McGill Researchers Collaborate on Breakthrough Research Projects with National Research

Today, Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council, Canada’s largest federal research and development organization, announced the results of the inaugural round of the NRC’s New Beginnings Initiative. The New Beginnings Initiative is part of the NRC’s Ideation Fund, which was announced in Budget 2018 to encourage, test and validate transformative research ideas generated by NRC researchers working with external collaborators.

In the inaugural round of New Beginnings, 52 projects were selected through a peer-review process. These projects involve the provision of almost $1M to 47 researchers across 22 academic organizations, small- and medium-sized enterprises and other organizations. Six McGill researchers will collaborate with NRC researchers on projects in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Among the awardees is McGill’s Associate Vice-Principal, Innovation and Partnerships, Sylvain Coulombe, also a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.


The projects with McGill collaborators and associated funding amounts include:

Bio-inspired Architectured Ceramics for High Temperature Applications ($25,000)

This proposal targets a bio-inspired approach based on bio-inspired architectured material designs to address the brittleness of industrial and high temperature ceramic materials, as their main drawback, under thermal shocks – $25,000

(Hamid Akbarzadeh, McGill Institute for Advanced Materials)

Full body medical image segmentation for simulation-ready finite element models ($10,000)

We aim to develop an automated machine-learning based method to generate three-dimensional segmentations of anatomical structures from medical images in order to build patient-specific geometric models. Such a method would generate reproducible segmentations that can be used for a variety of personalized medical simulators, reducing time-to-market for these applications.

(Mark Driscoll, Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Tracking the mechanism of antibody trafficking across the blood brain barrier with advanced 3D-structure ($25,000)

We will use Cryo-Electron Microscopy and Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry to study the mechanism by which antibodies bind to Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Receptor (IGF1R) and cross the blood-brain barrier. Sophisticated models of receptor/antibody interactions will be constructed and used to decipher the molecular events that initiate crossing.

(Michael Strauss, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology)

Functionalized chitosan nanocrystals as catalysts for organic transformation reactions ($25,000)

In collaboration), chitosan nanocrystals as support materials for multifunctional catalysts will be used in aqueous-phase organic transformation reactions. Identification of novel properties and improved catalytic processes would promote the use of shell waste towards higher-value products, a requirement for developing a Canadian shell bioeconomy.

(Audrey Moores, Department of Chemistry)

A time-domain digital signal processing backend for fast radio burst follow up ($14,000)

The CHIME telescope at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) discovers several fast radio bursts per day. To learn about these mysterious objects, observations at times and radio wavelengths inaccessible to CHIME are needed. We will develop a system for the DRAO John A. Galt telescope to perform such observations.

(Victoria Kaspi, Department of Physics)

Developing a scalable solvent-free process for functionalization of Boron Nitride Nanotubes ($25,000)

Goal: to resolve scientific, technological, economic and environmental issues related to chemical functionalization of BNNT. Expected outcomes: High impact scientific work, patentable technologies and commercial products.

(Sylvain Coulombe, Department of Chemical Engineering)

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