BC grants ignite UVic innovation
Two University of Victoria researchers working with industry to ignite the development and application of new technologies have been awarded BC Innovation Council Ignite grants for their vital work advancing the protection of endangered species and the future of personalized medicine.
Molecular biologist Caren Helbing received a $185,000 Ignite grant for her work with environmental consulting firm Hemmera Envirochem and environmental laboratory Maxxam Analytics to refine a method of detecting the presence of aquatic animal species through environmental DNA (eDNA). The method will allow ecologists to determine the geographical range of threatened and endangered species by identifying the specific eDNA that every animal leaves behind in the waters and soil of its habitat.
Biomedical engineer Stephanie Willerth received $139,700 for her work with Aspect Biosystems that uses 3D printing technology to print human neural tissue. Willerth and Aspect have already been working together to reengineer human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells, which have the capability of forming any cell type found in the body.
BC Ignite grants are awarded twice a year and are intended to cover a third of project costs. Successful recipients are then required to secure remaining funds from industry or other government sources.
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