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Driving innovation

Nearly $1.2-million provincial investment for cutting-edge research

By Jeff Green

As part of Research Week, Memorial is celebrating support from the provincial government that will enhance the university’s reputation as an international innovation leader.

On Nov. 26, Andrew Parsons, minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, announced nearly $1.2 million in funding for four projects involving researchers based in the faculties of Medicine, Science, and Engineering and Applied Science and at the Marine Institute.

‘New opportunities and solutions’

“Memorial University and its teams continue to produce world-class research,” Minister Parsons said in a release.

“In addition to expansion of knowledge, each of these projects assist industry with identification of new opportunities and solutions to ongoing challenges. Our government is pleased to support Memorial’s researchers, as they play a key role in driving innovation in our province, and we’re proud to highlight their capabilities especially during Research Week.”

Dr. Gerald Mugford wears a grey jacket, white shirt and tie.
Dr. Gerald Mugford
Photo: HSIMS

The investment includes $486,331 for wave three of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging research project.

Led by Dr. Gerald Mugford, a clinical epidemiologist, Faculty of Medicine, the project is aiming to better understand what biological, psychological, social, environmental and genetic factors contribute to healthy aging.

The research will assist in the identification of conditions, including diseases, mobility impairment, disabilities, mental health, and cognitive decline etc., resulting in the development of preventive strategies to increase healthy and longer lifespans.

Smiling, Dr. Michael Katz with white and blue shirts, a grey jacket and glasses. An ocean is blurred in the background.
Dr. Michael Katz
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

A research project led by Dr. Michael Katz, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, is being awarded $280,378.

This project is studying how porous materials are made, the properties of the porous materials and its reactivity with gases.

The project is using porous materials to study gas absorption, separation and phase catalysis/chemical transformations.

Smiling, Dr. Rodney Russell wears a blue shirt and jacket.
Dr. Rodney Russell
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

A research project led by Dr. Rodney Russell, professor of virology and immunology, Faculty of Medicine, is receiving $272,179 for the acquisition of a confocal microscope.

This cutting-edge equipment will be used to facilitate comprehensive investigations in research projects pertaining to hepatitis C, cancer, heart disease and COVID-19.

Research collaborators include Dr. Sherri Christian, associate professor, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, who is also cross-appointed with the Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. Bruno Stuyvers, professor of cardiac and renal physiology, Faculty of Medicine.

Smiling, Dr. Deepika Dave wears a yellow and white coloured shirt, dark jacket and glasses. A blue-coloured banner featuring the words Fisheries and Marine Institute of Newfoundland, the Marine Institute log and the Memorial logo appears in the background.
Dr. Deepika Dave
Photo: Submitted

A research project co-led by Dr. Deepika Dave, research scientist with the Marine Bioprocessing Facility, Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development, Marine Institute and Dr. Chris Parrish, University Research Professor, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science, is receiving $148,000.

Co-investigators are Dr. Matthew Rise, professor, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science, and Dr. Kelly Hawboldt, professor, Department of Process Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

The project is focused on the development of processing methodology that will maximize the utilization of the province’s salmon, shrimp, and seaweed waste resources by extracting high value marine pharmaceutical products and shrimp extracts, which can be utilized in the aquafeed industry and pharmaceutical sector.

High-resolution results

“This microscope not only replaces 10-year-old technology of its kind, but it will allow us to visualize molecular interactions at a resolution we have not been able to achieve before using other fluorescence microscopes,” Dr. Russell said about his team’s research.

“More importantly, this system allows us to do this in live cells. So we will now be able to study the regionalization of calcium regulatory proteins in cardiac tissue, watch how viruses kill cells, and visualize immune cells attacking cancer cells.”

Design featuring blue and purple colours. The words Research Week are capitalized in large white font. 2021 in a gold-coloured font.

The provincial funding was announced during Memorial’s fourth annual Research Week celebrations.

The aim of this year’s Research Week is to celebrate and raise awareness of Memorial’s internationally renowned exploration expertise and encourage more multidisciplinary collaboration among the research community.

More than 65 events took place on Memorial’s campuses, with sessions organized by staff, researchers, students and community members.

International leader

“Memorial University researchers are globally recognized for their groundbreaking studies in areas ranging from genetics to environmental-related issues,” noted Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“Investments in critical infrastructure and leading-edge research allow our teams to advance scientific studies and address real-life issues. This support enhances Memorial’s reputation as an international innovation leader.”

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