SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
14 August 2014
Volume 15 Issue 8

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Regional Spotlight: Prairie Northern Chapter’s 5th Annual Meeting Examining Pesticides on the Prairies

Alistair Brown and Sarah Crawford, PNC Student Board Members

The SETAC North America Prairie Northern Chapter (PNC) held its 5th Annual Meeting from 5–6 June in beautiful Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Once again, the Toxicology Centre at the University of Saskatchewan was incredibly gracious in their hosting, and coupled with the generosity of our sponsors, the expectations of attendees were met, if not exceeded.

The meeting started with a short course on 5 June with Connie Moase, director of the health evaluation division of the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency. The comprehensive short course “Overview of Canada's Regulatory Process for the Health Evaluation and Risk Assessment of Pesticides” provided an excellent summary and discussion forum for those unfamiliar with pesticide regulation in Canada.

A special session of Tox on Tap was held at Hudson’s Pub in downtown Saskatoon. This open public event really got the meeting rolling with a panel of government, business and academia representatives fielding questions about pesticides, their role in agricultural production, and how they are regulated in Canada (kudos to SETAC North America board member Karsten Liber for moderating). Panel members were Connie Moase; Christy Morrissey, assistant professor at the Department of Biology and School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan; and Paul Hoekstra, stewardship manager with Syngenta Canada. They did a great job engaging in a discussion with the audience in advance of their plenary talks the next day.

The meeting abounded with platform and poster sessions on pesticides and other topics from undergraduates, graduates, postdocs and others. The PNC is very proud to recognize and award students for their high-quality work, and this year was no exception.

The best student platform presentation winners are:

  • David Saunders, Ph.D. candidate, University of Saskatchewan, for his presentation “Three Novel Brominated Flame Retardants Affect Fecundity and Transcript Profiles of the HPGL-axis in Japanese Medaka”
  • Shira Joudan, undergraduate, University of Winnipeg, for her presentation “Reducing Contaminants and Toxicity in Rural Wastewater Effluent Using New Subsurface Treatment Technology”
  • Leanne Flahr, Master of Science student, University of Saskatchewan, for her presentation “Developmental Exposure to Aroclor 1254 Alters Migratory Behaviour in Juvenile European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris)”

The best student poster presentation winners are:

  • Sarah Crawford, Ph.D. candidate, University of Saskatchewan, for her presentation “Influence of Sediment Modifying Factors on Uranium Bioaccumulation to the Freshwater Midge, Chironomus dilutus”
  • Gurnit Kaur, Ph.D. candidate, University of Alberta, for her presentation “Transport of Arsenic Species by Single Nucleotide Polymorphic Variants of Multidrug Resistance Protein 2 (MRP2/ABCC2)”
  • Shawn Beitel, Master of Science student, University of Saskatchewan, for his presentation “Assessment of the Sensitivity of Wild Fish Species to a Potent Xenoestrogen Using In Vitro Liver Explants”
Prairie Northern
Charles Wong and some of the University of Winnipeg research team at the 5th Annual SETAC PNC Banquet at The University of Saskatchewan Faculty Club.

The meeting officially wrapped up at the Faculty Club amidst the tree blossoms and cool air, where out-going president David Janz (University of Saskatchewan) officially handed over the reins to incoming president Mark Hanson (University of Manitoba). The evening was peppered with tons of laughs, an awesome toxicology trivia session hosted by David Saunders and Sarah Crawford (with exceedingly sub-par results from Canada’s finest)! Perhaps the festivities had something to do with it! Thank you to all organizers, our board, students, professors and the facilities’ staff for making everyone feel welcome at all times! We look forward to the SETAC PNC 6th Annual Meeting, which will be held in Calgary, Alberta in 2015!

For more information, visit the Prairie Northern Regional Chapter website.

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