R3: Recognizing Research Results
In March 2016, NBIF, Cox & Palmer and Deloitte presented the fifth bi-annual R3 Gala to recognize and celebrate the innovations of three of the province's top applied researchers and the impact they are making on industry. One of the purposes of the event is to bring researchers and business people together to network and discover the opportunities they can bring to each other.
At the dinner, three short documentary films were shown that tell the story of each researcher and the impact their work is having on industry and society, both here and around the world. You can watch the 5-minute series by clicking on any of the honorees below, with the most recent recipients first.
David Butler first joined Coca-Cola to revolutionize the company’s approach to design—not just how things look, but a holistic, systems-based approach to create growth across the business. It’s the subject of his new book, Design to Grow.
In his talks, Butler reveals the secrets of Coke’s ongoing success and how his new startup-focused venture platform is poised to change the way large organizations innovate.
David Butler is a designer, entrepreneur, educator, and leader on a mission to make it easier for starters to scale and scalers to start. In his role as Vice President, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Coca-Cola Company, Butler leads a new venturing platform—Coca-Cola Founders—designed to create seed-stage startups by opening up Coca-Cola’s assets to a global network of rock-star founders.
Raised in Fredericton, Dr. Felipe Chibante left New Brunswick to study at McGill University in Montréal. During his studies, Felipe became interested in the research of Dr. Richard Smalley at Rice University in Houston, Texas, who took him under his wing as a PhD student. While on his research team, Dr. Smalley won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the production of the first fullerene, otherwise known as a “bucky ball” or Carbon 60. Since then, it has been Dr. Chibante’s life’s work as well.
A fullerene is a carbon molecule that has revolutionized many industries from pharmaceuticals to power generation. For example, fullerenes are used to absorb and transmit solar energy inside solar cells. With a cost of $15,000 per kilogram, they are its most expensive component. In 2013, Dr. Chibante invented a new method for producing fullerenes for less than $5,000 per kilogram. At the same time, he is working on new polymers and fabrics that use fullerenes to make them inherently power generating, such as roof tiles, motor vehicle body parts, curtains, clothes and more. Dr. Chibante is the inventor of NBIF portfolio company Smart Skin's core technology, and the founder of two of his own businesses.
Dr. Rodney Ouellette is the CEO and founder of the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI). After completing his science degree at Université de Moncton, Dr. Ouellette obtained both his MD and PhD at Université de Laval.
From a team of one, Dr. Ouellette now oversees an organization of more than 30 staff and researchers. Through his leadership and collaboration, ACRI developed and commercialized a new test for detecting cancer. Using a small amount of saliva, blood or urine, the test can tell if a patient has active cancer cells in their body in 30 minutes in their doctor’s office.
Since then, they have discovered that the same technology can be adapted for a number of diseases. They are now in the process of developing a new device that, with one small sample, will be able to detect and report a variety of other illnesses as well.
Dr. Kevin Englehart is the director of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, where he also completed is undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in engineering. Originally from Fredericton, Dr. Englehart's work has lead to the development of hardware and software that allows people with artificial limbs to operate them with advanced utility and dexterity.
For many people today, prosthetic hands can only perform open/close and turning movements. To operate them, they have to learn how to isolate and move specific muscles in their arm to trigger movement in the hand. Kevin’s research has led to a limb that learns the patient instead. From the hundreds of thousands of electrical impulses that the brain produces, for the slightest of movements, he and his team developed hardware and software that identifies which of those impulses cause a specific movement. Instead of isolating muscles, patients only need to think about what they want to do for the limb to respond.
Director of the Planetary and Space Science Centre at the University of New Brunswick, Dr Spray is a leading expert on what happens when two objects collide in outer space at very high speeds. That understanding has lead Dr Spray to turn his attention toward the development of man made materials designed to protect people and infrastructure both in orbit and on the ground.
Dr Spray is also a co-investigator for two rover missions to Mars: NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory that launched from Cape Canaveral in December 2011, and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission. For the NASA mission, once the rover has landed on Mars, Dr Spray will travel to California to participate in the operation of the rover and the analysis of the geological materials it collects.
Dr Spray holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Cardiff University, and a PhD in Earth Sciences from Cambridge University.
Turning fish waste into wealth. That’s what makes Dr Jacques Gagnon, Science Director at the Coastal Zones Research Institute in Shippagan, a researcher entrepreneur.
Processing plants in New Brunswick throw away up to 25,000 tons of herring every year. Why? Because all they do is remove the roe and send it to Japan. The rest, including all of the males, are thrown away. Dr Gagnon is determined to find a valuable use for it, and that he has done, with a compound for the treatment of diabetes. Currently in preparation for human trials, tests show it has the potential to prevent people that are borderline type II diabetic from developing the disease.
Dr Gagnon holds a BSc in Biology from Université de Québec, and an MSc and PhD in Experimental Medicine from Université Laval.
It’s the hottest day of summer and you know you’re going to get a blast of heat when you get in your car. But the days of overheated vehicles might soon be over if you’re lucky enough to have Dr Pandurang Ashrit’s new thin film on your windows. Dr Ashrit is the Director of the Université de Moncton’s Thin Films Research Group.
Here’s how it works: As soon as the glass hits a certain temperature, Ashrit’s reflects all of the infrared light that turns your car into an oven. It can be applied to almost any surface, and has uses far beyond car windows, like satellites.
When facing the sun, satellites can get as hot as 150ºC, requiring cooling systems. With Ashrit’s film, they could be eliminated, making satellites lighter and freeing up payload space.
Another groundbreaking invention by Dr Ashrit is a tunable photonic crystal that will allow internet service providers to split the light upon which data travels into different “color channels” creating tremendous efficiency and freeing up bandwidth.
Dr. Ashrit holds a PhD in solid-state physics from Karnatak University in India and has worked at Université de Moncton since 1982.
Dr. Suzanne Currie started her academic career as an undergraduate student at Acadia University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree. She completed both her Master of Science and PhD at Queen’s University.
Presently Associate Professor of Biology at Mount Allison University, her research interests center on the physiology of stress tolerance in fish, and how changes in water temperature, salinity, oxygenation and toxicity affect their individual and collective health.
The biomarkers and techniques she has developed give aquaculture companies and environmental managers new tools for protecting fish health, both on fish farms and in the wild.
Dr. Thierry Chopin was born and educated in France. He obtained his Doctorate from the University of Western Brittany, Brest, France. He moved to Canada in 1989 and is presently Professor in the Biology Department at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.
As a member of the Institute for Coastal Marine Science and the Centre for Environmental and Molecular Algal Research, his work focuses on the ecophysiology and biochemistry of seaweeds of commercial value and the development of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture systems for environmental sustainability, economic stability, and the establishment of better management practices.
Dr. Djaoued’s research accomplishments are vast, especially his work with the chemical astaxanthin. Naturally occurring in shrimp, crab and lobster, it is an antioxidant 10 times more powerful than beta-carotene and 500 times more than vitamin E. As a nutritional supplement, it is in high demand, fetching up to $3,000 per kilogram.
The new process Dr. Djaoued has developed for extracting astaxanthin from shrimp creates a valuable new opportunity for New Brunswick’s near-shore fishing industry.
Understanding how cells in the body come and go and reproduce themselves is a major part of understanding how diseases like cancerous tumours grow and spread. The more we know about that process the better chance we have to find ways to interrupt it when things go wrong, and for many other kinds of disease too.
Dr. Marc Surette is a professor and researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Université de Moncton and presently holds the Canada Research Chair in Cellular Lipid Metabolism. His work has led to the development of high quality plant-based, rather than animal based omega-3 fatty acids from plants that indigenous to New Brunswick.
Imagine a world without plastic. Is there any other invention that has changed the world as much as plastic? From telephone cases to car parts…and even body parts, it really does define an entire era of manufacturing and consumption. But as we all know a lot of plastics are made from fossil fuels and do not bio-degrade. But that soon could be a thing of the past.
Mr. Shiell has a BSc in agriculture and a MSc in horticulture from the University of Saskatchewan. Mr. Shiell’s research aims to process potato waste and grains into high value products such as the use of lactic acid in the production of biodegradable plastics.
Today many people don’t realize that the majority of the world’s seafood supply now comes from fish farms and other types of aquaculture facilities, both near shore and in the deep sea. As the world demands more and more cultured seafood, an opportunity to introduce new varieties of fish to the province’s existing aquaculture industry is emerging.
Dr. Benfey received the R3 Innovation Award for Excellence in Applied Research for his work on Atlantic Cod genomics, and the development of an elite broodstock that is incapable of breeding with wild Cod, preventing cross breeding by fish that might escape from fish farms.
Understanding how climate change is affecting life and what supports it is growing more in importance every year as we race to find ways to slow it down and get rid of it altogether. But to do that we’ve got to know what’s happening to life on earth, and we need the tools and tests to do it. Especially when it comes to the security of the food chain.
Dr. Campbell has over 20 years of international research experience using a broad range of approaches to study how photosynthetic organisms acclimate to change. Dr. Cockshutt is an assistant professor in biochemistry and CEO of Environmental Proteomics, who is commercializing the team’s innovations.