UBC Applied Science projects receive over $7M in provincial research infrastructure support 


Six UBC Applied Science research projects that will improve health and prosperity in British Columbia have been awarded nearly $7.3 million in infrastructure support through the BC Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF). 

The projects — led by engineering professors Pierre BérubéCarl de BoerWarren PooleLyndia WuNozomu YachieSteven Rogak and Naomi Zimmerman — tackle issues ranging from air pollution and wastewater treatment to brain injury, 3D printing and the genetic underpinnings of common diseases.

“We are focused on building a sustainable, inclusive and innovative economy. By investing in research and innovation with our world-class talent and universities leading the way, we will be one step closer to achieving this goal,” said Ravi Kahlon, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, in the provincial release.

Established in 1998, the BCKDF funds the acquisition of vital research facilities and technologies at public post-secondary institutions, research hospitals and affiliated non-profit agencies in British Columbia.  

The support allows these institutions “to attract a critical mass of researchers, skilled technicians, and research users”, as well as to “generate favourable conditions for innovation and … create successful collaborations with industry.” 

This year, 24 UBC projects were awarded a total of $22 million through the Fund. The APSC-affiliated projects and their leads, as well as their BCKDF summaries, are: 

Used-Water to Resources (U-WatR) 
Pierre Bérubé (Civil Engineering) 
Funding amount: $1,591,394 

This funding will support the development of innovative wastewater treatment systems that are more efficient, sustainable and enable the recovery of high-value bioproducts that can be used for energy and fertilizer production. The research will position BC, as well as industry partners, as a global leader in wastewater resource recovery and sustainability. 

Deciphering DNA-encoded gene-regulatory logic with genome-scale synthetic DNA  
Carl de Boer (School of Biomedical Engineering)
Funding amount: $125,000    

The funding will be used to shed light on the complex genetic underpinnings behind common inherited diseases affecting British Columbians, such as autoimmunity and heart disease, which will pave the way for the development of cellular therapies and targeted treatments for patients.

AM+: Mobilizing Additive Manufacturing for Automotive, Aerospace, and Clean Energy  
Warren Poole (Materials Engineering)    
Funding amount: $3,001,460

This funding will provide specialized technologies to establish a first-in-Canada research cluster focused on additive manufacturing (3D printing) within UBC's Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory. The research will promote the adoption of additive manufacturing by addressing quality, cost and scale challenges. It will help ensure BC is globally competitive in advanced manufacturing and mobilize additive manufacturing to support BC’s aerospace, clean technology and automotive sectors. 

Investigating the neurophysiological effects and accumulation of subconcussive sports head impacts 
Lyndia Wu (Mechanical Engineering) 
Funding amount: $125,000

The funding will provide researchers with state-of-the-art sensory equipment that will be used to uncover how the brain is affected by mild head impacts during contact sports. The technology will put B.C. at the forefront of brain injury detection and management, and help local companies design better protective sports equipment.

DNA event recording technologies to decipher high-resolution dynamics of molecules and cells in mammalian development  
Nozomu Yachie (Biomedical Engineering)
Funding amount: $400,000  

The funding will support the development of new genetic circuit devices that will advance understanding of complex biological systems and enable the development of innovative cell-based therapies for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Rapid Air Improvement Network (RAIN)  
Steven Rogak and Naomi Zimmerman (Mechanical Engineering)
Funding amount: $2,028,080    

This funding will be used to deploy advanced sensors and measurement systems to study the health and climate impacts of air emissions in BC. By integrating with UBC’s Campus as a Living Lab, the research will study interventions and mitigation measures that improve air quality and scale beyond the UBC campus to promote clean air and a healthy environment throughout BC.

For a full list of supported UBC projects, please see the official announcement on website of UBC's Office of the Vice-President Research + Innovation.   

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