Research in the spotlight at Mount Allison

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Open house features cancer, aquaculture studies

Dr. Matt Litvak (right) explains more about his work with Breviro Caviar Inc. to Richard Isnor (centre), manger of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Atlantic regional office, and Dr. Robert Campbell, president and vice-chancellor of Mount Allison University, during a research open house at Mount Allison on Wednesday. 

SACKVILLE, N.B. – ­Groundbreaking cancer research and key work on the development of the lucrative sturgeon aquaculture industry were highlighted during a Research Open House at Mount Allison University on Wednesday.

Held in conjunction with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s national event Open Doors, Open Knowledge 2012 — Putting Ideas to Work, this year’s event focused on the value of university and private sector research partnerships.

“There is tremendous benefit to be gained when universities and the private sector work together,” says Dr. Karen Grant, Mount Allison’s provost and vice-president, academic and research. “University researchers are able to take ideas and help businesses build on their success; the private sector is able to take ideas from researchers and build them into successful businesses. Either way, all Canadians gain from these partnerships.”

Dr. Matt Litvak, Dr. Vett Lloyd, and Dr. Stephen Westcott opened their labs for tours and shared the latest on their current research.

Litvak is working with New Brunswick’s Breviro Caviar Inc., the world’s only active producer of shortnose sturgeon caviar, to help advance the science of aquaculture and maximize growth for production of sturgeon meat and caviar.

Litvak is also developing techniques to distinguish between critically endangered wild sturgeon stocks and aquaculture stocks. This knowledge will give industry and government the ability to provide certification of authenticity for aquaculture-derived products like Breviro’s, opening the door for greater access to export markets and increasing consumer confidence in their products.

Dr. Vett Lloyd and Dr. Stephen Westcott are conducting a research project in partnership with Soricimed Biopharma Inc.

Using a drug developed by Soricimed, they are aiming to create targeted cancer therapies that will bring chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells. This would help reduce the negative side effects of cancer treatment and possibly create more effective treatments.

 “These are the type of collaborations we would like to see happen more often,” says Mount Allison president and vice-chancellor Dr. Robert Campbell. “Working with the private sector typically provides enormous opportunities and benefits for our students and faculty researchers. It also provides an opportunity for universities to make a positive impact on economic development in New Brunswick, in Canada, and in the world. Finding ways to link these two groups not only makes sense — it is vital to the continued economic prosperity of our nation.”

Opens Doors, Open Knowledge events were held at more than 30 university campuses across the country over the past week. AUCC is the national voice of Canadian universities, representing 95 Canadian public and not-for-profit universities. The Mount Allison event was supported by Springboard Atlantic, which champions research commercialization in Atlantic Canada and provides resources to universities and colleges to help them transfer knowledge and technology to the private sector.

Organizations: Research Open House, MountAllison University, Breviro Caviar Soricimed Biopharma

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick

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