Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 28, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
36 - THE LeIHBRIDGE HERALD - Wednesday, February 28, 1973 To reduce emissions This is a sectional view of an experimental General Motors catalytic converter showing engine exhaust gas inflow from the left, passing through the catalyst bed in a circular porous container and passing out exhaust pipe to the right. The converter, designed to reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions, has been picked by the major automakers as the probable answer for meeting tough emissions standards set for 1975 and 1976. This Saturday In Weekend Magazine Like old wives' tales, distortions of our new divorce iaws have spread confusion among Canadians from coast to coast. This Saturday, in "Weekend Magazine Glen }. Kealey, an Ottawa lawyer, explodes some of our most common beliefs. New Hope For The Retarded A group of people have banded together under the name Citizen Advocacy to open up new horizons for many of Canada's 650,000 mentally retarded. Bill Trent tells about them., The Bums And Their Mountain British Columbia's Whistler Mountain is heaven to ski bums. Ernest Hilien, who spent four days with them, describes their lifestyle. Barberlng Isn't Like It Used To Be James Quig's barber describes how times have changed in the haircutting business. Spring Fashion Details Karen Coshof's photographs show style details designed to add new zing this spring - in Weekend Magazine this Saturday. Banana Delights Margo's exciting recipes using bananas erald POSTDOCTORATE FELLOWS AT V OF I. Between the rather simplistic division of the university professor as the teacher and the student, as the one who learns, there falls the post-doctorate fellow. Postdoctorate fellows, as their name suggests, are men and women who have progressed beyond the normal pales of studentdom. They have already attained a Ph.D. in their chosen discipline, but in essence are still learning through a short-term university affiliation in a research capacity. Although it's a small and relatively young institution, the University of Lethbridge currently has ' four such "post-docs" on campus - two each in the chemistry and biological sciences departments. Postdoctorate fellows must like - even worship - their pursuit of pure research because their salaries are hardly munificent. Most 'post-docs' willingly work on grants well below the salary they could earn as a professor or in popular research. Postdoctorate fellows are supported by portions of research grants received by university I faculty members who require collaborative specialists I to study and collect data for i their projects. ; Some postdoctorate fellows j have had teaching experience at another university, others have a laboratory or lab-classroom background, while still others have just completed their Ph.D. and are eager for continued in-depth research. In most instances, it is the research of a particular faculty member which attracts prospective post-docs to a given university. At the U of L, the chemistry and biology departments both' have such professors whose work and publications are widely recognized in research circles - Drs. L. G. Hepler and E. B. Wagenaar. Dr. Hepler, now on sabbatical leave in New Zealand has conducted important research in molecular thermodynamics. Dr. Wagenaar during 1&72-73 received a total of $19,000 in research grants - $15,000 from the National Research Council and $4,000 from the Canada department of agriculture - to conduct research on cell division, growth and reproduction. It was Dr. Wagenaar's research papers on those topics which attracted two American 'post-docs' to the U of L. Cancer research Research being conducted at the University of Lethbridge by molecular biologist Harold Martinson may provide valuable insight into the causes of cancer. Dr. Martinson, working for a year with the U of L's biological sciences department as a postdoctorate fellow, came to the U of L last September to continue his research on the study of gene regulation. Dr. Martinson is setting up a laboratory to conduct genetic research at the U of L, research similar to that being done elsewhere as part of the complex study of reproduction and growth. This summer, before he leaves, a student will work with him to learn his techniques which will be applied to research in the molecular genetics of the evolution of various cereal crops. 'I am working on a project winch is a continuation of research I have been doing for the past five years," explains Dr. Martinson. "Essentially, we want to find what factor in cell control influence the performance of the genes. We want to know why, since the genes in all cells are the same, some cells will grow lo function as a liver while others become a heart." In his tudy of cell-gene control, which is linked to learning why certain cells become cancer cells, Dr. Martinson works with isolated genetic materials, rather than actual cells from living organisms. He has extracted from animal organs the complex substances DNA and RNA which are the basis for all organized growth within cells. Dr. Martinson is optimistic that science will eventually overcome the threat of cancer. "Maybe", he estimates, "maybe in 20 years we will know what final direction to take in our research. Right now we don't know how far we'll have to go to find the answer - how complex the solution will be". Dr. Terry Ashley is participating in a University of Lethbridge research project which may have important implications for the future study of chromosomal abnormalities in humans. She came to the U of L in the fall of 1971, for a two-year-period, to work on an in-depth study of patterns of chromosome pairing. Like Dr. Martinson, Dr. Ashley came to the university through Dr. Wagenaar. In her case it was in response to an advertisement in a scientific journal, seeking a postdoctorate fellow to study plant chromosomes. She says her two years at the U of L have given her invaluable research experience and a chance to establish a professional reputation. "Although we have only been studying plant - not human cells -our research will have very important ur^lications," Dr. Ashley comments. "What we're doing with plants can carry over to humans." Plant cells have fewer chromosomes than those of humans but still follow similar biological principles. The high number of choromosomes in human cellis makes their study too complex. Man has 46 chromosomes - 23 from the mother, obtained through the egg cells, and 23 from the father, through the sperm cells. (The plants studied have six chromosomes). In the sexual cycle (meiosis) the chromosome number is reduced from 46 to 23. For this reduction, similar chromosomes must pair, resulting in an equai distribution of 23 chromosomes. How the similar chromosomes find each other in the pairing process is a biological phenomenon little understood by scientists. Chromosome pairmg Research on plant .chromosomes in the nucleus are organized in quite an orderly manner - rather than randomly, as has been assumed until recently. Similar chromosomes have also been found to be attached by their ends so that, at meiosis, they can easily pair by "zipping up" from the attached end. Obviously, if anytlung goes wrong with the pairing process, the distribution of chromosomes to offspring may be abnormal - thus egg cells may have 22 or 24 chromosomes, resulting in a child with one chromosome too few (45) or too many (47). Such a situation may render a child physically or mentally (or both) abnormal. Thus, the research with plant chromosomes wilt contribute to the understanding of such birth defects as Down's Syndrome (mongolism) which is often the result of imperfect chromosome pairing during the inital stages of life. The two postdoctoral fellows in the U of L chemistry department have come from far-afield to conduct research on a project begun by Dr. Hepler. Dr. Hepler, is working on basic research in the complicated subject, "thermodynamic investigation of molecular complexes in organic solvents." Postdoctoral research in related areas of Dr. Hepler's project is being conducted by Dr. Hon Chung Ko of the United States arid Dr. Takeki Matsui, from Japan. "We're studying the thermodynamics of aqueous and nonaqueous solutions," comments Dr. Ko. "There is no definite deadline when the project must be completed. Our postdoctoral grants are for one year's time and might be renewable for a further period." Neither Dr. Matsui, who joined the U of L research project last March, not Dr. Ko, who arrived last July, is certain what their next step will be, but both hope to obtain positions which combine teaching and research; Dr. Matsui plans to return to Japan, Dr. Ko to the U.S. Dr. Hepler's' oroject is supported by gran(\ from the National Research Council and the American Chemical Society. "Our work," explains Drs. Ko and Matsui, "might not have any direct practical purpose. It is basic and pure, noj apoh'ed, research." "We are trying to produce data on simple reactions which might be models of more complicated ones involved in organisms, such as the energy change which results whenever there is a change from one form of substance to another," says Dr. Matsui. 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