CBU Researchers Receive $485,250 from CFI

Laboratories and Equipment to be Upgraded

Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel, Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Dr. Ed Barre, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie, Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry have received a total of $485,250 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation under the Leader's Opportunity Fund grant program.

Bierenstiel, Barre and MacQuarrie received funds for their collaborative grant titled UPLC-MS-MS/PAD: Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Instrumentation for Multidisciplinary Applications in Chemistry Research and Nutrition Science. These funds will go towards equipment purchase and laboratory renovation in an overall project valued at $792,200.

Dr. Dale Keefe, Dean of Research, recognizes the ongoing support CBU has received from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, “The CFI funding programs allow researchers to have access to world class facilities and equipment to further their work. As with the previous projects that we have received CFI funding for, these projects will enable us to continue to increase our research activities. We are excited to see the labs and equipment in place and look forward to the opportunities they will allow our faculty and students.”

The equipment has a variety of uses, it will be used for Bierenstiel’s inorganic chemistry research for the development of new metal catalysts, Barre will use it to analyse blood and nutritional supplements for type 2 diabetes studies, while MacQuarrie’s research deals with non-metal catalysts. The liquid chromatography equipment separates compounds in a liquid matrix so their individual parts can be analysed, while the highly-sensitive mass spectrometry detector helps to identify and quantify these individual chemical compounds. It is an excellent complement to other analytical equipment available at Cape Breton University.

The instrumentation has multidisciplinary applications with benefits to chemistry, nutrition science, and biology. Economic impacts for Nova Scotia include potential in the petroleum chemistry and chemical industry through catalysis development, potential industry access to the equipment and knowledge created, as well as the contribution to training highly qualified personnel and creating a skilled workforce.

Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie’s individual submission to the Canada Foundation for Innovation Leader’s Opportunity Fund for her project worth an overall $422,001, Chiral Heterogeneous Materials for Asymmetric Organic Catalysis and Metal-Based Catalysis, was also successful. MacQuarrie’s research has the potential to provide major breakthroughs to Nova Scotia’s pharmaceutical industry. Current economic and environmental issues have resulted in development of more cost efficient, effective and greener methods for making compounds. In the pharmaceutical industry, metals are often used, and then removed from the final products. These are expensive, rarely re-usable, and time consuming to remove. This equipment and lab renovation will support research to provide a greener and cheaper alternative to traditional methods in pharmaceutical production. Both grants will enable the purchase of equipment and the renovation of laboratory space to allow for better training of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral research assistants through access to this highly sensitive, top-of-the-line equipment.

“We’re extremely proud of Matthias, Ed and Stephanie for their contributions to Cape Breton University. We look forward to seeing them have access to world-class equipment and are excited about the research possibilities it will open for them,” adds Keefe.

These researchers will now apply to the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust Fund (NSRIT) for matching funds to contribute to the overall costs of the projects. Total project costs for equipment and renovations are $1,214,201, with additional funds confirmed from scientific equipment vendors and CBU.