Innovating to improve life

Red and White Canada one hunded fiftieth logo

The University of Guelph's 150 Innovations Project commemorates Canada’s sesquicentennial. Research has long been part of our culture, beginning in the late 1800s with our three founding colleges. It continues today, in what has grown to become seven colleges with more than 30 departments. Support from a wide range of sponsors helps our 800 researchers innovate and improve life for people and communities locally, nationally and globally. Follow the links provided with each entry for more information about this selection of 150 University of Guelph innovations.

Animal welfare: Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare

Photo of a horse with her foal

The University of Guelph was the first institution in Canada to establish an animal care policy (1964), the first to establish a Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare in North America (1989) and the first in North America and second in the world to establish a Chair in Animal Welfare (1992). Today the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare is the largest group of faculty and students who focus their research and teaching on animal welfare. The centre focuses on multi-disciplinary and multi-species issues, including research on laboratory, companion, zoo and farm animals. Industry leaders turn to the centre for advice on decision-making, and count on research it generates to create policies such as those developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council, like Canadian Recommended Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals.

Read more about Animal welfare: Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare

The L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives

Costume sketch of Therese and Paulette by Cameron Porteous for the Shaw Festival's 1985 production of The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux

The largest collection of archival and research material devoted to both amateur and professional Canadian theatre in the country can be found within the U of G’s L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives. With more than 150 different collections, the archives include diverse works from native, LGBT, francophone, multicultural and children’s theatre. The archives, which hold records of theatre companies, administrators, playwrights, actors, directors and designers offer Canadian and international researchers an ever growing resource for theatre studies. Costume sketch by Cameron Porteous for the Shaw Festival's 1985 production of The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux - courtesy the L.W. Conolly Archives


Read more about The L.W. Conolly Theatre Archives

Ebola vaccine

Photo of the ebola virus

The West African Ebola epidemic was the largest in history caused by the virus, killing nearly 11,000 individuals from 2014 to 2015. Prof. Sarah Wootton and PhD student Laura van Lieshout have developed a novel method to prevent the virus, called vectored immunoprophylaxis (VIP). VIP is easy to manufacture and has been successfully tested for other diseases, including HIV and influenza.

Read more about Ebola vaccine

India: Cross-regional marriages influence gender relations

Photo of four women in colourful saris

In India, after generations of couples preferring to have sons, rather than daughters, marriages between people of different regions and social classes are becoming necessary – there just aren’t enough women to go around for traditional unions.  While these cross-regional marriages are widely believed to reinforce unequal gender norms and maintain male privilege, Prof. Sharada Srinivasan has developed a new, more complex and innovative research perspective. By interviewing newlywed couples, Srinivasan found that cross-regional unions have the potential to challenge deeply ingrained social practices such as caste-based marriages, dowries and the preference for sons. Photo courtesy Sharada Srinivasan

Read more about India: Cross-regional marriages influence gender relations

Better Bagels

Photo of a bagel

Bagels dubbed “Better Bagels,” with high levels of a dietary fibre called resistant starch, slow digestion and glucose uptake. They were developed by researchers at the U of G’s Human Nutraceutical Research Unit to help Canadians reduce their risk for Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Better Bagels’ starch helps significantly increase adults’ insulin sensitivity, an important factor in fighting T2D, without compromising taste or texture. Photo: Jonah Strub, SPARK

Read more about Better Bagels

Mars Curiosity rover

Photo of the Mars Rover

Understanding our planetary neighbour Mars became a little easier with landing of the Mars Curiosity rover in 2012, a car-sized vehicle that samples and analyzes Martian soil and rocks. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) on Curiosity’s arm was developed and built in Canada and is operated by an international team of researchers led by U of G Prof. Ralf Gellert. The APXS measures the chemicals in Martian soils and rocks, making it a key player in NASA’s Mars Science Lab Mission, which aims to unravel the planet’s geological history and ability to sustain life in the past. Photo: NASA 

Read more about Mars Curiosity rover

Guelph Millennium asparagus

Three bunches of aspargus

Asparagus production has expanded and improved thanks to Guelph’s Millennium variety. Prof. Dave Wolyn developed this asparagus cultivar with high yields sustained over many years and adaptation to areas with cold winters. It now dominates the Ontario market, and thrives internationally as well in the US and UK. Photo courtesy Ontario Asparagus 

Read more about Guelph Millennium asparagus

Numerical analysis of climate change

Photo of Barry Smith with three children in a Northern setting

Quantifying the possible impacts of climate change is a challenging task – as is understanding how people and human activities respond to such change.  But Prof. Barry Smit and his team worked with vulnerable communities in 68 countries to give numbers to the economic effects of climate change, to identify how places and people are sensitive and vulnerable and develop social adaptation strategies. Smit’s work on numerically modelling the impacts of climate change on food production and developing approaches to studying vulnerability earned him a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. His concepts are now widely used by governments and development agencies around the world. Photo courtesy Barry Smit 

Read more about Numerical analysis of climate change

Dairy Oh!

Photo of a bag of Dairy Oh! milk

Dairy Oh! milk is enriched with omega-3 fatty acids—essential for supporting neural and visual development and function as well as overall health for people of all ages. By feeding cows a diet of fish meal, researchers Brian McBride, Bruce Holub and Tom Wright discovered that the natural fatty acid known as DHA omega-3 found in fish transferred to the milk and cheese produced by the cows. Now, Dairy Oh! can be found in grocery stores across Canada, providing the public with an accessible source of DHA omega-3. Read more on page 30 of Research magazine's "Reaching new frontiers" edition (link below).

Read more about Dairy Oh!


Photo of Cate Dewey and Adam Beswick holding a #bluewithflu sign

Twitter has become a tool for disease surveillances. Using the hashtag #BlueWithFlu and other keywords, Population Medicine Prof. Cate Dewey and graduate student Adam Beswick turned to social media to collect public health data from among 500 million tweets created daily. Because Canadians are some of the highest users of social media and often share data online before visiting a doctor, researchers and public organizations are reviewing the wealth of information online to track and mitigate the spread of infectious disease. Photo: SPARK

Read more about #BlueWithFlu