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Welcome to the CCEM blog from the Executive Director

I am Andreas Korinek, CCEM’s Executive Director. This is a new position at CCEM, I will be responsible for the business side of the centre and will be responsible for partnerships, governance and strategic direction.

My background is in interdisciplinary science, I’m a trained chemist and biochemist, and I’ve worked with scientists from many fields on projects. I also know how to code, anyone using NanoLIMS at CCEM or other McMaster core facilities is using code I’ve developed.

I’ve been at CCEM since more than 10 years, I started as a staff scientist operating the Titan LB microscope and later also the Titan HB. I’ve worked with many students and industrial customers over the years, and this has been a very fulfilling position. I got to learn about many different projects, from metals to corrosion, nuclear materials, soft materials and biological samples. During this time, I came to realize how unique CCEM is in the Canadian science landscape. The suite of instrumentation and level of science is fascinating and allows for great collaborative projects to happen.

In 2017 I became the CCEM manager and was able to implement my own philosophy on how CCEM operations should be managed. My vision is to make CCEM an open and welcoming place for anyone wishing to use microscopy in their work and learn about the different techniques and how they can be useful. I also streamlined and simplified the administrative procedures for new users and industrial clients. My goal is to provide the best possible experience at CCEM. CCEM’s team of expert staff is very diverse in gender, nationality and scientific background and they are happy to enable our users to use the instruments to their full capacity.

 

As the Acting Executive Director of CCEM, I’ve developed with the CCEM management team and the Board of Directors a new 5-year strategic plan that outlines CCEM’s growth in capabilities and our plans for collaboration and partnerships with many different stakeholders. The plan will be unveiled in a few weeks, tune in for more details later. This new plan represents an ambitious shift of CCEM from a traditional fee-for-service core facility to a research platform open for collaboration on a national scale. If you would like to find out more how you can shape the future of CCEM, send me a message, I’d be happy to discuss your ideas.

CCEM has also overhauled its governance backend and we will communicate these changes very soon. The new model aims to be inclusive and efficient and there will be many ways for users, staff, PIs and industrial clients to interact with CCEM in many ways.

Many challenges lay ahead of us. We as scientists hold the key for a better future for Canadian society and the well-being of the planet and humanity. The next decades will be spent adapting our society to the effects of global warming, the aftermath of the global pandemic and solving equity issues, just to name a few. I invite all of you to join us on this challenging journey to use science as a solution to many of these problems.

In this blog, I will regularly update you on new initiatives and policies to improve CCEM’s operations. I welcome all feedback, it will help the CCEM staff and management team to serve our user community better. CCEM staff will also post here on a variety of topics. If you would like to contribute to this blog, please send me a message, we also welcome content from users of CCEM.

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COVID-19 Report – CCEM re-entering Phase 2

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to improve in Ontario, and Hamilton returns from lockdown, McMaster University has eased restrictions for on-campus research operations. For the CCEM, this means that starting Tuesday Feb 16, the following activities are able to be resumed:

  • In-person user training for local (McMaster) users
  • In-person instrument access for external (non-McMaster) users, provided that they are able to work independently

The CCEM staff hopes that everyone continues to remain safe and healthy during this time. We look forward to resuming in-person training to all users when the situation allows. Thank you for your understanding.

For additional information, or if there are questions, please consult COVID-19 policies, or email the Acting Facilities Manager.

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COVID-19 Report – CCEM Scaling Back Parts of Operations

As a result of new restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CCEM will be scaling back parts of our operations to help ensure the safety of all staff and users of the Centre.  These new restrictions will remain in effect until further notice:

  1. CCEM will no longer be offering in-person training with our assistance from CCEM staff
  2. In-person access to the CCEM will be limited to McMaster personnel only, who are working under an approved on-campus research plan

If you already have a booking for in-person use and are external to McMaster, or are scheduled to receive in-person training, your session will have to be postponed.

Detailed CCEM COVID-19 protocols can be found on the CCEM File Server (https://ccemdata.mcmaster.ca/published/ccem-covid-19/).

The CCEM also remains open to receiving jobs for analysis by our staff.

If you have any further questions regarding our limited re-opening please contact the Acting Manager.

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COVID-19 Report – CCEM entering Phase 2 of re-opening

Following McMaster’s lead, the CCEM will be moving into our Phase 2 of re-opening. What does this mean? The Centre will now be open to non-staff users that are trained to work independently and to those scheduled to receive in-person training with CCEM staff. In-person access to the CCEM requires the following:

  1. Users familiarize themselves with and follow all COVID-19 protocols in place by the CCEM, the university, and other university departments and offices – including the mandatory use of face masks for indoor, public spaces.
  2. Users book their instrument time in advance using NanoLIMS, or by arranging time with CCEM staff

Note that during this phase we are limiting instrument room occupancy to a maximum of 1 person (with an exception of 2 people for training by CCEM staff).

Detailed CCEM COVID-19 protocols can be found on the CCEM File Server (https://ccemdata.mcmaster.ca/published/ccem-covid-19/).

The CCEM also remains open to receiving jobs for analysis by our staff.

If you have any further questions regarding our limited re-opening please contact the Acting Manager.

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COVID-19 Report – CCEM will soon begin a limited re-opening

The CCEM will soon begin a limited re-opening, based on McMaster’s initiative to slowly phase in research. During this time the Centre will only be open in person to staff members, but all users can access the CCEM by sending in their samples to the staff. Every effort will be made to connect remotely with users during the microscope sessions. To plan a project or submit a sample to the CCEM, it is requested that you contact CCEM management or respective staff member.  If you have any further questions regarding our limited re-opening please contact the Acting Manager.

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2020 CCEM Art Gallery Competition

The CCEM will be holding its third annual image competition to fill our art gallery! The images can be black and white or have false colouring added; it is up to your artistic discretion.

Requirements:
-Please send images in tiff format to ccemreg@mcmaster.ca with the following file extension “firstname_lastname_art”. In the email indicate:

  1. your affiliation
  2. the name of your art piece
  3. the material imaged
  4. the name of the microscope operator (if applicable)

-Only one image can be submitted per user! Image may not have been submitted in previous competition.
-The images must be acquired at the CCEM
-The submitted images should be 11.75 inches x 11.75 inches (width x height)

Deadline: May 11, 2020

Selection Process:
A vote will then be had by all CCEM users to select the top six images that will be featured in the art gallery.

Finalists will be featured at the CCEM User meeting and in the CCEM art gallery for the 2020 season!

Samantha Stambula No Comments

The CCEM has a new file server

While the CCEM has been physically closed, the staff is still working hard at home to improve your user experience.

Our new file server is now ready for use and can be accessed at https://ccemdata.mcmaster.ca.

To login, use the email associated with your NanoLIMS account (not the username) and your NanoLIMS password. If you cannot login, log into NanoLIMS first, then an account will be generated automatically. Any changes made to your password in NanoLIMS will also be made to the file server.

The old file server is now read-only. Please don’t write to it or use the CCEM owncloud service anymore.

Desktop clients for the new server can be accessed here: https://www.seafile.com/en/download/. There are two clients, “desktop drive client” is recommended, but you can try the “desktop syncing client” as well.

The file server will be set-up on the microscope computers, so you can directly save your data to your account.

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CCEM closed until further notice

We will be indefinitely closing the CCEM due to McMaster’s new directives. In order to accommodate our users, remote computer access for processing is available upon request. For connection instructions or any other questions or concerns please contact Andreas Korinek, the facility manager via email. Staff members will still be accessible via email to answer your questions regarding research.

The CCEM staff wishes you all the best for the coming weeks and we are looking forward to providing you with in person training and on-site access to the instruments as soon as the situation allows.