Dec. 22, 2023

Most-read research and news stories of 2023

Among highlights were the discovery of the potential of vitamin D to help prevent dementia, a funding announcement to create a new Master of Physician Assistant program, the launch of the major One Child Every Child research initiative, the appointment of 22 UCalgary Research Excellence Chairs, and more
Dementia research

Researchers explored the relationship between a common health supplement and dementia in more than 12,000 participants.

UCalgary files

In the most-read research and news story of the year, researchers at UCalgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the University of Exeter in the U.K. explored the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and dementia in more than 12,000 participants. This national research project found that people who reported taking vitamin D supplements may have a lower risk of dementia. While vitamin D showed promise in all groups, the team found the associations with lower rates of development of dementia were significantly greater in females, and also greater in people with normal cognition, compared to those who reported signs of mild cognitive impairment. Changes to cognition have been linked to a higher risk of dementia. Read the article 

This was one of the 10 most-read research and news stories of the year at UCalgary, based on Google Analytics. Here’s what else topped the analytics chart in 2023.

Master of Physician Assistant

Ed McCauley speaks at a Foothills Campus press conference, while Jason Copping, seated, left, and Demetrios Nicolaides look on.

UCalgary files

UCalgary Master of Physician Assistant program funded by province

Funding for 40 seats to create the Cumming School of Medicine’s Master of Physician Assistant program was among the highlights for UCalgary as part of an Alberta-wide post-secondary targeted enrolment expansion. The provincial government announcement added $6.8 million to fund 40 seats for the long-awaited program, which has been in the planning stages for a number of years as a key strategy to ease a shortage of doctors in the province. Read the article

Natalie and Everly Tram with Tommy Akinnawonu.

Natalie and Everly Tram with Tommy Akinnawonu.

UCalgary files

University of Calgary awarded largest research grant in its history

The University of Calgary earned a $125-million grant from the Government of Canada for child health and wellness research, helping us launch the One Child Every Child initiative. One Child Every Child will focus on improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, infants and preschoolers to ensure better beginnings. It will investigate precision health and wellness, improving the journey from diagnosis through treatment for kids with chronic and complex medical needs. And it will support children with neurodevelopmental and mental-health conditions to help them shift from vulnerable to thriving. Read the article 

UCalgary Research Chairs

Aerial photograph of the University of Calgary’s main campus.

UCalgary files

22 UCalgary faculty appointed UCalgary Research Excellence Chairs

In July, 22 UCalgary faculty members were appointed as chairs of the prestigious new UCalgary Research Excellence Chairs program. These appointments highlight the university's commitment to fostering cutting-edge research and innovation across various disciplines. The new program provides significant funding to support top-tier researchers who advance knowledge, address critical societal challenges, and enhance the university's research reputation on a global scale. Read the article

Drug-resistant parasite research

PhD candidate Abhinaya Venkatesan, left, and John Gilleard led the study.

UCalgary files

New study finds drug-resistant parasites are widespread in pet dogs across U.S.

Researchers at UCalgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine published a collaborative study showing that hookworms are resistant to one of the most important drugs to treat this potentially life-threatening parasite. Drug resistance hasn’t previously been considered a major problem for companion animal internal parasite control. This finding may have implications for Canadian domestic dogs as hookworm cases rise on this side of the border. Read the article

Barbie movie

2023 Barbie The Movie Doll Pink Western Outfit.

Mattel, Inc.

For better and for worse: Feminist scholars weigh in on Barbie’s legacy

From her earliest days, when she landed on store shelves in 1959, the iconic Barbie doll has been a controversial toy. Eternal criticism has centred around the unachievable body image Barbie epitomizes, ingraining unhealthy societal notions as to the idealized female body which the little girls who love her can never live up to. But Barbie’s defenders will argue the doll has had more of a positive influence over the decades. Given the feminist bent of the movie, we put the question of Barbie’s legacy to a few of UCalgary’s prominent feminist voices: Has Barbie’s influence been more positive or negative, culturally? Read the article

Royal Society Fellows

Clockwise from left: Frank Cheng, David Hodgins, Jennifer Love, Marcello Tonelli, Venkataraman Thangadurai, Nicole Letourneau, Carolyn Emery.

A record 7 UCalgary scholars named Fellows of Royal Society of Canada

Seven UCalgary faculty members were among those to receive the prestigious honour, the greatest number ever in one year for our institution. Recognized for their notable scholarly, scientific or artistic advancements are Dr. Frank Cheng, PhD; Dr. Carolyn Emery, PhD; Dr. David Hodgins, PhD; Dr. Nicole Letourneau, PhD; Dr. Jennifer Love; PhD; Dr. Venkataraman Thangadurai, PhD; and Dr. Marcello Tonelli, MD. They were inducted into the RSC at a ceremony in November. Read the article 

3D printing

Parisa Bazazi, left, and Hossein Hejazi pose for a photo at a conference on Fluid Dynamics.

UCalgary files

UCalgary researchers build 3D-printed materials with liquids

A new approach to 3D printing could open doors for everything from energy storage to tissue engineering. Schulich School of Engineering researchers say printing with liquids is simple, non-invasive and can be accomplished in any laboratory without the need of external forces, sophisticated equipment, or special types of adhesive materials. By adding nanoparticles to water and chemical compounds, or surfactants molecules, to oil, they've made a spongy material that resembles miniaturized versions of tube sponges found in oceans. Read the article 


President's Awards

From left: Mathieu Chin, Caroline Dawoud, Pamela Farrell, Melody N. Grohs.

Jasmine McDermott

Jasmine McDermott

UCalgary files

Class of 2023: Meet our spring 2023 President’s Award winners

The President’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership was established in 2008 to recognize exceptional graduating students who have a record of outstanding academic achievement and leadership, and who have made significant contributions to our community. Read about spring 2023 recipients Dr. Mathieu Chin, Caroline Dawoud, Dr. Pamela Farrell and Dr. Melody N. Grohs. Read the article. Read about the fall 2023 recipient of the President's Award, Jasmine McDermott.




Statue of Socrates, known as the Father of Western Philosophy, who emphasized ethics in his teachings.

Flickr photo by OZinOH published under Creative Commons licence

Transdisciplinary UCalgary team investigates ethical use of AI in post-secondary

Programs like ChatGPT are the next evolution of learning tools, and with the help of a 2022 University of Calgary Teaching and Learning grant from the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD’09, and her research team are digging into how professors can help students ethically use those tools. Data collection starts in January 2024, but the team's literature reviews have already found that having professors become aware of the tools and having them weigh in on how the tools can be used in their own disciplines is important. Read the article

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