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$65M genomics and health research centres open


Montreal, QC – Last week saw the official opening of two new research institutes at Concordia University – the Perform Centre and the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics.

The two new facilities are located at Concordia’s Loyola Campus in Montreal’s west end. The federal and provincial governments jointly provided $65 million of funding under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program for the two projects, which will enable Concordia’s researchers to propel discoveries in environmental conservation and health.

“The Perform and Genomics centres represent a leap forward in research that not only advances the accumulation of knowledge, but also strengthens the foundations of our society,” says Frederick Lowy, the university’s president and vice-chancellor. “Researchers at the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics are investigating how to transform green waste into sustainable fuels to reduce our dependence on non-renewable energies, while the Perform Centre is investigating ways to improve health.”

“These new research facilities are transformational for our university,” says Louise Dandurand, Concordia vice-president, research and graduate studies. “They are the culmination of a dream to house top researchers in innovative laboratory settings and to give them access to the best equipment and personnel. They also exemplify a new approach to fostering interdisciplinary scientific collaboration and to bringing that expertise from the laboratory into the wider community.”

The Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics (CSFG), which covers 5,400 sq m over three floors, was constructed with a $29,345,427 grant under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The building includes the latest in genomics, biotechnology and bioinformatics laboratories. Its open spaces were designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations and bolster cooperation with industry partners. The institute’s ultimate goal is to produce breakthroughs in genomics research that will transform green waste – stalks, twigs, agricultural straws and leaves – into renewable and alternative chemicals and fuels. It houses 150 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research professors and its facilities are available to the external research community.

The Perform Centre – whose acronym stands for Prevention, Evaluation, Rehabilitation, FORMation – was built and outfitted through a $34,972,317 grant. The 8,000-sq-m research hub features a striking façade with a public artwork called Leap created by artist Adad Hannah. At two storeys high, Leap is mounted on glass in vivid colours and depicts human silhouettes in motion.

The Perform Centre will merge behavioural research, nutrition, athletic therapy, exercise science, psychology and physiology. Its scientists will collaborate with doctors from hospitals and university health centres from around the world. Among other equipment, it has a bone-density scanner, magnetic resonance imaging machine, metabolic kitchen, cell culture equipment and a hydrotherapy pool that can track movements.