University of Calgary

Research funding

June 24, 2010

"Outstanding research programs" spurred on with major funding

Andrew MacRae (left), a PhD physics student, and Alexander Lvovsky, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, adjust their laser array.
If money is the fuel that drives the rate of research, three members of the University of Calgary's Faculty of Science have just received some welcome pressure on the pedal.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded Alexander Lvovsky, Alex Brudnyi and Raymond J. Turner discovery accelerator grants, designed to push the recipients’ research into turbo drive.

Each award, worth $120,000 over three years, aims to provide "substantial and timely additional resources to accelerate progress, and maximize the impact of outstanding research programs," according to NSERC. Across Canada, 125 researchers received funding through these Discovery Accelerator Supplements.

Quantum physicist Lvovsky's work focuses on exploring quantum optical technology. His research grant will be used to expand on recent successes such as his lab's experiments building with microscopic light particles or photons, connecting them with other photons in a way never achieved before.

Lvovsky, a professor in Physics and Astronomy says the applications of quantum physics are enormous.

"This includes, in particular, faster computers, secure communication lines, control over chemical reactions, and measurements of unprecedented precision."

Turner, a professor in Biological Sciences, is interested in the biochemistry and physiology of bacteria, specifically looking at how bacteria deal with a variety of antimicrobial agents. This grant will allow Turner's research group to concentrate primarily on the small multidrug resistance (SMR) family of proteins.

"The long-term is to provide a biochemical and biophysical picture of SMR proteins," says Turner. "These are a particular interest as they are a model system for other multidrug resistance proteins including those that help lead to bacterial multidrug resistance and those that contribute to cancer chemotherapy problems."

Alex Brudnyi, an associate professor of mathematics, says his award will finance extra help in the form of two post-doctoral students. Together they will continue to attempt to solve some of mathematics’ most complex problems, first proposed by Henri Poincaré, one of the greatest mathematicians of the last century.

"Much of our work is quite complicated and theoretical," says Brudnyi. "You can't always show explicitly the results, and apply them to a real-world problem. So this recognition of our theoretical research is very significant for me."

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