Spreading the holiday cheer 3,000 cookies at a time

What's Cookin'

On Dec. 23, Oliver de Volpi, McGill’s Executive Chef, will be up to his elbows in flour as he and his team of volunteers from the McGill community (including students who can’t make it home for the holidays), prepare a giant batch of cookies to put a smile on the faces of Montreal’s less fortunate. The 3,000 cookies, including gingerbread and shortbread, will be donated to the Old Brewery Mission, along with other food items from McGill kitchens.

Parasites and the evolution of primate culture

Research and Discovery

Learning from others and innovation have undoubtedly helped advance civilization. But these behaviours can carry costs as well as benefits. And a new study by an international team of evolutionary biologists sheds light on how one particular cost – increased exposure to parasites – may affect cultural evolution in non-human primates.

Obesity may shorten life expectancy up to eight years

Research and Discovery

‘Tis the season to indulge. However, restraint may be best according to a new study led by investigators at McGill and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. Their findings show that overweight and obese individuals have the potential to decrease life expectancy by up to eight years.

Chris Ragan on ‘ecofiscal’ policies for Canada


Economics Prof. Christopher Ragan made headlines across the country last month with the launch of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, an independent group of 12 policy-savvy economists determined to promote fiscal changes that will benefit both the economy and the environment. Ragan came up with the idea for the commission and will serve as its chair. He sat down with the Reporter in his Leacock Building office to explain what he hopes it will accomplish over the next few years.

McGill welcomes new federal research fund


McGill has welcomed the official launch of a federally supported research fund. The $1.5 billion Canada First Research Excellence Fund, which was initially announced in the 2014 federal budget, will be governed by a Steering Committee comprised of the presidents of the three federal granting agencies and the deputy ministers of Health and Industry Canada.

Social media data contain pitfalls for understanding human behaviour

Research and Discovery

A growing number of academic researchers are mining social media data to learn about both online and offline human behaviour. In recent years, studies have claimed the ability to predict everything from summer blockbusters to fluctuations in the stock market. But mounting evidence of flaws in many of these studies points to a need for researchers to be wary of serious pitfalls that arise when working with huge social media data sets.

Fragile X study offers hope of new autism treatment

Research and Discovery

People affected by a common inherited form of autism could be helped by a drug that is being tested as a treatment for cancer, according to researchers from McGill and the University of Edinburgh. Fragile X Syndrome is the most common genetic cause of autism spectrum disorders. It affects around 1 in 4,000 boys and 1 in 6,000 girls. Currently, there is no cure.

High incidence of bowel disease seen in people with lung conditions

Research and Discovery

People with airway diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have a higher incidence of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the findings of a new study. The research is the first population-based study to examine the association between airway diseases and the incidence of bowel disease.

Oral cancer-causing HPV may spread through oral and genital routes

Research and Discovery

Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infections were more common among men who had female partners with oral and/or genital HPV infection, suggesting that the transmission of HPV occurs via oral-oral and oral-genital routes, according to a McGill University study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Innovation Week challenges participants to ‘take the normal path and bend it’


For the second year in a row, McGill students, graduates, professors and professionals gathered around a series of events as part of McGill Innovation Week. Fourteen events played out during the first week of November, offering activities both on the McGill campus, as well as in Montreal’s Quartier de l’innovation (QI).