Each year, the MSSI Ideas Fund provides seed funding to McGill researchers pursuing bold projects and novel ideas in sustainability research. This year's fund distributes $200 000 to projects exploring carbon capture and aerosol detection technologies, new materials for renewable energy, and more sustainable food production. Read more about these projects below.
The next Ideas Fund is scheduled for Fall 2023. The MSSI also offers support to McGill researchers through the Innovation Fund and the SSH-Ideas Fund. More information is available on the MSSI website.
Mining the Atmosphere for Carbon: Designing and Deploying Sustainable Enzyme Catalysts from Transfected Cyanobacteria to Convert CO2 into Value Added Metal Carbonates
Mark Andrews (Chemistry), Janine Mauzeroll (Chemistry), Keith Laderoute (Laderoute Consulting, LLC)
This project addresses the need for a naturally sourced and sustainable carbon capture process that converts carbon dioxide (CO2) into metal carbonate products that can be stored or shipped in dry form. This method is based on catalysts used by cyanobacteria, a 1.9-billion-year-old bacterium, to produce bicarbonate from CO2.
The project will be the first to make, harvest and utilize large quantities of this catalyst, resulting in a unique "carbon clean" process that converts CO2 into solid, inorganic chemical materials.
Solving Aerosol Enigma in a Blink of an Eye
Parisa Ariya (Chemistry & Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences)
Air pollution, including aerosols, has profound societal, economic, and environmental impacts. Not only are aerosols (or airborne particles) health hazards, but they are also important – yet little understood – climate change forcers.
This project will enable us to detect aerosols in a millisecond and explore their fate in the environment, providing solutions to some air pollution challenges by creating the 4-dimensional data needed for health and climate change modelling.
Biopolymer Reinforced Blood Plasma Based Bio-ink for 3D Printing of Cultured Meat
Saji George (Food Science & Agricultural Chemistry), Audrey Moores (Chemistry), Jianyu Li (Mechanical Engineering)
Animal agriculture for meat has a huge negative impact on environment, human health and animal welfare. Obtaining meat through in vitro culturing of cells is a promising alternative to traditional animal agriculture.
Advancements in basic technologies are warranted for ensuring economic sustainability of cultured meat. This biomimetic approach, based on principles of blood clotting and nanotechnology, holds promise for developing sustainable bioink for 3D printing of cells.
π-Quasicrystals: Aperiodic 2D Materials for Clean Energy Storage and Conversion
Rustam Khaliullin (Chemistry)
The main objective of this work is to use mathematical and computer modeling to designa new class of two-dimensional organic nanomaterials based on pentagonal arrangements of atoms that have long thought to be “forbidden” in nanostructures with π-conjugated bonds.
This pentagonal symmetry can lead to unprecedented properties in materials for clean energy applications in batteries, supercapacitors, solar cells, photocatalysts, light-emitting diodes and thermoelectrics.
High-Throughput Microfluidic Droplet Platform to Identify Bovine Commensal Bacteria with Antagonistic Activity Against Klebsiella pneumoniae
Jennifer Ronholm (Food Science & Agricultural Chemistry)
The non-pathogenic bacteria that live in and on us as part of our microbiome can protect us from infections by out-competing bacterial pathogens. Some of these non-pathogenic bacteria, or commensal bacteria, are better at excluding specific pathogens than others.
The aim of this project is to develop a high-throughput technique that will allow rapid screening of bovine commensal bacteria for their ability to antagonize a specific bacterial pathogen - Klebsiella pneumoniae.