Lakehead University researchers receiving more than $140k from CFI


Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi and Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, celebrated this announcement in the CASES building at Lakehead University.

February 20, 2020 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Two Lakehead researchers are receiving grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) valued at more than $140,000 in total.

Dr. Maryam Ebrahimi, a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Low-dimensional Nanomaterials, is receiving $125,000 to purchase a scanning tunneling microscope, which allows the imaging of molecules and their reactions at nanoscale resolution, for making low-dimensional nanomaterials. 

Dr. Ebrahimi’s research project, called On-surface design and synthesis of molecular-based 1D and 2D nanomaterials, lies at the border of chemistry and physics, focusing on the fundamentals of low-dimensional nanomaterials whose properties are determined by their size and structure.

“The unique properties of graphene, the only two-dimensional material in nature, have inspired scientists to explore multidisciplinary approaches to obtain emerging classes of low-dimensional nanomaterials,” Dr. Ebrahimi said.

“For example, 2D polymers for organic electronic devices used in displays, smartphones, sensors, and solar cells; porous nanopolymers for adsorbing greenhouse gases; biocompatible surfaces for nanomedicine applications, among others. All of which would contribute to the advancement of several technologies and industries in Canada,” she said.

Dr. Ebrahimi and her team will use this grant to acquire a state-of-the-art scanning tunneling microscope, which allows for the imaging of molecules and their reactions at nanoscale – with dimensions even smaller than one-billionth of a metre.

Recording the chemical reactions at such a high resolution will provide Dr. Ebrahimi and her team with the opportunity to design and fabricate nanoarchitectures, through a Molecular Lego Game, whose properties are unique to their ‘small’ nanosize dimensions.

Dr. Michel Bedard, Director of Lakehead’s Centre for Research on Safe Driving, received $15,707 to contribute to reducing traffic-related injuries by conducting basic and applied research on processes that support safe driving, and developing interventions that promote road safety.

Dr. Bedard and his team will put this grant toward the purchase of a new driving simulator, which will cost approximately $35,000 and will replace their current simulator that they purchased in 2004.

“Our research with the current simulator has demonstrated the validity of driving behaviour in a standardised, affordable, time-efficient, and safe manner, while maintaining a good level of correspondence with on-road driving,” Dr. Bedard said.

Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation, thanked CFI for supporting this important research.

“We are extremely pleased to have received this contribution from the Ontario Government towards the funding of these two research infrastructure projects,” Dr. Dean said. “High quality research equipment allows Lakehead University's researchers to continue to be at the forefront of discovery and to train the highly skilled workforce needed for Ontario's future economy.”