The Exploration stream of the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) granted a total of $3M to 12 researchers from the University of Ottawa including its affiliated hospital research institutes to support their innovative, high-risk high-reward research projects, including two CRPuO members, Lora Ramunno and Raphael St-Gelais.
Lora Ramunno, Professor in the Department of Physics and Canada Research Chair (T2) in Computational Nanophotonics, received funding for her project which aims to develop a biomolecular orientation microscope that detects light in a specific colour range emitted by such polar molecules when exposed to laser light, without needing to add any dyes. Like the batteries we use to power our flashlights, complex molecules that structure our biological tissues have positive and negative poles, and this polarity is intimately connected to their function. Such a groundbreaking microscope would contribute to the early detection of the loss of alignment of polar neuronal transport-regulating molecules, which may be at play in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, and have a critical impact on neuroscience, nano-engineering and drug discovery.
Raphael St-Gelais, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, received funding for his portable heat-to-electricity recycling modules that might just be on the verge of tapping into the pool of waste heat from industrialized countries. While 50 percent of the energy consumed in industrialized countries could be recycled into another form of energy, only 0.2 percent of this waste heat is converted back into electrical power. This energy conversion project will build on recent breakthroughs in precision mechanics, photovoltaics, and heat transfer research to fine-tune the technology needed to first transform large quantities of heat into light, before converting this light into electricity using modified solar cells. Solar cell specialist Karin Hinzer and Princeton’s advance radiation process simulation expert Alejandro Rodriguez bring their respective expertise to the project.
You can read more about the NFRF fund and the other recipients here.
Congratulations to Prof. Ramunno, Prof. St-Gelais, as well as all of the other recipients for their innovative research initiatives!