UPEI researchers in the news, part 15

 Not content to rest on the accolades of an unprecedented decade of growth in research, UPEI researchers continue to make a difference in the world. Here’s a roundup of recent media stories featuring UPEI researchers.

 UPEI signed its first-ever licensing agreement in late summer. The agreement licensed technology developed at UPEI to extract anti-inflammatory agents from sea coral to Nautilus Biosciences Canada. The technology was developed in the lab of Dr. Russell Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Marine Natural Products.

 Dr. Kerr and PhD student Beth Pearce: (Guardian photo)Dr. Kerr and PhD student Beth Pearce: (Guardian photo)

As reported by the Charlottetown Guardian, “Pseudopterosins are currently in use in some products, such as cosmetics, but they come from coral collected in the Bahamas, which means they can only be collected in limited amounts. Kerr said the current collection method is sustainable but the process he developed could extract the chemicals in a way that’s more economically viable and has less of an impact on the environment.”

Read the whole story here.

Just a few weeks later, UPEI signed its second licensing agreement — this time, four pieces of UPEI technology were licensed to Island-based bioscience company CNS CRO. The technologies include research models for pre-clinical testing of new treatments for stroke, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

In its story on the announcement, the Guardian quoted Ken Cawkell, CEO of CNS CRO’s parent company, Neurodyn Inc.

“The reason for (anticipating) the research money is that because we believe that we have leading-edge models — we can actually do our own research,” he said. “Very, very important from our point of view in doing our discovery research here based in P.E.I., based at the University here.’’

Read the whole story here. The journal Outsourcing Pharma also wrote about the agreement here.

In August, UPEI hosted the 2010 Palmer Conference on Public Sector Leadership. One of the members of a national media panel at the conference, L. Ian MacDonald, wrote afterward in his column in the Montreal Gazette about what he discovered at UPEI.

“And for those who think of Canada Research Chairs as being the exclusive domain of big universities, think again. UPEI, with no less than eight CRCs, is proof that a smaller campus can compete with the big schools. Recently, UPEI won one of the 19 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs, each funded at $10 million, and each a cottage industry unto itself. Says [Palmer Conference Chair] Kevin Lynch: ‘UPEI has become a mini-Waterloo,’ citing the research-driven university that gave the world the BlackBerry.”

Read the whole column here.

On November 9, CBC Prince Edward Island profiled the research of AVC student Sarah Stewart-Clark. She’s developed a test that can discover the presence of an invasive species called a tunicate much earlier than previously possible. Tunicates are an aquatic species that are particularly harmful to the Island’s mussel-farming industry.

“Historically invasions have been discovered when populations have reached such a high level that an aquaculture grower or a member of the general public or scientist or government employee can visually see this huge fouling species,” Stewart-Clark told the CBC.

“By then the population is so large it's very difficult to control and mitigate.”

Stewart-Clark’s test detects the tunicate when it is still invisible to the human eye.

Read the complete story here.

(Main photo: Maggie Brown/CBC)