Research Recognition Awards Past Recipients




Award recipients by year: 



2022 Award Recipients



Knowledge Mobilization Award

Dr. Kimberly Williams, PhD

Kimberly Williams headshot

Through a combination of passion, expertise and innovation, Dr. Kenna Olsen, PhD, extends her research beyond traditional avenues for dissemination and publication, aiding in the broad and diverse knowledge mobilization of medieval English literary scholarship. Olsen teaches Old and Middle English literature, the History of the English Language and a variety of specialized courses stemming from her research, including medieval ecocriticism and women’s participation in medieval English literature. Beyond the classroom, she is the associated dean of research, scholarship and community engagement for the Faculties of Arts and Teaching & Learning, co-director of the Research Cluster Oceologies, and co-founder of the Phoenix Rising — Subjects that Matter initiative. An active scholar and collaborator, Olsen’s research has been published across a variety of platforms and disseminated at significant conference presentations both nationally and internationally. Of special note is her decade-long work on the medieval English poem Cleanness, one of the most important manuscripts in English literary tradition which is included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. In collaboration with the Cotton Nero A.x. Project and the British Library, Olsen authored four double-blind peer-reviewed online book-length publications. They not only provide clarity on the meaning and significance of the poem, but act as an important avenue for providing global access to works considered crucial to understanding the human condition. In her pursuit of enhancing curiosity and eliciting critical conversations with a wider audience, Olsen has also created numerous open educational resources that support scholarly work on medieval English studies, including four multimedia recordings of medieval literature that allow the viewer to see and hear the poetry in its original language. These recordings are accessible through her scholarly website, Emerging Medievalism: Methods, Media, Manuscript, which stands as a hub for various projects and teaching activities devoted to understanding the literary and cultural output of medieval England. Olsen is also known for employing the use of digital methods and social media to further engagement, such as utilizing MRU’s Immersion Studio for teaching and research, placing students in geographical spaces and periods. Another project required students to use Twitter as a tool to voice opinions and perspectives by parsing lines of medieval poetry down to 280 characters. Since her start at MRU in 2008, Olsen has also been recognized with a Distinguished Faculty Award, the Faculty of Arts Outstanding Teacher Award, and several MRU and national grants for scholarship in English literature and teaching innovation.


Research and Scholarship Excellence Award

Dr. Mohamed El Hussein, NP, PhD

Mohamed El Hussein headshot

With a career in academia spanning over two decades, Dr. Mohamed El Hussein, NP, PhD, professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at MRU, is a significant contributor to the profession of nursing and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

El Hussein’s research focuses on understanding how students learn and creating strategies to support learning of complex concepts. Care of older adults is another pillar of El Hussien’s program of research where he explores barriers and facilitators to recognizing delirium and dementia in acute care settings. To support clinical education, El Hussein created and validated tools to better evaluate students’ performance in practical courses. In addition to generating relevant knowledge, his scholarship yielded several knowledge translation vehicles to simplify the interpretation and application of clinical practice guidelines.

El Hussein’s scholarly output has had a powerful impact on nursing education at a local, national and global level. He has been credited with more than 50 published peer-reviewed articles, co-authored and edited three major nursing textbooks, developed exam banks to meet the National Council Licensure Examination’s new testing guidelines and received over $400,000 in research and scholarship funding. Of note is a recent $218,026 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in collaboration with the University of Toronto for El Hussein’s research, “What are the experiences and needs of informal caregivers of fracture patients in a rehabilitation setting?” 

Further recognition for El Hussein’s work includes one of his articles being selected for the Best of 2020 Collection for The Nurse Practitioner and another receiving an honorable mention as the best research brief published in 2018 in Nursing Education Perspective. 

In the classroom, El Hussein translates his breadth and depth of expert knowledge into innovative teaching approaches, encouraging and supporting students to think critically, deconstruct complex ideas and confidently navigate clinical scenarios. In 2020 he was the recipient of both MRU’s Distinguished Faculty Award and the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University’s (SAMRU) Teaching Excellence Award. 

In addition to his role at Mount Royal, El Hussein is also a board member and the director of education for the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta, an adjunct associate professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and an acute care nurse practitioner at Rockyview General Hospital. He further plays a large role in disseminating scholarly work by others, serving as an associate editor for two high-impact, peer-reviewed journals and a reviewer for an additional four journals. 


Emerging Scholar Award

Dr. Michael Asmussen, PhD

Michael Asmussen headshot

Dr. Michael Asmussen, PhD, assistant professor of biology in MRU’s Faculty of Science and Technology, is a trailblazer of early research success. His research program focuses on how the foot and ankle are essential for humans to walk and run. While seemingly simple movements, the execution of these tasks is complex and requires coordination across the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems. Asmussen’s research seeks to understand the structure, function and neural control during locomotion in healthy, injured and diseased states with the end goal of translating outcomes into innovative healthcare solutions, including biofeedback systems and participant-specific bracing solutions aimed at improving stabilization of the foot and ankle and a person’s ability to safely walk and run.  

Since beginning at Mount Royal in 2019, Asmussen has made many significant contributions to his department’s curriculum, student training and infrastructure support through successful grants. He is the first Canada Research Chair (CRC) in MRU’s Faculty of Science and Technology ($600,000 over five years), and secured the first externally-funded postdoctoral fellow to conduct research at MRU through a Mitacs Elevate Award. 

For his project, “Foot-Ankle Complex: Mechanisms Underpinning its Stability and Control,” Asumssen was awarded $152,000 of funding over five years (2021 – 2026) from a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant. He was also awarded a Canada Foundation for Innovation Grant of $799,232 to help put together a human physiology space.

“The large majority will be used to renovate a combined research and teaching space to produce an exceptional training environment for MRU students both in and out of a formal course,” Asmussen explains.

During his time at MRU, Asmussen has published eight articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research internationally. In 2021, Asmussen was awarded the World Athletics Award at the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) for the best paper submitted by a scientist in the field — a competition open to all conference delegates, regardless of career stage. 

A valuable addition to the biology department, Asmussen organizes four to five workshops per semester for research courses and hosts a mini-conference each semester for final presentations. He continues to bring unique industry-oriented research to MRU while advancing a research program with student training at the core.


Undergraduate Research Supervision Award

Dr. Leah Hamilton, PhD

Leah Hamilton headshot

Dr. Leah Hamilton, PhD, professor in MRU’s Bissett School of Business and cross-appointed to the Department of Psychology, has played a significant role in expanding the institution's capacity to provide mentorship, training and opportunities for undergraduate student researchers to participate in and disseminate scholarship.

As co-designer of MRU’s Bachelor of Business Administration Honours Program and coordinator since its inception in 2015, Hamilton continually contributes to the growth and development of MRU students’ research and scholarship competencies. In addition to the group of honours students she directly supervises every year, Hamilton has played a mentorship role for every student who has gone through the program, helping each to complete their thesis and prepare an oral presentation for Research and Scholarship Days.   

Her guidance includes providing expertise on designing research studies and crafting optimal interview or survey questions, training for advanced qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques, providing feedback on reports and theses, and supporting opportunities to disseminate work and scholarship. 

Hamilton says she prioritizes “soft” research skills such as empathy, deep listening and building community partnerships through trust. “For me, working with undergraduate students isn’t limited to helping them develop their technical research competencies. It involves fostering their personal growth.”

A testament to her support and guidance, Hamilton’s students’ accomplishments include multiple awards, scholarships, presentations to community partners, national conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed undergraduate research journals.

“I try to show up for my students with compassion and to advocate for them when difficulties arise, whether related to their research projects or in their lives more broadly,” she says.

Starting in 2016, Hamilton has organized and facilitated four workshops at Mount Royal to help develop faculty members’ undergraduate research supervision skills. She also designed and currently delivers the Research Methods for Business (MGMT 5110) course. 

Further, Hamilton’s service at MRU has included being a member of the Research and Scholarship Days Organizing Committee, chair of the Undergraduate Research Working Group and member of the General Faculties Council’s Executive Committee.

Hamilton’s own program of research focuses on the social and economic integration of newcomers and refugees in Canada. Her work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. 




2021 Award Recipients



Knowledge Mobilization Award

Felix Nwaishi, PhD

Felix Nwaishi Bio Image

Dr. Felix Nwaishi’s research explores the role of ecological processes in regulating ecosystem functions, especially following natural and anthropogenic disturbances such as wildfires and oil sands mining.

An assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Nwaishi’s research around boreal forest wetlands impacted by industrial developments is mainly funded through NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) and Environment and Climate Change Canada, as well as by energy companies. His goal is to develop a mechanistic understanding of how changing conditions associated with environmental disturbance would affect the processes that sustain ecosystem functions of wetlands, which is then applied to develop mitigation strategies.

“I have a specific interest in wetlands, because wetlands serve a crucial function as the ‘kidney’ of our natural environment,” Nwaishi says. “There is something new to learn every day. I gain a better understanding of the environment I live in, and I get the opportunity to share this fascinating knowledge with my students through teaching.”

Nwaishi’s approach is grounded in the belief that learning in the earth and environmental science disciplines should progress beyond theoretical knowledge by providing students with the practical skills required to address real-world environmental challenges. He says he’s driven by the dynamic nature of his work, his supportive colleagues and opportunities to get out in the field.

In 2019, the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at Mount Royal launched an initiative to create a hub for wetland sustainability knowledge exchange in Alberta by gathering key stakeholders to join the yearly global celebration of World Wetlands Day. Nwaishi has been instrumental in the development of this initiative by organizing the yearly World Wetlands Day Symposium at MRU. This year’s theme was Wetlands and Water.

“I am a strong believer in knowledge sharing, so one of the core aspects of my research philosophy is to play a lead role in the communication and sharing of scientific knowledge in a format that is accessible to people from a diverse background. For me, knowledge mobilization means translating and transmitting scientific knowledge in a manner that keeps the public informed about what is happening in their environment and how they can play a role in conservation and management of environmental resources, which is essential for our well-being.”


Research and Scholarship Excellence Award

Robert Boschman, PhD

Robert Boschman Bio Photo

Dr. Robert Boschman specializes in environmental humanities and place studies, with emphasis on uranium extraction abandonments and how these intersect with environmental justice. He also takes environmental justice as the focal point of his ecocritical approaches to American literature.

Chair of the Department of English, Languages and Cultures at MRU, Boschman’s memoir, White Coal City, was published in the fall to great acclaim following decades of research and writing and informed by his research interests.

Boschman’s family suffered from an unspoken trauma, one he later discovered stemmed from the death of his grandmother, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver while she was six months pregnant. Boschman describes Prince Albert, Sask., its multiple prisons and residential school, as a “circle of pain”— one felt by white settlers but more so by generations of Indigenous and Métis people who were forcibly removed, incarcerated or abducted.

“I had to do a lot of historical research because my memoir is a combination of personal experience, but I'm also really investigating the history of the land and what White settlers and colonialism did in creating towns like the town I grew up in, and how that affected First Nations people,” Boschman says. “I wanted to try to create a hybrid of historical research and first-person narrative to tell the story of my family.”

In the 1990s Boschman took the time to interview numerous members of his family and witnesses to the tragic accident that killed his grandmother and her unborn child. He also transcribed his grandparents’ love letters and their journals. He was able to access his grandmother’s coroner's report, which also had to be transcribed from early-20th century shorthand, all resulting in a very detailed record to support his writing.

In addition to White Coal City, through a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Insight Development Grant, Boschman and co-researchers are in the process of visiting and documenting five abandoned uranium extraction communities, including Uranium City in northern Saskatchewan and Jeffrey City in Wyoming, to highlight the environmental, human and non-human impacts of uranium extraction around the world.

Boschman says he’s proud to receive the 2021 Research and Scholarship Excellence Award and to be a part of the Mount Royal community. Of the memoir, he says “I hope that it makes a contribution to national and international discourse about trauma, and truth, and reconciliation. And as Mount Royal indigenizes, I hope that my work can be a contribution to that.”


Community Engagement Award

Susan Jacoby, CNM, RM

Susan Jacoby Bio Photo

The work Susan Jacoby has been doing for the past eight years as a member of the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Waterbirth Working Group is bringing about policy change in Alberta hospitals.

Made up of midwifery, physician and administrative members from the academic and health-care spheres in Alberta, the group has developed a province-wide infection control policy, clinical practice guideline and client FAQ sheet for informed consent for waterbirth. Jacoby emphasizes the critical importance of community engagement in research.

“In this climate of evidence-informed care, it can mean the difference between care providers meeting your needs or not. As in the case of waterbirth, women have been asking for it for years,” Jacoby says. But because there wasn’t an Alberta-based study on outcomes, it was “too easy for hospitals to disallow it and women were disenfranchised from being able to have a waterbirth.

“Now, through the work of the Waterbirth Working Group, AHS will make these recommendations standard policy in all AHS hospitals. It gives midwives and the women we serve safe access to waterbirth if they choose, which has not been the case up to now.”

In addition to the safety and efficacy of waterbirth, Jacoby’s research focus includes African immigrant women with female genital mutilation/cutting, intimate partner violence in pregnant women, factors associated with perineal lacerations in childbirth, and midwifery education in Ethiopia and globally.

She also worked with some members of the Waterbirth Working Group to publish a three-year cohort study of midwifery maternal and neonatal outcomes of water birth compared with non-water birth outcomes. (They were equivalent to or better than the land births.)

With 40 years of experience as a health-care provider and educator in nursing and midwifery, Jacoby holds a faculty position as associate professor of midwifery in the Bachelor of Midwifery program. While on sabbatical in 2019, she worked with the World Health Organization on a project related to female genital mutilation. When that work was delayed, she was seconded to work with WHO’s first chief nursing officer, including contributing to the State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020.


Emerging Scholar Award

Andria Dawson, PhD

Andria Dawson Bio Photo

Dr. Andria Dawson is an assistant professor in the Department of General Education who brings together math and biology in the minds of her students by actively involving them in their learning.

Whether it’s using tree rings to reconstruct climate variability in the Kananaskis valley, estimating rates of forest migration from fossil pollen data from the last glacial maximum through to present for eastern North America, or supporting her students in developing critical thinking skills, Dawson is engaged and energized by her work.

“I feel very fortunate to work at an institution that values teaching, and encourages and supports research,” Dawson says, the recipient of this year’s Emerging Scholar Award.

In addition to the projects mentioned above, Dawson has been involved in two other major efforts as of late: quantifying the cumulative and persistent effects of disturbance and drought on tree growth in Yellowstone Park; and understanding the uncertainty in forest biomass estimates in the U.S. Forest Inventory Analysis data. She’s also excited about an invited review/position piece for Quaternary Sciences Reviews on using paleoecological data to inform future Earth system predictions.

Balancing teaching and research can be challenging, she acknowledges, but Dawson wouldn’t have it any other way. She appreciates the support and guidance she’s received from members of the University community on walking that tightrope.

“I owe a great deal to my mentors at Mount Royal. They have helped me develop my confidence as an academic and supported my desire to continue to live in an interdisciplinary world, with respect to both teaching and research,” Dawson says. “This confidence and support have been fundamental.”

Dawson’s research is funded primarily through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the National Science Foundation in the United States. She also received a grant from Mount Royal University’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability to launch a project on climate variability in the Alberta Rocky Mountains.

Dawson is committed to sharing her passion for math and science with others. Her outreach activities work includes Let’s Talk Science, WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology) and more.


Undergraduate Research Supervision Award

Yaw Asante, PhD

Yaw Asante Bio Photo

The recipient of the 2021 Undergraduate Research Supervision Award, Dr. Yaw Asante believes that student engagement is a way to improve the future for everyone.

An associate professor with Mount Royal’s Department of English, Languages and Cultures, Asante has worked extensively with students in numerous areas of research, which have emerged from the 4000-level courses he has developed and taught such as Colonization and Human Rights Violations in Africa, the Rwandan Genocide, Anti-Apartheid Literature, African Literature and Post-Independence Disillusionment, and African Women's Writing.

He has supervised 11 English honours students and collaborated with 25 others who have presented research papers at both national and international conferences, not including those whose papers were accepted but could not travel due to lack of funds. In addition to being selected to present at high-calibre conferences, Asante’s students have also garnered several prizes and been published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals. Providing support from start to finish, Asante assists his students in securing funding to travel and often goes along with them.

“The importance of undergraduate research cannot be overemphasized. I strongly believe that it is the students we produce who define us as an institution,” Asante says.

"It’s the names of the institutions they attended that go on students’ resumés, not their favourite professors.”

Therefore, it is crucial that Mount Royal’s external representation encompasses outstanding work created with academic rigour.

“The undergraduate research work I have done with students has helped to advertise this institution in ways that no amount of conscious advertising would have achieved,” Asante says. While in South Africa with two students, a colleague from another Canadian university said: “Mount Royal University is now the centre for the study of African literature in Canada," and that the standard of research being produced is at post-graduate and even doctoral level.

"Undergraduate research prepares students for graduate work and in their chosen fields of endeavour," Asante says. His students have moved on to Master’s and eventual PhD programs in various universities across Canada and around the world, with some receiving offers to apply immediately after their presentations. Others have gone on to be business owners and leaders, citing their research opportunities at MRU pivotal for their success.

Asante says his teaching philosophy has been shaped by the students he has had the privilege of teaching as well as his upbringing in Ghana, where he received emotional, intellectual, and even financial support from his early educators. He recognizes his experiences as a young learner as transformational and sees it as his responsibility to pass on the same opportunities to his students.

“I go to the classroom not to teach students, but to engage them. I engage them with purpose: to let them see that education can be used to make our world a much better place to live in,” Asante says.

Asante’s own current research work focuses on violence in post-colonial African fiction and how it relates to actual violence occurring in some places on the African continent, for which he intends to apply for both internal and external funding for eventual publication.




2020 Award Recipients



Community Engagement Award

Lynne Lafave, PhD

Lynne Lafave Bio Photo

Lynne Lafave’s (PhD) area of research is health promotion and public health, more specifically in nutrition and physical activity for the early years with a focus on improving environments for all children in our broader community. Over the past 12 years, Lafave has worked to build a program of inquiry that has reached provincial, national and international scholars through community-based participatory research.

The early years are a sensitive period in child development where the origins of obesity can be traced and early childhood educators play a critical role in the developmental outcomes for children. However, implementation of nutrition and physical activity best practices in early learning settings is varied. This gap was the impetus of Lafave’s research in developing the “creating healthy eating and active environments” (CHEERS) child-care assessment tool and resources. The CHEERS tool is now used by Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta to support healthy environments for the early years (two to age five). 

In addition to creating CHEERS, Lafave began community-based, participatory research into a garden and food literacy program: The Garden to Plate project. This project explores the role of knowledge, skills and socialization, in a supported, family-oriented program that connects food growing, purchasing, preparation and nutrition knowledge to preschool-aged children’s dietary and mental health. 

 “Together, these two research projects exemplify my scholarship that seeks to address community societal concerns and solve practical problems,” Lafave says.  

It is estimated that there is a 17-year research practice gap, the time between when scientists learn something significant from rigorous research and when practitioners or knowledge users change their practice. This can significantly be improved through knowledge mobilization. 

“In building my program of research, I have used these guiding principles in an effort to maximize knowledge mobilization to the knowledge user (early childhood educators and parents).”

Lafave says she shares the award with the community members that she works with. “Their dedication and commitment to child health is impressive and I am inspired by them every day.”


Emerging Scholar Award

Gabrielle Lindstrom, PhD

Gabrielle Lindstrom Bio Photo

Gabrielle Lindstrom’s (PhD) studies are hard to pinpoint. She’s performing interdisciplinary research in health, social work and education in the field of Indigenous Studies. She’s also received SSHRC funding to investigate Indigenous/Blackfoot resilience and its connection to transformative pedagogy and transformative learning. Her main goal is building respectful, ethical intercultural relationships and focusing on reframing definitions that have been applied to or imposed on Indigenous people. 

“I want to ensure that Indigenous perspectives and worldviews are advanced in a way that they are seen as accessible and not wildly different or irrelevant,” Lindstrom says.

As an assistant professor at MRU in Indigenous Studies with the Department of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, Lindstrom says her courses are challenging for her students and herself. “I teach relationships, it’s about what I can learn from the students too,” Lindstrom says. “I learn from dialogue, deep exploration of the topics and applying the learning to our everyday lives, as opposed to students just going through the motions and receiving their grade.”

Lindstrom says that being recognized as an Emerging Scholar by MRU is an honour and has validated her approach and knowledge as a Blackfoot woman. “My knowledge matters to Western institutions and they see that Indigenous knowledge is something that we as a society can learn from,” Lindstrom says. “For me, it’s about ensuring that the collective knowledge that is held in my community is advanced in a respectful way.”

Moving forward, Lindstrom plans to continue to seek opportunities to build research relationships and really centre our humanness. “There’s a priority around indigenizing the institution, but it’s not about indigenizing, it’s about humanizing our knowledge systems,” Lindstrom says. “The research I’m doing is about bringing two thought systems together and learning from one another. 

“Imagine how much stronger our society would be if we pulled from all ways of knowing, not just scientific knowledge, but all the ways we come to know as deeply relational living beings.”


Emerging Scholar Award

Jon Mee, PhD

Jon Mee Bio Photo

Jon Mee, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Mount Royal University. His expertise is in evolution, diversity and genomics. Questions such as, “Do my genes make me this way?” or “Is it nature or nurture?” are directly related to Mee’s research  except he primarily studies these questions as they relate to fish.

The central goal of Mee’s research program is to understand the genetic and environmental factors that promote and constrain biological diversity. He was awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant in 2019 to address questions such as, “What are the ecological causes and implications of within-species diversity?” and “How do beneficial and harmful mutations interact in populations that are adapting to novel environments?” 

Mee utilizes methods in ecology and genetics to study freshwater fish in Canada and generate novel discoveries regarding the genetic and environmental basis of phenotypic variation. Hybrid fish in the genus Chrosomus have been the focus of his research program for over a decade. 

“Hybrid Chrosomus are endlessly fascinating simply due to their unusual mode of reproduction  they are sperm-dependent asexual fish  and they serve as a system with which to study genetic and gene expression variation between phenotypically divergent populations,” Mee explains. 

In addition to generating novel insights into the origins of biodiversity, Mee’s research program is aimed at providing unparalleled training for undergraduate students. 

 “My undergraduate students are trained in fieldwork, molecular lab techniques and data analysis, with the goal of success in professional or graduate schools in Canada and abroad,” Mee says. 

Mee adds that this award and the other nominees have inspired him. 

“This award is also recognition that I’ve revived my research career, and I couldn’t have done it without the support I got from MRU, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without a continued commitment to teaching. I feel like I’m just getting started, but I’m looking forward to following through with the plans that I laid out in my NSERC Discovery Grant  sequence all of the fish!”


Knowledge Mobilization Award

Lynn Moorman, PhD

Lynne Moorman Bio Photo

Professor Lynn Moorman’s, PhD,  research program at MRU has focused on translating complex satellite imagery and geographic technology into usable tools for the public. 

Moorman has investigated spatial thinking and user experience to develop effective Digital Earth interfaces and functions, visualizations of spatial data, geospatial citizen science applications, and pedagogic supports for geographic learning. This work has primarily been funded by SSHRC, the PetroCanada Young innovator Award, and Tecterra, with over $300K awarded as primary investigator, and results have been shared with communities and educational organizations around the world.

Moorman has been recognized for Knowledge Mobilization, which she says is all about connecting the public and stakeholders to research processes and findings in order to empower end users and make results truly useful. 

“Without strong mobilization, results can stay isolated in academic journals and research communities that are generally inaccessible to the public, and the gulf between knowledge holders and users grows, in some cases fostering distrust and suspicion of the system and process,” Moorman says. “My goal is to translate my research results into the language of software designers, citizen scientists, educators and the general public. I believe active knowledge mobilization activities are absolutely critical to building and sustaining a strong relationship between MRU and our external communities.”

Currently, Moorman is working on a three-year program to augment Inuit knowledge of sea ice with information drawn from radar satellite imagery. The end goal of the project is to enable communities across the Canadian Arctic to interpret and map imagery to create their own community ice safety maps, critical in a time of changing and dangerous ice conditions.

Moorman points out that at Mount Royal, professors have the ability to engage students deeply in their work and give them the opportunities to present the results, share within their own communities and bring what they have learned forward into their professional lives. 

“Involving students in research is a win-win for knowledge mobilization!”


Research and Scholarship Excellence Award

Christy Tomkins-Lane, PhD

Christy Lane Bio Photo

Over the past 11 years at Mount Royal, Associate Professor Christy Tomkins-Lane, PhD, has established herself as a global leader in the areas of lumbar spine, lifestyle medicine, artificial intelligence (AI), health technology and wearable devices.

Tomkins-Lane believes that the future of global health lies in the application of technology to understand health risks and improve lifestyle. Her research is improving diagnosis and care of musculoskeletal disorders, such as lower back pain, arthritis and spinal stenosis. 

 “Development of novel digital biomarkers is driving personalized medicine for these conditions and changing the way we prescribe physical activity,” Tomkins-Lane says. 

“My work in objective outcomes and wearable devices has led to a change in the way care providers and researchers measure function. Now, we are focusing on what people actually do in their daily lives using wearables and smartphones (versus what they can do in a clinic).” 

In addition to her work at MRU, Tomkins-Lane leads multiple international teams focusing on innovation in healthcare and the application of technology to improve health. She is the founder of the Stanford Wearable Health Lab, where she leads cutting-edge research in collaboration with her team at MRU. She has won many international awards for her work, and has been published in over 50 papers in leading journals. She has given over 100 peer-reviewed presentations at national and international conferences and has received over $8 million dollars in grants to date as a co-investigator, including over $200,000 as a principal investigator. 

In 2013, she founded Vivametrica, a health technology company that uses data from wearable devices to predict mortality and disease risks, as well as to engage individuals in wellness. The goal of Vivametrica is to reach as many people as possible around the globe with impactful health tools. To date, they have conducted over 1 million health risk assessments.

Tomkins-Lane says the award is an important step in her academic career. 

I have always worked hard to ensure that my research was impactful and creating meaningful changes for people suffering from mobility-limiting disorders. It is a great honour to receive this award, particularly considering the great research going on at MRU.” 


Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Supervision Award

Ashok Krishnamurthy, PhD

Ashok Krishnamurthy Bio Photo

Associate Professor Ashok Krishnamurthy, PhD, is working towards being a research leader in the area of mathematical modelling of infectious diseases in Canada, which means his work is very timely right now.

He is currently tracking the spatial spread of COVID-19 in Brazil, Nigeria and Spain using mathematical models. To assist him, he has hired seven Mount Royal student research assistants (RAs). He is training them to use open-source software tools, cross-compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems, such as R programming language, Gridded Population of the World (GPW), NASA Panoply, QGIS and the LaTeX typesetting system. By working together, Krishnamurthy and his RAs are trying to address one of the biggest challenges of our time. He is also finishing up two papers to be submitted to peer-reviewed journals, which deal with spatiotemporal tracking of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and measles in pre-vaccine England and Wales.

Krishnamurthy promotes the disciplines of mathematics, statistics, data science and computing among his RAs and creates high-impact learning opportunities. He believes that the development of highly skilled professionals begins at the undergraduate level.  

“I aim to improve educational success and increase the scientific capacity for undergraduate research by exposure to scholarly work and opportunities to present our findings at provincial and national conferences,” Krishnamurthy says. His goal is that RAs become an integral part of the project and become productive, thinking scientists. He also hopes the research experience encourages them to pursue graduate education.

During the past year, Krishnamurthy has supervised five student research presentations. He strongly believes that conference presentations enhance the growth and development of MRU students' research competencies and contribute to MRU’s research strategy for student and community engaged scholarship. 

Krishnamurthy says he was thrilled when he found out he won the award. 

“It is an amazing feeling to receive recognition for the hard work of my student RAs and co-authors. Receiving accolades about one’s work is a reputational indicator explicitly showing that the scholarly service is both recognized and valued.”