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Articles categorized as ‘University of Queensland Science Programs’

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

UQ serves up new Food Science Innovation Precinct

Australia’s food-centric culture—illustrated by the popularity of dining out, healthy eating and television cooking shows—will benefit from a new $1-million facility at the University of Queensland.

UQ is serving up a smorgasbord of opportunity for the food industry with the opening of the new Food Science Innovation Precinct at the St Lucia campus.

 UQ serves up new Food Science Innovation Precinct

Study food science at the new UQ Food Science Innovation Precinct (Photo credit: UQ)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Iain Watson said UQ had worked hard to position itself as a research powerhouse in areas such as agriculture, land management, genetics and chemistry, which all feed into food innovation.

“UQ has the largest university food research capability in Australia and ranks at number seven in the world for agriculture research,” he said.

“The Food Science Innovation Precinct is the icing on the cake. It will give students access to world-class training, innovations and facilities, and will ultimately help food companies create more innovative products.”

The Food Science Innovation Precinct has two state-of-the-art laboratories—a food-grade laboratory and an analytical laboratory for chemical and microbiological analysis.

Master of Food Science students will have the opportunity to work on a range of projects, including

  • cholesterol-lowering baked goods and dairy foods
  • ultra-low-fat cheese that tastes like full-fat cheese
  • 3D printed fruits
  • fresher milk produced without heat pasteurisation
  • new Omega-3 and probiotic foods and drinks

UQ Business School Entrepreneur in Residence and UniQuest Commercial Director (Food) Cameron Turner said the new facilities would allow students to work on research projects in collaboration with food companies.

“The food industry in Australia is rapidly growing and evolving, largely driven by consumers who are willing to pay for taste and convenience and are better informed about health and nutrition through media channels,” Mr Turner said.

“There’s also an increased awareness of functional foods and the importance of our gut microbiota, and rising opportunities in Asia, particularly China, for Australian-made foods.

“All of these factors create excellent opportunities for food manufacturers, retailers and our researchers.”

UQ announced in November a project to investigate if friendly bacteria could be introduced to bagged salad leaves to help ward off salmonella and listeria outbreaks.

UQ Master of Food Science and Technology

The Master of Food Science and Technology will cover the integrative disciplines of food science and food technology. In this program, you will gain a comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge within fields of food science and food technology, and you will have the opportunity to apply these in either a research project or an industry placement.

Program: Master of Food Science and Technology
Location: St Lucia Campus, Brisbane
Duration: 1.5 years
Semester intakes: February and July
Application deadline: May 30 (July intake); November 29 (February intake)
Prerequisites: Bachelor degree in food science, food technology, science or engineering (in food science or technology) or an approved discipline. GPA of 5 or above on a 7-point scale.

Apply to the University of Queensland!


Would you like more information about studying food science? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Sciences Degrees Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Introducing the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Resources and energy, climate change, urbanisation, population growth, conservation and sustainability will be areas of focus for a new University of Queensland school.

Introducing the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Professor Aitchison is head of the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Photo: UQ)

The UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences came into being on Jan. 1 and now combines UQ’s School of Earth Sciences and the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management.

Professor Jonathan Aitchison, who will head the new school, said it would be an interdisciplinary powerhouse of academic expertise, developing practical solutions to big issues.

“The school will give greater breadth and depth to the study of earth and environmental sciences, greatly benefitting students, strengthening research capacity, and will provide greater disciplinary coherence and opportunity,” said Professor Aitchison, the Head of UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“It makes sense to bring earth and environmental sciences together in the university.

“The new school is a recognition of the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of geological and geographical sciences, environmental management, coastal processes, urban planning and safety science.”

Professor Aitchison said UQ had a strong international reputation for excellence in earth and environmental sciences.

It ranks number 1 in Australia in life sciences in the Times Higher Education Ranking and number 12 globally, number 32 internationally in geography, and is in the world’s top 100 Earth and Marine Sciences institutions in the 2016 QS rankings by subject.

“The combined staff of the new school are recognised as experts in their fields,” Professor Aitchison said.

“They conduct pure and applied research with strong links to our industry, government and university partners who have provided excellent support over many years.

“In addition, our people have a strong reputation for quality teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students in all discipline areas across the new school.”

Professor Aitchison said integrated teams of earth scientists, physical and social scientists, environmental management specialists, health and safety experts, and urban planners would work together to generate new knowledge and opportunities for further discovery.

Current collaborative research projects and consulting pieces would continue as usual and new projects would begin as funding and support becomes available.

“By providing a new academic structure for these related disciplines we will provide opportunities to improve end-to-end delivery of services and research outcomes,” he said.

“This benefits industries, government, university partners, and communities, and continues availability of state-of-the-art facilities for industry and research project work.”

Professor Aitchison is a geologist and an expert in plate tectonics, palaeontology and geo-microbiology.

University of Queensland Environmental Science Degrees

Master of Agribusiness
Master of Agricultural Science
Master of Conservation Biology
Master of Conservation Science
Master of Environmental Management
Master of Geographic Information Science
Master of Integrated Water Management
Master of Mineral Resources
Master of Responsible Resource Development (Environment)
Master of Rural Development
Master of Sustainable Energy


Find out more about your study options at the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Monday, October 31st, 2016

UQ Science International Scholarships are available!

Are you considering applying to a UQ Science program? There are international scholarships for that!

UQ Science International Scholarships are available for outstanding international students in undergraduate or postgraduate coursework programs.

UQ Science International Scholarships

Apply for a UQ Science International Scholarship

Award value: AU$3,000 or AU$10,000 depending on the award

Applications close: December 1, 2016

To be eligible for a UQ Science International Scholarship, you must

  • be classified as an international student in Australia
  • have an unconditional or a conditional offer (with all conditions met by the scholarship closing date) from UQ
  • for undergraduate programs, have completed senior high school and obtained an entry score that equates to a Queensland Tertiary Education rank of 96 or higher
  • for postgraduate programs, have completed an undergraduate degree and obtained a GPA (Grade Point Average) of 6 or higher on a 7-point scale
  • not have already commenced your studies at UQ, even if you seek a change of program
  • not simultaneously hold another scholarship
  • for the Full Degree Scholarships: be an international student enrolling in year one of a UQ Faculty of Science full degree program
  • for the Advanced Standing Scholarships: be an international student enrolling in a UQ Faculty of Science program with advanced standing (credit articulation)

About the award

Two different scholarships are available:

  • The Full Degree Scholarship is awarded to students enrolling in year one of a UQ Faculty of Science full degree program and is a single payment of AU$10,000
  • The Advanced Standing Scholarship is awarded to students enrolling in a UQ Faculty of Science program with advanced standing (credit articulation), for example on the basis of previous study at a Polytechnic, and is a single payment of AU$3,000.

Selection criteria

Following the closing date, UQ will select winners based on a competitive, merit-based process, based on

  • candidate’s academic performance as demonstrated by their Grade Point Averages (GPA)
  • Candidate’s potential to contribute to science, assessed on the basis of their personal statements


Would you like more information about applying for a UQ Science International Scholarship? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Finding Nemo with new app

Visitors and residents along Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef can play a starring role as citizen scientists to build a brighter future for ‘Nemo’ clownfish and their anemone homes.

The IC-ANEMONE (or ‘I See Anemone’) app launch for National Science Week (Aug. 13–21) invites holiday-seekers and Queenslanders to get involved in saving Nemo by recording sightings in the wild via a new mobile phone app.

Help scientists find Nemo in Queensland with new app

Help scientists find Nemo (Photo: UQ)

This monitoring will help marine biologists from the University of Queensland and Flinders University to expand their conservation efforts.

UQ School of Biological Sciences PhD candidate and Saving Nemo Queensland Project Coordinator Carmen da Silva said she couldn’t wait to show reef visitors how to use the app and get involved.

“This is a really exciting way to gain an understanding of the numbers and the health of anemones and clown fish in the region,” she said.

“If we can get more people excited about reef conservation, hopefully more people will want to help save the reef.”

Her mother, and program director Karen Burke da Silva, is also Associate Professor of Biodiversity and Conservation at Flinders University in South Australia.

“We know that numbers are declining at some coral reefs both in Australia and overseas,” she says.

“We would love citizen scientists to use the new IC-ANEMONE app and learn how they can identify species while snorkelling and diving during their holiday.

“The information collected will be combined with other publicly available data, such as weather and collection statistics, to build a better understanding for clownfish conservation.”

Data collected with the app will enable scientists to monitor density, diversity, health and interspecies relationships of clownfish and anemones in protected and exploited sites across the Great Barrier Reef.

From Aug. 13, scientists from both universities will demonstrate the new app at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority’s Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville, Cairns and Lizard Island.

IC-ANEMONE will help to create the first global database to better understand where clownfish and anemones occur and what threatens their survival in the wild.

Climate change, anemone bleaching, land use practices and over-collection are all potential threats to the species’ survival now and into the future, Associate Professor Burke da Silva says.

Up-to-date visualisations of data, for example maps of where particular clownfish are most frequently reported, will be available for people to compare their sightings to others in their region and beyond.

Using Australia as a baseline, the program will be expanded to include other popular tourism and high vulnerability in Southeast Asia where sustainable fishing practices have not been well enforced resulting in local extinctions.

The National Science Week initiative borrows from the conservation theme of the Disney movies Finding Nemo and sequel Finding Dory, urging the aquaria trade and pet owners to leave wild fish on coral reefs and protect marine sanctuaries from destructive exploitation.

For more information, please go to http://www.savingnemo.org/ or follow on Twitter @savenemo.

This Inspiring Australia initiative is supported by the Australian Government as part of National Science Week.

Discover more about studying marine science at the UQ School of Biological Sciences. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information!

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Barrier Reef rodent is first mammal declared extinct due to climate change

University of Queensland and Queensland Government researchers have confirmed that the Bramble Cay melomys—the only mammal species endemic to the Great Barrier Reef—is the first mammal to go extinct due to human-induced climate change.

In a newly published report, the scientists conducted a comprehensive survey in 2014 but failed to find any trace of the rodent.

Barrier Reef rodent is first mammal declared extinct due to climate change

The Bramble Cay melomys (Photo: UQ)

The rodent was known only to live on a small (4 ha) coral cay, just 340m long and 150m wide in the Torres Strait, between Queensland in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

“Because a limited survey in March 2014 failed to detect the species, Bramble Cay was revisited from August to September 2014, with the explicit aims of establishing whether the Bramble Cay melomys still persisted on the island and to enact emergency measures to conserve any remaining individuals,” Dr Luke Leung of the UQ School of Agriculture and Food Sciences said.

“A thorough survey effort involving 900 small animal trap-nights, 60 camera trap-nights and two hours of active daytime searches produced no records of the species, confirming that the only known population of this rodent is now extinct.

“Anecdotal information obtained from a professional fisherman who visited Bramble Cay annually for the past 10 years suggested that the last known sighting of the Bramble Cay melomys was made in late 2009.”

Dr Leung said the key factor responsible for the destruction of this population was almost certainly ocean inundation of the low-lying cay, very likely on multiple occasions, during the past decade, causing dramatic habitat loss and perhaps also direct mortality of individuals. The cay sits at most 3m above sea level.

“Available information about sea-level rise and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events producing extreme high water levels and damaging storm surges in the Torres Strait region over this period point to human-induced climate change being the root cause of the loss of the Bramble Cay melomys,” he said.

Dr Leung said the fact that exhaustive efforts had failed to record the rodent at its only known location and extensive surveys had not found it on any other Torres Strait or Great Barrier Reef island gave him confidence in the assertion that Australia had lost another mammal species.

“Significantly, this probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change.

“However, new information is provided in support of a previously presented hypothesis that the Fly River delta of Papua New Guinea is a possible source of the original melomys population on Bramble Cay, so the Bramble Cay melomys or a closely related species might occur there. “

Dr Leung said it could be premature to declare the Bramble Cay melomys extinct on a global scale.

The study was led by Ian Gynther from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and in partnership with UQ researchers Natalie Waller and Luke Leung.


Are you interested in studying climate change and other environmental sciences programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK’s Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Friday, May 20th, 2016

The world found Nemo, but can we save him?

We all know the heart-warming tale of Finding Nemo, but clownfish populations on coral reefs have been declining since the film’s release, due to the popularity of a ‘Nemo’ in household aquariums.

Researchers from the University of Queensland and Flinders University have teamed up in an effort to ensure Nemo can be found exactly where he should be—in his sea anemone home on coral reefs.

Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva and Anita Nedosyko

Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva and Anita Nedosyko (Photo credit: UQ)

The Saving Nemo Conservation Fund aims to provide education, awareness and captive breeding programs to protect popular marine ornamental species that are often captured on reefs for sale in pet shops.

UQ School of Biological Sciences PhD candidate and Saving Nemo Queensland Project Coordinator Carmen da Silva said the marine fish aquarium trade was a major cause of coral reef fish decline.

“What most people don’t realise is that about 90 per cent of marine fish found in aquarium shops come from the wild,” she said.

“Reef fish populations are already struggling due to warmer sea temperatures and ocean acidification caused by global warming.

“The last thing they need is to be plucked off reefs.”

The team has started an ambitious campaign to raise a million fish kisses on social media with the hashtag #fishkiss4nemo.

They hope to capture the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who voices the loveable yet forgetful Dory in Finding Nemo and the upcoming sequel, Finding Dory.

Saving Nemo co-founders and Flinders University researchers Anita Nedosyko and Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva said the release of the sequel in June could cause a resurgence of ornamental species being pilfered from reefs—this time Dory’s species, the blue tang.

Miss Nedosyko said people took the wrong message from the film.

“People fell in love with the adorable characters and wanted to keep them as pets, instead of understanding the film’s conservation message of keeping Nemo in the ocean where he belongs,” she said.

Professor Burke da Silva said the team has been running a clownfish breeding program for the past five years, selling sustainable clownfish to local aquariums.

“Clownfish are extremely easy to breed and females lay many eggs at a time so there is really no reason to collect them from the wild. Nursery-bred fish are also far happier and healthier in tanks than wild-caught fish,” she said.

The researchers are also examining how anemone venom can be used as a bio-active anti-cancer product.

You can give a #fishkiss4nemo on social media or go to www.savingnemo.org to get involved with the campaign.

Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland

The UQ School of Biological Sciences is situated on the St Lucia campus in Brisbane and is part of the Faculty of Science. Academic staff conduct research in evolution, global change biology, ecology, aquaculture, behaviour, physiology, entomology, zoology, botany, genomics, development and conservation biology. World-class infrastructure, proximity to stunning habitats and biodiversity, and UQ’s tropical-subtropical location contribute to its unique working environment.


Are you interested in studying science at the UQ School of Biological Sciences? Find out more by emailing OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

UQ still Australia’s number one in influential Nature Index

The University of Queensland is again Australia’s highest-ranking institution on the Nature Index, further strengthening its global reputation as a top-tier research organisation.

UQ Sciences

UQ still Australia’s number one in influential Nature Index (Photo credit: UQ)

The index rates institutions and countries according to the number and quality of research publications across 68 of the world’s leading science journals, including journals within and outside the Nature publishing group.

UQ has retained the top spot as Australia’s highest-ranking university in the 2016 top academic institutions and top institutions tables.

The university has held the top position in Australia for the past two years.

The index ranks UQ at 89 among the world’s top academic institutions, and at 27 in the Asia-Pacific.

Harvard University ranks as the leading academic institution worldwide, followed by Stanford University. Monash University ranks at 93 globally, the Australian National University at 100, and the University of Melbourne at 130.

The rankings are based on the “weighted fractional count,” considered the most indicative of various measures that Nature Index publishes.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said UQ continued its formidable performance in the life sciences—in fields including biology, microbiology, neuroscience, genetics, medicine and biotechnology.

“The index records that in 2015 the majority of UQ publications included in the Nature Index were the Life Sciences (weighted fractional count 47.17), followed by Chemistry (36.7), the Physical Sciences (18.72), and then Earth and Environmental Sciences  (7.14),” Professor Høj said.

He said the rankings highlighted the importance of collaboration between researchers and institutions.

“The vast majority of UQ’s research is co-published with other organisations, giving our researchers collaboration opportunities with many of the highest-ranked experts in the world.

“Equally, the world has access to UQ’s finest minds in the many areas where we have leading expertise.

“In this way, diverse knowledge and perspectives are brought to bear on problems we are tackling to create change to build a better world.”

Nature Index recently opened unrestricted access to annual tables showing the output of articles published from 2012 to 2015 from more than 8000 institutions worldwide.


Contact OzTREKK for more information studying science at the University of Queensland and about how you can study in Australia! Email Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Worst emitters least affected by climate change

Global climate change resembles a room of secondhand smoke, new research has found, with countries emitting the least amount of gasses suffering the most.

The study by the University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) shows a dramatic global mismatch, with the highest emitting countries—including Australia—the least vulnerable to climate change effects.

UQ Environmental Sciences

Industrial emissions (Photo credit: UQ)

Lead author Glenn Althor, a PhD student in the UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management (GPEM) said, in contrast, the countries emitting the least amount of greenhouse gases were the most vulnerable to effects such as increased frequency of natural disasters, changing habitats, human health impacts, and industry stress.

“There is an enormous global inequality in which those countries most responsible for causing climate change are the least vulnerable to its effects,” Mr Althor said.

“It is time that this persistent and worsening climate inequity is resolved, and for the countries with the greatest emissions to act,” he said.

Co-author Associate Professor James Watson of GPEM and WCS said the situation resembled secondhand smoking.

“This is like a non-smoker getting cancer from secondhand smoke, while the heavy smokers continue to puff away,” he said. “Essentially we are calling for the smokers to pay for the healthcare of the non-smokers they are directly harming.”

The researchers conducted a global analysis of the relationship between a nation’s carbon emissions and vulnerability to climate change.

They found that 20 of the 36 highest emitting countries—including the U.S. Canada, Australia, China, and much of Western Europe—were the least vulnerable to its impacts.

Eleven of the 17 countries with low to moderate emissions were most vulnerable to climate change. Most were found in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The authors said these countries were not only exposed to serious environmental change such as oceanic inundation or desertification, bu they were also generally the least developed nations, having few resources available to cope with these issues.

They said the mismatch between the culprits and the affected areas acted as a disincentive for high-emitting “free-rider” countries to mitigate their emissions.

The researchers predicted that the number of acutely vulnerable countries would worsen by 2030 as climate change-related pressures such as droughts, floods, biodiversity loss and disease mounted.

Associate Professor Richard Fuller of the UQ School of Biological Sciences said the researchers had quantified these inequities using publicly available data.

“The recent Paris agreement was a significant step forward in global climate negotiations,” he said.

“There now needs to be meaningful mobilisation of these policies, to achieve national emissions reductions while helping the most vulnerable countries adapt to climate change.

“The free rider countries need to do much more to ensure that they bear the burden of coping with climate change impacts.”

The study appears in the journal Scientific Reports.


Find out more about environmental sciences programs at the University of Queensland! Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Study bioinformatics at UQ

What is bioinformatics? Generally speaking, it’s the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes. Bioinformatics involves the application of computer technology to manage and understand biological information. Computers are used to gather, store, analyze and integrate biological and genetic information which can then be applied to gene-based drug discovery and development.

Study bioinformatics at UQ

Study bioinformatics at UQ

Postgraduate study in bioinformatics at the University of Queensland will prepare students for a highly rewarding career in an industry that’s shaping the future of modern science. As it is a new and growing area, there is a world shortage of trained bioinformaticists and computational biologists.

Graduates can find employment in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, research organisations and governments in roles such as

  • bioinformatician
  • biomedical computer scientist
  • biostatistician
  • clinical data manager
  • geneticist
  • medical writer/technical writer
  • research scientist
  • software/database programmer

UQ offers the following postgraduate program in bioinformatics, which will enable students to broaden and add computational analysis to their skill-set:

Program: Master of Bioinformatics
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 1.5 years
Application deadline: November 29

The Master of Bioinformatics (#24) is designed for biological sciences, computing and mathematics graduates who wish to increase their technical and research skills in core areas of bioinformatics, to update their knowledge of recent technologies and methodologies, and to obtain practical laboratory and computational skills through immersion in a research laboratory. The program enables candidates to develop and effectively use best bioinformatics practice to solve complex scientific problems. It will also provide a preparation for entry into a Research Higher Degree program.

Apply to a University of Queensland science degree!


Contact OzTREKK for more information studying science at the University of Queensland. Contact Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at 1-866-698-7355 or shannon@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

UQ asks: Could we build a Star Wars lightsaber?

Unless you’ve been living in exile on Dagobah, you’ve probably noticed that Star Wars: Episode VII screened around the world recently.

Many elements of the Star Wars franchise have become icons of popular culture: none more so than the lightsaber.

While the lightsaber is a fictional weapon, it is an undeniably ingenious invention—compact and lightweight with a hypnotising beam that can effortlessly cut through steel.

But what would it take to actually build one?

The University of Queensland’s theoretical physicists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQuS) explain the possibilities.


According to physics researcher Martin Ringbauer, the main problem with building a lightsaber is controlling a beam of light.

“You can’t just make a laser stop without it hitting something solid or being reflected back on itself with a mirror,” Mr Ringbauer says. “Light doesn’t like to interact with itself, so two beams of light would actually pass through each other—which wouldn’t be very useful in a fight.”

Even if a beam of light could be controlled, the next problem is generating enough energy in the small hilt of a lightsaber to power a laser.

“Currently, we have very powerful industrial lasers that can cut through steel, used, for example, in car manufacturing,” Mr Ringbauer says.

“We also have laser weapons which companies like Boeing have developed to shoot down drones; however, these are more like the size of trucks to generate enough power to fire the laser—far from a handheld weapon.”

How we are using lasers today

Using lasers in everyday life might sound futuristic, but physics researcher James Bennett says they  are actually all around us.

“These days everyone has lasers in their home for digital optical storage like DVDs,” Mr Bennett says. “And of course a lot of our internet is completely reliant on lasers.”

EQuS researchers are working to take lasers to the next step in fundamental research and market applications.

“We can use lasers to control atoms, how they move and what their energy is,” Mr Bennett says.“This lets us build very sensitive machines to measure local gravity, which would let us find resources in the ground, for example.

“What I’m looking at is using light to control vibrations, so we could heat or cool objects by removing or adding vibrations.”


Contact OzTREKK for more information studying science at the University of Queensland and about how you can study in Australia! Email Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).