UBC receives $5.8 million for 27 research problems

If you care about the pursuit of knowledge and facts, you might think that the science community has seen better days. Thankfully, it's not all gloom and doom.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), which funds the gizmos and gadgets used in research in Canada, just awarded $52 million for 223 projects at 39 universities across the country. UBC received money for 27 projects for a combined total of $5.8 million. Check out the complete list of projects at the end of this article.

At UBC, the money will be going towards an array of different projects across the fields of science, engineering, medicine and pharmacy. These funds will provide for all kinds of different infrastructure, from computing power for mathematical modelling to building a secure greenhouse for cannabis research. Among the recipients is Dr. Jason Hein, who was awarded $195,000 to purchase technology which will allow him and his team to better understand the organic chemistry that we all know and love.

According to Hein, organic chemistry is traditionally like a recipe — you mix this, you mix that, you heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Whether you have ever taken a few liberties in your chemistry labs or always follow your commandments obediently, Hein and his team are putting together tools from different fields in ways unseen before, to observe what is happening at every step of the way in reactions.

Looking into a reaction means they can design a better catalyst — a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction — and their work currently includes looking for a catalyst for CO2 fixation. Finding a magic molecule that does what you want is like finding a needle in a haystack — fortunately, as Hein explained, “we have GPS now.”

While there is no reason to think that UBC researchers won't receive this funding in full, these awards are, in certain cases, conditional of other bureaucratic processes such as certification and securing funds from industry partners. It seems that due to these circumstances, no other researchers were available to discuss their projects at this point in time. Both Dr. Anthony Wachs and Dr. Lacey Samuels explained that their projects are currently awaiting said certification or approval. Dr. Sean Crowe and Dr. Joshua Folk did not respond to an interview request.

Complete list of UBC CFI winners

  • Advanced Electron Beam Lithography for Quantum Devices
  • HemaPATH — Precision Medicine Applied to Blood Products and Treatment of Blood Disorders
  • Quantitative Imaging for Diagnosis and Therapy
  • Centre for Translational Research in Behaviour Change for People with Chronic Conditions
  • Well Integrity and the Clean Extraction of Unconventional Energy Reserves
  • Secure Greenhouse for Cannabis Research
  • Infrastructure to Monitor and Optimize Reactions Through In Situ Kinetic Analysis
  • Laboratory for Single Molecule Mechanobiology
  • Development of Novel Pharmacotherapeutics for Treating Epithelial Barrier-associated Diseases
  • Facility for Molecular and Materials Simulation
  • Electromagnetics Testing and Characterization Laboratory
  • Development of Polymer- and Lipid-based Nanoparticles for Targeted Drug Delivery
  • A High-throughput Nucleic Acid and Protein Analysis Platform for Plant Immunity Research
  • New Models for Biogeochemical Cycles and Microbial Ecology
  • First Response Indicators of Inflammation
  • Pairing Phenomena in Quantum Gases
  • The Physics of Radio Transients
  • Gene Therapy for Vision Loss: Ophthalmology for Mice
  • Climate-controlled Growth Flumes
  • Myology Suite: When Academia Meets International Opportunities
  • Targeted Approach to Validating Epigenetic Signatures of Socio-environmental Exposures Across the Lifespan
  • Cerebrovascular Health of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury: Expansion of Autonomic Research Laboratory
  • Health Effects of Secondary Organic Aerosols
  • Integrative Physiology Laboratory to Study the Effects of Aging on Human Lung Function During Exercise
  • Research Program to Optimize Recovery after Stroke
  • Longitudinal Monitoring of Neoplasia and Inflammatory Disease and Effectiveness of Therapeutics
  • Statistical Machine Learning Laboratory