Co-presented by Laurentian University and Science North, we welcome our community to participate in a timely and informative seminar series. We will be hosting weekly live discussions where local researchers will answer questions regarding COVID-19 and the work they are doing to support the pandemic. Each discussion will focus on a specific topic that will dive deeper into key aspects of COVID-19 and how they affect individuals, our planet and beyond. 

The discussions will be streamed live on Science North and Laurentian University's Facebook pages every Wednesday starting May 20th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  

Pre-registration is not required and there is no cost to attend.

MAY 20th

The Role of Animals and Animal Welfare around COVID-19

COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease - a virus that has jumped from animal to human. The spillover of zoonotic disease has been responsible for many recent epidemics including HIV, Ebola and influenza viruses. Any setting in which humans and animals come in close contact can lead to this spillover - including agriculture and animal markets. Based on the genetics of COVID-19, it looks like the virus is derived from a bat species found in China. It is still unclear how this virus jumped to humans and evolved the ability to transmit from human to human.



Canada Research Chair in Applied Evolutionary Ecology, Laurentian University

albrecht schulte-hostedde

I am a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist working at the interface of behaviour, evolution, ecological genetics, life-history and physiology. My students and I integrate intense field research on marked wildlife populations with molecular markers and other lab-oriented techniques to examine issues related to a) the fitness consequences of phenotypic and genotypic variation, and b) factors influencing patterns of gene flow across populations. Our group collaborates extensively with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Toronto Zoo. Taxonomically, my focus is mammals, but my students and I have worked on an array of taxa including fish, amphibians, squamates, turtles, birds and insects. As Canada Research Chair in Applied Evolutionary Ecology, my research also encompasses areas of conservation interest, including the effects of domesticated populations on closely-related wild species, the effects of urbanization on selection in natural populations, and the evolutionary ecology of captive zoo populations.


Director of the Animal Care Facility, Laurentian University

rod jouppi

Rod Jouppi, DVM, owned a private veterinary practice Walden Animal Hospital from 1979 to 2015 with a strong focus on companion animals. Since 2008, Rod is the University Veterinarian and Director of the Animal Research Facility at Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario. For the last 20 years, has been the founder/president of Wild at Heart – A Canadian charity that rehabilitates wild animals. He has been involved with many boards and committees in animal welfare (including the WSAVA, AAHA, President, Human Animal Bond Association). He lectures on animal welfare internationally. He is also a Board member of the Society of Veterinary Medical Ethics.

MAY 27th

COVID-19: Impact on Housing, Homelessness, and Vulnerable Groups

This panel discussion will focus on the impact - present and future - that the COVID-19 public health crisis may have on people living homeless in northeastern Ontario, from a variety of perspectives. As an interdisciplinary team working in the  Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy at Laurentian University, Carol Kauppi, PhD, Kevin Fitzmaurice, PhD, Phyllis Montgomery, PhD, and Michael Hankard, PhD, will discuss their unique perspectives on the hidden ripple effects of the pandemic on northern communities and vulnerable populations. The discussion will focus on (1) the immediate risks to those living in various forms of homelessness as the COVID-19 crisis progresses; (2) the vulnerability of those living homelessness due to pre-existing health challenges and co-morbidities; (3) the challenges vulnerable people will face in accessing housing, especially for Indigenous people living in urban centres; and (4) the potential for further stigmatization and discrimination towards First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples living homeless in Ontario and Canada wide.



Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy

Dr. Carol Kauppi is the Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy. She is a professor in the School of Social Work at Laurentian University. In 2017, she received the Partnership Award (an Impact Award) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This award recognizes outstanding achievements involving a partnership approach to research. Carol was also the 2011 recipient of the Laurentian University Research Excellence Award.


Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury

dr. michael hankard abenaki

Dr. Michael Hankard (Abenaki) is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury in Ontario. For the past 17 years, he has lived on the Serpent River First Nation in northeastern Ontario. He is the 1st Aboriginal graduate of Laurentian University’s Human Studies PhD program and created the University of Sudbury’s Indigenous Environmental Studies program.


Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies; Associate Director at the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy at Laurentian University; Regional Co-Director with the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) and the National Centre for the Collaboration on Indigenous Education (NCCIE)

dr. kevin fitzmaurice

Dr. Kevin Fitzmaurice is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies and the Associate Director at the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy at Laurentian University. He is also a Regional Co-Director with the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) and the National Centre for the Collaboration on Indigenous Education (NCCIE). Currently, he is involved in a number of community research projects in urban Indigenous governance nationally and homelessness in Ontario.


Researcher and Professor in the School of Nursing at Laurentian University


Dr. Phyllis Montgomery is a researcher and professor in the School of Nursing at Laurentian University. Her interests involve the well-being of persons living in challenging health and social circumstances.

JUNE 3rd (French seminar)

Les enjeux sociétaux de la pandémie : réflexions autour de la COVID-19

This seminar will deal with a variety of topics regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the world around us. To begin, we will aim to understand the historical parallels between the Spanish flu at the end of World War I and COVID-19. Then, we will examine the impacts COVID-19 is having on the role of government in the quality of life at work, specifically by ensuring good post-pandemic working conditions, as well as on language rights, environmental issues and sustainable development, and international relations.



Professor in Faculty of Management, Laurentian University


Louis Durand is professor in Laurentian University’s Faculty of Management. For more than 25 years, he has taught human resource management and labour relations in the Bachelor of Business Administration programs. His research focuses on the improvement (or deterioration) of working conditions in unionized and non-unionized environments.


Associate Professor in Department of Political Science, Laurentian University

Aurélie Lacassagne

Aurélie Lacassagne earned her doctorate in Political Science at Science Po Bordeaux (France). She is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Laurentian University, where she teaches international relations, among other subjects. Her research looks at theories of international relations, cultural studies and identity dynamics. She can regularly be seen and heard on public broadcasting channels.


Professor in Department of History, Laurentian University

Pierre Cameron

Professor in the Department of History at Laurentian University, Pierre Cameron gives courses on different periods of European history (Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern Times). He is particularly interested in the history of witchcraft, food, medicine and the great epidemics that have influenced the course of our history.


Full Professor in School of the Environment, Laurentian University

Christian Bouchard

Full professor in the School of the Environment at Laurentian University (Sudbury, Canada), Christian Bouchard holds a Ph.D. in Geography (Université Laval, Quebec) and focuses his research work mainly on Indian Ocean geopolitics and the Southwest Indian Ocean, with a particular interest in maritime geopolitics and the small island states and territories of the region. He is the associate editor of the Journal of the Indian Ocean Region (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group) as well as a member of the editorial boards of the Cahiers de géographie du Québec (Université Laval, Quebec) and VertigO – La revue électronique en sciences de l’environnement (Université du Québec à Montréal). He is also a founding member of the Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG Inc.). In the past, he has taught at the University de La Réunion, the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Ottawa, and has been a visiting professor at Penjab University. At Laurentian University, his teaching focuses on sustainable development, energy issues, the relationship between society and the ocean, the geopolitics of natural resources, as well as small island states and territories.

JUNE 10th

COVID-19 and the Impact on First Nations Peoples

JUNE 17th

The Importance of Health and Wellness in a Pandemic

JUNE 24th

The Effects of the Pandemic on Health Sciences, Research and InnovationA focus on how COVID-19 will influence our community and society in the future

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