What's happening at U of T
Following The Globe and Mail's “Unfounded” series, U of T Law Professor Brenda Cossman argues that “to really address the pervasiveness of sexual violence, we need to look harder at the problem, and the role of the criminal justice system in redressing it.”
Cossman, who is director of U of T's Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, says the Globe's series provides “the kind of hard hitting empirical evidence needed to convince policy makers and police leadership that there is a problem that needs to be tackled.”
She calls for extensive training of police officers, civilian oversight of unfounded sexual assault cases and education to change society's understanding of the meaning of consent.
Two U of T profs, Ruoyun Bai, associate professor of media studies at U of T, and her husband, Li Chen, an associate professor of history and global Asia studies at U of T, are invited by Toronto Life to lunch to walk writers through the spices, seasonings and subtle geographic influences of Anne's Magic Kitchen in Chinatown. The restaurant serves food with Northern Chinese with Szechuan influences. The two U of T profs not only teach about China, but they have also lived in the regions that influence Anne's cuisine.
A Canadian research team is suggesting male-pattern baldness could strongly predict the risk of getting prostate cancer and more serious cases of the disease.
University of Toronto Professor Neil Fleshner says the extent of someone’s hair loss might help doctors decide whether to carry out painful biopsies in marginal cases.
“We were trying to be a bit provocative (about the genetic tests), but it’s true,” said Fleshner, head of urology at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and co-author of the study. “If you get it (baldness) early and you get a lot of it, those people are particularly at risk.”
The University of Toronto is hoping to hire more Indigenous faculty and staff, along with bolstering the school’s recruitment of Indigenous students, in response to recommendations made in 2015 by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
A U of T committee produced a 125-page report this month with 34 recommendations ranging from establishing Indigenous spaces on campus to offering cultural and ethics training to researchers wanting to work in Indigenous communities.
U of T Law Professor Benjamin Alarie has built a “legal tech” startup that uses machine learning to help lawyers predict how courts may rule on new tax cases. Blue J Legal, which Alarie founded with two other law professors and a former IBM software developer, says its Tax Foresight tool has an accuracy rate of 90 per cent. “It’s like a flight simulator for new tax law cases,” says Alarie.
U of T's Aled Edwards writes that when it comes to medical innovation, Canadians ought to be leaders in not only sharing data and samples and avoiding patents but also in setting the global standards for sharing.
“By sharing, our leading public institutions will reduce needless duplication of effort, decrease senseless negotiations over who owns what, to generate more collaborations,” he argues.
Edwards is the founding and current CEO of the Structural Genomics Consortium, a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto and a visiting professor at the University of Oxford.
Spotlight on literature
A U of T doctoral engineering student wants Kurdish speakers around the world to read the works of Emily Dickinson. Madeh Piryonesi, who arrived in Canada in 2015 from Iran, translates the literature into Kurdish and Farsi. He has recently published two books of Emily Dickinson's poetry and translated several other works since 2012.
Rosalie Abella has been named Global Jurist of the Year by Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center for International Human Rights. It's the latest in a series of honours for the Supreme Court of Canada justice and University of Toronto alumna.
The Globe and Mail reports that former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson nominated her for the award, which is for a current judge who has shown a lifetime of commitment in the face of adversity to defending human rights or principles of international criminal justice.