media release

$1.4 million Merck gift sets holiday season in motion

December 20, 2011

John O’Neill, Dean, SFU Health Sciences, 778.782.5361,
Erica Branda, SFU University Advancement, 778.782.3353, 
Ani Armenian, Merck Canada, 514.428.3395,

In a prelude to the winter holidays, Simon Fraser University scientists are busy opening boxes full of shiny new toys that will benefit their teaching and research programs. This seasonal excitement comes courtesy of a $1.4 million equipment donation from Merck Canada.

The boxes contain a wide range of scientific tools; from pipettes and balances up to an ABI 3730xl DNA Analyzer, the gold standard in high-throughput automated Sanger DNA sequencing. They will support research and teaching in a number of areas that affect human health, including virology, immunology, toxicology, biochemistry and pathology.

First-year PhD student Mark Labrecque says he is excited about the possibilities this gift opens for his own research in the cell biology of breast and endometrial cancer.

“SFU’s faculty of health sciences is a pretty new faculty, and it typically takes many years to build up a critical mass of laboratory infrastructure. Merck has really enhanced our ability to do high-level research by giving us all of this equipment at once.”

Bob Young, the Merck - B.C. Leadership Chair in Pharmaceutical Genomics and Drug Discovery at SFU adds: “This equipment will have a huge impact on enabling our research at SFU and keeping us at the forefront of science. The donation reflects the continuation of Merck's historic dedication to support of good science and science education in Canada.”

Jennifer Chan, Vice President, Policy and Communications, at Merck Canada, said: “We are very proud to be able to make a difference for the students and professors at SFU, and encourage the advancement of knowledge on chronic and infectious diseases through Canadian-based research. By providing this equipment, Merck Canada is supporting the innovative healthcare research and education conducted at SFU, thus contributing to the future of the B.C. biopharmaceutical industry.”

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