Fan­shawe Col­lege opens biotech­nol­ogy re­search cen­tre

$10.2 mil­lion pro­ject was funded by col­lege, feds, and province

The London Free Press - - REGION - HEATHER RIVERS hrivers@post­media.com twit­ter.com/Heather­atLFP

A new biotech­nol­ogy re­search cen­tre ded­i­cated to sup­port­ing the agri-food in­dus­try, a key South­west­ern On­tario em­ployer, was un­veiled Fri­day at Fan­shawe Col­lege in Lon­don.

“It brings us into the 21st cen­tury. All the labs are state of the art,” said Joel Van By­nen, lab op­er­a­tions man­ager for the new Cen­tre for Ad­vanced Re­search and In­no­va­tion in Biotech­nol­ogy. “It’s hugely for­ward in terms of reach­ing out to com­mu­nity part­ners in real world ap­pli­ca­tions.”

The $10.2-mil­lion pro­ject was funded by the col­lege, a fed­eral grant of $4 mil­lion and $2.2 mil­lion from the province.

“(The fa­cil­ity) al­lows our stu­dents and fac­ulty teams to of­fer col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search sup­port to lo­cal biotech­nol­ogy part­ners in the agri-food in­dus­try,” Fan­shawe pres­i­dent Pe­ter Devlin said.

The fa­cil­ity in­cludes 1,200 square me­tres of teach­ing labs for bi­ol­ogy, chem­istry, in­stru­men­ta­tion and physics.

It deals with live tis­sue only and plant cul­ti­va­tion, and has no an­i­mal test­ing, Van By­nen said.

Lind­say En­gel, chair of ap­plied sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, called the new fa­cil­ity “a huge achieve­ment” that will lead to in­creased eco­nomic devel­op­ment in the re­gion.

“This space will al­low stu­dents to learn, ex­plore and un­der­stand the the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal sci­ences,” she said.

Stu­dents, she said, can grad­u­ate with an ap­plied de­gree in biotech­nol­ogy, ad­vanced diploma in chem­i­cal lab­o­ra­tory tech­nol­ogy or en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ences, she said.

“Jobs vary but you could work in qual­ity as­sur­ance, work in a lab­o­ra­tory or you could go on to univer­sity,” she said.

Politi­cians at the event in­cluded fed­eral min­ster of sci­ence and sport Kirsty Dun­can.

“It’s a good day for re­search and a good day for Lon­don,” she said.

MIKE HENSEN/THE LON­DON FREE PRESS

Brad Van Damme, a co-op stu­dent at Fan­shawe Col­lege, mixes a so­lu­tion in Fan­shawe’s new Cen­tre for Ad­vanced Re­search and In­no­va­tion in Biotech­nol­ogy.

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