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2017 Visiting Speaker Series

The Visiting Speakers Program at the Faculty of Agriculture aims to build and support a robust and dynamic research culture across the campus.  

The program will offer scholarly research seminars and will provide our faculty, staff, students and research associates an opportunity to engage with world class scientists. This initiative aligns with one of the major intents of the Faculty Strategic Research Plan: to “Build a Community of Scholarship”.


Name, Affiliation & Title

Time & Location

Jan 13

Dr. Xin Zhao, McGill University
“Antimicrobial Resistance of Mastitis Pathogens”

Dr. Xin Zhao is a James McGill Professor at the Department of Animal Science of McGill University, Montreal. He obtained his BSc and MSc degrees from Nanjing Agricultural University in China and PhD degree from Cornell University. His primary research interests pertain to the interaction between pathogens and hosts in dairy cows and poultry. For the research in dairy cows, he has focused on mastitis. His research group is currently working on determining the antibiotic resistance in milk staphylococci and the host response during mastitis. Dr. Zhao served as the Chair of the Department of Animal Science at McGill University between 1999 and 2007 and as a member for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Science Advisory Board between 2010 and 2014. Dr. Zhao has established successful collaboration with other scientists from Universities, Government Research Stations and Industries around the world. He has published over 190 refereed scientific papers and reviews in respected journals and 5 book chapters. He was a William Dawson Scholar between 2002 and 2007 and has been a James McGill Professor since 2007 at McGill University. He received the Canadian Society of Animal Science's award for Technical Innovation in Enhancing Production of Safe Affordable Food in 2006 and the Canadian Society of Animal Science Fellowship Award in 2011. In 2016, he was the recipient of the West Agro Inc. Award from the American Dairy Science Association.




Jan 27

Dr. Donald Smith, McGill University
“Plants and microbes for a cool fuel”

During his 30 years at McGill, 65 graduate students have worked under Dr. Smith’s direct supervision, in a wide range of areas around production and physiology of crop plants, and more recently with an emphasis on plant-microbe interactions. Altogether this research activity has resulted in over 300 publications (which have been cited almost 7000 times), 12 patents issued, a spin-off company (Bios Agriculture Inc.) and products applied to several 10s of millions of ha of cropland in each year. During his 30 years at McGill he has been principal investigator on research grants totaling over $45 million, and has been a co-applicant on approximately $12.5 million in other funds. He currently leads the NCE funded ($12 million per year) BioFuelNet Canada Network (http://www.biofuelnet.ca) on development of advanced biofuels, including conversion of waste biomass into fuels, and also heads the McGill Network for Innovation in Biofuels and Bioproducts (http://mcnibb.mcgill.ca/index.html) and the Eastern Canadian Oilseed Development Initiative network (AAFC funded at $2 million per year). He has had international collaborations with the US, India, China, Russia, Brazil and Africa and has collaborated extensively with industry as part of his research activities. 



Feb 10

Dr. Mark Sumarah, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

“Application of Analytical and Natural Products Chemistry to Canadian Agricultural Problems”

Dr. Sumarah is a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in London Ontario and an Adjunct Research Professor at both Carleton and Western University. He is originally from Halifax where he obtained his undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s University. He then completed his graduate and post-doctoral studies at Carleton University with Prof. J. David Miller. Dr. Sumarah is an analytical and natural products chemist with expertise in the isolation, structural elucidation and analysis of small organic molecules from complex biological matrices using LC-MS and NMR. This includes extensive experience on the characterization and analysis of fungal secondary metabolites. The majority of his current research is focused on the development and implementation of better tools using mass spectrometry for the detection and monitoring of mycotoxins in the food production system and agricultural contaminants such as pharmaceuticals in the environment. These tools are being used for discovery of new emerging mycotoxins and to provide data on the fate and occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the environment to regulators. In 2012 he received the Arthur C. Neish Young Investigator Award from the Phytochemical Society of North America “for excellence in research in phytochemistry”.


March 3

Dr. Georgia Mason, University of Guelph
Is a bare cage adequate for mink? What "enrichment" can do for mink and mink farmers

Dr. Georgia Mason graduated with a BA in zoology (‘88) and PhD ('92) in animal behaviour from Cambridge University. She was an Assistant Prof. and BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow in the Zoology Dept of Oxford University. In 2004 Georgia moved to Canada to take up a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph, where she has been a Full Professor since 2006. Dr. Mason’s research interests center on validating objective ways of assessing animal well-being, and in assessing and mitigating the impacts of barren housing conditions. She has worked on a diverse range of species, including mice, elephants, rats, horses, cattle, and foxes, but always keep coming back to mink. Dr. Mason has over 200 publications including papers in Nature and Science, and currently has an active research group of 2 post-docs, 2 PhD students and 3 MSc students.


March 17

Dr. Nicolas Abatzoglou, Sherbrook University

“Canada’s BioFuelNet for Sustainable Biorefineries: New Catalytic ways for the Pyrolysis & Gasification Platforms”

Professor Nicolas Abatzoglou, Ph.D, P. Eng., MCIC, FCAE Dr. Nicolas Abatzoglou is full professor and ex-Head of the Department of Chemical & Biotechnological Engineering of the Université de Sherbrooke. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Saskatchewan and Laval University. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is a specialist in Process Engineering involving particulate systems. He is the Director of the GRTP-C&P (Groupe of Research on Technologies and Processes in the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Industry). Since May 2008, he is the holder of the Pfizer Industrial Research Chair in Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) in Pharmaceutical Engineering. He is one of the Leaders in Canada’s NCE Network BioFuelNet on Biorefining. He is co-founder of the company Enerkem Technologies Inc., precursor of Enerkem Inc., a spin-off commercializing technologies in the field of energy from renewable resources. His scientific production includes a 100+ publications, reviews, conferences, keynotes, plenaries and invited lectures, patents and three book chapters.


March 31

Dr.Karen Foster, Dalhousie university

“The Ethics of Work in Rural Atlantic Canada”

Karen Foster is Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Rural Futures for Atlantic Canada at Dalhousie University. Her latest book, Productivity and Prosperity: A Historical Sociology of Productivist Thought, contextualizes and critiques the notion that rising economic productivity means rising prosperity, particularly in Atlantic Canada. Her research draws on economic sociology, historical sociology, political economy, political ecology and the sociology of work, focusing on themes such as the “end of work”, generations, and the environmental limits of economic growth.