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Research partnership expands Queen’s links with Japan

[Daniel Woolf in Nagoya]
Daniel Woolf, Principal of Queen's University, third from left, helps cut the ribbon to open the new building for the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM). (Supplied Photo)

A Queen’s University delegation participated this week in the opening of a new laboratory building at Japan’s Nagoya University – a facility that will help support Professor Cathleen Crudden’s (Chemistry) international research program and strengthen ties between the two universities.

Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research), are currently travelling in Singapore and Japan to strengthen ties and build collaborations with partner universities in those countries. Along with Professor Crudden, they were on hand to help inaugurate the building at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM). Professor Crudden has operated a research lab at the ITbM since 2013, when she was appointed as a visiting research professor.

[Cathleen Crudden]
Professor Cathleen Crudden

“Ground-breaking research is increasingly being conducted across borders, and the ITbM is an excellent example of a research centre that is creating opportunities for both international and interdisciplinary collaboration,” says Principal Woolf. “Not only does the facility allow Professor Crudden to expand her research beyond her lab at Queen’s, it also provides opportunities for graduate students working with her in Kingston to gain an international research experience.”

The ITbM is an interdisciplinary laboratory that hosts a number of Japanese and international research teams focused on developing innovative new molecules that can be applied in a range of fields, from agriculture to medicine.

“The ITbM is an exceptional facility where leading researchers are making important discoveries at the intersection of biology and chemistry,” says Vice-Principal Liss. “Queen’s is proud to have Professor Crudden contributing to the institute’s innovative work.”

Professor Crudden is particularly excited about the ITbM’s “mix-lab” philosophy, where researchers from different fields are able to accelerate their advances by working together, often through informal daily discussions.

“One of the most interesting things is that the lab will have integrated chemistry and biology work areas. The desks of chemists and biologists will be side-by-side,” says Professor Crudden. “I hope it will lead to some excellent collaborations.”

The new facility will help Professor Crudden advance her work on a number of new research projects, such as the creation of a synthetic thyroid hormone that could prove beneficial to the agricultural sector and the creation of nanoclusters, which will allow for better medical imaging. It will also provide international research opportunities for students from her lab at Queen’s to participate in the work at the ITbM.

Professor Crudden has been an active researcher at Queen’s since 2002, when she joined the university’s faculty as a Queen’s National Scholar. She is recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a 2015 Killam Research Fellowship from the Canada Council for the Arts.