Lakehead researchers exploring new ways to diagnose cancer, understand animal habitats and optimize energy use

October 15, 2018 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University researchers are receiving more than $1.6 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in support of 14 faculty research projects and four graduate student awards.

Researchers will use this funding to explore new ways to diagnose breast cancer, to understand how habitat selection affects animals, and to create unique tools that companies will use to understand how people consume electricity.

Dr. Alla Reznik from the Department of Physics is receiving a two-year Idea to Innovation (I2I) grant of $320,000 to continue exploring Positron Emission Mammography technology, which will help identify cancer earlier.

Radialis Medical, a joint venture between Lakehead University and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, will help commercialize this innovative technology and assemble the first Canadian molecular breast imaging system in Thunder Bay.

Dr. Douglas Morris from the Department of Biology is receiving a five-year Discovery grant of $160,000 to learn more about animal habitats and the impact those habitats may have on biodiversity and the risk of extinction.

Dr. Morris and his team will examine how habitat and foraging behaviour can create new species and enable coexistence of competing species. They are also interested in how habitat can predict the consequences of climate change on biodiversity and reduce the risks of extinction.

Dr. Abdulsalam Yassine from the Department of Software Engineering is receiving a five-year Discovery grant of $90,000 to develop new tools that will allow utility companies to understand how people consume energy so they can offer optimized energy recommendations and programs.

This will help society by reducing green-house-gas emissions.

Dr. Andrew P. Dean said he is proud of the exceptional research and innovation happening at Lakehead University.

“Thank you to NSERC for recognizing the important research being conducted at Lakehead and thank you to all of our dedicated researchers for everything you do,” Dr. Dean said.

Funding from NSERC also generates support from the federal Research Support Fund to offset the indirect costs of research incurred by universities. In 2018/19, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.


New NSERC Grants 2017-18

Total Amount Awarded:  $1,605,099

Faculty Member Grants – Total:  $1,535,099

Collaborative Research & Development Grant – 2-year grant

Dr. Michael Campbell, Department of Chemistry, Development and Optimization of Resin Based Radionuclidic Generators, $94,000.00.

Discovery Development Grants – 2-year grants

Dr. Brian McLaren, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Describing functional changes in large herbivore dominated ecosystems, $20,000.00.

Dr. Wely Floriano, Department of Chemistry, Integrating systems biology, population-based, and traditional computational biology approaches to describe the modulation of mutation effects by specific combinations of gene variants forming an interaction network, $20,000.00.

Discovery Grants – 5-year grants

Dr. Douglas Morris, Department of Biology, Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics of Habitat Selection, $160,000.00.

 Dr. Abdulsalam Yassine, Department of Software Engineering, Behavioral and Predictive Analytics for Efficient Energy Consumption Management in Smart Grids $90,000.00.

Dr. Yushi Zhou, Department of Electrical Engineering, Ultra-Low Power Wireless Front-End Integrated Circuits for the Internet of Things, $110,000.00.

Dr. Salimur Choudhury, Department of Computer Science, Optimizing the Internet of Things (IoT), $90,000.00.

Dr. Andrew Dean, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Classification of Real Structures and Actions on C*-algebras, $65,000.00.

Dr. Pedram Fatehi, Department of Chemical Engineering, Design of lignin based flocculants and dispersants for various aqueous systems, $160,000.00.

Dr. Philip Fralick, Department of Geology, Sedimentology of Precambrian Depositional Systems: Understanding the Earth's Surface in Deep Time, $180,000.00.

Dr. Xin Yang Lu, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Regularity of minimizers and pattern formation in geometric minimization problems, $75,000.00.

Discovery Grants - Northern Research Supplement – 5-year grant

Dr. Douglas Morris, Department of Biology, Dynamics of habitat and habitat selection by lemmings under climate change, $75,000.00.

Idea to Innovation – 2-year grant

Dr. Alla Reznik, Department of Physics, Advanced Technology for Positron Emission Mammography - market-ready prototype (Phase IIb), $320,000.00.

Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) Grant – 1-year grant

Dr. Baoqiang Liao, Department of Chemical Engineering, A Gel Permeation Chromatography System for Water Science and Technology Research, $76,099.00.

Co-applicant:  Dr. Michael Rennie, CRC in Freshwater Ecology and Fisheries, Department of Biology.

Funding Awarded to Graduate Students – Total:  $70,000

NSERC – Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program -1-year-grants

Kevin Barber – Civil Engineering, Fire Resistance Testing of Structural Elements, $17,500.

Chanelle Boucher – Geology, Geochemistry of Komatiites in the Lake of the Woods Greenstone Belt, $17,500.

Ashley Salamon – Biology, Preservation and Recovery of the Proteome: A Clue to Investigate Ancient and Archived Samples, $17,500

Kristy Vannieuwenhuizen – Natural Resource Management, The effects of soil compaction on the root and shoot growth of jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and black spruce (Picea mariana) seedlings, $17,500.


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Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, and 2017, Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the third consecutive year. Visit