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Research Week: Research thrives at Laurentian University

LU and Sudbury.com partner up to bring local research initiatives to light
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By Jonathan Migneault, social media coordinator, Laurentian University

Every March, Laurentian University celebrates Research Week, a time when we reflect on the past year, and all the amazing achievements from our researchers. It’s also a time when our researchers get to present their work to the Laurentian community.

 And you don’t have to look far to find those success stories.

Laurentian is a smaller university, but punches way above its weight when it comes to research output. In 2018, Laurentian was Canada’s top undergraduate university for total research income. The university pulled in more than $32 million in research income that year.

But beyond all the dollars and cents, what matters most is that Laurentian students and faculty members are solving real problems through research. It may sound like a cliché, but a lot of their research could actually make the world a better place.

Take Nadia Mykytczuk, for example. She is an assistant professor at Laurentian’s School of the Environment, and an industrial research chair. Mykytczuk is working on ways to use microbes to clean up abandoned mine sites

Amadeo Parissenti, a professor with Laurentian’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, has developed a diagnostic tool that could let physicians know how well a cancer patient would react to chemotherapy ahead of time. Through the company Rna Diagnostics, that tool would allow doctors to better tailor cancer treatments for each patient, and save lives in the process. 

Laurentian’s massive Metal Earth project seeks to improve mineral exploration, help us better understand our planet and develop new tools to discover the next great deposit. These deposits consist of the raw materials that make the modern world work. The $104-million research initiative includes partnerships with seven universities across Canada and the United States, and involves a team of 10 research associates and more than 30 graduate students from around the world.

And the Centre for Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) is making our workplaces safer for the thousands of people who go underground, or deep into our forests, to support their families. CROSH researchers like Sandra Dorman, Tammy Eger and Alison Godwin are developing ways to improve lines of sight on large mining and forestry machinery, and reduce the negative impacts vibrations from industrial equipment can have on the human body. 

There are too many great research initiatives at Laurentian to summarize in one article. That’s why this week, Laurentian and Sudbury.com are partnering to bring more of those great stories to light. We’ll bring you daily updates from Laurentian’s Research Week events, and point the spotlight toward some deserving researchers.

Research isn’t always the most glamorous job, but it’s incredibly vital to our progress as a society. Without advances from research, challenges like those posed from our changing climate, or the ongoing fight to cure diseases like cancer, can seem insurmountable. 

One week may not be enough to recognize the amazing work our researchers do, but it’s a start. 




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