Campus News

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

News Release

May 16, 2006

U of G Research Gets $5 Million

Scientists at the University of Guelph received more than $5 million today to lead seven national innovative food and bio-materials research projects. They range from understanding consumer acceptance of functional foods and nutraceuticals to assessing and identifying risks of novel plant and animal food products to studying bacteria and biofilms.

The funding is being provided by the national Advanced Foods and Materials Network (AFMNet). The U of G-led projects are among 20 research initiatives that the network is investing $12 million in over the next three years.

Each of the projects that received support today is led by one or more expert researchers who will co-ordinate a national team of investigators. More than 75 researchers at 24 universities across Canada are involved. Industry and other public-sector partners will contribute an additional $3 million.

“AFMNet is helping ensure Canada’s pre-eminent role in foods and materials research,” said Prof. Rickey Yada, the network’s scientific director and a U of G food scientist. AFMNet supports the strong collaboration between diverse research disciplines, industry, government and policy-makers, which is key to its success, he added.

"It allows research results to journey beyond the lab to government groups and industry partners that can change policies and make new, more healthful products, available to Canadians.”

AFMNet was established in 2003 and is part of the national Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program, which fosters partnerships among university, government and public and private agencies. There are 23 NCEs across Canada, overseen by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Industry Canada.

Based at U of G, AFMNet includes Canadian researchers from the natural sciences, engineering, health sciences, social sciences and law. It’s the only NCE in Canada focusing on food research.

Terry Beveridge of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology is involved in two projects. He and Guelph physics professor John Dutcher received $1.2 million to study the structure, growth and nanotechnology applications of bacteria, biofilms and foods. The second project, a $700,000 initiative involving researchers at Dalhousie University and Saint Francis Xavier University, involves examining bacterial porin proteins.

Cecil Forsberg, also of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, received $450,000 to support his research on assessing and identifying risks of novel plant and animal products.

Chemistry professor Jacek Lipkowski received $1 million to study protein and peptide self-assembly, while philosophy professor David Castle and a collaborator from the University of Alberta will run a $645,000 project exploring the social issues involved in nutritional genomics.

Food scientist Yoshinori Mine received $475,000 to continue his studies on functional peptides and amino acids to improve health, and Spencer Henson of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Business received $540,000 to study consumer acceptance of functional foods and nutraceuticals.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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