Paul Percival

SFU professor of chemistry Paul Percival will lead a $2.4-million project, funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, to build a muon beam line at Vancouver's TRIUMF accelerator facility.

CFI funds Percival and Pinto

January 11, 2007

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Two SFU researchers figured prominently in a recent funding proposal approved by the federal government's Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Through its New Initiatives fund, the CFI has committed $2.4-million towards a project led by SFU chemist Paul Percival to build a new muon beam line at Vancouver's TRIUMF accelerator facility.

Muons are subatomic particles that can be used to probe extremely small, local magnetic fields of electronic or nuclear origin, in any form of matter.

TRIUMF's existing muon beam lines are outdated and no longer meet researchers' needs. “This upgrade will help to capture the full scientific potential of the muon as a probe,” says Percival. “It will satisfy the increasing demands of users, both in availability and quality of muon beams.”

The upgrade, which is supported by 16 Canadian universities, will benefit research teams throughout the world involved in molecular and materials research.

TRIUMF is managed by a consortium of Canadian universities. The only other facility in the world with a comparable advanced muon spin spectroscopy infrastructure is the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.

The other CFI project, on which chemical biologist and VP-research, Mario Pinto, is a co-applicant, is an $8-million New Initiatives  fund grant to kick-start the UBC-based centre for drug research and development (CDRD).

Pinto says the money will enable the CDRD to start building the specialized laboratories it needs to help increase the capacity for B.C. researchers to add value to early-stage drug discoveries in order to increase their chances of commercial success.

“This centre, which will serve all B.C. research universities including SFU, will act as an incubator for new drug technologies and help bridge the time lag between identifying new drugs and getting them to market,” says Pinto. “It will also provide an excellent training environment for students involved in drug discovery and development.”

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