CBU Research Team Develops Nanomaterials with Major Potential

Dr. Martin Mkandawire, Associate Professor of Chemistry and researcher with the CBU’s Verschuren Centre, is currently working with a team to develop and perfect a Smart Material and technology platform. This Smart Material uses novel and tuneable nanomaterials that are highly sensitive to changes in their surroundings. The materials are so smart that they can actually sense environmental events, process the information and then act on the environment.

“Imagine being able to tackle real-life issues, like providing solutions to chronic wound management or improving food preservation and sustainable packaging,” says Dr. Mkandawire. “That’s what we’re doing with this technology. Students and colleagues working with this team have the unique opportunity to work with different state-of-the-art equipment and further develop these innovations through the program.”

Dr. Mkandawire’s work was recently awarded a Natural Sciences Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant in the amount of $140, 000. This funding will directly benefit his project on Smart Wound Dressing. This project focuses on developing a real-time and wireless monitoring system of the wound-healing process under wound dressings (i.e. gauze, bandage) without the need of its’ removal.

“Receiving this type of funding is a testament to the quality of the research we are doing at CBU,” says Dr. Mkandawire. “Considering the scope of the research that we’re doing this funding will tremendously contribute to reaching the projects overall aims and goals.”

Dr. Mkandawire’s multi-disciplinary research team is composed of people with various qualifications and expertise. The team includes student researchers, two MSc holders, two BSc graduates, one BEng student, as well as a Co-op Engineering student. The team also works with international visiting scholars and collaborates with other professors and postdoctoral researchers both locally and internationally.

A humble leader, Dr. Mkandawire says, “I don’t know everything and I can’t do it alone. It really is teamwork that achieves the goals. Every member of this team plays an integral role and has unique expertise that they contribute to the projects. The collective perspectives allow us to solve real-world issues.”

Congratulations, Dr. Mkandawire!