The York Circle Lecture and Lunch Series - Oct. 21, 2017

Please join us for The York Circle Lecture and Lunch hosted by
President & Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton
on Saturday, October 21 from 9am to 1pm.

Meet Rhonda L. Lenton on the week of her installation as President & Vice-Chancellor,
and hear from four of York's leading faculty members on a wide range of interesting topics
that speak to some of the key themes that define York University.

The York Circle Lecture and Lunch Series is held four times a year and is
open to our community of alumni and friends.

Complimentary coffee, light snacks and lunch will be provided.

Saturday, October 21, 2017 | 9am-1pm

9am - 9:45am: Registration, Coffee and Light Snacks

9:45am: Opening Remarks
Rhonda L. Lenton, President & Vice-Chancellor
Dr. Rebecca Pillai Riddell, Academic Chair, The York Circle

Location: Life Sciences Building, Keele Campus, York University


Event Schedule

First Session (10am-11am)


Session 1A - Isabella Bakker
Measuring What’s Treasured? Changing Budgets Because Women Matter

Session 1A, Room 103 – Measuring What’s Treasured? Changing Budgets Because Women Matter 

Today many disparities and inequalities between the sexes have become embedded, to a greater or lesser extent, in the allocation of public resources. Gender budgeting is one tool now widely used in over 90 countries to supplement tax and spending decisions to yield greater income and tax fairness.  Canada has also inaugurated such a process in its 2017 Federal Budget. This talk will explore the potential benefits of gender budgeting and give some examples from other countries of how policies can achieve greater fairness and efficiency.

Speaker: Isabella Bakker – Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, and York Research Chair in Global Economic Governance, Gender and Human Rights

Isabella Bakker is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Politics at York University and a York Research Chair on Global Economic Governance, Gender and Human Rights.  She is also the founding Director of the Gender Budget Lab @York. Bakker is the author and editor of The Strategic Silence: Gender and Economic Policy (Zed), Power, Production and Social Reproduction: Human In/security in the Global Political Economy (with Stephen Gill, Palgrave/Macmillan), co-editor with Rachel Silvey of Beyond States and Markets: The Challenges of Social Reproduction (Routledge) and most recently, (with Brigitte Young and Diane Elson) Questioning Financial Governance from a Feminist Perspective (Routledge). She has held visiting professorships at a number of institutions including the European University Institute, New York University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She has also held consultancies with the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the ILO/International Training Centre, the Canadian government as well as with numerous advocacy groups dedicated to advancing economic and social justice.

Session 1B - Michael Daly
The OSIRIS-REx Mission and its Canadian Laser Altimeter

Session 1B, Room 106 The OSIRIS-REx Mission and its Canadian Laser Altimeter 

The NASA OSIRIS-REx mission that launched in September 2016 will sample asteroid 101955 Bennu, the first B-type asteroid to be visited by a spacecraft. Bennu is thought to be primitive, carbonaceous, and spectrally most closely related to CI and/or CM meteorites. Canada, through the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), has contributed the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA).  It will measure the range between the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and the surface of Bennu to produce digital terrain maps of unprecedented spatial scales for a planetary mission. The mission and Canadian instrument will be described by the PI for the altimeter.

Speaker: Michael Daly – Associate Professor and York Research Chair in Planetary Science, Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering

Michael Daly is the York University Research Chair in Planetary Science.  His research interests center on answering a variety of planetary science questions using custom instrumentation in the laboratory or in-situ with a particular focus on small-body research. He recently received the honor from the International Astronomical Union of having the asteroid 1999 UW25 renamed as (129973) Michaeldaly.  He was also the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute’s 2016 W. Rupert Turnbull lecturer who is selected for his/her association with some significant achievement in the scientific or engineering fields of aeronautics, space-associated technologies or their application. This honor recognized Dr. Daly’s contribution to Canadian planetary science mission contributions.

Break: 11-11:20am

Second Session (11:20am-12:20pm)


Session 2A – Rebecca Pillai Riddell
Painful Predicaments: The Incredulous Neglect of Infants in Pain & What Everyone Can Do To Help

Session 2A, Room 103 – Painful Predicaments: The Incredulous Neglect of Infants in Pain & What Everyone Can Do To Help

Attempts to simplify the pain experience on a simple 0-10 scale will always fall short.  Our brain, our mind, our body, our social context impact how we feel pain. Pain is a synthesis- a sum that is greater than its parts. As health professionals and scientists, we depend on a person to report to us their unique synthesis after being subject to a painful stimulus. But what happens when a patient cannot report?  Historically, infants in pain have been subject to incredible neglect of their pain and suffering in both medical and  non-medical contexts due to their inability to speak for themselves. This talk will review the history of infants in pain and discuss how all adults, regardless of parenting status, can move make a difference for infants in pain.

Speaker: Rebecca Pillai Riddell – Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, and the York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health

Dr. Pillai Riddell is currently the inaugural York Research Chair in Pain and Mental Health and Director of the Opportunities to Understand Childhood Hurt Laboratory (OUCH Lab) at York University. She also serves on scientific staff at the Hospital for Sick Children and as an adjunct associate professor University of Toronto.   Her main program of research relates to understanding how caregivers influence young children's responses to painful medical procedures. She has created the largest study in the world examining this in the vaccination context (The OUCH Cohort). Her work has been cited in prestigious venues such as the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, Radio Canada International and the US's National Public Radio.  Alongside her scientific pursuits, she is also a registered clinical psychologist focused on helping children and adults cope with pain.

Session 2B- Peter Backx
Exercise and the Heart: What Every Sports Buff Should Know

Session 2B, Room 106 – Exercise and the Heart: What Every Sports Buff Should Know

We all know exercise is good for the mind and body. Recent studies have found a link between endurance sports and atrial fibrillation, the most common electrical disturbance (i.e. arrhythmia) affecting the upper chambers of the heart whose incidence is reaching epidemic levels.  Exercise’s association with atrial fibrillation is unexpected because this condition is more commonly associated with aging, heart disease and general poor cardiovascular health.  Our mouse models reveal that endurance exercise causes atrial alterations resembling closely changes seen in atrial fibrillation patients and are thereby providing us with novel approaches for treating and preventing this cardiac arrhythmia.

Speaker: Peter Backx – Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science

Peter Backx received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and DVM from the University of Guelph in biophysics, chemistry and veterinary medicine as well as a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary in cardiac physiology. After postdoctoral training, Peter joined the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University as an Assistant Professor in 1991. In 1993 he moved to the University of Toronto and University Health Network (Toronto General Hospital).  In 2015, Peter joined the Department of Biology at York University, as a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Biology while also retaining his Senior Scientist position at the University Health Network.

Dr. Backx is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Heart Association.  He served as the Chair of the Scientific Research Committee at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) until 2014. He awards include Career Investigator Award (1999-2011), the Lowell Langille Mentorship Award, a Merit Award from the Heart & Stroke Foundation and the Norman Alpert Award from the International Society for Cardiovascular Research.

Dr. Backx is an international expert in heart function with a focus on cardiac electrophysiology, arrhythmias and myocardial signaling in heart disease. He has published over 195 peer reviewed articles and has delivered over 150 invited lectures nationally and internationally. He has supervised 26 graduate students (13 PhD and 13 MSc) and 17 post-doctoral fellows, many of whom hold academic and industry positions worldwide.

Complimentary lunch: 12:20-1pm
Event ends: 1pm

Register by using the button below; we'll send you a reminder closer to the event date.


Event Location

The York Circle Lecture and Lunch Series take place on York University’s Keele campus in the Life Sciences Building.  For directions to Keele campus by car or public transit, visit and click on the relevant link under the “Transit and Driving Directions” heading.  If you plan to drive, you will be required to pay for parking.  Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The closest public parking lots are:

  • Arboretum parking garage #80 on the map ($7.00 Flat Rate). Pull a ticket from the machine upon entry and pay at the pay station when leaving. Machine accepts cash, coins and credit cards.
  • Thompson Road ‘Pay and Display’ parking lot #79 on the map ($7.00 Flat Rate). You are required to purchase a ticket from the ‘Pay and Display’ machine in the lot and place it on the driver’s side of the dash. Machine accepts coins and credit cards only.