The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has announced that Biology professors Dr. Allison Walker and Dr. Melanie Coombs have been awarded $99,376 through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) toward a $248,441 project to create a Flow Cytometry Station at Acadia University. This important funding, matched by Research Nova Scotia (RNS) support of $99,376, will build capacity on the Wolfville campus and allow researchers to examine the physical and biochemical characteristics of cells to quantitatively assess cell size, shape, granularity, DNA content, cell cycle, cell surface markers and viability.
This cutting-edge equipment will enable Drs. Walker and Coombs (and their collaborators) to obtain vital information about cells that will lead to healthier populations and environments. Following Acadia’s long tradition of high-quality student training, the Station will also give young researchers vital lab and analysis skills relevant for multiple biotechnology companies and other research-based careers.
Specifically, Dr. Walker will use the Station to support her innovative marine mycology research program by studying and quantifying marine fungi in seawater. Active in cancer research, Dr. Coombs will use the equipment to examine the anti-cancer and immune modulatory effects of host defense peptides and phytochemicals on cells. Both leading-edge research programs will have tremendous benefit for the health of Nova Scotians.
Through the CFI JELF program Ottawa is contributing more than $77 million to support 332 research infrastructure projects at 50 universities across the country. “Our researchers have always thought big,” Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry commented in a press release, “now, more than ever, they need state-of-the-art labs and equipment to turn their visions into reality. Acadia’s Associate Vice-President Research & Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Anna Redden, agrees. “This kind of investment is critical for Acadia to continue its role as a leader in innovative research that impacts the well-being of Canadians," she noted, also adding that “the state-of-the-art infrastructure helps institution’s like Acadia retain internationally recognized scholars.”