Lab Canada

Aquatic toxicology lab receives $1.59M funding

Saskatoon, SK – The University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) Toxicology Centre will purchase cutting-edge bioassay testing equipment and recruit additional research trainees, with funding of $1.59 million from Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The research team at the University of Saskatchewan’s Toxicology Centre will use this funding to fast track an innovative research technique that assesses the potential impacts of toxic chemicals on human and environmental health.

Professor and Canada research chair in environmental toxicology John Giesy and research scientist Professor Markus Hecker have developed a test, or bioassay, that can simultaneously determine the effects of 100,000 chemicals on steroid-producing enzymes and hormone production without using animals as test subjects.

“Global validation of this bioassay is already underway and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEDC) is expected to grant approval within the next 12 to 24 months,” said Karsten Liber, Toxicology Centre director and project co-principal investigator.

OECD approval would make the bioassay, known as the H295R steroidogenesis assay, the primary test sanctioned for use by member countries to screen chemicals for their endocrine (hormone) disrupting activity.

“New tools and talent at the U of S Toxicology Centre will help protect the environment by shedding light on how to sustain human activities without adverse effects,” said Steven Franklin the university’s vice-president research. “Environmental toxicology is a U of S research strength and our students benefit by learning from the best in the world such as renowned toxicologist John Giesy. Research done here literally touches the lives of every person and animal in the world.”