VIU News & Experts: Wednesday, March 20

One woman interviews another woman with "VIU expert spotlight" overlaid over top

March 20, 2024 - 4:30pm

In this issue of VIU news & experts: 

  • Speak with experts involved in a project examining tire toxins that can kill salmon
  • Media invite: Learn how the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Nation is reclaiming food sovereignty with the help of VIU programs
  • How does a literary magazine answer the call for inclusivity, decolonization and representation with more than just intention? 

Featured experts

Investigating a tire toxin that can kill salmon

VIU researchers and the BC Conservation Foundation are working on a large-scale project to detect toxic tire chemicals in Vancouver Island streams. Vehicle tires release a chemical known as 6PPD-quinone that is acutely toxic to salmon at extremely low levels. The project currently involves a network of 31 local groups, citizen scientists and First Nations sampling 53 waterways at 99 locations between Victoria and Campbell River. Learn more about the research project. There are opportunities for media to go into the field and interview the researchers while they are collecting samples.
The researchers are organizing a two-day conference and workshop, Protecting Salmon from Tire Wear Toxins, at VIU’s Nanaimo campus from April 29 to 30. Day one will have a community focus with participation by project community partners and international leaders in the field. Day two will have a technical focus and discuss current research.  Learn more.
If you would like to attend the conference or a portion of the conference as a member of the media, please email by April 22. There are also opportunities to interview the speakers and student presenters during the conference.

Media invite: Learn how Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Nation is reclaiming food sovereignty with the help of VIU students

The Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Nation in Bella Bella is reclaiming food sovereignty through aquaponics – growing fish and produce together, with the help of VIU students.

VIU students from Horticulture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Engineering, and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics have been designing aquaponics and aeroponic tower gardens as a land-based solution to food security in the remote First Nation community. The work is part of an applied interdisciplinary research project.

You’re invited to attend the Reclaiming Food Sovereignty in Bella Bella event at the VIU Nanaimo campus on April 4 from 1 to 4 pm in the Trades Discovery Centre (Building 108).

  • Doors open at 12:50 pm
  • The welcome is at 1:05 pm
  • Presentations are at 1:15 pm
  • Networking, poster displays and food samples featuring the types of fish and plants growing in the project created by VIU Culinary Arts students will be served
  • Operational tour of the Aquaponics Greenhouse.

To attend, RSVP by emailing by Thursday, March 28 at noon.

Looking for an expert for another story? Connect with VIU Experts.

VIU news

Embark funds food security initiatives at VIU

An increasing number of students are being forced to choose between achieving their educational goals and basic living essentials due to the rising costs of living. A new initiative funded through the generosity of Embark, an education savings and planning company, aims to address student hunger issues for Vancouver Island University (VIU) students. The $400,000 investment through the Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program will fund:

  • student-driven research,
  • food security initiatives aimed at meeting immediate needs,
  • cross-campus coordination to seek sustainable solutions to student hunger and
  • increased access to emergency funding supports.

Unravelling the mystery of “mommy brain”

VIU Psychology Professor Dr. Marla Morden is using innovative eye-tracking technology to research the phenomenon commonly called “mommy brain” or “baby brain.” It is typically viewed as a time of cognitive decline with symptoms such as memory loss or brain fog. However, Morden says researchers are starting to see it more as a time of reorganization and that there are some positive gains during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. Read more.

VIU library welcomes large comic book collection

Dr. Marni Stanley, former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, has donated her entire comic book and graphic narrative collection to VIU library. Stanley’s collection goes well beyond the DC and Marvel universes – in fact, you won’t find those comics in this collection. In her years of collecting, Stanley focused on female authors, indie comics, autobiographies, graphic journalism and LGBTQ+ comics, all from a variety of countries. She welcomes other graphic narrative collectors to consider donating to the collection in the library. If you are interested, we are happy to put you in touch. Read more about the collection.

VIU in the news

Dr. Marni Stanley, a former VIU dean and professor, has collected rare and unusual comic books for decades. The collection is now housed in VIU’s Nanaimo campus library. Read more about it in this Times Colonist article.

VIU dental hygiene students are getting first-hand experience in Nanaimo while keeping dental care affordable for the community. Supervised students are offering low-cost dental care to adults and kids alike out of the on-campus dental clinic. Watch the CBC video.

VIU’s volleyball players all finished their seasons on the national podium. The women’s volleyball team earned silver and the men’s team earned bronze at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships held this past weekend. Read more from the Nanaimo News Bulletin and Nanaimo News Now.

VIU Psychology Professor Dr. Marla Morden is using eye-tracking technology to study the phenomenon known as "mommy brain." Read about her work in the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Happening at VIU

Joy Gugeler: Colloquium talk March 22

Joy Gugeler, a Creative Writing, Journalism and Media Studies Professor, discusses the evolution of Portal magazine during her Arts and Humanities Colloquium talk on March 22 at 10 am in the Malaspina Theatre. Free to attend or watch online.
Portal magazine went from a black-and-white photocopied and stapled chapbook to a full-colour, nationally distributed literary magazine on newsstands and online, including a monthly reading series. She’ll also explore the questions: In an age demanding authenticity, how does a print magazine respond to its evolving readership and answer the call for inclusivity, decolonization and representation with more than just intention? Learn more about the Colloquium series.

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