Find out how some of our postdocs are changing the world.
September 18 marks National Postdoc Appreciation Week – a time when we highlight the contribution our postdocs are making to the world.
The research these scholars conduct adds to the daring discovery happening in the University of Regina’s research enterprise.
Meet a few of the postdocs who are working at the University of Regina right now:
Dr. Needal Ghadi is a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Education. He is working with Dr. Christine Massing, an associate professor in early childhood education.
I have taught and conducted educational research in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Being an immigrant whose first language is Arabic has significantly helped me with my research journey. I relate to most of barriers that newcomers face while trying to resettle in Canada, some of which I still face.
Being a non-native English speaker has also paved the way for me to meet Arabic speaking newcomers and to help them to overcome some of the negative experience associated with trying to call an unfamiliar place home. These people have become my friends and many participated in research projects I lead during my doctorate.
Currently, my research addresses how learning a language affects immigrants and refugees who resettle in Canada.
I’m preparing to start a project that explores language-learning experiences, as well as the unequal distribution of linguistic capital among newcomers in small urban and rural centres in Saskatchewan. Unequal distribution refers to the idea that newcomers, especially refugees, arrive to their welcoming countries with limited language abilities of the dominant language(s) in their resettlement destination. This significantly delays their integration process and, thus, also their sense of belonging. I will also closely look at how language-learning disruption has affected the everyday lives of newcomers in rural parts of our province. One example of a learning disruption is when refugees are relocated to refugee camps and children stop receiving age-based education. A recent example of this type of disruption was the closure of almost all teaching institutions across Canada, including language-learning centers, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I hope that my research will help provide newcomers with a voice in their new social context that will ease their resettlement experience. Having a voice is more than the ability to decide or express emotions, it is about being heard, listened to, and having the capacity to influence. When refugees’ stories are told within Western democratic communities that are willing to listen, spaces can open up and the silence surrounding newcomers' lives can be broken, leading to more social and political justice for immigrants, refugees, and their communities.
Dr. Laleh Jamshidi is postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Art's Department of Psychology. She is working with Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, U of R psychologist and scientific director of the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT).
I am a statistician and have been involved in several projects involving the mental health of public safety personnel through CIPSRT, a national research center located on the U of R campus.
I’m in charge of the statistical analyses for both longitudinal and cross-sectional studies we conduct, where I apply a variety of advanced statistical methods.
While the overarching focus of my work is mental health, I’m also involved in several sub-projects that centre on mental health disorders status, suicidal behaviors, traumatic exposures, organizational stressors, and risk and resiliency among public safety personnel.
In cross-sectional studies, my team collects data about the above topics and determines their prevalence among public safety personnel compared to what we find in the general population or previous studies on public safety personnel.
In longitudinal studies, we collect data about public safety personnel over a nine-year period. We collect the same information at the beginning of the study, and then periodically over time. The participants receive mental-health training before starting their work, so the data we collect at different time points can be compared to evaluate any substantial changes that require action. We can then provide practical guidelines and information to mental-health professionals to help public safety personnel improve their mental health.
Since I planned to continue my career in academia as a professor, I decided to pursue a postdoc to prepare me for this transition. My current position has been a great opportunity to enhance my CV and improve my research skills substantially to start my professorship position in winter semester.
Dr. Seyedmehdi Mirmohammadsadeghi is a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science's Industrial Systems Engineering Department where he is working with industrial systems engineering associate professor Dr. Golam Kabir. He is also a sessional instructor in the Hill and Levene Schools of Business.
My research interests lie in data science, operations research, and supply chain management, with a particular focus on optimizing transportation costs and applying strategies that guide optimizing search-engine processes. I became passionate about these fields during my PhD studies at the University of Malaya, where I had the opportunity to delve into complex problems and develop innovative solutions. The challenge of creating efficient algorithms and models to improve transportation and supply chain systems has continually fueled my enthusiasm and guided my professional journey.
My goal is to leverage my skills to drive advancements in the field, publish impactful research, and build a strong foundation for my future career in academia or industry.
Dr. Ahmed Soliman is a postdoctoral fellow and a microbiologist in the Faculty of Science's El-Halfawy Lab where he works with Dr. Omar El-Halfawy, a Canada Research Chair in Chemogenomics and Antimicrobial Research.
Resistant bacterial infections kill an estimated 1.27 million people annually. In 2018, about one million bacterial infections were reported in Canada, a quarter of which were resistant to first-line treatments. Resistant infections were responsible for more than 14,000 deaths at a cost to the health-care system of more than $2 billion. Among these bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a leading cause of infections that has spread in both Canadian hospitals and local communities.
Most research efforts addressing the problem of antimicrobial resistance rely on testing microbes in isolation under standard lab conditions.
However, in the El-Halfawy Lab we aim to uncover novel antibiotic resistance determinants and virulence factors that contribute to the arsenal superbugs deployed during infection by testing under conditions that closely resemble those of the infection site in our bodies, called infection-mimetic conditions. Using chemogenomics and other cutting-edge approaches we are working to uncover new solutions for this health crisis, and what we learn will help enable us to discover new antimicrobial strategies to fight superbugs.
I am pursuing this post doctorate to gain more research experience, to increase my publication record, to be engaged in teaching and mentoring, and to transition to a faculty position.
Dr. Melanie Dennis Unrau is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Art's Geography and Environmental Studies Department. She is working with Dr. Emily Eaton from the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and Dr. Michael Trussler from the Department of English.
Energy transition is a cultural project as much as a technological or scientific one. With the controversy and even animosity we see in Canada around energy and climate change, we need to find common ground and ways to hear one another so we can work together to address the crisis we face. As a literary scholar studying poetry and poetics of the just transition, my research considers poetry—a medium tuned to the limits of language, feelings, and thoughts—as a way of connecting across different communities and perspectives.
I am doing this through a few ongoing and new projects that include my forthcoming book, The Rough Poets: Petropoetics and the Tradition of Canadian Oil Worker Poetry, and a poetry project with the working title “Father Goose,” which investigates the poetics and the legacy of the “father of the tar sands” S.C. Ells. I am also gearing up to work on a poetry anthology project about work and energy transition.
This is my second postdoctoral fellowship. Postdocs allows me to continue my research, to learn in a different environment from where I did my PhD, to develop new skills while working alongside some impressive U of R professors, and to grow as a teacher. Stepping outside of my usual discipline through this postdoc, I am exploring how I can contribute as a poet and scholar of literature to public and academic conversations about energy and climate justice