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CONTENTS 14 Canada’s Oceans Matter By David Suzuki
It Takes a Village
Canada’s new Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, talks about her priorities, selecting a Chief Science Officer and the commitment to ensuring scientific analyses are considered in government decisions.
Students, staff and residents come together to facilitate geriatric research in a new University of Waterloo facility.
By Hermione Wilson
By Theresa Rogers
David Suzuki comments on the encouraging moves from the new federal government to improve efforts to safeguard Canada’s oceans.
meet the minister
Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan inspects various skulls during the #EmptyOntarioScienceCentre event. Source: Chris Young, Canadian Press
standards guest editorial 5 Canadian news 6 tech watch 19 Lab ware 20 moments in time 22
Do the flip! and learn the biology of aging.
TPP treaty could impact patents 8
Regional PRofile Blue biotech in Brittany 20
The DefiniTive Source for Lab ProDucTS, newS anD DeveLoPmenTS
electRic Potential Deep Brain Stimulation shows promise for neuro illnesses 23
the village david suzuki
U of W combines long-term senior care with research centre
on twitter at @ biolabmag
11 Championing the Business of Biotechnology in Canada
On the Web at www.labbusinessmag.com
One-On-One with Canada’s new Minster Of
Dr. Parminder Raina and others study why and how we age, and how to slow the march of time
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verything ages. For proof, look in the mirror. As a concept, aging is universally understood – and universally ignored. There’s always tomorrow, that’s what we tell ourselves. Except, of course, tomorrows run out. Recent events make this point explicit. Take Flint, Michigan, for example. By now, most people know what happened in that ugly little city in the Wolverine State. In 2014, lead leached into the water supply when officials pumped corrosive water from the Flint River through ancient city pipes. Soon after, residents were complaining of bad–smelling water. Children became ill. The EPA investigated and officials did nothing. Before government got around to acting, contaminated water flowed to homes for 18 months. Plenty of time to poison people, but not nearly as much time as government had to replace that prehistoric plumbing. What happened isn’t unique to Flint. And I’m not talking about incompetence, dishonesty and irresponsibility among government officials. Flint, like nearly every other city in the U.S. and Canada, sits on aging, rotting infrastructure. A third of Canadian municipalities have infrastructure in “very poor” to “fair” condition, according to the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card. Fixing the worst of it will cost $141 billion. Replacing everything that needs repair will cost $1.1 trillion. That’s physical infrastructure. Parts of our social and scientific infrastructure are worse off. Consider the threat of antibiotic resistance. Experts have been warning us for years about the end of the antibiotic era. Our aging arsenal of antibiotics has become ineffective by overuse. That’s the problem with antibiotics: the more you use them, the less effective they become. And we’ve been overusing antibiotics for decades. Factory farms have been dumping them into our food system like feed and now we have reports of super bugs popping up all over the world. As reported in the Lancet last month, “the advent of untreatable infections has already arrived.” Without effective antibiotics, surgeries and childbirth become as dangerous as they were before antibiotics. Pity the sailors who catch incurable clap. We’ve been racing toward the antibiotic cliff for years, yet we’ve done little. We’ve known what will happen, yet we didn’t correct problems in antibiotic research funding, give business incentives to search for new antibiotics, or curtail our indulgence of the precious resource. There is hope. New technologies, phages and genomics may offer solutions. One of the 39 antibiotics currently in development may save lives. But we’re playing catchup to a huge and long-standing problem affecting all of us. Canadians are similarly flat footed about how to deal with our aging population. Boomers will live longer than any previous generation, and the rates of age-related illnesses will increase. By 2038 – just over 20 years, but not so far away – 1,225,200 Canadians (nearly 3 per cent of the population) will have dementia, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. That’s more people than currently live in Manitoba. Most of these people will be unable to care for themselves. The total economic costs – related only to dementia – will push $870 billion by 2038. The good news: we have time to formulate a plan, find a way to pay for care, and direct more resources to researching the root causes of dementia. New research into aging, like the kind featured in this issue, excites the mind and promises relief. We must not squander the time we have to deal with the impending dementia crisis. We shouldn’t wait until tomorrow or ignore the fair warnings of experts, like we did with antibiotics. We know what is heading our way. It will be impossible for us to say we didn’t see it coming. We can try to plead ignorance after-the-fact, but if we do, we’ll look as dishonest as the officials in Flint who say they knew nothing about the poison they were pouring.
Robert Price is the former Managing Editor of this publication. Follow him @pricerobertg. www.labbusinessmag.com
Canadian NEWS L’Oréal Launches Girls in Science Program L’Oréal Canada recently launched the L’Oréal Canada For Girls in Science program, a joint initiative with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Youth Science Canada. This spring, girls and boys at UNESCO network schools will take part in interactive workshops designed to make careers in science more attractive while breaking down the persistent stereotypes regarding women in the sciences. L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellowship winners and women scientists at L’Oréal Canada will participate as mentors. Minister Reza Moridi Tours iBEST.
Ryerson University Partners with Hospital to Develop Innovative Health Care
oronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital and Ryerson University launched a 20-year partnership to research and develop innovative health care solutions and to support start-up biomedical companies seeking to improve patient care. The partnership brings together Ryerson’s engineering and science strengths with St. Michael’s research and clinical expertise in a new 22,000-sq. ft. state-of-the-art laboratory known as iBEST (the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology) where they will test practical ideas that can be brought to the patient bedside quickly. Adjacent to iBEST is the Biomedical Zone, a 2,000-sq. ft. “incubator” that specializes in the development and commercialization of biomechanical products and technologies, including software, information technology, wearables, sensors, and medical devices, to care for and treat patients. The Biomedical Zone is built on the model of Ryerson’s successful DMZ (formerly the Digital Media Zone), the No. 3 ranked business incubator in North America. Perched atop the hospital’s Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, both iBest and the Biomedical Zone were designed as open-concept work spaces, to facilitate brainstorming and sharing of ideas among people from different fields. iBEST is focusing its research in four areas: • Advanced systems of delivering medications to maximize their effectiveness and minimize side effects, ranging from nanotechnology to medical devices capable of delivering personalized care. • Creating new biomaterials and cell-based therapies to restore the structure and function of damaged tissues and organs, such as replacing knee cartilage for an arthritis sufferer. • Biomedical imaging at the cellular and tissue level aimed at obtaining rapid diagnosis, providing real-time feedback during surgery and permitting targeted therapies for specific diseases. • Using and creating tools that improve our understanding of massive amounts of health care data. The Biomedical Zone is an incubator for early stage health care companies. Dr. Linda Maxwell, the zone’s founding and managing director, says it will support entrepreneurs, students, clinicians and other innovative thinkers as they develop products and solutions to today’s global health care challenges, taking them from inception to the seed funding stage.
January/February 2016 Lab Business
Water ‘Fingerprints’ Used to Time how Rain and Snow Flow into Rivers About one-third of the water flowing in global rivers is “young water” made up of rain and snowmelt that flowed into the river in less than three months. This has serious implications for water pollution and ecosystem health, according to a new study based on water “fingerprints” published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scott Jasechko, an assistant professor with the University of Calgary’s Department of Geography says calculating how long it takes for rain and melting snow to move into rivers is important because this information helps us predict the nutrition levels in rivers and the time lags before a pollutant arrives downstream.
CAE Healthcare Launches Neurosurgery Simulator in Partnership with the NRC CAE Healthcare recently announced the launch of NeuroVR, a neurosurgery simulator it says offers the world’s most realistic training environment for open cranial and endoscopic brain surgery procedures. Developed by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in collaboration with clinicians from teaching hospitals in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia, the simulator is currently in use at 15 sites and has been validated in published clinical studies. The NRC initiated the research project in collaboration with teaching hospitals throughout Canada in 2008.
Worldwide NEWS E–Cigarette Vapour Boosts Superbugs and Dampens Immunity Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System report data suggesting that e-cigarettes are toxic to human airway cells, suppress immune defenses and alter inflammation, while at the same time boosting bacterial virulence. The mouse study was published in January by the Journal of Molecular Medicine. Conversely, bacterial pathogens exposed to e-cigarette vapour benefited. Staphylococcus aureus bacteria were better able to form biofilms, adhere to and invade airway cells and resist human antimicrobial peptides after exposure.
Calibration in FDA–Regulated Labs The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Form 483 and Warning Letter observations cite calibration in the laboratory as an important issue. A laboratory instrument calibration program is essential for providing assurance that instruments report accurate analytical results. The FDA offered a Live Audio Conference in January on identification of the regulatory and technical requirements for calibration; what should be included in a calibration program; what is the importance of a data-based calibration interval and what are the limits of accuracy and precision; how measurement uncertainty impacts the process when limits of accuracy are being established; how test instruments are classified; and current practices in the calibration of specific instrument.
Ultra–Fast Optical Alignment System for SiP Production Named a Prism Award Finalist Motion and nanopositioning systems expert PI (Physik Instrumente) LP was named a 2016 Photonics Prism Award finalist for its FMPA Fast Multichannel Photonics Alignment Engine. The system is based on a highly specialized digital motion controller with embedded advanced alignment and tracking functionality and a hybrid precision scanning and tracking mechanism combining the advantages of piezoelectric on servo-motorized drives. The award – also referred to as the “Oscars of Photonics” – is presented by SPIE & Photonics Media.
Nuclear Fusion Simulation Heats Up
irst helium plasma was generated at the nuclear fusion reactor Wendelstein 7-X of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP). In December 2015, after more than 10 years of construction and preparation, the researchers of the IPP succeeded in taking the world’s largest fusion plant of the Stellarator type into pilot operation. The scientists fed 1 mg of helium gas into an evacuated plasma vessel and successfully ignited plasma. The simulation of nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei is ground breaking and stands a good chance to play an important role as an eco-friendly energy supply for tomorrow. One contribution to the successful implementation of this innovative concept can be attributed to the implementation and maintenance of the vacuum systems that have been in use from the early stages onward. Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum GmbH, vacuum pioneer and technology leader from Cologne has been supplying the IPP with special vacuum systems. Since the turn of the millennium, many of the vacuum requirements – high vacuum, forevacuum, cryogenics and leak detectors – have been part of the research facilities of the Max Planck Institute. The demands are enormous, as the generation of helium plasma is only feasible with temperatures of several million degrees Celsius. To achieve this, the particle mixture of ions and electrons must be held by magnetic fields in order to ensure a contact-free floating within the vacuum vessel. The ring of 70 superconducting, 3.5 metre-high solenoids, surrounded by an annular steel shell, is the heart of the plant. In its evacuated interior, the coils are cooled down to superconducting temperatures close to absolute zero, so that the energy consumption after creation of the magnet field is minimal. This successful achievement represents only the beginning of a whole series of experiments. “In 2016, we will face some challenges, but eventually we will change to the actual research subject, the hydrogen plasma,” says the project manager of the IPP, Professor Dr. Thomas Klinger. The experiment will really heat up because hydrogen plasma is ignited only when temperatures reach more than 100 million degrees Celsius.
By David Suzuki with contributions from Sarika Cullis-Suzuki
Canada’s oceans matter
at the Paris climate talks and beyond
Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Sarika Cullis-Suzuki, PhD, is a marine biologist, visiting scientist at the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada and David Suzuki Foundation board member. Learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.
t’s encouraging that our newly elected federal government has agreed to improve efforts to safeguard Canada’s oceans. Ocean protection here is shamefully deficient, currently at around one per cent. The new government has restated our country’s commitment to protect 10 per cent of our oceans by 2020, as part of a global agreement Canada signed in 2010 at the 10th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Increased ocean protection was one change called for in a recent peer-reviewed paper written by 19 scientists from across the country (including my daughter, Sarika). “Canada at a Crossroads: The imperative for realigning ocean policy with ocean science” offers recommendations for government to step up its game when it comes to ocean health. The report highlights recent federal conduct that has increased the vulnerability of our coasts, including changes to the Fisheries Act (most notably, decreasing habitat protection), disregard for the Oceans Act (an important framework that emerged in the late 1990’s outlining ocean management and protection) and inaction on species at risk. Weak ocean protection hinders our coasts’ ability to remain resilient in the face of many challenges. A recent report in Science estimated that globally in 2010, five to 13 million tonnes of plastics ended up in the oceans. Plastics often break down into tiny, toxic pieces, which are turning up in the stomachs of many marine birds, fish and turtles. Agricultural runoff, untreated sewage and coastal development have added to the ocean sludge and created hundreds of wastelands devoid of oxygen, or “dead zones”, which can change fishes’ sex organs and leave animals gasping for air. Over the past two years we were also hit by the “the blob”, a large patch of water in the Pacific Northwest that is 3 C warmer than average. It’s a
January/February 2016 Lab Business
product of unseasonably hot, dry weather and is the highest water temperature ever recorded in this area. When I heard triggerfish were showing up in the North Pacific, I was shocked. They’re tropical fish! The blob brings some warm-water hitchhikers. Carbon dioxide is perhaps the most dangerous human waste found in our oceans. CO2 from the atmosphere is absorbed at the water’s surface, where it reacts with seawater and turns into carbonic acid before breaking down further into acid and bicarbonate ions. We know changing the pH of seawater is dangerous for marine life. On the West Coast we’ve recently seen scallops struggling to make shells, a chilling portent of what might come as oceans become more acidic. A study published earlier this year in Nature Climate Change found that many shellfish are extremely vulnerable to ocean acidification and that some areas most at risk are also least prepared to respond and adapt to the crisis. Still, there are signs that Canada is ready to take ocean health seriously. “Canada at a Crossroads”ends by offering a constructive to-do list to help this country get back on track, and our newly elected government has made a number of commitments that align with its recommendations. They include reassessing the recent Fisheries Act amendments, reversing funding cuts to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, increasing marine and coastal protected areas and allowing government scientists to speak freely about their work. The government has also moved to formalize the moratorium on crude oil tankers on B.C.’s North Coast, which will help ensure coastal biodiversity is protected from spills. Because they absorb carbon dioxide, oceans are critical in the fight against climate change, and they are vulnerable to its effects. I hope Canada plays a constructive role in Paris and at home to ensure that oceans and all the life they support are protected and cared for. It’s refreshing to see studies with constructive recommendations for these serious issues, and to see the federal government respond positively. Let’s hope we’ve entered a new era in maintaining and enhancing the health of our oceans. Oceans supply half our oxygen, absorb a quarter of our emissions, produce food, regulate climate and weather, give us medicine, culture, renewable energy and jobs, and support a diversity of life. We can’t live without them. LB
January/February 2016 Lab Business
It Takes a
Village Students, staff and residents come together in new facility to promote geriatric research and the practical needs of older adults story by
he Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging is a new facility that puts researchers from the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) in direct contact with their population of interest. The centre, located on the University of Waterloo campus, is unique in its design as a long-term care home and a research centre. It supports a new “Village” as well as 15 other Schlegel Villages which combined provide long-term care, a retirement living, and apartments for seniors of varying degrees of independence. Back in August 2015, when the Centre of Excellence first opened its doors, PhD candidate Robert Amelard was among the first to make use of the centre’s research wing. An engineering student at the University of Waterloo, Amelard’s thesis project involves using camera technology to monitor blood flow throughout the body. It’s known as Coded Hemodynamic Imaging (CHI). “The idea is to leverage existing image processing techniques,” Amelard says. “For example, a lot of cameras these days, they figure out where the faces are in the picture.” Much like a camera focusing on a face, the specially designed CHI camera system uses a highly compact pulsed lighting and detection apparatus to focus in on light fluctuations at pulse points on the body, recording a real-time image of blood flow without ever making contact with the subject.
Amelard set up the CHI system at the Centre of Excellence for four weeks to record participants from the community. Using the camera to observe changes in their blood flow patterns, Amelard was able to make see how heart rate and brain blood flow is affected by the different activities one engages in on a day-to-day basis. “The idea is that you could potentially mount this camera and monitor multiple people at once even, and be able to assess their cardiovascular function,” says Dr. Richard Hughson, whose lab has been hosting Amelard’s project. Hughson is the Schlegel
Left: Dr. Richard Hughson monitors the brain blood flow of a resident at the Research Institute of Aging (RIA). Photo credit: RIA
Professor Alexander Wong and Robert Amelard at the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging analyzing blood-flow data extracted with their new touchless device. Photo credit: UWaterloo/Fred Hunsberger
Research Chair in Brain Health & Vascular Aging and the focus of his research is looking at the links between aging and changes in brain blood flow. Amelard is one of many researchers Hughson has been collaborating with. He is looking forward to a partnership with biomedical engineers from the University of Waterloo who will be working with him to develop non-invasive monitoring devices that can be worn unobtrusively by research participants, allowing them freedom of movement. The engineers have all sorts of ideas for new sensors, Hughson says, sensors that could be worn by participants to monitor things like oxygen levels in the blood and blood pressure. “Right now our ambulatory blood pressure device has a fairly large battery to it, but they’re working on a device that will really not be noticed by the wearer,” he says. Their inspirations are consumer devices like the Fitbit and other wearable tech. “You have the potential for monitoring health, or health indicators, in people as they go about their normal activities of daily living,” Hughson says. “Usually what you do is you bring people into the lab and you get them to lie down, stand up, and you slap a thousand and one different sensors on them,”
January/February 2016 Lab Business
Amelard says. “But there’s been a school of thought that pushing more toward a natural environment might be a better way to go.” It’s a driving philosophy at the Centre of Excellence. Not many labs put such emphasis on doing ambulatory and noninvasive testing, Hughson says. His lab, which is equipped with ultrasound systems, tilt beds for testing how participants’ cardiovascular systems handle weightlessness, and transcranial Dopplers that measure the velocity of blood flow through the brain, adjoins a research apartment. The fully functional apartment is complete with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living area. It was designed to resemble a typical one-bedroom apartment in Ontario in order to accommodate study participants. It allows researchers to monitor them in a naturalistic setting as they go about their daily routine.
The next phase of Amelard’s project will see participants from the adjoining long-term care facility coming to live in those apartments where they can be observed and monitored for changes in their health using the non-invasive CHI system. “It basically just gives the data from a realistic setting that we can literally walk right over to the lab and start analyzing right away,” Amelard says.
Research, Education and Practice
The RIA has worked side-by-side with those who care for the aging population since the mid-1990s. Founder Ron Schlegel was a faculty member at the University of Waterloo before he left to pursue a career in senior care. He founded a series of 15 retirement and long-term care facilities that bear his name: the Schlegel Villages. The Centre of Excellence makes 16.
The next phase of Amelard’s project will see participants from the adjoining long-term care facility coming to live in those apartments where they can be observed and monitored for changes in their health using the non-invasive CHI system.
Lab PROFILE The Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging is located on the northwest portion of the University of Waterloo campus. Photo credit: RIA
Schlegel and current RIA President Mike Sharratt established the Research Institute of Aging at the University of Waterloo in 2005, and a year later applied to become a non-profit charitable foundation. The Centre of Excellence itself is mere months old, but the seed of it has long been part of Schlegel’s vision “to have research, education and practice all happening on-site in the same location so that the research is more relevant,” says Vice President of RIA, Josie d’Avernas. As the new home of the RIA, the Centre of Excellence has three floors, with the upper floor dedicated to research laboratories, and the other two housing living classrooms, a pharmacy and primary care health centre, and the Ideas Café. On the upper floor, each of the eight Schlegel research chairs has an office and presides over their own lab. Along with meeting rooms and work spaces, the research centre has a room called the Networking Hub which is equipped with video conferencing technology “so that we can connect this hub to all the other [Schlegel] Villages for secure data transmission and resident assessment,” d’Avernas says. Construction on the retirement home portion of the Centre of Excellence will
begin sometime in 2017, she says, but the long-term care facility and research portion of the building is fully operational. The centre currently houses 192 residents, about 200 staff and another 100 students. “We want to influence the research agenda,” d’Avernas says. “We’d love to see researchers connect more closely with residents, not just when they have a research idea already developed, but in the process of developing what should be researched.” Amelard adds, “Having the beautifully designed space custom-tailored to incorporate all those different types of equipment makes the research less daunting and you can now focus a lot more on the design of the study rather than ‘how do we set this thing up in the first place.’” The PhD student describes the upper floor of the research institute as a place rich with a strong collaborative spirit. Research chairs don’t just shut themselves up in their own labs, they share ideas and the benefit of their interdisciplinary experiences with each other and with students.
“Everybody is there because they care about the work they do and because they are top-tier researchers in their fields,” Amelard says. “I am a very firm believer that my research would not be at the point it is without the help and support and mentorship with everybody at the RIA.” LB
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ou may never have heard the name Kirsty Duncan before the new Liberal government’s Cabinet was announced last November but she’s been involved in federal politics since
You have been tasked with establishing the new position of chief science officer that would serve as a replacement to the position of national science adviser role eliminated by Stephen Harper in 2008. Have you begun that process? When can we expect an announcement and what will this role look like? Yes, as was outlined in my mandate letter, I’m working with officials to create a Chief Science Officer position – a person whose job it will be to ensure federal science is accessible and communicated. We have begun the process of looking at best practices and the most appropriate means for getting a Chief Science Officer position set up. There is a lot to consider, and it is premature to get into details at this point, but what I can say is that I will be reaching out to key stakeholders in the broader scientific community to discuss how to establish the position. We are taking the time necessary to make sure we put into place the right mechanisms to make this work and ensure that government science is fully available to the public.
2008. During her academic career, Duncan was an associate professor of health studies at the University of Toronto and a research director at the former AIC Institute for Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman are to support research and make sure that School of Management. She was a member of the science is considered in the government’s policy-making Advisory Board for Pandemic Flu for the Conference and investment choices. Board of Canada and the University of Toronto, and has served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It’s been four months since the federal election and During the election, your party was vocal about changing LAB Business has been anxious to speak with the minister and the “muzzling of scientists” that we’ve come to know hear how she will tackle her role as Minister of Science. Here’s recently. How will you do this? what she told us. Our government is committed to treating scientists with respect, and I can’t emphasize this enough. That is why one of our first What are your top priorities as a new Minister of Science? actions after forming government was to announce to the world I am delighted to have been appointed to this position. Science is that Canadian federal scientists were from that day on free to such a big part of my life and has been for many years. My first few discuss their work with the media and with the public. And we months on the job have been a fantastic whirlwind. I’m enjoying underscored our commitment to ensure that scientific analyses meeting so many inspirational people, and working with my are considered in government decisions. colleagues, both federal and provincial and territorial to really get I should point out that the day before that we reinstated the science back to its rightful place in our government – and in our long form census. We did this because the benefits of good quality society. scientific data – for researchers, for policy-makers, for My top priorities as Minister are to support research and make communities – cannot be overstated. Freedom of information is a sure that science is considered in the government’s policy-making fundamental pillar of a well-functioning democracy. and investment choices. More specifically, what I will be working on in the near term is How will you work with Minister Bains? How do your roles strengthening support for fundamental research. I’ll also be integrate? working with my colleagues to review and reform Canada’s The fact that both Minister Bains and I have ‘science’ in our environmental assessment processes, help employers create official title reflects the importance the government places on the more co-op placements for STEM students; establish new role of science in informing our policies and driving innovation research chairs in sustainable technologies; and examine the and growth throughout the Canadian economy. implications of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems.
My top priorities as Minister
January/February 2016 Lab Business
Kirsty Duncan Minister Duncan inspects various skulls during the #EmptyOntarioScienceCentre event.
Minister of Science
One-on-One With this in mind, Minister Bains is responsible for working to enhance government support for innovation, scientific research, and entrepreneurship. As Minister of Science, I am responsible for supporting scientific research and the integration of scientific considerations in our investment and policy decisions across government. We are both focused on working together to ensure that the Government of Canada’s policies are based on science, facts and evidence. You are a trained geographer, though you have much related science experience – as Health Critic, in climate change and with flu pandemics. How important is experience in a role such as this? Experience is certainly important, and as for mine, it speaks for itself. I have been committed to science for the past 25 years. As a former scientist and a former teacher, I have spent much of my career at the intersection between science and policy. Evidencebased policy-making matters profoundly to me. I began teaching at university early in my career. Shortly thereafter, recognizing the need for more government action on scientific issues in which I believe, I started consulting to government. Around the same time, I began putting together an expedition to discover the cause of the 1918 influenza, a pandemic that killed upwards of 50 million people. Our team headed to an island north of Norway to exhume the bodies of individuals who died of the flu and were buried in the permafrost. Our goal was to learn as much as we could about the virus, so that we could test our drugs against history’s deadliest disease and perhaps make a better flu vaccine. So I am very familiar with both the world of research and the world of policy, and this job requires a lot of both. It also requires the ability to bring people together. Science is such a huge domain with many diverse areas of investigation, and connecting them can bring about unforeseen new ideas. This is one of our great assets in Canada and bringing them together to create new ideas and generate new knowledge is something that the government can play a role in. This is key to supporting innovation. And that’s exactly what I plan to do. What do you see as Canadian scientists’ top concerns and how will you address them? I have met a lot of scientists from many backgrounds and who are committed to many diverse fields of study, and I honestly believe that for the most part, their overarching concern with respect to government and the public is that they want to be able to communicate freely about their work, they want to be heard, they want science to be restored to its rightful place and for science to be strongly supported. Scientists want to have their work recognized, considered, and yes, even challenged when it is necessary to do so. The vast majority of scientists are working for the good of us all, and we all need to acknowledge our roles in creating a society that is built on scientific truth Recently, the Canadian Science Policy Centre surveyed its 2015 conference participants on which science policy issues the federal government should take on in the near term. The responses included issues that require work and some bold new
January/February 2016 Lab Business
Top: Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, and Rob Oliphant, MP for Don Valley West, listen to an explanation of cutting-edge technology by a Science Centre volunteer. Middle: From left to right: Rob Oliphant, MP for Don Valley West; Dr. Maurice Bitran, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Science Centre; Minister Duncan; Brian Chu, Chair of Board of Trustees, Ontario Science Centre; and Kevin Chan, Head of Public Policy, Canada, Facebook. Bottom: Minister Duncan gets a behind-the-scenes glimpse at some exhibits during the #EmptyOntarioScienceCentre event. Source: Chris Young, Canadian Press
One-on-One approaches. The top issues include establishing mechanisms to ensure science-based decision making; restoring funding to basic research; installing a science advisor to the prime minister, and allowing environmental principles to guide policy. I am happy to say that all of these issues are currently being addressed in my portfolio. How will you facilitate Canada taking a leadership role on the world science stage? Science is my world. And as Canada’s Minister of Science, I want to be a champion for Canada’s scientists. We already have so much world-leading science taking place right here in Canada, and so many great visionaries, such as Dr. Arthur McDonald, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, and who just won the Nobel prize in Physics. We also have world-class facilities and programs in Canada that I and my colleagues have been promoting to encourage top researchers from around the world to come to Canada to study. I will also ensure that my colleagues have access to the Canadian scientific information they need to promote Canada when the travel abroad. What kind of funding is the government prepared to dedicate to Canadian science and on what terms? The last government cut a lot of funding to basic research in favour of applied or commercial research. What is your view? Well, of course we will have to wait for the Budget for specifics, but we have already committed to supporting sustainable technologies, new research chairs and strengthening support for fundamental research. We’ll also be reviewing Canada’s environmental assessment processes and examining the implications of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems.
Top: Derek Esau uses three-dimensional models to illustrate the different patterns of surface atoms on a metallic crystal. The varying patterns, illustrated as separate models, have different catalytic properties that make fundamental research on these systems so important. Middle: Dr. Gregory Jerkiewicz shows Minister Duncan an instrument used to analyze the surface chemical composition of metallic catalysts. He explains that in many cases the surface chemical composition differs from the bulk one. This difference gives rise to unique catalytic properties and corrosion stability. Bottom: Science Minister Kirsty Duncan (right) discusses electrochemistry with Sadaf Tahmasebi, a Queen’s University PhD candidate in chemistry. Source: Lars Hagberg, from The Canadian Press
What about our young people? How will you champion STEM skills? We are a government that values science and is committed to developing, attracting and retaining the brightest minds here in Canada. We strongly support science promotion and activities to inspire the next generation of leading Canadian researchers while ensuring young Canadians, especially young women, have the STEM skills required for rewarding careers in the modern Canadian economy. Furthermore, I am personally committed to working to increase the representation of women in the STEM disciplines. Improving the participation of young women and girls in science-based education, encouraging them to explore the world of science, and increasing awareness of science-based careers will enhance the diversity of talented and innovative people who will lead our future. One way I will do this is to work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to help employers create more STEM co-op placements which will provide new opportunities for our youth, including young women and indigenous peoples. We are also working to promote a culture where young people and the public are engaged in and excited about science through support for programs such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s PromoScience. LB
Consumables Recycle Your Lab Waste
Through the RightCycle program, Kimberly-Clark Professional customers are able to reduce their waste stream for products such as cleanroom garments, nitrile gloves, hoods, boot covers, hairnets, shoe covers, beard covers and masks. Items can be diverted from waste streams and turned into the raw materials used to create eco-friendly consumer products and durable goods. Three recyclable offerings which qualify for the program featuring waste-reducing and space-saving solutions include Kimtech Pure A5 Sterile Cleanroom Apparel & Accessories, Kimtech Pure and Kimberly-Clark Nitrile Gloves, and Kimtech Pure Masks. www.kcprofessional.com/brands/kimtech/rightcycle
Donâ€™t Let the Pretty Colours Fool You
These tubes are perfect for any lab conducting multiple studies, or any experiments requiring multiple sample types or solutions. The proven design of the 15 ml and 50 ml conical tubes has been used and configured conveniently in a foam rack with five different coloured caps to make sample identification a breeze. All five cap varieties are flat, brightly coloured and frosted to make them easy to write on. Tubes and caps are suitable for stem cell research and certified sterile, RNase, DNase, and Pyrogen-free. www.mandel.ca
Light the Way
JM Science offers a large selection of light source lamps for a wide range of instruments. Atomic Absorption Lamps (AA Lamps) for spectroscopy instrumentation are priced for budget-conscience labs where AA spectroscopy instrumentation is used. The AA Lamps provide stable light output over the entire lamp life. Deuterium Lamps (D2 Lamps) have been designed for AA, UV, and LC instrumentation for maximum, reliable performance. The typical lifetime of a deuterium lamp is approximately 2,000 hours with a five-year shelf life. The RI Detector Light Source Lamp will fit these refractive index detectors: Shodex SE-61, RI-71 and RI-101; Perkin Elmer Series 200a and Flexar RI; ERC Refractomax Series, Thermo RI 150 and RI Plus; Hitachi L-7490. www.jmscience.com
Economical Syringe Filters Meet Lab Needs
Mandel syringe filters are high-quality, well-packaged, with excellent value. They are available in nylon, PTFE, PES, MCE, PVDF, CA, PP, and GF with 4 mm, 13 mm, 17 mm, 25 mm and 30 mm formats in virgin polypropylene housings. Membrane materials are supplied by the best names in the industry and the ISO 9000 certified manufacturing is carried out to the highest standards, in certified cleanroom conditions, using the latest manufacturing technology to ensure a high-quality, consistent product. All the syringe filters are HPLC certified. www.mandel.ca
Lab WARE Monitor Liquid Levels in Reservoirs and Waste Containers of LC Instrumentation to Prevent Spills
JM Science’s Sonic Reservoir Sensor System is used in labs to measure levels of solvents and liquid waste used in unattended LC separations in real–time. It is especially useful during a weekend or lengthy chromatographic analysis when there is the risk of running out of solvents during unattended operation or a waste container overflowing. The Sonic Level Sensor System employs a sound wave transmitter positioned in the reservoir’s cap to accurately measure the level of the solvent in the 1 L reservoir or waste container. Sonic signals are converted into an electrical signal that can be shown as a visible indication of liquid level on a display. This sensor system provides safe unattended operation by automatically sending a signal to stop the pump when LC solvents get low or to switch a valve so that the extended analysis continues without interruption. It safeguards the loss of valuable samples and analysis time while preventing the waste container from overflowing and creating a hazardous spill in the lab. www.jmscience.com
VICI Perm Tubes are Inexpensive Calibration Solution
High Capacity Chilling/ Heating Dry Baths can Handle Large Variety of Sample Blocks
Torrey Pines Scientific, Inc. announced its Echo Therm Models IC30 and IC30XT, Peltier–driven High Capacity Chilling/Heating Dry Baths are capable of handling a large variety of sample blocks with the largest sample capacities available. The IC30 (–10 C to 100 C) and IC30XT(–20 C to 100 C) can freeze, chill, or heat samples in a variety of sample blocks that can hold 0.2 ml to 50 ml centrifuge tubes, test tubes, vials, assay plates, as well as round–bottom flasks. The units can freeze, chill, or heat 64 – 1.5ml centrifuge tubes, 9 – 50ml centrifuge tubes, or even 4 – 250ml flasks. These are just some of the large variety of sample blocks available. The units have digital display and control to 1 C, 30-day countdown timer in hours/minutes/seconds, data logger, and RS232 I/O port to collect data or to control the units by computer. The IC30 and IC30XT measure 8.5” (216 mm) wide x 10” (245 mm) deep x 4” (102 mm) tall. www.torreypinesscientific.com
January/February 2016 Lab Business
SFE Sysyem Offers Fully Integrated Waterless Chilling
Supercritical Fluid Technologies, Inc. introduced a new generation of the SFT–150 Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) System. Developed to investigate the application of super critical fluid techniques to various analyses and processing situations, the SFT–150 SFE is a full capability, research grade extractor. A new and important upgrade to the SFT–150 is fully integrated waterless chilling technology to cool the CO2 liquid prior to pumping (patent pending). External cooling baths are no longer required. Another system improvement is the newest robust back pressure regulator for very precise CO2 flow control. Modular design makes it easy and cost–effective to alter the basic configuration, adapting it to meet new or evolving application needs. www.supercriticalfluids.com
VICI Metronics’ Dynacal Permeation Tubes are small, inert capsules containing a pure chemical compound in a two–phase equilibrium between its gas phase and its liquid or solid phase. At a constant temperature, the device emits the compound through its permeable portion at a constant rate. Accurate, stable concentrations range from PPB to high PPM. Devices are typically inserted into a carrier flow to generate test atmospheres for calibrating gas analyzer systems, testing hazardous gas alarms, or conducting long–term studies of effects on materials or biological systems–in short, any situation requiring a stable concentration of a specific trace chemical. Permeation rate data is already established for hundreds of different compounds and rates for new compounds can be easily certified using NIST–traceable standards. www.vicimetronics.com
Lab WARE Disposable Pump can be Customized
Swissinnov Product recently launched a pulseless dosing pump compatible with Masterflex L/S drives, called the NaoStedi. This unique pump serves multiple applications in pharmaceutical, medical, laboratory, chemical and industrial markets. The NaoStedi pump delivers outstanding performances in dosing accuracy, flow control and is a new and fairly easy to use alternative to traditional peristaltic, diaphragm and syringe pumps. The pump head can be sterilized and integrated as OEM component in any devices using a pump system. The NaoStedi pump functions with reciprocating pistons driven independently over the pumping cycles to ensure a constant flow delivery. It delivers pulseless flow without a need for a calibration or flow sensor. Custom designs and personalized solutions are available. www.naopump.com
Finding Efficiencies and Reliability for Gene Expression Studies
Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) has introduced its latest addition to an expanding genomic applications portfolio: PrimeTime Gene Expression Master Mix, an optimized enzyme mix for probe-based qPCR. IDT continues to provide higher value qPCR products by delivering superior assay performance at a lower price per reaction, while empowering customers with access to assay sequences. This newest product enhances the IDT PrimeTime qPCR product line, as researchers can economically obtain both assays and a master mix that are optimized and validated to work together. PrimeTime qPCR Assays are available with a choice of dyes and quenchers, and the predesigned assays are backed by a performance guarantee. The versatile, stable Master Mix easily integrates into new and existing experimental workflows, because it is also compatible with all commercially available 5â€™ nuclease gene expression assays. www.idtdna.com
Recruit now METTLER Announces FastTrack UV/VIS Spectroscopy to Speed up Measurements
Mettler Toledo Recently launched a completely new spectroscopic instrument line called UV/VIS Excellence. Spectroscopic workflows are optimized thanks to FastTrack technology, which ensures speedy and reliable measurements within a compact, notebookâ€“size footprint. The new UV/VIS Excellence product portfolio includes four models that provide outstanding optical performance: UV5, UV7, UV5Bio and UV5Nano. The new instruments integrate robust components into a unique spectroscopic system design: FastTrack UV/VIS technology, which comprises modern fiber optics in combination with array detection and a Xenon flash lamp. www.mt.com
UP TO $3000 AVAILABLE IN FUNDING THROUGH THE ONTARIO CO-OP EDUCATION TAX CREDIT! FOR MORE INFORMATION on our Programs and Hiring Process, please use the link below:
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Moments in time
T h e B ac t e r i a T h at C ould
Rapamycin has a strange and incredible story of origin. The biological agent was discovered in the 1970s by a Canadian medical expedition in a bacterium beneath one of the stone heads on Easter Island called Streptomyces hygroscopicus. The compound was named after the islandâ€™s native name, Rapa Nui, by Canadian biochemist Suren Sehgal who worked to purify it at Ayerst Laboratories in Montreal. Sehgal discovered that, not only did rapamycin possess antifungal properties, it also suppressed the immune system, making it an effective component of anti-rejection medication for transplant patients. It was approved for that use in 1999. But thereâ€™s more. Studies have shown that rapamycin slows the aging process in mice, or at the very least it seems to have an effect on age-related diseases like cancer. Sehgal himself started taking it when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1998 and it seems to have extended his life almost three years longer than doctors predicted. Could rapamycin be the key to an age-defying wonder pill? LB
January/February 2016 Lab Business
Get to Know Metrohm
Metrohm offers a complete line of analytical laboratory and process systems for titration, ion chromatography, spectroscopy and electrochemistry. From routine moisture analysis to sophisticated quantification, we are ready to help you develop your method and configure the optimum system. Move your analysis from the lab to the production line with our custom process analyzers.
CAN.9702.A1.1026-LBU ÂŠ 2015 Metrohm USA, Inc.
Find out more at www.metrohmusa.com/technology
NEW LAB PROMOTION
BUY 6, GET 3 FREE! Promo part # MP3100-500 (standard) or MP3100-500H (heat inactivated) Promotion expires December 31, 2016
Contact your VWR Sales Representative for more information. 1.800.932.5000 / ca.vwr.com
FB Essence is a nutritionally rich, cost-effective alternative to Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) containing FBS, Bovine Calf Serum, Equine Serum, and a proprietary blend of supplements, vitamins, minerals, and growth factors. FB Essence is ideal for primary cell lines and is proven effective for suspension, adherent, and “finicky” cell lines. FB Essence offers superior product performance and quality, low endotoxin and hemoglobin levels, and features ISIA certified traceability and seal of quality. FB Essence is 100% US origin.
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Triple 0.1 μm sterile filtered
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9CFR 113.53 Virus, Sterility, Mycoplasma testing Biochemical Assay & Electrophoretic Profile ISIA certified traceability & seal of quality
Collected at USDA-approved facilities
Long term price stability
Single-use filtration technology
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