Lab News

Dr. Andrew Peters, Director of the Supporting Evidence Based Interventions program (SEBI) and professor at the University of Edinburgh visited the Bionano lab research team on April 25, 2017.  Upon formal introductions, the postdoctoral scientists and students of the bionano group gave presentations to Dr. Peters on various topics of development of nano-biosensing platforms for animal health and food safety.  This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Peters about his leadership and initiatives in the SEBI project funded by Gates Foundation. SEBI funded Bionano laboratory to help assess new technology interventions for development and transfer to target geographies.  Upon completion of the presentations, Professor Peters were given a lab tour and building tour in the School of Engineering as well as in the University of Guelph campus. 






The Onion’s perceived health benefits   

Article published in Better Farming Magazine (link)

 It’s time for farmers to think about planting more onions, says a University of Guelph researcher who is spearheading a new method to extract the humble vegetable’s most healthful ingredient.

   Suresh Neethirajan, principal investigator in the university’s Bionanotechnology Laboratory, says his engineering team’s research shows quercetin extractions from certain onions can kill colon cancer cells.    

   Quercetin is a flavonoid, an antioxidant thought to produce an anti-inflammatory effect and to benefit immune systems. Neethirajan says the university’s extraction process uses superheated high-pressure, steam-based water technology. Other techniques leave behind chemical residues that make extractions unfit to use as food additives or in biopharmaceutical compounds.

   The university’s process doesn’t leave any harmful residues behind. The approach is ready to be taken into commercial production, he says. “We have established a proof of concept. We have a framework,” says Neethirajan.

   Jason Verkaik, who grows onions at his Carron Farms Ltd. in the Holland Marsh and is chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, estimates Ontario producers grow 7,000-plus acres of onions. These vegetables supply the domestic market for most of the year and are also exported along the Eastern Seaboard. He says demand for onions has remained constant but will grow as Ontario populations with South and Southeast Asian and Middle and Far East roots grow.

Bionano lab trained high school student garners major awards in the national level science fair competition. Bionanolab of the University of Guelph has been very active in providing research internships to High School Students in South West Ontario. Last year in 2015/2016, Lucas penny – a Grimsby High School Student won several awards through research training from the bionanolab mentorship. For the current academic year 2016-2017 – Jack Mogus, a grade 11 student of Garth Webb Public School in Oakville, Ontario is the science champion.

Jack Mogus has been working on a project titled "G-Glove - An Environmentally and Cost Effective Alternative to Present Day Surgical Gloves".  Smart gloves that makes use of nanotechnology and graphene based nanomaterials was developed, and tested by Jack under the guidance of Professor Neethirajan. Infusing graphene into a guayule rubber glove enhances its puncture resistance, allowing it to be re-used and sterilized multiple times without damaging its quality, and eliminates the need to double gloves for surgical operations (reduces glove wastage).

Jack has been working in the Bionanolab under the supervision of Professor Neethirajan since September 2016 and has access to Biosafety level 2 facilities, with direct guidance from the bionano scientists. Ryan Berthelot and Syed Ahmed of the Bionano Lab have been closely working with Jack Mogus and provided training to use the various equipment for characterization, testing the graphene infused gloves for antibacterial efficacies using microbiological experiments. Jack also accessed the Scanning Electron Microscope, cultured E.Coli and Listeria samples, conducted swab tests, and tensile testing using universal testing machines.  

The 57th annual Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair awards ceremony sponsored by ArcelorMittal Dofasco was held on April 4th, 2017 - Tuesday night at Mohawk College.  Jack won numerous prizes in this competition including the Best High School Project. Jack also won the Chemical Institute of Canada award, Hamilton Academy of Dentistry Award, Yale Science & Engineering Association Award and the Gold Merit Award at this 2017 competition.

Big Congratulations to Jack! Jack will be competing in the 'Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2017 to be held at Los Angeles, California between May 14-19, 2017. Best wishes for this competition, Jack!



Nanoscience discovery may slow spread of disease outbreaks, produce better flu shots   (Link

Waterloo Region Record

GUELPH — Better flu vaccines and fewer disease outbreaks are possible with a new nanoscience-based method for detecting viruses developed by international scientists, including a University of Guelph researcher.

The team's discovery could speed up identification of flu strains to develop more effective vaccines and also detect other viruses early to prevent epidemics.

"This allows viruses to be detected early before large numbers of people get sick," said Prof. Suresh Neethirajan, head of the BioNano Laboratory in Guelph's engineering school.

"It's moving from reacting to predicting."

Neethirajan and researchers in Korea and Japan worked with various flu strains to develop a system with gold nanoparticle films that can detect viruses at a much lower level than conventional methods.

"It could be 500 times more sensitive," Neethirajan said. "We can detect samples that are much, much smaller."

That means test results are faster, aiding in speedy manufacture of targeted flu vaccines to reduce the annual global impact of the bug. In Canada, there are more than 12,000 flu-related hospitalizations each year, according to Health Canada statistics.

And it's useful for detecting other viruses, enabling earlier treatment for those who get sick and "possibly predict the outbreak even before it can happen," Neethirajan said

Plus, the researchers designed an inexpensive and portable tool that uses paper strips coated with sensing material that can quickly show with a colour change if a virus is present in a sample.

That could prove especially helpful with food-borne illnesses, such as Norwalk and hepatitis, to quickly identify the virus in order to contain outbreaks. Or even before that, it could detect contamination on produce from handling.

Also, it could be used to detect the influenza strains in birds and pigs.

"This can be found in the live animal before it reaches the food chain," Neethirajan said

The discovery is described in a paper this month in Scientific Reports, published by Nature.

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Bionanotechnology Laboratory
Suresh Neethirajan

School of Engineering
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario
Canada N1G 2W1

Room 3513 - Richards Building
50 Stone Road East

Lab: THRN 2133 BioNano Lab

Phone: (519) 824-4120 Ext 53922
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