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WEIRD AND WONDERFUL RESEARCH: Coronavirus research continues

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- Belle DeMont

Atlantic Canada is a hub for innovative and exciting research and we want to share it with you! Each month, we will be highlighting some of the weird and wonderful research happening at the region’s 16 universities.

From biology and climate change to psychology, culture, and the human condition, you never know what you might discover. So, join us on a brief exploration each month, and open your eyes to the amazing work being done right here in Atlantic Canada.


April was a busy month for researchers across Atlantic Canada, with a strong focus on COVID-19-related projects. Whether it’s working on vaccines and detection methods or studying the mental and emotional effects of isolation, our researchers are on the frontlines of innovation and discovery.

How is COVID-19 affecting you?

Researchers at both Saint Mary’s University and St. FX have been exploring how we have reacted to the changes in lifestyle that have come as a result of the pandemic. SMU researchers have received a $333,000 grant to study how employers and employees respond during outbreaks and will complete their work over a two-year period.

Lead researcher Kevin Kelloway says the team will complete large-scale surveys through an online data centre and focus on physical health as well as psychological well-being.

Meanwhile at STFX, Dr. Karen Blair has launched the COVID-19 Interpersonal Coping Daily Diary Study in partnership with Indiana University to learn how people are coping mentally, physically, and relationally. The goal is to capture as many diverse experiences as possible and record thoughts, experiences, and feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why play is vital during coronavirus

Mount Saint Vincent University professor of Child and Youth Studies, Christine McLean, shares four reasons play is vital during coronavirus. Though many parents are trying to focus on home-schooling and routine, McLean says it is important to remember the invaluable learning that comes from playtime.

Université de Moncton researchers explore X-Ray detection

A research team at Université de Moncton has been exploring the ways in which artificial intelligence might be used to detect COVID-19. Computer science professor Moulay Akhloufi says X-ray imagining could detect COVID-19 in the lungs, but some experts warn that AI may not be fully accurate. Akhloufi’s team created an online tool and is hoping to work with doctors to bolster further research.

Honourable mention

Students at Cape Breton University have published an eBook to help fellow teachers adjust to remote education in light of COVID-19. Professor of Education, Rob Power, along with nine of his students, completed the eBook “Integration of Instructional Design and Technology to Support Rapid Change” in two weeks to share the lessons, strategies, and tools they had gathered. Read more here


Jill Ellsworth is a writer and a lifelong learner who lives in Dominion, N.S. Working as CBU’s digital communications specialist has opened her eyes to the ground-breaking research happening at Atlantic Canada’s universities, and now she’s here to share it with you each month. She can be reached at jillellsworth94@gmail.com.

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