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Posted: February 6, 2008
World-class research at University of Toronto to help reduce threat of global epidemic
(Nanowerk News) Developing a portable device that will help
prevent, identify and contain infectious diseases such as SARS, is the goal of
a new University of Toronto research project.
The project is one of four cutting-edge research projects at the
University of Toronto to receive funding from the McGuinty government. The
government is funding the projects in partnership with industry to support the
province's top researchers in areas where Ontario can compete and win in the
Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson made the announcement
today with University of Toronto President Dr. David Naylor.
Ontario is investing:
More than $7 million to apply advances in nanotechnology to create a
portable device that can quickly diagnose whether or not a person has
an infectious disease, such as SARS -- a first step in better
identifying, controlling and containing outbreaks
More than $3 million to develop self-powered, mesh wireless networks:
cost-effective, solar-powered wireless networks that will help make
high-speed wireless Internet connectivity more reliable, accessible
and affordable in urban and remote areas
$5 million dollars to boost Ontario's competitiveness in the global
market's multi-billion dollar solar industry by developing more
advanced, efficient solar technologies
$8 million to help address some of the world's most pressing and
complex problems - such as climate change and finding a cure for
cancer - by providing researchers with access to state-of-the-art
high-performance computing systems.
The $23.3 million for these projects is part of nearly $115 million
invested by the government to support 19 cutting-edge research projects across
Ontario. The research at universities, institutes and hospitals will receive
matching funding from 107 major industry and other partners.
"To ensure Ontario families can compete and win in the global economy,
our government is investing in research and innovation and the skills and
knowledge of our people today," Wilkinson said. "The strong partnerships among
our top researchers, global business leaders and government will help provide
Ontarians with better healthcare services, new technologies, a cleaner
environment and more opportunities for success."
"Today's investment builds on the considerable talent of University of
Toronto researchers to ensure this city -- and this province --maintains
leadership in growing sectors, and consistently turns global challenges into
opportunities for Ontario," said George Smitherman, MPP for Toronto Centre and
Deputy Premier. "It's part of the McGuinty government's strategy to create
tomorrow's jobs today."
"We're delighted to thank the Ontario Government for this outstanding
support and wonderful vote of confidence," Naylor said. "This new funding not
only helps our researchers generate great new ideas. It also helps U of T to
attract and retain the brightest research talent from around the world --
people who will motivate and inspire Ontario's next generation of world-class
scientists and entrepreneurs in knowledge-based industries."
Together, these investments form part of the McGuinty government's plan
to support research excellence that can be developed into new products and
services that will boost Ontario's economy and support Ontario families. Other
Launching the $160 million Ideas-to-Market strategy that supports
emerging companies, which includes the Ontario Venture Capital Fund
Providing a 21 per cent Capital Tax rate cut for all businesses
retroactive to January 1, 2007, on the way to full elimination in 2010
Announcing in the 2007 Fall Economic Statement an additional
$50 million in strategic investment to further strengthen Ontario's
environment for scientific research that will lead to new discoveries,
higher quality of life and new jobs.
For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
ONTARIO RESEARCH FUND
The Ontario government is investing $527 million over five years through
the Ontario Research Fund to support leading-edge research and development in
Ontario's universities, institutes and hospitals, and to leverage support from
the federal government and private industry.
The fund is a key part of the province's plan to support scientific
excellence that can be developed into innovative goods and services that will
boost Ontario's economy.
The fund is made up of two streams:
The Research Excellence program funds project operating costs, such as
The Research Infrastructure program supports the acquisition of new
The Ontario Research Fund is designed to provide one window for research
funding. Proposals for funding are evaluated through a competitive,
peer-review process. For more information, please visit
Research Excellence Program - Round Two
Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Research Excellence program. In this round, the government is providing
$114,709,614 to support 19 projects. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.
The research will:
Support a cleaner, greener environment
Support better health for Ontarians
Support world-class science in a number of fields such as computing
Including this round of funding, the Ontario Research Fund will have
invested a total of $230 million for 45 projects and leveraged $460 million
from 280 industry and other partners.
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO RECEIVES $7 MILLION FOR GLOBALLY SIGNIFICANT HEALTH-RELATED RESEARCH
Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Ontario Research Fund's Research Excellence program. In this round, the
government is providing $23,353,275 to support four world-class projects at
the University of Toronto.
Containing Outbreaks Of Infectious Diseases
Quantum Dot Diagnostics Project: Simultaneous Genomic and Proteomic
Detection of Multiple Pathogens
Developing a revolutionary point-of-care device for diagnosing infectious
Lead researcher: Dr. Warren Chan
Total project cost: $21,945,701
Provincial funding: $ 7,313,275
The SARS outbreak of 2003 dramatically highlighted the threat of
infectious diseases right here in Ontario and around the world. It also
demonstrated the importance of having quick and accurate systems in place to
diagnose, treat, contain and monitor the spread of infectious diseases.
Building on revolutionary advances in nanomaterials and biological
probes, top researchers at the University of Toronto are in the process of
developing "barcodes" for thousands of pathogens such as malaria, while
designing and testing a device that can read and interpret these barcodes.
The goal of this project is to create an economical, portable device that
is capable of diagnosing multiple pathogens from a single sample of blood - so
that results will be available in minutes rather than hours.
The researchers have partnered with Fio Corporation to move the research
forward quickly in order to be first to market with their device, which if
successful, promises to revolutionize current systems for monitoring,
diagnosing and containing infectious diseases around the world.
Key private sector partners: Fio Corporation
Potential applications include hospitals and clinics as well as
international border crossings.
Currently available technology is designed to detect only a single
infectious agent. For example, many current commercially available
diagnostic devices for malaria can detect only a single species of
malaria and are not suitable for use in areas where multiple species
This project will develop a revolutionary, portable device that is
capable of detecting multiple infectious diseases, such as HIV, SARS,
The lead researcher, Dr. Chan, currently has a team of two other
researchers specializing in nanotechnology. With the support from
Ontario, he will be able to add three additional investigators
specializing in infectious diseases to the project.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation