University of Saskatchewan

September 21, 2014   

Research News - Issue 5

May 12, 2005
University of Saskatchewan Research News


Areas of Pre-eminence Consultation Process Launched

The Areas of Research, Scholarly and Artistic Work Advisory Committee has begun an extensive consultation process with the University community to identify areas of research, scholarly and artistic strength and promise at the U of S. Details regarding the process and sample templates used in the consultation are available online. Please contact Alice Der (966-4057) in the Office of the Associate Vice-President Research for more information.

Needle-Free Drug Delivery System Takes Award for Innovation

A needle-free drug delivery system developed by U of S pharmacy and nutrition professor Marianna Foldvari was named winner of the fourth annual Innovation Place-Industry Liaison Office Award of Innovation on May 10 at the annual Celebrate Success! 2005 Awards gala at the Centennial Auditorium. Foldvari's technology is called BiphasixT, for "biphasic vesicles," which act as microscopic containers to carry large-protein molecules through the skin without needles or any electrical device. Medication can be applied as a patch or ointment. Foldvari created PharmaDerm Laboratories Ltd. in 1991 to commercialize the technology. Helix Biopharma Corp., an Ontario company that specializes in pharmaceutical product development and marketing, acquired PharmaDerm in 1999. Efforts are focused on three products - an interferon-alpha cream for the treatment of topical viral infections such as genital warts and cervical cancer, an insulin patch for the treatment of diabetes, and a vaccine delivery system.

Engineering, Biology Students take First Innovation Challenge Award

Chemical Engineering graduate student Tim Friesen and Biology graduate student Tarik Dessouki are the first recipients of the Innovation Challenge Award, created by the Industry Liaison Office (ILO) and Innovation Place Research Park. The researchers will receive $500 and an award presented on May 10 at the "Celebrate Success" gala dinner, co-sponsored by Saskatoon and District Chamber of Commerce and Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. As a result of the honour, Friesen and Dessouki will be nominated for the national Innovation Challenge award, where over $20,000 in total prize money is available, including a $10,000 first prize. The national award is co-sponsored by Natural Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Science and Technology Growth Fund. Both awards recognize research with an eye for commercialization.

Music Professor Emeritus Leads 2005 National Youth Band of Canada

U of S Professor Emeritus of music Marvin Eckroth is conducting the 2005 National Youth Band (NYB), an ensemble of 55 young musicians from across Canada. This year, for the first time, the band assembled, rehearsed and toured in Saskatchewan from May 6th to 15th. Eckroth, named professor emeritus in 2002, remains an active conductor, adjudicator, and musician. The NYB is known in music circles as "the cream of the crop" for wind, brass, and percussion players aged 16 to 21. Eleven U of S students play in this year's band. Eckroth's involvement with the NYB was featured in the Star Phoenix and on CBC TV, CTV, and Shaw Cable. A feature interview with Eckroth played on CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition while a portion of that interview also aired nationally on CBC's Arts Report.

NSERC Awards $13M to U of S Science Projects and Scholarships

Over the next five years, 85 University of Saskatchewan research projects will receive more than $12 million in Discovery grants and equipment grants from NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council), while 27 Uof S graduate students will receive $922,000 in NSERC scholarships. The projects are part of $510 million in NSERC funding and scholarships announced May 6 in Ottawa by federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Joe Volpe on behalf of Industry Minister David Emerson. Among the recipients: Akira Hirose (physics and engineering physics, Canada Research Chair (CRC)); Federica Brandizzi (biology, CRC); Safa Kasap (electrical engineering, CRC); Jim Germida (soil science); Alan Manson (physics and engineering physics). A complete list of successful U of S projects with a brief description of each is available at:

CLS Signs First On-Site Contract with Synodon Inc.

On April 14, the Canadian Light Source Inc. signed a contract with Synodon Inc. of Edmonton, the first commercial contract to be conducted on one of the synchrotron's beamlines. Previous commercial work carried out by CLS scientists used other synchrotrons in the US and Great Britain. Synodon manufactures realSensT, an advanced airborne sensor system that detects leaks in natural gas pipelines. Previous detection systems relied on handheld sensors that had to be carried by workers walking along kilometers of pipeline. The synchrotron's infrared beamline will be used to conduct spectroscopic analyses of gases, the results of which will go into refining Synodon's technology. Jeff Cutler, associate director of research for industrial science says this is the first of many applied science projects that will be done at Canada's synchrotron.

NSERC/CIHR Collaborative Project Looks at Neurodegenerative Disease

Helen Nichol from Anatomy and Cell Biology and co-applicants Gabrielle Boulianne and Ian Meinertzhagen, together with U of S collaborators Graham George and Ingrid Pickering will be working on a NSERC/CIHR Collaborative Health Research Project worth $467,005 over the next three years to study fly models and possible treatments for neurodegenerative diseases in humans. Boulianne, from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto is a leading Canadian Drosophila (fruit fly) geneticist with research interests in genetic and cellular mechanisms of neurodegeneration will supply transgenic flies to Nichol for analysis at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron. Meinertzhagen, an expert in Drosophila brain pathology and use of several high-resolution and 3-D imaging techniques, will do the microscopy to assess pathological changes in flies chosen for drug testing. If successful, the team hopes to forge links with pharmaceutical companies to translate their work to humans.

Researchers Use Synchrotron to Examine First Cadmium Enzyme

An international team that includes two University of Saskatchewan Canada Research Chairs has discovered that the element cadmium, well known for its toxicity to humans and other animals, may play an essential role in regulating atmospheric carbon. Geological sciences professors and Canada Research Chairs Graham George and Ingrid Pickering used the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory in California to partly determine the shape of a cadmium enzyme that regulates carbon levels in diatoms, a type of single-celled plant found in all the world's oceans. It is the first known biological use of cadmium. Colleagues on the team isolated the genes responsible for the cadmium enzyme, which also appear to be unique. The findings were published in the May 5, 2005 issue of the prestigious science journal Nature.

ILO Launches "Forge Ahead" Prototype Development Program

The Industry Liaison Office (ILO) has unveiled Forge Ahead, their prototype development program, which they hope will aid researchers in the commercial development of technologies disclosed and assigned to the University of Saskatchewan. Under the program, U of S researchers can apply for up to $25,000 to take early stage technologies and make them potentially marketable to industry. The funding will be used to add value for potential licensees by eliminating some of the commercial uncertainties that normally surround a very early stage technology, says ILO managing director Doug Gill.

Barley Lines Licensed for Kitty Litter Product

The Industry Liaison Office has signed a 10-year licensing deal with InfraReady Products Ltd. of Saskatoon for the production, promotion and marketing rights for ingredients and finished products derived from two lines of waxy hulless barley developed at the Crop Development Centre by Brian Rossnagel. The U of S will receive royalties based on sales of the barley-based products. InfraReady has developed a new line of kitty litter, LitterMateT, made entirely of barley and baking soda that will be marketed from Saskatoon. The Rossnagel barleys are very absorbent, yielding a product that is clumping, flushable, biodegradable, compostable, and renewable. Anticipated spin-offs include absorbing agents for use in shops and garages as well as for cleaning up environmentally hazardous spills.

Wanted by July 2: Award-Winning Chemistry

Do you know someone doing award-worthy work in chemistry? Help them get the recognition they deserve with an award nomination! The Canadian Society for Chemistry awards include: the Alcan Award for contribution in the fields of inorganic chemistry or electrochemistry; the Clara Benson Award in recognition of a distinguished contribution to chemistry by a woman; the Award for Pure or Applied Inorganic Chemistry and several more awards. The Chemical Institute of Canada Awards include the CIC Award for Chemical Education among others. For help preparing a nomination for you or a colleague, contact U of S awards facilitator Mary Walters at 966-2499. Deadline for the chemistry awards is July 2.

$180,000 Steacie Fellowships Available for Scientists and Engineers

Steacie Fellowships are aimed at outstanding scientists and engineers who, though still in the early stages of their careers (usually within 12 years of doctorate), already enjoy a reputation for original research. The two-year fellowship normally includes $90,000 per year toward salary, replacement of teaching and administrative responsibilities, or enhancement of the research environment of the fellow's department. For help preparing an application, contact U of S awards facilitator Mary Walters at 966-2499. Deadline is July 4.

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