Toronto, ON – University of Toronto and MIT researchers have discovered important differences between lower and higher-income children in their ability to use “working memory,” a key brain function responsible for everything from remembering a phone number to doing math in your head. Using functional MRI (fMRI) to measure and map the brain activity of a group of middle-schoolers, the researchers – working in collaboration with Harvard University – were able to physically document that the lower-income students tested had less working memory capacity than their higher-income peers. The results of their study were published today in Developmental Science. “It’s never been shown before that lower-income children have this qualitatively different brain response for this very basic ability that is essential to almost all cognition,” says the study’s lead researcher, Amy Finn of U of T’s Department of Psychology. Finn said researchers went a step further and also demonstrated these differences in working memory had an impact on academic measures of achievement – in this case a standards-based math test – collected from the schools of the students who were examined. The researchers say it is a major step toward understanding the neuroscience of the income-achievement gap, and although by no means a complete explanation, is also significant because it links brain functions to academic test scores. “We knew that there were differences in the neural structure of children from lower-income versus higher-income families, but we didn’t know if that really mattered for solving problems,” says Finn. “Now that we’ve shown this, we might be doing something which is important along the way to helping lower-income students succeed.” All 67 students tested for the study were enrolled in either the eighth or seventh grades in schools in the Boston area and recruited through advertisements and after-school programs. They were also ethnically diverse, and with a roughly equal number of boys and girls. In the study, researchers focused on regions of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, which are important for high-level functions. They observed that the high-income students largely kept this region of the brain in reserve until the tasks began to get more difficult, but the lower-income children relied on it more often and to a greater extent than higher-income children, even for relatively simple problems. That suggests there is a difference in how lower-income children to tap into their working memory – which is how the brain organizes and holds information in mind that it can’t immediately see, says Finn. Finn says she’s concerned people will interpret the data to conclude that these physical differences between the brains of lower-income and higher-income children are somehow hard-wired. Nothing could be further from the truth, she says. “The brain is a very plastic organ, and all of this can be changed with the right kind of training and better opportunities,” says Finn. “Just because we’re observing this in the brain, doesn’t mean it is set in stone.” Finn says some of the differences had probably never been observed before because of another kind of gap – an inherent bias in the income level of the populations researchers normally test. Most cognitive neural science is conducted on people who are from middle and upper- middle class backgrounds because it’s less expensive to study populations near the university than to reach out to lower-income communities, says Finn. While the study didn’t measure environmental factors, lower-income status is also related to such things as more chronic stress, Finn notes. “No matter the reason, it doesn’t change the fact that their working memory is qualitatively different.” - 30 - MEDIA CONTACTS: Amy Finn Department of Psychology University of Toronto finn@psych.utoronto.ca 416-978-3904 Larysa Woloszansky Media Relations Officer University of Toronto larysa.woloszansky@utoronto.ca 416-978-6974 Sean Bettam Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto s.bettam@utoronto.ca 416-946-7950

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

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U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

Toronto, ON - Inspired by the plight of Syrian refugees, and by the ongoing displacement of peoples in Toronto and abroad,  ART x BISSELL, in partnership with SKETCH and The Remix Project, is pleased to present Common Ground, the 2nd annual contemporary art exhibition at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information (iSchool). Curated by Master of Museum Studies students Madeleine Adamson, Annissa Malvoisin and Camille-Mary Sharp, Common Ground: ART x BISSELL 2016 explores topics as diverse as homelessness, gender and diaspora, drawing on the participating artists’ experiences of—and relationships with—displacement. The exhibition’s contemporary paintings, photography and one mural have been produced by 12 local emerging artists, many of whom are affiliated with community-engaged organizations The Remix Project and SKETCH (sketch.ca). Common Ground will also be featured as an open exhibition in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival that will run during the month of May 2016. EVENT DETAILS: WHAT: Opening reception for Common Ground: ART x BISSELL 2016, featuring two live music performances, a DJ, artist remarks, a live painting session by an artist, and a curatorial tour of the exhibition WHO: Rowell Soller and Samaa Ahmed, two youth from SKETCH will be at the launch (artists in the show as well as our muralists), along with other artists; and co-curators Madeleine Adamson, Annissa Malvoisin and Camille-Mary Sharp WHERE: Claude T. Bissell Building, Room 728, 140 St. George Street, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto WHEN: Thursday, April 7 at 6 p.m. (until 9 pm) ADMISSION: Free - 30 - For more information, please contact: Madeleine Adamson, Annissa Malvoisin and Camille-Mary Sharp Faculty of Information Tel: 647-779-4238 ischool.art@gmail.com

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

Toronto, ON – The only copy in Canada of arguably the most important book ever produced in the English language, Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, & tragedies: published according to the true originall copies, better known as the First Folio, is just one of many rare print gems currently on exhibit at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. The free exhibition ‘So Long Lives This’: Celebrating Shakespeare, 1616-2016 was officially launched Feb. 1, 2016, at the Fisher Library. Shakespeare, the son of a glove maker from Stratford-upon-Avon who became one of the greatest writers in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. With almost 60 books on display – chronologically, running from a 1548 printing of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Il Decamerone, continuing with the four celebrated 17th-century Folios, and ending with the sumptuous fine press Play of Pericles (2009-2010) from British Columbia’s Barbarian Press – the exhibition, which marks the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, explores how Shakespeare’s works shaped ideas of the world beyond England, and how the production of atlases, dictionaries, and histories influenced Shakespeare’s world-making art. “This exhibition provides a narrative, one that moves from early printing, through to the justifiably famous 17th-century Folios, and then into the later printing of Shakespeare’s work, including books from this century,” says Scott Schofield, the lead curator of the exhibition. “What makes this exhibition unique is that it shines a spotlight on the incredible collection of Shakespeare, and materials at the Fisher,” adds Schofield, an Assistant Professor of English at Western University. “Not just the Folios, but also the research materials Shakespeare might have used, the books that would have been on his desk, through to beautiful book craft versions of Shakespeare.” The exhibition is curated by four leading Canadian academics: joining Schofield are Peter W.M. Blayney, Alan Galey and Marjorie Rubright, all of the University of Toronto. The star attraction will undoubtedly be the 1623 First Folio, which was donated by Sidney Fisher to the Fisher Library in 1973, along with the other three folios as part of his extensive Shakespeare collection. Only 232 copies of this cultural treasure remain in the world today, and the volume held by the Fisher is the only Canadian-held copy. The importance of the First Folio cannot be overstated, says Anne Dondertman, Director of the Fisher Library. “Without it, we would not have some of the most vital and seminal works in the English language, including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, As You like It, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest,” she says. “Shakespeare was an actor as well as a playwright and he wrote his plays to be performed. Yet it is the plays in their written form that have largely shaped our understanding of Shakespeare the man and the writer, so we’re excited that the general public will be able to view these vital volumes.” The exhibition runs until May 28, 2016. There is no admission fee and there is a free self-guided audio tour available for download to a mobile device. A video narrated by Schofield on the exhibition’s genesis and its themes can be viewed via the Fisher’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/pl13_TZ47Jc. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library houses the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections of the University of Toronto, including books, manuscripts and other materials, and is the largest rare book library in the country. The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind just Harvard and Yale. The system consists of 44 libraries located on three university campuses: St. George, Mississauga, and Scarborough. - 30 - For more information, please contact: Anne Dondertman, Director, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library Tel: 416- 978-5332 anne.dondertman@utoronto.ca  

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

Toronto, ON - Librarians at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music Library have discovered Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen’s violin concerto that was believed lost for over a century. Violinist Henning Kraggerud will perform the 21st-century premiere of the concerto under the direction of Bjarte Engeset in Stavenger, Norway in July 2016 as part of the International Musicological Society's annual conference. Halvorsen (1864-1935) dedicated his violin concerto to the world-renowned Canadian violinist Kathleen Parlow (1890-1963). Parlow gave its first performance on August 14, 1909 in Scheveningen, Holland. Later that year, she gave two more performances of the concerto with the Nationaltheatret Orchestra in Oslo (then Christiania) under the baton of the composer himself. It is believed that there have been no further performances of the concerto since. Following her successful career as a soloist, Parlow continued her involvement with the violin as a teacher and chamber musician. She lived in Toronto from 1941 to the end of her life in 1963. Throughout this period, she was involved in the chamber music scene of the city and taught many distinguished Canadian violinists. Parlow's papers, including her correspondences, photographs and music scores, were donated to the Faculty of Music Library but the Halvorsen violin concerto was separated from the rest of the collection and housed in the library’s performance collection. “We are delighted that the Halvorsen violin concerto has been found,” says Acting Head Librarian Suzanne Meyers Sawa. "We are so happy to be a part of the restoration of this work to the repertoire, and we look forward to participating in the symposium next summer where we will hear the piece performed for the first time in more than a century!" The University of Toronto Faculty of Music Library holds the largest music research collection in Canada and is part of the University of Toronto Libraries system, the largest academic library in Canada which is ranked third among peer institutions in North America. The Music Library holdings include over 300,000 books, scores and periodicals; nearly 200,000 sound recordings ranging from wax cylinder to blu-ray; extensive archival collections documenting the creative activities of composers and music clubs associated with the university and the city; and access to millions of electronic resources in various formats. Download photos of the manuscript and letters from Dropbox. Photo credit: Jessica Lewis.

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For more information, please contact Jessica Lewis, Marketing and Publicity Officer, at publicity.music@utoronto.ca or 416-978-0491.  

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO , ON - A new University of Toronto study may force scientists to rethink what is behind the mass extinction of amphibians occurring worldwide in the face of climate change, disease and habitat loss. The old cliché “size matters” is in fact the gist of the findings by graduate student Stephen De Lisle and Professor Locke Rowe of U of T’s Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology in a paper published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. By examining research on global patterns of amphibian diversification over hundreds of millions of years, De Lisle and Rowe discovered that “sexually dimorphic” species – those in which males and females differ in size, for example – are at lower risk of extinction and better able to adapt to diverse environments. Their work suggests the ability of males and females in sexually dimorphic amphibian species to independently evolve different traits – such as size – helps them survive extinction threats that kill off others, says De Lisle. He says classic ecological theory would not have predicted that about amphibians, a class of vertebrates that includes frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians. The conventional school of thought believes different-sized sexes of the same species take up more resources and are less able to adapt and diversify than species where ecologically relevant traits like size are basically the same between males and females. “I think if our results bear on mass extinction at all, it suggests we maybe should start looking more closely at the traits of some of the species that are going extinct,” says De Lisle. “Scientists might start thinking in a new way about how other traits, like sex differences in habitat use or diet, might play a role.” While peacock feathers or deer antlers are understood to help males of those species successfully mate, less is understood about amphibians, which are being wiped out so fast many are going extinct before scientists can identify them. Some estimate between 30 and 40 per cent of the world’s approximately 7,000 species of amphibians are currently in danger of extinction – more than any other animals on earth – and their decline is a critical threat to global biodiversity. Many scientists believe amphibians serve as "canaries in a coal mine," and declines in their populations indicate other groups of animals and plants will soon be at risk. Amphibians are not only an important part of the food chain and biodiversity. Some have chemicals in their skins that can be developed into medicines to fight diseases such as cancer and perhaps even AIDS. Because their skins are highly permeable and they have a two-staged life cycle that starts in water and then moves to land, amphibians may be more susceptible to temperature changes, water and air pollution than other animals. The new study by De Lisle and Rowe adds another piece to the puzzle about why some species are doing well while others are in decline or disappearing. For example, both the golden toad and the harlequin frog of Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve disappeared completely in the late 1980s despite living in what was considered a pristine habitat. “Our work suggests we still maybe don’t have the best understanding of what traits might be influencing these extinctions, although now we have the understanding that sexual dimorphism is an important trait,” says De Lisle.

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MEDIA CONTACTS: Steven De Lisle Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Toronto s.delisle@utoronto.ca 804-832-2760 Kim Luke Communications, Arts & Science University of Toronto Kim.luke@utoronto.ca 416-978-4352  

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON — A landmark study on gender equality among religious minorities in Canada sharply disputes the stereotype Muslim women are more repressed by men than other groups of immigrants. Sharia law, burqas, honour killings and overseas terrorism directed at girls and women grab headlines and shape public opinion, but workforce participation rates among immigrants suggests a trend toward high levels of equality for Muslim females living in Canada. The study is not only timely but unique because of its sheer scope and detail, said Jeff Reitz, the University of Toronto sociology professor who took the lead in a paper co-authored with Rupa Banerjee and Mai Phan, based on Canadian census data. “There is no other study in any country based on a data sample this size,” Reitz said. “Gender equity in Canada’s newly growing religious minorities” is published online in the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies and due out in print this year. “Three million cases is a lot of people to have data from when you consider normal public opinion polls are 1,200 or 1,500 people.” Reitz said the study’s findings should dispel misperceptions about female subservience restricting Muslim women in Canada to roles in the home. While recent Muslim immigrants demonstrate more gender inequality than some groups, the data for others under far less public scrutiny such as Hindus and Sikhs are not much different. National culture in the country of origin makes a bigger difference than religion itself. For example, gender inequality is greater for Muslim immigrants from Pakistan than from the Middle East or Europe, regardless of individual strength of religious commitment. Similar patterns of difference by country of origin are found among Christian immigrants. “Most tellingly, second-generation Muslim women in Canada are just as active in the workforce as other groups,” said Reitz. Work force participation rates for women compared to men have long been viewed as a prime indication of the extent of gender equality in the Canadian population. It made sense to use the same measurement to examine attitudes about gender among immigrant populations, said Reitz. He had another motive as well. “Exhaustive data in a peer-viewed study is important for satisfying academics and other researchers, but the larger point is to reach the wider public and dispel some harmful myths. “The idea that Muslims hold values that make it difficult for them to integrate into Canadian society is misguided,” said Reitz. “It also suggests how international politics can affect our attitudes toward immigrants.” Reitz used data from the 2001 census and the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey because the 2006 census did not include a question about religion and the 2011 census was replaced by a household survey with a much lower response rate. The public version of the 2011 survey is not yet available. In that sense, the data from the 2001 census is the most recent available, said Reitz, and the trends suggest it likely would hold true even if newer stats were available.

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For more information, please contact: Jessica Lewis Communications Assistant University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts & Science 416-978-8887 jessica.lewis@utoronto.ca Jeffrey Reitz Professor of Sociology, and R.F. Harney Professor of Ethnic Immigration and Pluralism Studies Munk School of Global Affairs Office: 416-946-8993 Cell: 416-319-0363 jeffrey.reitz@utoronto.ca  

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON - Eleven U of T researchers have been selected as recipients of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders funds totalling $1,873,485. The John R. Evans Leaders Fund was established to assist institutions in attracting and retaining talented researchers. Candidates for funding must be either recognized leaders or have demonstrated the potential for excellence in their field of research who are engaged in or embarking upon original, internationally competitive and high quality research or technology development. They must also be a current faculty member with a full-time academic position. U of T researchers receiving John R. Evans Leaders funding are: Joyce Poon, Applied Science and Engineering – Integrated Quantum Photonics for Secure Communications Dirk Bernhardt-Walther, Psychology – Neural mechanisms of natural scene perception Amy Bilton, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering – Laboratory for Prototyping Energy and Water Systems Eric Diller, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering – Laboratory for Micro-Robotics Research Martin Krkosek, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology – Laboratory of Population Dynamics Angela Schoellig, Applied Science and Engineering – Indoor/Outdoor Testbed for Aerial and Ground Multi-Robot Research Martin Yaffe, Medical Biophysics – An Expanded Integrated Cancer Research Biomatrix Gisele Azimi, Materials Science and Engineering – Extraction, Processing, and Recycling of Strategic Materials Nicholas Mandrak, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology – Biodiversity and Conservation of Fishes Laboratory Elodie Passeport, Civil Engineering – Stable isotope facility for improved understanding of the fate and removal of emerging contaminants in water Joel Watts, Biochemistry – Infrastructure for Studying Self-Propagating Protein Aggregates “It is wonderful that so many of our researchers will benefit from the support of the Canada Foundation for Innovation through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund,” said Dr. Peter Lewis, interim vice-president of Research and Innovation at U of T. “We can’t wait to learn about the discoveries that will surely arise from the recipients’ research.”

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Jenny Hall University of Toronto Senior Research Communications Officer 416-946-3643 jenny.hall@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON – Consider the relationship between an air traffic controller and a pilot. The pilot gets the passengers to their destination, but the air traffic controller decides when the plane can take off and when it must wait. The same relationship plays out at the cellular level in animals, including humans. A region of an animal’s genome – the controller – directs when a particular gene – the pilot – can perform its prescribed function. A new study by cell and systems biologists at the University of Toronto (U of T) investigating stem cells in mice shows, for the first time, an instance of such a relationship between the Sox2 gene which is critical for early development, and a region elsewhere on the genome that effectively regulates its activity. The discovery could mean a significant advance in the emerging field of human regenerative medicine, as the Sox2 gene is essential for maintaining embryonic stem cells that can develop into any cell type of a mature animal. “We studied how the Sox2 gene is turned on in mice, and found the region of the genome that is needed to turn the gene on in embryonic stem cells,” said Professor Jennifer Mitchell of U of T’s Department of Cell and Systems Biology, lead investigator of a study published in the December 15 issue of Genes & Development. “Like the gene itself, this region of the genome enables these stem cells to maintain their ability to become any type of cell, a property known as pluripotency. We named the region of the genome that we discovered the Sox2 control region, or SCR,” said Mitchell. Since the sequencing of the human genome was completed in 2003, researchers have been trying to figure out which parts of the genome made some people more likely to develop certain diseases. They have found that the answers are more often in the regions of the human genome that turn genes on and off. “If we want to understand how genes are turned on and off, we need to know where the sequences that perform this function are located in the genome,” said Mitchell. “The parts of the human genome linked to complex diseases such as heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders can often be far away from the genes they regulate, so it can be difficult to figure out which gene is being affected and ultimately causing the disease.” It was previously thought that regions much closer to the Sox2 gene were the ones that turned it on in embryonic stem cells. Mitchell and her colleagues eliminated this possibility when they deleted these nearby regions in the genome of mice and found there was no impact on the gene’s ability to be turned on in embryonic stem cells. “We then focused on the region we’ve since named the SCR as my work had shown that it can contact the Sox2 gene from its location 100,000 base pairs away,” said study lead author Harry Zhou, a former graduate student in Mitchell’s lab, now a student at U of T’s Faculty of Medicine. “To contact the gene, the DNA makes a loop that brings the SCR close to the gene itself only in embryonic stem cells. Once we had a good idea that this region could be acting on the Sox2 gene, we removed the region from the genome and monitored the effect on Sox2.” The researchers discovered that this region is required to both turn Sox2 on, and for the embryonic stem cells to maintain their characteristic appearance and ability to differentiate into all the cell types of the adult organism. “Just as deletion of the Sox2 gene causes the very early embryo to die, it is likely that an abnormality in the regulatory region would also cause early embryonic death before any of the organs have even formed,” said Mitchell. “It is possible that the formation of the loop needed to make contact with the Sox2 gene is an important final step in the process by which researchers practicing regenerative medicine can generate pluripotent cells from adult cells.” “Though the degree to which human embryonic stem cells possess this feature is not entirely clear, by understanding how another complex organism’s genome works we ultimately learn more about how our own genome works,” said Zhou. The findings are reported in the article “A Sox2 distal enhancer cluster regulates embryonic stem cell differentiation potential” published online December 15 in Genes & Development.

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For more information, please contact: Jennifer Mitchell Department of Cell and Systems Biology University of Toronto 416-978-6711 (B) 416-500-6833 (C) ja.mitchell@utoronto.ca Harry Zhou Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto 647-823-8323 (C) harry.zhou@mail.utoronto.ca Sean Bettam Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto 416-946-7950 s.bettam@utoronto.ca Jessica Lewis Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto 416-978-8887 jessica.lewis@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON -- University of Toronto undergraduates Moustafa Abdalla and Caroline Leps are heading to Oxford University next year for postgraduate studies as two of Canada’s 11 students named 2015 Rhodes Scholars.

The prestigious Rhodes Scholarship program is the oldest, postgraduate award program supporting outstanding, all-round students at Oxford. Rhodes Scholars have gone on to become Pulitzer Prize winners, heads of state or government and Nobel Laureates. Among the well-known Rhodes Scholars: Bob Rae; from U of T President David Naylor; Bill Clinton; and Rachel Maddow.

“It hasn’t settled in yet. It’s really exciting. I can only imagine the kinds of opportunities I will have [at Oxford],” said Leps, currently studying global health and international relations. She will be pursuing a master's degree in comparative social policy, with aspirations to become a paediatrician working in global children’s health in low- and middle-income settings.

Abdalla, a student of Victoria College at Victoria University at U of T, is studying biochemistry and physiology and also works as a youth director at Flemingdon Park Parents Association. He plans to study computational biology and computational medicine research at Oxford, and hopes to one day contribute to the advancement of medicine through the ethical use of technology and artificial intelligence.

“We are currently developing artificial intelligence that is capable of teaching itself, and teaching other artificial intelligence,” said Abdalla. “The stock exchange is an example of computers teaching other computers how to trade stocks. We don’t realize the implications of this.”

So far, just 69 students from around the world have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships this year; however, a total of 83 scholarships are expected to be announced.

“On behalf of the U of T community, I congratulate Moustafa Abdalla and Caroline Leps on being selected Rhodes Scholars,” said President Meric Gertler. “I would also like to thank them for their example. Each has an outstanding record of multifaceted excellence, and both are determined to use their talent and learning to benefit individuals and communities, here and around the world. In this they demonstrate brilliantly the highest ideals of the University of Toronto.”

Last year, two alumnae from the U of T’s Innis College – Aliyyah Ahad and Chloe Walker – were named Rhodes Scholars. And, in 2012, the university had three Rhodes Scholars.

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See the full list of Rhodes Scholars:  http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/rhodes-scholars-elect-class-of-2015.

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Dominic Ali Media Relations Officer University of Toronto 21 King's College Circle Toronto, ON M5S 3J3 Tel: 416-978-6974 d.ali@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

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Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

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U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON -- Countries with higher levels of compassion and openness score better when it comes to environmental sustainability, says research from the University of Toronto. A new study by Jacob Hirsh, an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour & Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto Mississauga's Institute for Management & Innovation, who is cross-appointed to U of T's Rotman School of Management, demonstrates that a country’s personality profile can predict its environmental sustainability records. While Prof. Hirsh’s previous work has looked at how personality traits predict an individual’s attitudes about the environment, this latest study takes the research to another level, examining how those traits play out across whole nations. "We used to think that personality only mattered for individual outcomes,” says Prof. Hirsh, “but we’re finding that population differences in personality characteristics have many large-scale consequences”. The new study examined nation-level personality traits from a database of over 12,000 people in 51 countries. National personality differences, reflecting average trait profiles of a country’s citizens, were used to predict scores on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The EPI, developed at Yale and Columbia Universities, ranks countries across 22 environmental indicators, including Co2 emission levels, use of renewable energy, and ecosystem management. Higher scores on the EPI, reflecting more environmentally sustainable practices, were positively correlated with national levels of two personality traits: Agreeableness, which reflects empathy and compassion, and Openness, which reflects cognitive flexibility and aesthetic appreciation. The same relationships were observed even when controlling for national differences in wealth, education, and population size. These results highlight the psychological factors that can shape a nation’s environmental policies, says Prof. Hirsh. “Not only can a person’s attitudes about the environment be predicted from his or her personality traits, but the environmental practices of entire nations can be predicted from the personality profiles of their citizens”. The paper was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology. For the latest thinking on business, management and economics from the Rotman School of Management, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca/FacultyAndResearch/NewThinking.aspx.

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For more information: Ken McGuffin Manager, Media Relations Rotman School of Management University of Toronto Voice 416.946.3818 E-mail mcguffin@rotman.utoronto.ca Follow Rotman on Twitter @rotmanschool Watch Rotman on You Tube www.youtube.com/rotmanschool  

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.