Tag Archives: Lorne Babiuk

An alliance of nano researchers: Ingenuity Lab and University of Alberta (Canada) professors

This news release from Alberta’s Ingenuity Lab came in this morning (Sept. 16, 2014),

Researchers Form Nano Bond

Ingenuity Sparks Strategic Partnership with UAlberta Professors

September 16, 2014 Edmonton, Alberta – If two heads are better than one, three heads will no doubt be revolutionary. That is what University of Alberta professors Carlo Montemagno,Thomas Thundat and Gane Wong are aiming for.

“The path to discovery lies beyond conventional thinking and the siloed approaches that have hampered our progress thus far,” says Ingenuity Lab Director, Carlo Montemagno, PhD. “By acknowledging the interconnectedness of our systems and facilitating better research integration and the cross pollination of ideas, we give ourselves, and society as a whole, a much better chance of success.”

Whether it is in the oil patch or in the operating room, these heavy hitters will be merging their expertise and research together in the areas of single cell genomics research in breast and prostate cancer and novel physical, chemical and biological detection using micro- and nano- mechanical sensors.

“The purpose of an accelerator is to bring the right people together at the right time,” explains Thundat. “In doing so, we leverage unique knowledge and expertise and significantly boost our ability to develop tangible solutions to the world’s most complex challenges.”

The 10-year provincially funded initiative was launched in November 2013 and is attracting the best and brightest minds from around the world. With a research agenda focused on the province’s most pressing environmental, industrial and health challenges, Ingenuity Lab is a partnership with the University of Alberta and Alberta Innovates Technology Futures and is expected to reach over $100M in funds leveraged from industry partners over the next decade.

“Our hope is that this partnership will help reduce the existing gap between research and development, and end user application,” says Wong. “For example, we have a unique opportunity to engineer and equip industries with next generation tools and resources that will far surpass those currently available.”

The dynamic partnership promises to facilitate deeper learning, critical thinking and enhance networking opportunities. It will also contribute to our province’s competitive advantage by maximising the utility of local resources and channelling existing expertise towards shared goals.

“We are fortunate to have such a dynamic team of influential leaders in our midst,” says Dr. Lorne Babiuk, Vice President of Research at the University of Alberta. “These outstanding individuals have made remarkable progress in their fields and continue to champion leading-edge research, teaching, and learning across our campus and beyond.”

At the risk of adding a slightly sour note, it seems they have high hopes but there’s no detail about what makes this collaboration more newsworthy than any other. That said, I wish them a very fruitful collaboration.

Arts research at Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology and the University of Alberta

Big props to the University of Alberta’s Vice-President (Research), Lorne Babiuk and Associate Vice-President (Research), George Pavlich,,  who initiated the new Scholar in Residence for Arts Research in Nanotechnology project and to Heather Graves who has snagged the position. From the Jan. 11, 2011 article by Michael Davies-Venn for the University of Alberta’s Express News,

Establishing the Scholar in Residence for Arts Research in Nanotechnology is the latest initiative by the U of A to foster interdisciplinary research among scholars in the social sciences, humanities, engineering, creative arts and sciences. Lorne Babiuk, U of A vice-president (research), says the program furthers the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary research. “The aim is to broaden the impact of the National Institute for Nanotechnology, or NINT, across the full spectrum of disciplines on campus, into areas that aren’t normally a part of the nano-scientific process,” he said.

The National Institute of Nanotechnology’s (NINT) director also had a few things to say,

Nils Petersen, NINT’s director general, says the scholar in residence program adds value to the institute. “By having colleagues from the arts join us in telling our story, perhaps in non-traditional ways, we hope more Canadians will come to understand the potential of nanotechnology.”

I’m encouraged to see that he wants to have the nanotechnology story told. This is a change of heart. I first started (in 2008) trying to get an interview from Petersen and/or Martha Piper (who was on the board for two years) both of whom stonewalled my efforts (in Petersen’s case, I persisted for 3 or 4 months and in Piper’s case, it was two years [she kept promising]). Interestingly, the NINT website does not have a news release about this new arts scholar initiative on its website. You can check for yourself.

Getting back to the arts scholar herself, here’s a little bit about Heather Graves, University of Alberta professor,

Heather Graves, a U of A English and film studies researcher, will be the first to hold the position of Scholar in Residence for Arts Research in Nanotechnology when she begins working with her colleagues at NINT. She says she will examine how researchers in nanotechnology negotiate the ambiguities of language in their research.

“This is an opportunity to watch the discourse of the new field of nanotechnology emerge and the language usage negotiated among the experts involved,” said Graves. “One of the things we hope that nanotechnologists will get out of our examination is a vocabulary that they can use to talk about what they do.”

The scholar in residence program is a three-year pilot program, funded by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures.

I look forward to hearing more about this interdisciplinary initiative in the near future. Hopefully, they will list this project on the NINT website soon.