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Research projects share $700,000 in funding


Victoria, BC – Six projects at the University of Victoria have received a total of around $700,000 in funding from the BC Knowledge Development Fund.

The projects are as follows:

1. Tools to design wind and tidal power capturing systems – $105,000

• The BC government is investing $105,000 to establish a lab in which engineering tools will be developed to help design and fine-tune clean energy capturing systems.
• The Sustainable Systems Design Laboratory will use computer-based models of wind and tidal turbines, prototype them for testing, then use the experimental data to improve the computer models.
• The research will allow these clean energy sources to be tapped, reducing local air pollution and contributing to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
• Funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation matches the BC government’s investment in this $305,428 project.
• More funding, totalling $95,429, has come from the UVic A.R. Gibson Endowment, the UVic mechanical engineering department, and in-kind support from industry partners.

For more information, contact Curran Crawford, assistant professor, department of mechanical engineering, at 250 721-7960 or curranc@uvic.ca.

2. Computer vision to detect when elderly people fall at home – $90,180

• The BC government is providing $90,180 for equipment that will be used to develop low-cost, reliable monitors that can detect when an elderly person falls down at home. These monitors would allow more people to continue living at home as they age.
• The project is based on computer vision and motion analysis. Computer vision uses algorithms to process images and video streams. Funding supports the University of Victoria’s VISION research lab.
• The Canada Foundation for Innovation has matched the BC government’s investment.
• As well, three industry partners are contributing a total of $45,242 to the $225,601 project. They include Point Grey Research of Richmond, a leader in developing advanced digital camera technology products for machine vision, industrial imaging, and computer vision applications.

For more information, contact Alexandra Branzan Albu, assistant professor in the faculty of electrical and computer engineering, at 250 721-8681 or aalbu@ece.uvic.ca.

3. Brain receptors and nicotine addiction – $150,001

• This funding from the BC government will help equip a new neuroscience lab where researchers will study how neurons in the brain communicate with each other.
• The focus will include how receptors function in normal brains, as well as the role of the receptor in nicotine addiction and other neurobiological disorders including chronic pain, epilepsy, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
• The Neuroscience Laboratory to Examine Nicotine Neurotransmission is also expected to train academics and researchers for the biotech and biopharmaceutical industries.
• Funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation matches the BC government’s $150,001 investment in the $526,947 project.
• Industry is also providing in-kind support, which combined with extra funding from the university, totals $226,944.

For more information, contact Raad Nashmi, assistant professor in UVic’s faculty of biology, at 250 721-6169 or raad@uvic.ca.

4. Disease treatments using interactions between proteins – $150,000

• With $150,000 from the BC government, UVic is establishing a lab where chemicals that change the interactions between proteins will be synthesized and evaluated. The purpose is to find fundamentally new ways to treat disease.
• The lab will focus on diseases that have few effective treatments, such as pancreatic cancer; or illnesses that develop resistance to drugs, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
• The technology developed by the Lab for Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Novel Modulators of Protein-Protein Interactions is expected to be spun off into one or more private companies, thus contributing to the B.C. economy.
• Funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation matches the BC government’s investment in this $470,204 project.
• UVic has contributed added funding, along with industry partners VWR, Olympus, BioRad and Molecular Devices, for a total of $170,204.

For more information, contact assistant professor Jeremy Wulff in UVic’s faculty of chemistry at 250 721-7179 or wulff@uvic.ca.

5. Desktop manufacturing processes – $120,000

• This provincial investment will help create a new lab that will focus on miniaturized processes for desk-top manufacturing of biomedical products, advanced electronics and advanced sensors at the place they are needed.
• The Laboratory for Advanced Multi-scale Manufacturing will work on developing innovative manufacturing technologies involving a wide range of materials.
• Funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation matches the BC government’s investment in this $327,111 project.
• Added funding of $87,111 has come from UVic and industry partners Microlution Inc., Quantranix and Newport.

For more information, contact assistant professor Martin Jun, department of mechanical engineering, 250 853-3179 or mbgjun@uvic.ca.

6. New colour science lab – $82,437

• This grant for equipment will help UVic create a colour science laboratory for computer graphics research and computational photography.
• The lab will develop image processing techniques that will make data analysis easier. Information will be represented visually, allowing users to take larger amounts of information into account when making decisions.
• The research is expected to apply to such areas as matter and energy visualization, hyperspectral remote sensing, and fields like health and society.
• Funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation matches the BC government’s $82,437 investment. As well, Auto Desk, Sharps Audio & Visual, Channel Systems, IBM and the UVic Computer Store are contributing a total of $63,238 to the $228,112 project.