University of Saskatchewan

August 22, 2014   

Three U of S Researchers Honored for Environmental Toxicology, Bio-Agriculture and Medical Inventions

April 15, 2010

Three University of Saskatchewan (U of S) researchers were announced yesterday at the SABEX “Celebrate Success!” finalists’ reception for the Innovation Place—Industry Liaison Office Award of Innovation.

The $10,000 annual award honors U of S researchers who have brought new and commercially viable technology to the U of S Industry Liaison Office (ILO) for development into marketable products.

“The technologies developed by these individuals have great potential to enrich lives through improvements in human health, environmental toxicology, and bio-agriculture,” said Glen Schuler, ILO Managing Director. “Our city and our province will also directly benefit from the promise of increased investment and high-quality jobs this research brings.”

“We’re excited by this year’s group of finalists,” said Austin Beggs, Vice-President of Corporate Relations for Innovation Place. “Many of the enterprises at Innovation Place are built on ideas that began at the U of S, and many of the highly qualified people that work here are U of S graduates. We’re proud to celebrate these successes that help bring novel products and processes to the marketplace.”

The award finalists are:

  • John Giesy, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology, has co-developed an assay test (a molecular biology procedure), named the H295R Steroidogenersis Assay, that will enable regulators to determine which chemical compounds cause harmful hormone effects and then develop regulations to minimize these effects. Geisy was instrumental in designing the regulations with environmental regulators in the United States and Europe. The assay was developed with financial support from Western Economic Diversification Canada and has been approved for use by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation. The U of S recently set up a wholly owned subsidiary to market this test world-wide.
  • Rajendra Sharma, a U of S pathology professor and scientist at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, has co-identified a marker in the blood that indicates the presence of colorectal cancer. This discovery, still in the early stages of testing, has the potential to be developed further into a colorectal cancer test that would be inexpensive, accurate, offer minimal discomfort to the patient, increase screening rates, and ultimately reduce colorectal cancer death rates.
  • Vladimir Vujanovic, U of S associate professor of food and bioproduct sciences and Agri-Food Innovation Fund Chair in Agricultural Microbiology and Bioproducts, has discovered a new species of fungus found in wheat, barley, and other prairie crops that can control outbreaks of the harmful Fusarium fungus species found soil and plants. Fusarium produces toxic substances that can cause serious health problems in cattle and be fatal in humans. It costs the agricultural and forestry industries billions of dollars in lost yield and quality. Once the genes in the new fungus species are identified, they could be cloned to generate proteins in industrial-scale quantities, suitable for prevention and treatment of Fusarium infections. The genes could also be used to create Fusarium-resistant crop varieties.

The winner of the Award of Innovation will be announced May 18th at the SABEX “Celebrate Success!” gala, sponsored by the Saskatoon and District Chamber of Commerce and Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc.

The Award of Innovation competition is open to U of S employees and students. Selection criteria include innovation novelty and potential commercial impact. The selection committee includes representatives from Innovation Place and the U of S. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will be recognized with a photo on the “Award of Innovation” wall at the ILO and a personal trophy.

Innovation Place is one of North America's most successful university-related research parks. For more information on Innovation Place, visit www.innovationplace.com.

The ILO works with inventors to help commercialize innovations developed at the U of S. For more information on the ILO, visit www.usask.ca/research/ilo.

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For more information on the Award of Innovation, contact:

Glen Schuler
Managing Director
Industry Liaison Office (ILO)
(306) 966-4584
glen.schuler@usask.ca

Kathryn Warden
University Research Communications
(306) 966-2506
kathryn.warden@usask.ca

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