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17 SFU research projects ready to roll with $2.9M from Canada Foundation for Innovation

September 22, 2020
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By Justin Wong

Seventeen Simon Fraser University research projects, which range from building Canada’s first single-molecule force microscope suite to improving survival rates for acute myeloid leukeumia, have received a total $2.9 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This is the largest amount the university has received from this fund in any year.

This is the third consecutive year that the number of JELF-supported SFU research projects has doubled.

The JELF funds the foundational infrastructure researchers need to pursue their research and become leaders in their field. The funding helps SFU to remain internationally competitive in areas of research and technology development that align with the university’s strategic priorities.

“We are grateful for CFI’s ongoing support as we continue to grow and expand the university’s capacity in research excellence and innovation,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU vice-president, research and international pro tem.

"I want to also congratulate the SFU researchers whom the CFI is recognizing as leaders in their respective fields. This funding will allow these researchers to take their transformative discoveries to the next level.”

The researchers include:

Eundeok Mun, professor, Department of Physics

Physics professor Eundeok Mun studies quantum matter, which is responsible for a wide range of phenomena that have enhanced our understanding of fundamental science and led to many technological advances. With $400,000 from CFI’s JELF, Mun will purchase a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) magnetometer, which is essential for characterizing the magnetic properties of newly synthesized materials. SFU researchers will use this new equipment to design and fabricate more cost-effective and reliable electronic devices made from new quantum materials.

Mo Chen, professor, School of Computing Science and Manolis Savva, professors, the School of Computing Science

Mo Chen and Manolis Savva, professors in the School of Computing Science, have received $300,000 from CFI’s JELF and matching funds from the BC Knowledge Development Fund. The duo, who are interested in robotics and visual computing, are researching how to improve virtual 3D simulations of "everyday" scenarios such as shopping in a store or visiting a coffee shop. They plan to use these simulations to develop artificial intelligence for robots and intelligent assistants on mobile devices, so that they can efficiently and safely help people in similar real-world scenarios, while also collecting data to further improve the 3D simulations. This research could be applied to a variety of applications, including autonomous cars and service robots.

Nancy Forde, professor, Department of Physics and Peter Unrau, professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Professors Nancy Forde, Department of Physics and Peter Unrau, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, have received $230,000 from CFI’s JELF and $577,000 from the BC Knowledge Development Fund. They’ll use the funding to build Canada’s first single-molecule force microscope suite. Using this powerful set of instruments, scientists can track individual molecules within living cells and measure how molecular complexes respond to the precise application of force. Developing new single-molecule imaging techniques will transform scientists’ understanding of biological processes and their disease-causing malfunctions, leading to new breakthroughs in fundamental biomedical research.

Learn more about the other innovative research projects:

 

Behraad Bahreyni, professor, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering

 

 

Mirza Faisal Beg, professor, School of Engineering Science

Hugo Cardoso, professor, Department of Archaeology

 

 

Angel Chang, professor, School of Computing Science

Wendy Chun, professor, professor and Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media, School of Communication

Caroline Colijn, professor, Department of Mathematics

Yasutaka Furukawa, professors, School of Computing Science

Jiangchuan (JC) Liu, professors, School of Computing Science

 

Frank Gobas, Distinguished Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management

Mani Larijani, professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

 

Patrick Palmer, professor, School of Mechatronics Systems Engineering

 

Ed Park, professor, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering

Rudy Reimer, professor, Department of Archaeology

 

Carolyn Sparrey, professor, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering

 

Ly Vu, professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry