Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

New Research Funding Will Create Unique Opportunities for StFX Researchers And Students

August 15th, 2017
StFX Dean of Science Dr. Petra Hauf (left) poses with Sean Fraser, MP for Central Nova, Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley and Dr. Shah Razul at a federal funding announcement in support of new research at StFX.

Funding from the federal government announced today, August 15, is helping open the doors to new, innovative research at St. Francis Xavier University.

Over $200,000 will be invested in two research projects led by faculty in StFX’s Department of Chemistry. Dr. Shah Razul, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, is receiving $67,544 for research equipment to help study the development and structure-functions of cryoprotectants in seafood. Dr. Geniece Hallett-Tapley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, is receiving $89,186 for her research project, which studies the applications of modified perovskite photocatalysts in fundamental organic transformations.

The funding is provided through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), which invests in universities and researchers across Canada to help them carry out ground-breaking research.  

In addition to the JELF funding, StFX will receive $47,019 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Infrastructure Operating Fund. This fund assists universities with incremental operating costs related to projects that receive JELF funding.

A FANTASTIC DAY

In her welcome to attendees, Dr. Petra Hauf, Dean of Science at StFX, underscored how the new funding boosts StFX’s commitment to create exceptional student research opportunities.

“We have a major goal to become Canada’s leader of innovative, interdisciplinary research for undergraduate students,” she said.

“Our faculty are always involving students in their research, working one-on-one both in the lab and in the field.”

Sean Fraser, MP for Central Nova, made the funding announcement on behalf of the federal government. In his remarks, he spoke about the importance of ensuring smaller universities like StFX have access to funding for research and innovation.

“To know that our government is investing in small towns and small universities is important,” he said. “We’re proud to support research led by StFX’s exceptional faculty.”

SUPPORTING A UNIQUE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

Dr. Razul, who became an assistant professor at StFX in 2016, is investigating compounds called cryoprotectants, which protect biological structures from molecular changes caused by freezing. He is specifically interested in researching lobster, and how cryoprotectants can be used to preserve both the structure and taste of frozen lobster meat.

He also highlighted the opportunities his research – and the new funding – will create for StFX students.

“This funding allows me to operate with state-of-the-art instrumentation not found anywhere else in this region,” he said. “Our students will now be able to use this sophisticated equipment, too.”

Dr. Hallet-Tapley, a previous recipient of an award from the prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), explained that new equipment from the funding will allow her to perform a more rapid analysis of her research.

She also underscored the importance of undergraduate student research at StFX, specifically thanking the students who have assisted with her research work so far.

“At StFX we pride ourselves on creating a unique learning environment for undergraduate students,” she said.  “This funding will help StFX continue this work as we introduce our students to state-of-the-art techniques and new interdisciplinary opportunities.”

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