Nutrition magazines and media personalities have been hailing the positive affect of omega-3 fatty acids on human health for several years, and the food and pharmaceutical industries have followed suit. Common sources of omega-3 fatty acids currently come from animals, and most predominantly fish. However, the increased use of omega-3s in food products, nutritional supplements, and new compounds for treating inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases, discovered by Dr. Surette, is pushing demand beyond supply. This has brought a number of issues to light, including the sustainability of the fishery, and the increasing presence of toxins, like mercury, in wild fish.
As the New Brunswick Innovation Research Chair in Biosciences, Dr. Surette will work in partnership with agricultural companies to develop crops of a specific plant that is rich in a new form of omega-3 fatty acids. This will open up new opportunities for farmers in New Brunswick and beyond to grow a new and potentially lucrative crop. Dr. Surette’s aim is to work with industry to integrate these vegetable-based and sustainable fatty acids into their products. This, together with the development of new compounds for treating inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases will provide tremendous support for New Brunswick's burgeoning biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors.
Dr. Surette is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the Université de Moncton. A recipient of the Canada Research Chair in Cellular Lipid Metabolism, he has published over 45 articles in countless international journals including the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Journal of Nutrition, and the International Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, to name a few, Dr. Surette completed his PhD in biochemistry at Cornell University. His research chair is valued at $1.175 million over five years.