Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre
- The Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre (SSSC) at the University of Saskatchewan will complement work done at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron (www.lightsource.ca) and drive ground-breaking research in Western Canada.
- The $11.4-million SSSC was established with $3.7 million from the Canada/Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement, $3.4 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, $2.8 million from the U of S and $1.5 million from the Saskatchewan government's Innovation and Science Fund.
- Located in the Thorvaldson Building annex just a few minutes walk from the CLS, SSSC has state-of-the-art equipment for probing the structure of matter, work that can help scientists track environmental toxins, build semiconductors, create new plastics, and develop new drugs to fight cancer and heart attack.
- The SSSC was officially opened September 12, 2003.
Some Research Applications:
- Uncovering Beverage Fraud
Nicholas Low (applied microbiology and food science 966-5037) will use the SSSC to combat fraud in the beverage industry. Some companies add cheaper ingredients to a drink to make it go farther, increasing profits and lowering production costs. Professor Low has developed several tests that identify trace carbohydrates synthesized by the enzymes present in foods, which allow him to track carbohydrate "fingerprints" and ensure product purity.
- Diamonds are a Heart's Best Friend
Canada Research Chair Akira Hirose (physics 966-6414) studies diamond-like carbon films that can be deposited on Teflon tubes used to replace cardiovascular blood vessels. Hirose's team has developed a technique that reduces platelet adhesion to the artificial vessels, prolonging the lifetime of tubes thinner than six millimeters.
- Self-Defense for Plants
Soledade Pedras (chemistry 966-4772) studies the molecular interaction between plants and fungal pathogens that reduce crop yields in canola, rapeseed and mustard. This research will lead to a better understanding of how plants defend themselves against microbial attack and could result in the development of environmentally friendly crop protection agents.
- Living in a Material World
Canada Research Chair Alexander Moewes (physics 966-6431) studies the
electronic structure of new designer-made materials with specific electrical
and thermal properties. This work holds enormous potential for developing
various types of sensors and electronic devices.
- In the Beginning…
Robert Kerrich (geology 966-5719) will test three competing hypotheses for the origin of Earth's atmosphere and oceans by measuring rocks of a variety of ages for nitrogen content and nitrogen isotopes. The outcome is expected to be a clearer "window" to the Earth's early history when the atmosphere and oceans that sustain life were first acquired.
- Sticky Cells
Canada Research Chair Thomas Haas (anatomy and cell biology 966-8088). The first step in the progression of diseases such as heart attack, angina, stroke, and some forms of cancer occurs when cells clump together. Haas will study proteins known as integrins on the surface of cancer cells and platelets (small blood cells) that regulate the stickiness of cells, then design and test a new generation of drugs that may block the ability of these cells to bind together.
- Toxic Elements
Canada Research Chair Ingrid Pickering (geology 966-5706) will study the chemical fate of toxic elements in the environment and their impact on ecosystem and human health. Her work will increase understanding of these systems and provide a foundation for possible remediation strategies for contaminated areas.
- Heavy Metal
Canada Research Chair Graham George (geology 966-5706) will study the molecular nature of metals and heavy elements such as mercury in living systems. His research could lead to new treatments for heavy metal poisoning and a better understanding of the role of metals and heavy elements in human health.
- Wire with a Twist
Jeremy Lee (biochemistry 966-4371) studies the structure and function of M-DNA -- a new DNA molecule that contains metal ions and behaves as a very small molecular wire. Lee has found that changing the metal ions affects the wire's ability to conduct electricity. This research could revolutionize micro-electronics and biosensor technology.
- Cutting-edge Protein Mapping
Canada Research Chair Louis Delbaere (biochemistry 966-4360) will make highly detailed maps of protein crystals and examine the structure of proteins in relation to their function. The long-term goal of his research is the design of new drugs that will help fight major diseases including diabetes and cancer.
- It's Not Just Dirt
P.M. Huang (soil sciences 966-6838) will study the reactions and processes of nutrients, metals, and organic compounds in different soils around the world, as well as their food chain contamination, and the impact on human and animal health.
- The Light Fantastic
Ron Steer (chemistry 966-4667) uses lasers to study the chemical and physical
effects produced when substances absorb light -- research that may result in devising better methods of solar energy capture and storage, optical computing, and molecular electronics. With advanced laser technology, Steer can measure the initial processes that occur when molecules absorb light, which happen in less than a picosecond (a millionth part of a millionth of a second).
- Molecular Biosensors
Canada Research Chair Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz (chemistry 966-4660) is involved in biosensor research -- work that could help pave the way for development of devices capable of tracking and identifying disease at the molecular level. To this end, small biomolecules, such as DNA (the molecular basis of heredity) or peptides (various compounds composed of amino acids), are connected to an electrically conducting surface that detects trace amounts of protein in complex mixtures.
For more information, visit www.usask.ca/sssc or contact:
U of S Research Communications Officer
©2003 Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre
Design by Open Design & Publishing