moore and Salmon Watersheds Lab researcher Kyle Wilson embarked on a study that reviewed over forty years of cascading shifts in salmon and trout populations to better understand how B.C.’s wild salmon may be changing and why.
Exposing the health threats of endocrine disrupting chemicals
Vicki MarlattFaculty of Science
Biology Professor Vicki Marlatt teaches environmental toxicology courses at Simon Fraser University in one of the few professional environmental toxicology programs in Canada. She also collaborates on multidisciplinary research to understand, inform and improve regulations on the harmful chemicals found in everyday items.
Marlatt is a member of the Intersectoral Centre for Endocrine Disruptor Analysis (ICEDA) – a multidisciplinary research network dedicated to serve as a public resource to identify, recognize, and manage endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), a group of toxins that pose various health concerns to humans and the ecosystem.
Marlatt and several other ICEDA members have compiled their latest work into a Special Issue on EDCs in the Environmental Research Journal to guide the worldwide community on research priorities and regulating actions.