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Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338


News Release

June 29, 2000

Two more Guelph faculty receive Premier's Research Awards

Two more University of Guelph professors have received Premier's Research Excellence Awards (PREA) from the Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology to expand their research programs, Guelph-Wellington MPP Brenda Elliott announced today.

Botany professor Brian Husband and physics professor Elisabeth Nicol will receive $100,000 each from PREA and $50,000 in matching funds from the University.

"The University of Guelph's position as Canada's second-most research-intensive university is due to the quality of our researchers and scholars," said U of G president Mordechai Rozanski. "The fact that seven of our faculty are PREA winners is testimony to this. The PREA awards are an investment in our brightest researchers and an investment in the future intellectual capital and economic well-being of our province. I salute the provincial government for the initiative it has displayed in creating this program, and I congratulate our latest two winners, Brian Husband and Elisabeth Nicol."

To date, seven U of G faculty members have received the awards. The awards to U of G total some $1,050,000.

Husband's research project --Causes and Consequences of Plant Genome Duplication -- focuses on how genome duplications (polyploidy) arise and lead to new species. The results will contribute to understanding evolution and the origins of biological diversity in plants and animals, and may ultimately lead to new tools for evaluating environmental impact and improving crops. The PREA funding will support a PhD student and a post-doctoral student to investigate the pathways and rates of formation of polyploids.

Nicol's research project Theoretical Investigation of Novel Superconductors uses model calculations in conjunction with experiments to give insight into the underlying mechanism of superconductivity. This is a phenomenon occurring at very low temperatures approaching absolute zero (-273 C) where certain materials lose all resistance to the flow of electric current and become perfect conductors. A study of these materials will lead to new materials and improved properties for applications, as well as new insights into fundamental science. Nicol's work will increase understanding of the structure of the superconducting state in new materials. The PREA funding will support the hiring of post-doctoral fellows to assist with various calculations.

"The Premier's Research Excellence Awards were created to provide our talented young scientists with research opportunities right here in Ontario," said Elliott. "In recognizing their potential successes and supporting their achievements, everyone -- the scientific community, the University of Guelph and the province -- win."

The PREA program was established in 1997 by the provincial government to boost investment in innovative research. It is designed to help gifted young researchers increase the pace of their research by attracting graduate students, post-doctoral fellows or research associates to specific research programs.

Previous PREA recipients are Prof. John Dutcher, physics; Prof. John Gibson, animal and poultry science; Prof. Qi Li, economics; Prof. Alejandro Marangoni, food science; and Prof. Patricia Wright, zoology.


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