NSERC awards innovation in AU scientific research

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[photo credit: Getty Images, 2017]

It was a good-news day on Athabasca University’s research front.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) just announced its results of the 2017 Discovery Grants, Discovery Development Grants, scholarships and fellowships competitions.

The unveiling of the post-secondary research awards, held Friday at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island, B.C., proved favourable for AU’s researchers in the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST).

Four of our outstanding researchers fared well — sharing a combined total of more than $260,000 with which to carry out their ongoing projects.

FST Dean Lisa Carter said she is thrilled about AU’s positioning in the national grant pool.

“On behalf of the Faculty of Science and Technology, we are pleased to see continued support for our researchers. Their contributions to advancing scientific inquiry is valuable,” said Carter in an interview.

NSERC awarded 2017 grants to researchers in Athabasca University’s Faculty of Science and Technology. (from L to R: Dr. Junye Wang; Dr. Martin Connors; Dr. Chris Glover; Dr. Shawn Lewenza) [photo credit: Athabasca University, 2017]

Research recognized

NSERC awarded grants to the following AU FST researchers:

  • Martin Connors, Professor and Former Canada Research Chair in Space Science, Centre for Science
  • Chris Glover, Campus Alberta Innovates Program (CAIP) Research Chair in Hydroecology and Environmental Health, Associate Professor, Centre for Science
  • Shawn Lewenza, Associate Professor, Environmental Health, Centre for Science
  • Junye Wang, Professor and Campus Alberta Innovates Program (CAIP) Research Chair in Computational Sustainability and Environmental Analytics, Centre for Science

Discovery Grants

Dr. Connors’ funding comprises $180,000. His project, entitled Geospace Phenomena: Assessing Danger and Understanding Mechanisms, will investigate space-weather processes that create auroras, incorporating on-the-ground and space-based measurements. Connors’ research will identify the source of space electric currents that negatively impact technological systems on earth — from navigation to power transmission.

Dr. Glover received $25,000 to support his research on Functional Roles for Dissolved Organic Matter in Aquatic Animal Physiology and Nutrition. He seeks to develop an advanced understanding of the direct biological functions of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) across four specialty areas: growth and development of early life-stages of fish; insect nutrition; evolution of a true digestive system in vertebrate animals; aquatic animal health.

Discovery Development Grants

For his work on Bacterial Biosensors for Detection and Bioremediation of Wastewater Pollutants, Dr. Lewenza will receive $20,000 over two years (with a $10,000 AU-supplemented matching grant, in each of the two years). His research proposes to develop a biosensor technology for use in detecting and remediation of pollutants in industrial wastewater and municipal water.

Dr. Wang will also receive the same amount (including AU matching grant) for his project entitled Integrated Approach for Analyzing Water-Microorganisms-DOC Interaction in Soil Micropores. His research aims to understand how water content and flow, soil pore structure, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) availability and movement, and microbial activities in soil drive processes to stabilize DOC. Storing DOC in soil is an approach to mitigate global warming.

New discoveries rely on research funding

[photo credit: Athabasca University 2017]

Athabasca University’s team of researchers is making strides via numerous groundbreaking scientific discoveries. The success of these recent NSERC grant applicants represents just a few of AU’s scientists who have benefited from funding from our various granting agency partners.

On behalf of the Faculty of Science and Technology, we are pleased to see continued support for our researchers. Their contributions to advancing scientific inquiry is valuable. ~ Dr. Lisa Carter, Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology, Athabasca University

Indeed, our researchers rely on our granting-agency partners’ support to be able to carry out their exciting and continued research innovations. Earlier this year, for example, Dr. Glover also received funding from the Research Grants Program of the Alberta Conservation Association for his research entitled Taking the Strain: Assessing the Sensitivity of Rainbow Trout Strains to Hypoxia and Ammonia Associated with Agricultural Run-Off.

The primary objective of this study is to identify trout strains that cope best with agricultural run-off associated stressors, such as reduced dissolved oxygen and elevated water ammonia, both of which are known to impact fish health. Glover will also investigate water temperature to account for effects related to season and geographic variability of stocked waters across Alberta.

To learn more about AU’s incredible research, please visit our ‘Featured Researchers’ page on the Research Centre’s website.

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