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Images of Research Competition 2016

University of Alberta graduate students made 114 submissions to the Images of Research Competition 2016. The submissions highlighted that graduate student research at UAlberta takes place in studios and science labs, in the field and on the ice. From steel joints to self-determination; forest fire sensors to fossil record research; from drag kings to disease-resistant peas, UAlberta graduate student research is diverse and global. A multi-disciplinary 5 person adjudication committee reviewed all submissions and selected winners. The University of Alberta community voted for the People's Choice Award and the winning image garnered 122 votes out of 765 votes. The winning and semifinalist images are available in ERA (the University of Alberta’s digital repository) after the Images of Research exhibition.
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  1. Bluff Mountain, Northeast Slopes. Historic Vegetation Change 1913-2008 [Download]

    Title: Bluff Mountain, Northeast Slopes. Historic Vegetation Change 1913-2008
    Creator: Stockdale, Chris
    Description: The Mountain Legacy Project, the largest repeat photography collection in the world, has more than 6,000 images repeated to date. Previously it was not possible to precisely measure how much and where this change had occurred using oblique angle photographs such as these.  I have developed a method to overlay a spatially referenced grid onto the images in order to classify the vegetation. Each red grid cell represents 1 hectare, and geographic coordinates are computed using software from the Swiss Institute of Forestry. Grid cells have been overlaid on the image, but not all grid cells are shown.  The two panels at the bottom show an overhead view in ArcGIS of the outputs of this analysis for a single image pair taken in the Crowsnest Pass. The output allows us to see how much has changed, and where the change has occurred. It is clear in the images and output that there is more forest and less grass in 2008 than there was in 1913. In my PhD research, I used  this procedure with 124 image pairs to document landscape change over an area 85km x 45km in the southern Alberta Rocky Mountains from 1913-2008. // Program of Study: PhD // Faculty/Department: Renewable Resources // Place of creation: Bluff Mountain, Crowsnest Pass, AB
    Subjects: Vegetation dynamics--Research, Canada--Crowsnest Pass--Repeat photography
    Date Created: 2016
  2. Pore it On [Download]

    Title: Pore it On
    Creator: Stanfield, Ryan
    Description: Plants have evolved a number of interesting features to help facilitate the passage of water and sugar around their tissues. One such molecular structure highlighted here in this balsam poplar leaf blade are aquaporins. As the name implies, aquaporins are small pores that carry water- but have also been demonstrated to transport CO2; their widespread occurrence indicate their significance to the plant. The top two major tissue layers are the solar panels of the leaf- containing the sugar producing chloroplasts; we see an abundance of the pores here, potentially to help in CO2 uptake needed to make sugar. In addition, we find a high concentration (signified by red and orange colors) of aquaporins in the leaf veins, where water pressure in particular drives sugar movement. Our research is focused on how sugar moves from shoot to root in trees- and aquaporins are the common facilitator linking manufacturing to transport. Understanding this sugar movement process will allow us to better understand how plants respond to drought and may provide targets for climate change resistant crops. For obtaining the images, I used a Zeiss LSM 700 confocal laser scanning microscope. The tissue samples were prepared by incubating them in antibodies that target aquaporin water channels. The antibodies have fluorescent markers that reflect back laser light to the microscope camera. Once the image was taken, I used Zeiss Zen 2010 software and applied a rainbow color channel, which signifies the intensity of the antibody signal (closer to red means more aquaporin water channels in that area). The image was made from over 50 individual images that were stiched together using Image Pro version 9 software. // Program of Study: Ph.D // Faculty/Department: Renewable Resources // Place of creation: Hacke Laboratory, University of Alberta // Award: Honourable Mention, Images of Research Competition 2016
    Subjects: Aquaporins, Balsam poplar--Confocal fluorescence microscopy
    Date Created: 2016
  3. Havana's Shadows [Download]

    Title: Havana's Shadows
    Creator: Cruikshank, Stephen
    Description: The following image reveals the contradictions of Cuban society: the incredible architectural aesthetics, for example seen in the figure of the Havana Capital (el Capitolio) here and the deterioration and impoverishment of the capital city depicted in the dark garbage ridden streets. Light and darkness; aestheticism and degradation; ramshackle buildings and radiant people— these are the dialectics of modern day Cuba. Such contradictions are also at play in the socio-economic conditions of Cuba. On one end exists a flourishing black market filled with the capitalist entrepreneurship of prostitution and illegal business while on the other exists a socialist system advocating for a past revolution's victory. My PhD research analyzes how the expressions of the black market—including the rise of sex-tourism—has been recently expressed in Cuban arts. Ever since this last trip in 2013, I have seen this photo as a great metaphor for my work on Cuban culture. It is a summary of the Cuban condition caught between the shadowy black markets of the streets and the luminescent optimism of the socialist government, between prostitutes and tourists, trashy streets and vibrant beaches, and the debris piled upon the ground and the baroque that reaches to the skies. // Program of Study: Spanish and Latin American Studies // Faculty/Department: Modern Languages and Cultural Studies // Place of creation: Havana, Cuba // Award: Honourable Mention, Images of Research Competition 2016
    Subjects: Capitolio (Havana, Cuba)--Photography, Cubans--Social conditions
    Date Created: 2016
  4. Borrowed Sunshine [Download]

    Title: Borrowed Sunshine
    Creator: Street, Christianne
    Description: Oil and gas resources are solar energy reserves from prehistoric times, which we use everyday to power our lives. In many cases, these resources are non-renewable, but what if it were possible to recover and reuse some? In the Innovative Process Lab of the Natural Resources Engineering Facility we are developing the technology to use carbon dioxide as an environmentally friendly solvent to extract fuel oil from contaminated soils which would otherwise be sent to the landfill. The photo shows a sample of the oil that we have extracted: \"borrowed sunshine\" from prehistoric times, against the backdrop of the beautiful, blue Alberta sky. // Program of Study: PhD // Faculty/Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering // Place of creation: Outside NREF, University of Alberta
    Subjects: Waste products as fuel, Energy development--Technological innovations
    Date Created: 2016
  5. The Sons Of Drugs And Violence [Download]

    Title: The Sons Of Drugs And Violence
    Creator: Herrera, Hansy
    Description: The image provides a generalized idealization of narco-(bio)-literature and the focuses of my doctoral research. Narco-media is an important phenomenon that is part of a nation's national and international “identity”. This particular image explores the objectification of an exotic/plastic woman's body as part of a stylized form of sexual slavery and prostitution that ranges from young girls (grillas) to beauty queens and models. It also represents the suffering of the Colombian nation that bleeds in the background, and portrays as a frontier the joining of blood with the blooming of a poppy field. Additionally, the image has a traditional druglord dealer holding cocaine, dressed in black as a figure of death, and showing his role as political and economical leader who has two sicarios (paid-killers) by his side. The young sicarios are a mockery of the syncretism between religion (escapularies) and drug violence/poverty (guns). Lastly, the image shows the social and geographical presence of the foreign with the Colombian nation. The dollars and the red truck represent how Colombia's identity is shaped by international influences, as part of a new colonization or exploitation under the control of a rich drug dealer. // Award: People's Choice Award // Program of Study: Spanish and Latin American Studies // Faculty/Department: Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, MLCS // Place of creation: Edmonton, Alberta
    Subjects: Drug traffic--Colombia--Pictorial representations
    Date Created: 2016
  6. The developing fruit fly brain [Download]

    Title: The developing fruit fly brain
    Creator: Abeysundara, Namal
    Description: My research in the Hughes lab focuses on investigating the role of Moesin during nervous system development. Moesin is involved in maintaining cell integrity by linking membrane-associated proteins to the underlying actin cytoskeleton. We use fruit flies to study Moesin function as only one member of the protein family exists in flies and many genetic tools are available in this simple model organism. Immunofluorescence microscopy is a commonly used technique which allows us to visualize the location and expression patterns of various proteins in cells or tissues. The image shown here is a developing fruit fly brain that has been fluorescently labelled for proteins expressed in neural progenitors (green) and neurons (cyan), and at the cell membranes (red). In addition, a nuclear stain was used to visualize all cells of the brain (blue). If different proteins are expressed at the same location, this overlap is depicted as a different colour (yellow). By manipulating Moesin protein levels in a brain-specific manner, we can investigate whether proteins expressed in the brain are altered and how the neural progenitors or neurons are affected using this powerful technique. This research provides further insight into the importance of Moesin during nervous system development. // Image taken using a confocal microscope. // Program of Study: Ph.D. // Faculty/Department: Medical Genetics // Place of creation: Hughes laboratory, University of Alberta
    Subjects: Nervous system--Imaging, Fruit-flies--Nervous system--Growth, Moesin, Immunofluorescence--Methodology
    Date Created: 2016
  7. Robo-Surgeon! [Download]

    Title: Robo-Surgeon!
    Creator: Schofield, Jonathon
    Description: Advances in robotic medical technologies have enabled an emerging generation of upper limb prostheses capable of moving with the same complexity and fluidity as a human arm. Yet even the most advanced commercially available systems are unable to communicate sensations of touch and movement to the user; a crucially important aspect of healthy limb control. At the BLINC Lab in the University of Alberta, a sensorized, 3D printed prosthetic hand and arm has been developed by a team of engineers, computer scientists and clinicians. This system can detect touch, grasping forces, and movement, as well as capture visual data through a camera integrated in the palm. This sensory data can be displayed to the prosthetic user through a number of devices developed to integrate with this hand and arm. Additionally it can facilitate artificial intelligence through machine learning algorithms. The use of 3D printing technologies and off-the-shelf components makes this system affordable and incredibly accessible as continued development toward open source distribution is currently under way. // Program of Study: PhD. // Faculty/Department: Mechanical Engineering // Place of creation: The BLINC Lab, University of Alberta
    Subjects: Artificial limbs--Automatic control, Robotics in medicine--Prosthesis
    Date Created: 2016
  8. Scanned Variation [Download]

    Title: Scanned Variation
    Creator: Molinaro, Darrin
    Description: Current estimates suggest that one in every three species today is either threatened by, or considered at risk of, extinction. Despite such alarming statistics, and mounting evidence of a major biodiversity crisis currently taking place, our understanding of the factors that prevent species' extinction remains poor. The fossil record, which preserves and records numerous species throughout Earth's history, acts as a natural laboratory in which we can study species before, during, and after extinction events. One factor readily available in the fossil record is morphological variation, the extent to which a species or group of organisms varies in shape. My PhD research focuses on understanding the relationship between shape variation and species survivorship by determining if increased shape variation helps prevent species from going extinct in the fossil record. To answer this question, I laser scan 380 million year old fossils to develop landmark based 3D shape data. I then compare species' shape data and its variability across extinction events to determine if increased shape variation promotes survivorship. Understanding the effects of shape variation on species survivorship in the fossil record is important, as it will help better identify, monitor, and conserve species both today and in the future. // Program of Study: Doctor of Philosophy // Faculty/Department: Earth and Atmospheric Sciences // Place of creation: Earth Sciences Building 1-01A, University of Alberta
    Subjects: Extinction (Biology), Variation (Biology)--Morphology, Paleontology--Three-dimensional imaging
    Date Created: 2016
  9. Beneath the Flesh [Download]

    Title: Beneath the Flesh
    Creator: Marino, Angela
    Description: The motivation behind my research is my mother's Multiple Sclerosis; she has had this disease since 2009 which has affected her mental and physical state of being. Living with a person who has MS changes the way you perceive what it means to be present. They are never again perceived as they once lived, but are rather fragments of who they were. Through my second hand experience of the disease, my research attempts to understand how she perceives mortality. The sublime experience of working in a meat deli and physically engaging with raw animal flesh, allowed me to make the connection to my mother's ambivalence towards life. My subjective approach to understanding her condition and my personal relationship with her is represented through the meat cooler. The meat cooler represents my existential understanding of being, and the possibility of becoming fragments of ourselves. Meat becomes a contemplation of ones flesh, it reveals how vulnerable we are and where we truly fit within our identity. Beneath the Flesh depicts my abstracted understanding of my mother's identity and her perception of living with this disease. // Program of Study: Master of Fine Arts // Faculty/Department: Art and Design // Place of creation: University of Alberta // Award: 2nd Prize, Images of Research Competition 2016
    Subjects: Multiple sclerosis--Patients--Family relationships, Diseases in art, Chronic diseases--Psychological aspects
    Date Created: 2016
  10. Hidden clues [Download]

    Title: Hidden clues
    Creator: Perez, Hector
    Description: Infrared thermography is a non-invasive technique of thermal visualization by which temperatures are monitored and recorded. It is used to measure heat radiated from a surface which is then displayed as a temperature distribution image. Infrared pictures provide real-time data for various physiological conditions in cows and calves (eg. infectious diseases, parturition, and estrus). Infrared cameras can detect ovulation using skin temperature changes in vulva and muzzle. Currently our project is using infrared thermography to measure physiological changes as temperature and skin dilatation added to behaviour estrus to increase heat detection in dairy cattle. // Program of Study: MSc. Dairy Ethology and Reproductive Physiology // Faculty/Department: Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Science // Place of creation: Dairy Research and Technology Science, University of Alberta
    Subjects: Dairy cattle--Thermography--Infrared spectroscopy, Dairy cattle--Physiology, Dairy cattle--Fertility
    Date Created: 2016