We are celebrating and raising the profile of scholarly milestones and research impacts from across the SFU research community.
Examples of Scholarly Impacts can include:
- Publishing a paper in a high-impact journal;
- Patenting an invention;
- Debuting a new performance piece;
- Publishing a monograph or book;
- Changing a government policy; and/or
- Changing the way we think about or understand the world around us.
We expect most of the publications that are featured to be recent impacts—however, we will also publish a transformative impact from the past, from time-to-time.
As part of SFU's Scholarly Impact of the Week, selected researchers will work with a member of the VP Research and International Office's communications and marketing team for support. We will also work with researchers to discuss how we can mobilize knowledge on their work by submitting to The Conversation Canada—one of the world's most trusted independent sources of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered directly to the public.
If you have any questions, please reach out directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The link between precarious housing and traumatic brain injury
Allen ThorntonFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences
A research team co-led by Simon Fraser University Psychology Professor Allen Thornton has found that socially and economically vulnerable persons suffer from unprecedently high rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared to other populations.
For the study, Thornton supervised SFU Psychology PhD alumnus Tiffany O’Connor who worked in collaboration with UBC psychiatry professors William Panenka and William Honer, SFU psychology professor Wendy Loken Thornton, and statistics and actuarial science professor X. Joan Hu. Their subsequent work, Traumatic brain injury in precariously housed persons: Incidence and risks, clarifies the gravity of the situation and recommends educating stakeholders about the serious implications of TBIs within this context.
Psychedelics as therapies to reduce opioid use
Kora DeBeckFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Kanna HayashiFaculty of Health Sciences
Simon Fraser University researchers Kora DeBeck and Kanna Hayashi have found that recent psychedelic use was associated with 55 percent reduced odds of daily opioid use. It is the first longitudinal study of its kind and adds to growing knowledge and interest in the use of psychedelics—such as psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca and others—in addition to counselling for harm reduction and treatment of substance use disorders.
SFU School of Public Policy Professor DeBeck and Health Sciences Professor Hayashi are research scientists with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use. Their study, Psychedelic use is associated with reduced daily opioid use among people who use illicit drugs in a Canadian setting, is part of a decade-long research collaboration to inform both public policy and health services that improve the wellbeing of people who use drugs.
How Google’s search engine supports conspiracy theorists and hate figures
Ahmed Al-RawiFaculty of Communication, Art and Technology
Simon Fraser University Communication Professor Ahmed Al-Rawi’s research examines the intersections between political extremism, misinformation and social media. He leads The Disinformation Project at SFU, which examines fake news discourses in Canadian news media and social media.
One of Al-Rawi’s recent studies focused on the way artificial intelligence reproduces and promotes prejudice, hate and conspiracy online. For his recent article, How Google Autocomplete Algorithms about Conspiracy Theorists Mislead the Public, he collaborated with Postdoctoral Fellow Carmen Celestini, Master’s student Nathan Worku, and PhD candidate Nicole Stewart.
They looked at the subtitles that Google automatically suggested for known conspiracy theorists and found that Google’s subtitle was never consistent with the actor’s conspiratorial behaviour.
Support for scientist-entrepreneurs crucial to rapid crisis response
Elicia MaineBeedie School of Business
Elicia Maine is an international expert in science innovation and entrepreneurship. As the W.J. VanDusen Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Simon Fraser University, and the Special Advisor on Innovation to the Vice-president of Research and International, she is working to further strengthen innovation culture and research impact at SFU, while advocating for corresponding programs and policies to enhance the Canadian innovation ecosystem.
Recently, her paper Rapid Response Through the Entrepreneurial Capabilities of Academic Scientists was featured in Nature Nanotechnology, an interdisciplinary journal that publishes papers of the highest quality and significance in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology.
The article, co-authored with SFU Beedie faculty members Andrew Park, Jon Thomas and Azadeh Goudarzi, and with SFU Beedie post-doctoral researcher Pegah Yaghmaie, investigates the early stage translational supports and entrepreneurial capabilities that enable academic scientist-entrepreneurs to found ventures which can respond quickly to global crises, creating both social and economic impact.
SFU scholars making an impact on global sustainability
For the dedicated Simon Fraser University researchers whose work contributes to a sustainable future, each and every day is Earth Day. Scholars across all SFU faculties have a long history of pursuing research that advances our understanding of the natural world and addresses environmental concerns.
In appreciation of Earth Week, we are highlighting just some of the SFU scholars making an impact towards a cleaner, greener future.
Solving the mysteries of molecular mechanisms
Julian GuttmanFaculty of Science
A case of food poisoning cannot just ruin a vacation; for people with comprised immunity, the very young or elderly people, food borne illness and bacterial infections can be quite serious.
Simon Fraser University Professor of Cellular Microbiology Julian Guttman studies bacterial infections such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and others to understand how these microorganisms infiltrate and replicate within human tissue. His recent study, mDia1 Assembles a Linear F-Actin Coat at Membrane Invaginations To Drive Listeria monocytogenes Cell-to-Cell Spreading, revealed clues about the molecular mechanisms driving L. monocytogenes, the bacteria that causes listeriosis. The findings suggest that disabling the protein MDia1, curbs the spread of Listeria.
When accounting for carbon, engagement equals success
Fereshteh MahmoudianBeedie School of Business
Jamal NazariBeedie School of Business
Organizations worldwide are recognizing their role as contributors to global warming and setting targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. Tracking GHGs is a new challenge, so companies are turning to carbon management accounting, which provides processes and procedures that support the implementation of carbon reduction activities.
Fereshteh Mahmoudian and Jamal Nazari from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business study how complex organizations engage stakeholders in sustainability initiatives. They recently published Inter-and intra-organizational stakeholder arrangements in carbon management accounting, which compared the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement with a company’s actual carbon reduction.
Cross-disciplinary support for individuals with autism
Elina BirminghamFaculty of Education
Grace IarocciFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences
SFU Education Professor Elina Birmingham is the director of the Autism Education Lab. She works closely with SFU Psychology Professor and clinical psychologist Grace Iarocci who leads the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Lab. They are part of a growing group of scholars committed to incorporating the voices of autistic individuals into the research process.
Birmingham and Iarocci recently authored the study, Action coordination during a real-world task: Evidence from children with and without autism spectrum disorder. Their work focused on joint action coordination in children with and without autism.
Interdisciplinary collaboration yields smaller, smarter sensor
Behraad BahreyniFaculty of Applied Sciences
Gary LeachFaculty of Science
Behraad Bahreyni is an associate professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, and the founder and director of the Intelligent Sensing Laboratory. Gary Leach is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and director of photonic systems at the SFU core facility 4D LABS.
Together Bahreyni and Leach are developing new and useful technologies, materials and processes. Their interdisciplinary collaboration had led to the creation of a micromachined vector light sensor that can detect both the intensity and direction of light from a source—the first-of-its-kind to do so.
Could climate change create conflict?
Mark CollardFaculty of Environment
Did a changing climate lead to increased conflict among the city-states of the famous Classic Maya civilization? According to some researchers, a decline in rainfall exacerbated conflict for the Classic Maya. However, other researchers have found that increasing summer temperatures influenced Classic Maya conflict levels. A recent study from a team led by SFU Professor of Archaeology and Canada Research Chair in Human Evolutionary Studies Mark Collard provides a new perspective on this debate.