Participant Profiles (2016-2017)

Angela Borchert
Modern Languages and Literatures, Western University
Host: Universität Mannheim

Curriculum in Intercultural Communications: Experiential Learning, Community and Creativity

Curriculum in Intercultural Communication at the University of Western Ontario is based in different forms of experiential learning, such as community engaged learning and internships. The use of an e-portfolio throughout allows students to curate reflective practices on these experiences in order to develop the appropriate skills, attitudes, and knowledge in the field while building community. This curriculum seeks to develop a disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful and ethical mind who responds to authentic situations in a culturally productive manner using imagination and innovation. The proposed research seeks to examine the transferability of concepts of experiential learning, emotional intelligence, error management and tools for the development and assessment of competencies from models in professional Business Education to curriculum in Intercultural Communication. The interdisciplinary work will provide insights on transformative learning processes, the affective dimension of learning and address critical and creative thinking.


Leonid Brown
Physics, University of Guelph
Host: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Cell delivery of paramagnetic lipids for in vivo structural studies

Membrane proteins perform a wide range of vital physiological functions and serve as targets for nearly half of drugs on the market. Thus, research on membrane proteins is extremely important both for basic science and medical applications, as recognized by several Nobel prizes. Structural biology of membrane proteins made significant advances by determining crystallographic and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) structures of physiologically and medically important receptors, channels, and transporters. The next frontier is to look at the structures and dynamics of membrane proteins in their native lipid environment, that of biological membranes and whole cells. Solid-state NMR is a promising structural technique in this respect, but it suffers from low sensitivity. A recent development, called Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP), enhances sensitivity of solid-state NMR by using special paramagnetic agents (biradicals). Initially, biradicals were added in glycerol solution or attached to isolated proteins, both of which are not optimal for in-cell studies. An attractive alternative idea is to attach these biradicals to lipids. We propose to explore the ways of delivering such lipid-attached biradicals for incorporation into membranes and whole cells using fluorescent tags as lipid tracers, making NMR studies of membrane proteins possible under the most native conditions.


Bahman Gharesifard
Mathematics and Statistics, Queen's University
Host: Universität Stuttgart

Distributed optimization of submanifolds in Euclidean spaces

The emergence of large-scale complex engineering and socioeconomic networks in modern society, consisting of collections of smaller subsystems capable of interacting with each other, has created new challenges with enormous complexity to the design and analysis of such systems. Notable areas of applications of networked systems include modern transportation systems, social networks, distributed energy systems and smart grids, and sensor networks for health and environmental monitoring. Building on the intriguing interplay between networked sciences and the theory of optimization and systems and control, this project aims at studying an important class of networked problems, where a group of subsystems aim to optimize a common objective function collaboratively, and the states of individual agents is jointly constrained. The particular complex facet of this project is the jointly constrained characteristics of the states of the individual subsystems. The IST at the Universität Stuttgart and the Control Group at Queen’s University actively work on the emerging areas of networked control systems and this project is an effort for collaborations between the two institutes. There are many interesting avenues of applications for this project, including localization problems in camera sensor networks and 3-D wireless sensor networks.


Edmund J. Goehring
Music Research and Composition, Western University
Host: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Early Mozart Reception and the Critique of Genius

The notion of creative genius, although a legacy of Romantic thought, continues to shape the way we think about our world today. The experience of beauty, the claims of science, the authority of history, the possibilities of self-realization—these and other matters naturally attend reflection on the inventive self. In the last two generations, however, Romantic theories of creativity have received sustained challenges from numerous disciplines, including Mozart studies. A Mozart made ingenious only encourages idolatry rather than furthers understanding. Modernity has succeeded in exposing this conceit about original, inspired creativity as a myth. Science has diagnosed genius as a matter of brain rather than of mind, and more recent humanistic inquiry has neutralized genius by revealing it as a form of false consciousness contrived to give advantage to the strong.

My study advances a contrary hypothesis: that leading critiques of genius misread the historical record and raise their own conceptual hurdles. Numerous accounts from the Geniezeit rebuke rather than extoll Mozart’s originality, which, they complain, abandons Nature for Art. Conceptually, meanwhile, this study will suggest that such critiques tend to mix aesthetic with scientific questions and overly constrain the possibility for an individual to shape a larger culture.


Anatoliy Gruzd
Management, Ryerson University
Host: Universität Hohenheim

Social Media Users' Perceptions of Data Use and Privacy in Germany and Canada

As more and more people are joining and contributing to various social media websites, their automatically recorded data are rapidly becoming available to third parties to mine for both commercial and academic purposes. As a result, questions around why and how data consumers’ use social media data are becoming pertinent. This initiative examines practices behind and attitudes towards the collection, storage, analysis, reuse, publishing and preservation of social media data (referred to as social media data stewardship) from the perspective of social media users (data producers), as well as academic and industry researchers and organizations that collect and analyze the data (data consumers).

Social media websites will come and go, but what is constant and important is the fact that in order to foster the sharing of data and encourage research innovation, there is a pressing need for the research community to develop a strong industry-wide set of data stewardship principles, standards and protocols around handling of social media data.


Shobna Nijhawan
Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, York University / Université York
Host: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Literary Sentiments: Telling Gendered Lives in the Vernacular

"Literary Sentiments: Telling Gendered Lives in the Vernacular" is a collaborative research project that will explore the world of vernacular literatures in early twentieth century colonial India by using gender and caste as two central categories of analysis. The aim of this project is to establish a more robust history of gender and caste/class as they have played themselves out in vernacular Indian literatures, and to advance meaningful links between colonial vernacular spheres by consulting a wide range of print materials, including fictional and non-fictional sources. Rooted in the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as in interdisciplinary Area Studies more broadly, the project will investigate the complex politicized forms and cultural expressions of gender and caste as articulated in print. It will furthermore explore literary production, its reception and consumption in the social and private-public spheres. The project is embedded in historical and cultural contexts, while also acknowledging the impediments and benefits of larger categories such as those of print, politics and patriarchy.