Biotechnology is more than DNA and genetic engineering. Biotechnology uses living organisms, or cellular and bio-molecular processes, to make new products, solve problems, or provide new methods of production.
The Biotechnology Research Program is the cornerstone of Lakehead’s expanding research capabilities and many program members also contribute to the PhD in Biotechnology. The Biotechnology Research Program effectively strengthens Lakehead’s involvement in regional biotechnology initiatives and has led to the creation of a broad range of industry partnerships. By successfully combining the focus and expertise of faculty in both science and engineering into two interdisciplinary areas of biotechnology, Environmental Biotechnology and Medical Biotechnology, the Biotechnology Research Program puts Lakehead at the forefront of cutting edge biotechnology research in Northwestern Ontario.
Work in Environmental Biotechnology addresses
environmental issues in northern resource sectors, primarily pulp and paper processing and mining. Potentially toxic contaminants are a major concern in northern environments and research will address i) methods and services for their detection and tracing, ii) extent and nature of toxicity to humans, animals and plants and iii) sustainable approaches for remediation.
Application of plants as powerful tools for sustainable remediation of contaminated soil and water will be achieved through phytoremediation research. Plants and associated biomass can be utilized to produce value-added materials, such as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals or biofuel.
Work in Medical Biotechnology focuses on genomics, toxicology and biomedical sciences. It is increasingly recognized that sensitivity of humans, animals and plants to toxic compounds, diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes) and pharmaceuticals is highly variable among individual persons. Genomic evaluation at the population level allows the identification of these individual responses and predispositions.