CIUT is for the children!

Fourteen-year-old Michael DJs alongside Patrick Roots and Devon Wright during CIUT’s Reggae Riddims on Wednesday night. The radio station is currently halfway through their fundraising drive.

The good old hockey game

It has been a long time since Varsity Arena played host to an event that has attracted a large, excited audience. But on Nov. 10, the place will come alive as the University of Toronto Campus Police prepare to face off against a star-studded line-up of former NHLers and Hockey Hall of Famers in a battle that will rival any Toronto Maple Leafs game.

The difference is that tickets are only $10, and with the proceeds benefiting charity, everybody wins.

Organizers Special Constable John Sinclair and team captain Sean Tompa sat down with The Varsity leading up to this action-packed evening.

The Varsity: The University of Toronto Campus Police has done various charity events in previous years. But this is the first year you will be holding a charity hockey game.

John Sinclair: We chose hockey because we thought it would be something that would involve students, faculty, and staff and be an event that would be suited towards everybody. We also knew that the kids from Variety Village, the group that we are benefitting, would also be interested in coming to an event like this. It has a broad appeal. And when people hear the talent that we have—Glenn Anderson, Dale Hawerchuk, Michel Goulet, Borje Salming, Steve Shutt—people get excited.

Sean Tompa: John [Sinclair] and I were the ones who came up with the idea. We grew up playing hockey, but with our shift work we are not able to play or coach hockey as much as we would like to. So we sat down and decided that we want to make it as big as possible.

TV: Tell us a bit about Variety Village and how you hope to benefit them through this occasion.

JS: Variety Village is a special needs charity in Scarborough. They benefit children of special needs so that they can be included in sports. It’s extremely inclusive, and we saw a synergy between the University of Toronto Athletics Department and people interested in sport, and helping an athletic facility geared to people of all abilities.

TV: What can the audience expect to experience at the event?
JS: It’s a show. There will be pyrotechnics, there will be music. It’s being hosted and refereed by Rod Black, who is a host on TSN. And a world-class figure-skating team will be coming in and performing during the intermissions. There is also an afterparty with tonnes of NHL swag at the Duke of York that is included with the price of admission. To go to a hockey game with an afterparty for $10, you can’t beat it.

TV: How were you able to get hockey legends such as six-time Stanley Cup winner Glenn Anderson and 500-goal-scorer Dale Hawerchuk, to name a few, involved for this event?

JS: These guys are all in town due to Hockey Hall of Fame inductions that week. So when we contacted them through Old Timer’s Hockey, we were able to negotiate some extremely talented players and bring them to our campus for the purpose of a charity event.

ST: It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to play with some of these really talented players. Realizing that I will be on the ice with guys who were legends in my mind, it’s pretty exciting.

TV: How has Campus Police prepared for such challenging and gifted opponents?

JS: We wanted to put the best team possible on the ice, because the better we are, the better the NHLers are going to look against us. So we thought where better to find hockey talent than within the Varsity Blues and intramural sports at the university. So we have two representatives from the Varsity Blues, both from the female team. We also have two players from St. Michael’s College, a player from the engineering faculty as well as a student from the pharmacy department. We may also have another team of ringers come in and help us out. And they may be five years old. Hopefully with the support of Timbits hockey, they’ll put some pucks in the net too.

ST: It’s all for charity, so we just want to do our best. It’s all about the players, it’s all about the Hockey Hall of Famers, it’s all about the former NHLers coming out and doing this for charity. So hopefully we can make everyone happy and put up a good fight.

JS: The real winner in this is going to be Variety Village and also the University of Toronto to be able to host this kind of event.

*Tickets to the event are available at the Campus Police office located at 21 Sussex Ave., or online at Ticket Break (ticketbreak.com). Over a thousand tickets have been sold already and more are being distributed every day. *

Fantastic four

On a windy Saturday afternoon, the Blues blew their opponent away.

Three second-half goals brought the Varsity Blues to a 4-0 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs at Varsity Stadium, sending the Blues to the Ontario University Athletics final four in men’s soccer.

While the Blues led by the slimmest of margins at the half, Toronto head coach Anthony Capotosto thought his team wasn’t performing up to their capabilities.

“I thought at the beginning of the game there was a little bit of the jitters because we have a newer team this year,” said Capotosto.

“Everyone was a bit nervous,” said Blues midfielder Geoff Borgmann. “But towards the end of the first half everyone calmed down and we were able to play our game and that’s when we really took over.”

Laurentian had the opening chance in the 16th minute when Blues defender Federico Vaccaro headed the ball behind him into empty space. Laurentian striker Derek Lubertino ran to the ball and blasted the shot over the net from 20 yards out.

Toronto wasted an opportunity in the 18th minute when Alex Raphael found himself in space, after taking a through ball from Gabe Gala. From 10 yards out he fanned on the shot and the ball rolled harmlessly into the hands of Laurentian keeper Scott Cliff.

Tempers boiled over in the 26th minute when Gala and defender Roger Teves were both awarded yellow cards for pushing and shoving. Last year, Gala had a hand in two goals in a playoff win against Laurentian. Because of that, Teves played Gala very aggressively in the opening minutes. Gala appeared frustrated as he and Teves exchanged words and started shoving long after the ball had bounced out of touch.

In the 29th minute, Toronto missed again when Raphael beat the offside trap and raced in alone on Cliff. The keeper made the save but the ball bounced to Nordo Gooden who shot the ball over the net from five yards out.

“[The ball] was bouncing and I was on my weaker foot,” said Gooden. “There is no excuse, I should have had it.”

Gooden made up for his miscue seven minutes later when he got the Blues on the board with a 20-yard strike that just eluded the outstretched right arm of a diving Cliff.

“The defenders gave me enough time on the ball,” said Gooden. “I had time to control it, set it up, and put it on my left [foot] and shoot it. The goalie got a touch but it went in the bottom corner.”

Toronto keeper John Smits kept the game even with six minutes left in the half. Voyageurs defender James Bond hit a spot kick that was labelled for the top left corner but Smits dove to his left and pushed the ball over the bar.

“[Smits] has been steady all year,” Capotosto said. “In my opinion, he’s the top goalie in the league.”

“That was a big save,” said Gooden. “It would have been heartbreaking giving up our lead going into halftime and the momentum would have swung to them.”

In the second half, Gala seemed to get more room for himself. He made a lot more happen, including scoring to make it 2-0 in the second minute. Cliff raced off his line to get a loose ball but Gala raced in and got his toe on it and the ball bounced into the empty net.

Geoff Borgmann scored two consecutive goals to book a ticket into the final four against the visiting Western Mustangs next weekend.

He cashed in a rebound in the ninth minute and headed the ball home on a set piece in the 16th minute.

The Blues defence held the rest of the way, limiting the Voyageurs to one shot and a couple of set pieces for the remainder of the half.

“That is the type of team that can hurt us on set pieces,” said Capotosto. “We were prepared to deal with that and I thought our back line did a tremendous job dealing with the run of play.”

Home sweep home

The Guelph Gryphons were in town Friday night to take on the men’s and women’s Varsity Blues volleyball teams in a doubleheader at the Athletic Centre.

After dropping their first two matches on the road, the Varsity men (0-3) were looking for their first win of the year, while the ladies were looking to stay perfect with a third-straight victory.

That it was the night before Halloween may have explained the paranormal activity the home crowd witnessed, as the Gryphons pulled out their best witch brooms and easily swept the Blues away in their respective home openers.

In the first game, the men looked to continue their dominance over a Gryphons team they absolutely manhandled last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0. But that was last year.

Refusing to give up any easy points all night, the Gryphons defence seemed impenetrable at times—they never trailed once in the match, and took it in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-16).

No matter what the Blues threw at them, the Gryphons always had an answer: consistently getting a hand on balls at the net, digging balls they had no business getting to, or straight-up blocking down Blues’ attacks for points. This was clearly reflected in the final team stats as Blues only managed 17 kills on 73 attempts (compared to Guelph’s 36 on 80 attempts).

After the game, Blues head coach Ed Drakich and his star player, Steve Kung, echoed each other’s sentiments. Both were frustrated with their team’s inability to play consistently over long stretches and mentioned that they were still trying to overcome the huge loss of one of their key players last season, Jessi Lelliott.

“I think some guys might have had a little stage fright [on Friday], but we just couldn’t keep it together over a long series of points,” said Drakich. “We would get right back into a set and then would kill the momentum with a bad pass or service error.”

“The inconsistency [is] frustrating,” said Kung, the 2008-09 OUA player of the year.

The Blues’ biggest nightmare Friday night had to be Winston Rosser. Having an absolute monster game for the Gryphons, Rosser led all players with 15 kills to go along with two service aces and a couple blocks.

Time and time again, the Gryphons looked to Rosser to kill any Blues chance of a comeback. He also emphatically put the exclamation mark on his performance by nailing Killiam Newman in the face with a spike that set up match point.

For the women (2-1), they were also missing two vital players from their starting lineup: Kristina Valjas to injury and last year’s OUA leading scorer, Heather Bansley, who is currently on the other side of the globe in Thailand representing one of Canada’s beach volleyball teams.

This forced head coach Kristine Drakich into starting two first-year players, Alexandra Hudson and Rebecca Crosier.

Again defence played a huge role in this match as the Gryphons were very active on the net, counting 15 points on blocks. Guelph was also very efficient on the offence as they were able to kill 47 of 101 attempts, while the Blues managed only 41 kills on a whopping 133 attempts.

While Drakich admits that her rookies struggled, she also believes her more experienced players may have been trying to do too much to make up for the absence of Valjas and Bansley.

“They perhaps were trying to cover a little too much ground instead of staying in their position and trusting their teammates to make their plays,” said Drakich.

The men’s and women’s teams tried and failed to salvage the weekend on Sunday, losing to the Waterloo Warriors 3-2 and 3-0, respectively.

Golden Hawks outshine Blues

he Varsity Blues women’s hockey team lost 6-0 to Wilfred Laurier’s Golden Hawks on Halloween, while their game against Waterloo the next day was postponed due to several members of the opposing team coming down with the H1N1 virus. Laurier gained a solid lead in the first period, scoring four points on goalie Shayna Moor, who was replaced by first-year Melissa Muir for the remaining two periods. The Blues third goalie, second-year Kendyl Valenta, was out due to a broken collarbone.

Hawks forward Vanessa Schabkar opened scoring at 3:44 with an intercepted Toronto pass, followed minutes later by first-year Paula Lagamba’s shot placing the Hawks in the lead 2-0. Second-year Hawk Caitlyn Muirhead would score again at 12:40, with fourth-year Laura Bartolini cementing Laurier’s 4-0 lead with a wrap-around goal.

Toronto came very close to scoring throughout the second and third periods, but just couldn’t get past the Canadian Interuniversity Sport number-two team and their goalie Liz Knox. Melissa Muir similarly accomplished many admirable saves, but could not stem two goals in the second and third periods. Third-year Katherine Shirriff scored the second period’s lone goal off a pass from teammate Kaley Powers. In the third period, Brittany Crago made the last goal of the game at 4:33, leaving the score at 6-0.

Overall it was an intense and spirited game, with many penalties and collisions on both sides. In the third period, forward Amanda Fawn had a painful encounter with a puck, which hit her arm and bruised her wrist. She was removed from the ice. Head coach Karen Hughes assured that Fawn was fine, commenting approvingly that she did at least block the shot.

The Blues would have played the Waterloo Warriors the next day, except two Warriors came down with H1N1. The game has been postponed, along with the Warriors’ match against the York Lions, which would have also been on Halloween. Coach Hughes said the team will take their usual health precautions, though she commented that she is pleased the match was postponed. “You have to be careful,” she said. “Use your own water bottle, don’t share towels. Same as everybody else.”

As for game performance, Hughes commented: “We outshot them today. […] We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.” The Blues will travel to St. Catharines to play Brock on Saturday. The next home game will be against Guelph on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m.

Academic pirates trade science articles

Those in the medical field may be illegally distributing academic journal articles, a recent report reveals.

Thousands of journal articles not available through open access have been posted online via a web forum geared at medical students and professionals, according to a study published in The Internet Journal of Medical Informatics. Users of the unnamed website requested a total of 6,587 articles within a six-month period last year, successfully retrieving 83 per cent of them.

Academic journals usually require paid subscriptions, so researchers who cannot find and pay for the articles must find an alternative. In total, the forum’s users saved an estimated $1.4 million a year. The figure was calculated based on page views and individual prices for each article, ranging from $7 to $100.

“Most remarkable is that the activity described in this paper did not occur within closed, secure, password- and firewall-protected environments, but within open environments, easily publicly accessible, and easily searchable and referenced by general search engines such as Google,” wrote Ken Masters of IT Health Ed, who conducted the study.

In January 2009, the forum had nearly 130,000 registered users. Users could make up to three requests per day, and members who had access would post articles on the forum for all. Nature and Science were the most requested journals, with the oldest article dating back to 1884 from Science.

Since early 2009, the website has narrowed its availability to a small group of people.

“In the field of medicine, ethics plays a pivotal role,” wrote Masters, “and yet the site displays activities by medical students, teachers, and practicing professionals that are ethically dubious.”

‘Where it leads, others follow’

Forget about TIFF. The red carpet rolled out in Toronto last week for some of the world’s top minds in biomedical research in honour of the Canada Gairdner Awards’ 50th anniversary.

Celebrations took place in cities across Canada, and culminated in Toronto from Oct. 28 to 30. Over 60 past Gairdner winners—22 of whom went on to become Nobel laureates—gathered at U of T to offer public forums and workshops, not to mention a fair bit of science celebrity-spotting.

The three-day science frenzy was made up of industry and public events, where anyone could rub shoulders with the science A-list. The events covered past, present, and future research, including everything from stem cells to chronic disease and global health. “These events provide a unique forum for debate and dialogue, and often yield new and even more powerful ideas,” said president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alain Baudet.

The Gairdner Awards are Canada’s leading international science prize, recognizing the world’s top researchers in medical science. Even Sweden’s Nobel committees seem to be keeping an eye out for the Gairdner stamp of approval, since 76 of the 298 awardees have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. As 1992 Gairdner winner and 2001 Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse noted, “Where it leads, others follow.”

“The foundation has created an impressive and loyal laureate community,” said Baudet at Friday’s all-day symposium in Convocation Hall. “The fact that so many [past winners] have travelled here today is a testament to the respect the Gairdner Foundation has earned. And the fact that a sizeable number of Gairdner winners have gone on to become Nobel laureates is a testament to the Gairdner’s success in recognizing great scientific achievement.”

Sheila Robinson, the Gairdner Foundation’s manager of external relations, explained, “Because we have a reputation for recognizing breakthrough science early, it’s often the first major prize that these people have won, so they kind of have a soft spot for the Gairdner.”

The Gairdners also play an important role at the national level by highlighting Canada’s role in cutting-edge biomedical research. According to Baudet, “the Gairdner’s 50th anniversary celebrations have emphasized the important work it does to enrich the culture of science in Canada.”

Who’s who at the Gairdners: Some people you might have bumped into

This year’s winners

Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, Kyoto University

In 2006, Dr. Yamanaka and his team famously generated Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from adult mouse fibroblasts (connective tissue cells), and later proved that this could be done from adult human fibroblasts as well. His research helped to sidestep the moral debate surrounding whether the therapeutic potential of stem cells could justify the destruction of embryos.

Dr. Kazutoshi Mori, Kyoto University, Dr. Peter Walter, University of California

Research conducted by Dr. Mori and Dr. Walter led to the elucidation of a key pathway that regulates protein folding in the cell. This signalling pathway allows cells to regulate their quantities of endoplasmic reticulum, a key organelle involved in quality control over proteins before they can be transported out of the cell. This signalling is crucial, because imbalances in the process can lead to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Richard Losick, Harvard University, Dr. Lucy Shapiro, Stanford University

Drs. Losick and Shapiro’s research on cell differentiation involved the use of dormant bacteria, called spores. They discovered a crucial class of regulatory proteins that control the expression of many genes during spore formation, as well as the growth of many other kinds of bacteria. They were able to clarify the intricate mechanisms controlling gene expression during this process, leading to a better understanding of bacteria that can both benefit and cause disease in humans. This will inform further efforts to fight infections, and to use microbes as a medicine source.

Dr. David Sackett, McMaster University

Dr. Sackett was recognized with the 2009 Gairdner Wightman Award for his leadership in the disciplines of clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine. Both of these fields have influenced applied clinical research and the way medicine is practiced all over the world. The Wightman Award honours Canadians for their leadership in medicine or medical science.

Dr. Nubia Muñoz, National Cancer Institute, Bogota, Colombia

Dr. Muñoz’s epidemiological research helped her define the crucial role of HPV as a cause of cervical cancer on a global level, leading to the development of successful vaccines. She was a member of the scientific committee that oversaw clinical testing of the Gardasil vaccine. Related research done by Dr. zur Hausen garnered the Nobel Prize in 2008.

Past winners, and some notable Nobels

Dr. Oliver Smithies, University of North Carolina, Dr. Mario Capecchi, University of Utah

Gairdner (1993), Nobel (2007)

Known for their work on gene targeting in embryo-derived stem cells in mice, Smithies and Capecchi’s research has opened up possibilities for developing treatments for human genetic diseases. Their work was awarded the Nobel Prize “for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells.”

Dr. John Sulston, University of Manchester

Gairdner (1992, 2002), Nobel (2002)

Dr. Sulston’s work with Brenner and Horvitz on animal development from the fertilized egg made use of the nematode worm to make critical discoveries about cell lineages in humans. They identified different lines of stem cell lineage, and discovered how some cells are subject to programmed cell death over the course of development. He was also a leader of the Human Genome Project.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, University of California

Gairdner (1998), Nobel (2009)

Dr. Blackburn’s research focuses on telomeres, the region of repetitive DNA at the end of chromosomes that protects the region from destruction. She discovered the enzyme telomerase, and works with a number of different organisms and human cancer cells. She is currently studying the effects of stress on telomerase.

Dr. Richard Axel, Columbia University

Gairdner (2003), Nobel (2004)

Dr. Axel’s research focuses on how our sense of smell is established during development, and how it changes over time. He also studies how certain smells can provoke particular behaviours or thoughts. He has worked on gene transfer techniques that allow any gene to be introduced into any cell. His work has helped biologists in the large-scale production of drugs, as well as the study of gene function in vivo.

Dr. David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology

Gairdner (1974), Nobel (1975)

One of the heavyweights in biological research, Dr. Baltimore was famous for discovering the enzyme reverse trancriptase, which transcribes RNA into DNA. Reverse transcriptase is essential in the reproduction of retroviruses, which made Baltimore’s discovery even more relevant several years later in light of the identification of HIV as the retrovirus that causes AIDS.

Dr. Barry Marshall, University of Western Australia

Gairdner (1996), Nobel (2005)

Along with Robin Warren, Dr. Marshall overturned the longstanding medical myth that stomach ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid. He demonstrated that Helicobacter pylori bacteria are in fact the cause of most stomach ulcers.

How the virtually inedible food at Varsity Centre is contributing to U of T’s sports apathy

Two weeks ago, I bought the first piece of U of T paraphernalia that I’m actually proud to own in my five-plus years at this university. It’s a blue and white scarf with the Blues T insignia on both ends, and it cost me $30, so I’m going to have to get a lot of mileage out of this one. Replacing the other scarf I had wrapped around my neck, I had a seat on the bleachers at Varsity Centre, and watched the Blues football team lose on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Oh, man, did we get slaughtered. I had a really great time.

As I sat in the stands watching Waterloo score another touchdown, I thought about what a shame it was that in all my years here, this was the first time I was having the stereotypical university experience of attending the homecoming football game. Friends drifted in and out of the stands to say hi, and UC and Skule both had good contingents out. As we noted the number of friends who couldn’t make it because they had midterms to study for and essays to write, my fellow spectator Alix remarked how it’s too bad that you pretty much have to stop taking classes here to have the time to appreciate U of T.

It’s especially unfortunate since a Blues football game used to be able to fill up Varsity Stadium—and this was when the bleachers reached all the way around the field—with overflow onto Bloor Street. But in the modern U of T era, athletics aren’t anyone’s priority. Students are more likely to strain a muscle at the Science Olympics than on any field, rink, or court.

But if you think about it, sports actually include some of our favourite pastimes, including statistics, management, and following the rules. Furthermore, as is well known, Torontonians have no problem with—nay, have a talent for—supporting a losing team in blue and white.

We know that you don’t really have to follow a sport to enjoy a game, so why isn’t the new Varsity Centre packing the stands?

The answer finally hit me, or rather, I tasted it: a Varsity Centre hot dog. Of the true horse-knuckle variety, it looked like it had been boiled in its own sweat. There were also nachos, but I didn’t dare try those after what I had just consumed.

Beverages weren’t any better. On my way to finding a seat, I had passed by what I think might have been intended as U of T’s sad-sack beer garden, stationed in the concrete hall beneath the bleachers. It was cordoned off with one of those metal fences the police use to control pedestrian traffic, and it looked about as hospitable as it did permanent. The two lone men in their fifties that were stationed inside the kennel appeared to share my remorse for the lack of a proper place to share a pint—or whatever beverage tickles your fancy—with friends. It’s cold and grey under the bleachers.

This is what we show off to other schools when they come to Varsity Centre for a big game. I’m surprised no one at Rotman has had the good sense to recognize a demand when they see one. Maybe they haven’t been to a Blues game?

Please, somebody, anybody, fix the food situation at Varsity Centre. Do you think you could do it in time for an outdoor Hockey Classic?