Virtually all synthetic materials, solvents and adhesives throughout the world come from hydrocarbon feedstock.
While Canadian industry success has traditionally been underpinned by an abundant and inexpensive supply of foundational raw materials, savvy companies are quickly realizing that their ongoing livelihood hinges on sustainable practices and effective use of non-renewable resources.
Progressive large forest, chemical and agricultural industries are shifting focus from commodity to high-value products. And with the help of bio-materials and bio-products, they are gradually decreasing their use of non-renewable petroleum-based materials.
Canada’s bioproducts market is healthy and growing.
At NINT, we are continuing to focus on converting simple biomaterials into high value-added products through:
- programmed assembly of biomaterials using genetic engineering of organisms to convert simple biomaterials into high value added nanomaterials,
- biomass conversion to create chemicals and polymers from agricultural, forestry and municipal waste feedstocks, and
- extraction of naturally occurring bionanomaterials such as nanocrystalline cellulose to produce light weight biodegradable composite materials.
We are leveraging our expertise in materials design and synthesis and tapping into valuable resources like the government-funded iNgenuity Tech Inc. as we work towards the development of a globally competitive value-added bioproducts and bioprocessing industry.
Diagnosing diseases with a click of a button?
NINT researchers are exploring how nanodevices can be used to increase diagnostic reliability and efficiency, moving beyond traditional mechanisms for testing the therapeutic effects of medications as they investigate bold new alternatives.
In the future, handheld nanodevices will facilitate more rapid and cost effective drug testing by using a series of chip based enzymes that mimic enzymatic pathways in major organs including the liver, where most drugs are metabolized. This novel ‘mouse on a chip’ technology will allow scientists to circumvent the use of prolonged pharmaceutical and animal testing.
These nanodevices will also provide an alternative to more invasive and time consuming blood screening processes. This leading-edge research will underpin revolutionary developments including tiny customizable chips that contain engineered molecules that can identify markers for diseases on the spot. NINT will change the way the world looks at disease.
NINT Researchers in the Nano-enabled Bio-materials Program
- Larry Unsworth
- Andrew Myles
- Wayne Hiebert
- Thomas Thundat (fellow)
- Jack Tuzynski (fellow)
- Mark McDermott
- Alexander Kobryn
- Eric Finley
- Sergey Gusarov
- Yaman Boluk