Most people would find it difficult to make a connection between growing up on a farm in South Melville, PEI and working in a sterile lab in UPEI's K. C. Irving Chemistry Centre. Donald Cameron is not most people.
Cameron is one of UPEI's eleven winners of the province's first ever Innovation PEI Graduate and Post-Doctoral Fellowships. He's continuing work this summer on a project called Erithitol-based Cores for Biodegradable Materials.
The world is hungry for products which are friendly to the environment, and the pharmaceutical industry is no exception. Cameron and his team are developing a new polymer (think of a plastic made without petroleum) that could be embedded with a drug, then set to release that drug into the body at a specific rate.
"Slow and steady for something like anti-inflammatory medication," says Cameron, "or rapid, for anti-cancer treatments."
Cameron says he was immediately drawn to the green aspects of this project.
"We can change the properties of the polymers to make them start to break down when they're exposed to specific things like light or rain — something they shouldn't be exposed to until they're in a landfill. And the polymers are made from corn and sugar beets. Adding agriculture to an environmentally friendly project is like mixing a bit of my history, a bit of my future."
The ORD Blog will profile more of our Innovation PEI Grad and Post-doc fellows in the coming weeks.