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More grants awarded to Lakehead University researchers

More than $2 million approved for scientific projects

THUNDER BAY -- The titles of many of the research projects being undertaken by Lakehead University faculty members don't translate very easily for non-scientific minds.

But the university says the most recent round of funding approvals from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council shows the breadth of high-calibre, innovative work that's conducted at Lakehead.

The NSERC is giving more than $2.3 million in support of a variety of research projects in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, geology and computer sciences.

One of the largest grants, $320,000, goes to Dr. Pedram Fatehi in the Department of Chemical Engineering, for a study titled Process Development for the Production of Lignin Based Flocculants and Dispersants.

A news release from the university on Friday didn't include details about the project but it did give some background on the work being done by Dr. Laura Curiel.

The assistant professor in Electrical Engineering is getting $120,000 for a Verasonics Ultrasound device that will allow her and her team to continue their efforts to find new materials, new electronics and new processes to improve ultrasound therapy and imaging.

"Our hope is to make ultrasound therapy more affordable and more portable, to allow remote locations to benefit from it without having to move to urban centres," Curiel said.

Dr. Vijay Mago, an assistant professor in Computer Science, will receive $100,000. He's trying to develop software and hardware for a real-time analytic tool to analyze large-scale social networking websites to determine the effectiveness of public health awareness social media campaigns.

"We know that more and more people rely on online sources for health information including symptoms, treatments and general health-related advice," Mago said. "With this research we will be able to identify the effectiveness of public health awareness strategies used by health agencies and medical associations around the globe."

The NSERC funding generates additional contributions from the federal Research Support Fund to offset the indirect costs of research incurred by universities. In the 2017/18 school year, Lakehead will receive nearly $2 million.

According to Maclean's magazine's 2018 university rankings, Lakehead is first in Total Research Dollars among Canada's primarily undergraduate schools.



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