NanoQuébec and Partners to Support Seven Innovative Biosensor Projects

NanoQuébec and its partners, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (CIPI), are pleased to announce that seven projects have been awarded funding under the three organizations’ Support Program for Integrative Biosensor Research, launched in May 2008. The program is designed to support applied research projects developing detection and diagnostic methods in the fields of human, veterinary and environmental health. It is part of a broader development strategy for Quebec nanotechnology, which includes efforts to realize economic benefits from research and transfer research findings to industry.

The seven projects, selected from among 16 finalists, will receive a total of nearly $2 million in funding, of which $1.12 million is to come from NanoQuébec, $600,000 from the CSA and $170,000 from CIPI. An additional $755,000 will be contributed by the private sector, for a total envelope of nearly $2.65 million.

Following are the seven projects:

  • Sensitive and Specific Cyanobacteria Toxin Detection Using Photonic Sensors Based on the Lab-on-a-Fiber Concept, submitted by a team with representatives from Université du Québec en Outaouais, École Polytechnique de Montréal and Concordia University. The project leader is Wojtek Bock of Université du Québec en Outaouais;
  • CMOS Integrated Nitride Nanowire Array Bacterial Biosensors, submitted by a team from McGill and Concordia universities. The project leader is Vamsy Chodavarapu of McGill University;
  • Quantum Dot Template Biosensor for Rapid Detection and Quantification of Pathogenic Micro-organisms in Potable Water, submitted by a team from Université de Sherbrooke and the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke. The project leader is Jan Dubowski of Université de Sherbrooke.
  • Development of biosensors based on interdependent physico-chemical recognition interactions, presented by a team from Université de Montréal led by Suzanne Giasson;
  • Nanohole array biosensors for simple monitoring of medically relevant biomolecules, submitted by a team with members from four universities: McGill Concordia, Montréal and Tennessee. The project leader is Jean-François Masson of Université de Montréal;
  • Photonics biosensors with novel advanced functional nanomaterials, submitted by a team with representatives from Concordia University and École Polytechnique de Montréal. The project leader is Michel Meunier of École Polytechnique de Montréal;
  • Integrated surface Plasmon Resonance Imaging (SPRi) Biosensors for Medical and Environmental Applications/, submitted by a team with representatives from Laval, Sherbrooke and McGill universities, the Industrial Materials Institute of the National Research Council (NRC) and the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA-France). The project leader is Maryam Tabrizian of McGill University.

“This biosensor research program is equally significant for scientific and applied research. With the support of NanoQuébec and our partners, some of our best researchers from many fields will work together to combine state-of-the-art technologies to address important issues in health care and the environment. These projects will also lead to the manufacture of products here in Quebec,” said Dr. Robert Crawhall, President and Chief Executive Officer of NanoQuébec.

The projects submitted for funding underwent a scientific assessment by a committee of experts drawn from each of the three partners as well as the National Research Council and Europe. In the panel’s view, the projects selected for support distinguished themselves for their level of innovation, their impact on the life sciences and their scientific and technological excellence.

All of the projects have a significant nanotechnology and nanoscience component, and several will benefit the aerospace and photonics industries. Most of the projects also have at least two partners from Quebec university research facilities, together with industrial partners including companies and organizations such as Axela, Biophage Pharma, Magnor, Magnus and Univalor, and international partners from the United States, France and Switzerland.

“Through this type of partnership, we can bring the emerging nanoscience community together with space needs to maintain Canada’s leadership in space,” added Dr. Nicole Buckley, Director, Life and Physical Sciences at the Canadian Space Agency.

Robert Corriveau, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (CIPI) also stressed his organization’s enthusiasm for the program. “CIPI is proud to join forces with NanoQuébec and the Canadian Space Agency to foster and promote the development of new biosensors that use both nanotechnology and photonics.”

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