The CFI Awards $312,292 to Lakehead University to Support Science Researchers

(January 21, 2011, Thunder Bay, ON) The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
announced today that it has awarded $312,292 to Lakehead University to support projects led by researchers Philip Fralick and Aicheng Chen. This award will fund the purchase of a field-emission based scanning electron microscope with an EDXA spectrometer (FE-SEM EDXA). This piece of equipment is crucial to the work of Lakehead scientists in many fields including geology, chemistry, engineering, physics, biology and more. This new SEM will allow Lakehead researchers to work at the nanometer scale that is necessary for the most promising lines of future research.

Dr. Fralick, Professor of Geology, and one of the most recognized researchers in the world working on the genesis of iron ore deposits, requires an FE-SEM-EDXA to more fully explore the role of organisms in the formation of iron ore deposits. With the resolution of a new FE-SEM EDXA, details in the mineralized outer rinds of what appear to be iron oxide-coated fossilized bacteria will be possible to analyze. In addition, a number of studies being undertaken by Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Chen, and his research group, hold potential for developing economically significant nanostructured catalysts for green chemistry applications.

Drs. Fralick and Chen are preparing to work collaboratively to unravel the nanometer-scale processes on which some of the most promising bioremediation techniques in use today are based. Their work will provide the foundation for the design of more efficient treatment methods for water contaminated with heavy metals.

"The investment announced today at Lakehead University will further enhance our country's reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers," said Dr. Gilles G. Patry, President and CEO of the CFI. "They will make our universities even more competitive when it comes to attracting the best and brightest researchers from around the world."

Dr. Rui Wang, Vice-President (Research, Economic Development & Innovation), welcomed the CFI's investment. "This new microscope will provide Lakehead's researchers the much needed state-of-the-art tools to continue their leading-edge research in a number of important fields, such as mining and green chemistry. It will also enable Lakehead University to serve our region and industry with expanded capability. We are extremely grateful to CFI for its decade-long support to Lakehead's endeavour of research and innovation."

Lakehead University's award is part of a total of $61,291,274 in new funds to support 246 projects at 48 institutions across Canada, announced today by the CFI. This project was funded through the Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides infrastructure support to Canadian institutions so they can attract and retain the very best of today and tomorrow's leading researchers at a time of intense international competition for knowledge workers.

For a complete list of the projects awarded today, please visit