Cutting-edge technology comes to Queen's

Cutting-edge technology comes to Queen's

By Anne Craig

January 20, 2015


Eight researchers at Queen’s University have been awarded $1.3 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund. Leading the funding are Stephen Archer (Cardiology) and Neil Renwick (Pathology and Molecular Medicine).

Dr. Archer is using his funding to purchase a new super resolution microscope that can see structures five times smaller than any prior light microscopes.

“This new system, one of the very few in Canada, is to imaging the cell what the Hubble Space Telescope was to imaging the solar system,” says Dr. Archer, who received $400,000 and is also funded by the Henderson Foundation. “The microscope will be used to study how and why mitochondria divide and join together. Mitochondria play a key role in diseases including lung cancer and PAH.”

Dr. Renwick is focusing on cancer diagnostics.

“The goal of my CFI project is to transform cancer diagnostics using novel approaches,” says Dr. Renwick who received $200,000. “Through the vision of the CFI, I will purchase advanced instrumentation that will allow us to profile ribonucleic acid, a molecule that carries genetic information, and visualize diseased tissues. I expect these approaches will help pathologists to diagnose and classify cancers, recommend treatments, and predict clinical outcomes at the time of specimen assessment.”

“This CFI funding, which supports the acquisition or development of new infrastructure, provides the resources to sustain world-class research and the tools to pave the way for new and innovative discoveries at Queen’s,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “Our success in this recent competition across a broad range of disciplines is indicative of the leadership of our researchers in their respective fields.”

The six other Queen’s researchers funded in this recent competition are:

Tomas Babak (Biology, $150,000) –Dr. Babak will develop improved DNA sequencing methods that could lead to improved understanding of complex diseases including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Derek Berg (Education, $86,000) – Dr. Berg, will use an eye tracking system and computer-based assessment equipment to identify the cognitive bases of mathematical abilities and disabilities, with an end goal of developing interventions to support the early development of children’s mathematics proficiency.

Ahmad Ghahremaninezhad (Mining, $125,000) – Dr. Ghahremaninezhad is developing effective processes for sustainable and environmentally responsible extraction of metals from minerals while decreasing the negative environmental impact of metal extraction processes.

Jean-Michel Nunzi (Chemistry, $50,000) –Dr. Nunzi will develop a new antenna technology to approach the ultimate efficiency with which solar light can be converted into electricity on earth.

David Rival (Mechanical and Materials Engineering, $175,000) – Dr. Rival is purchasing a high-speed laser and constructing an optical towing tank for the laboratory he is establishing at Queen’s. Dr. Rival’s lab will focus on several research areas including aerospace, defence and the renewable-energy sector.

Avena Ross (Chemistry, $150,000) – Dr. Ross and her team are investigating a family of marine bacteria that could be used to develop drug therapies.