Thompson Rivers University among 35 post-secondary institutions to receive federal funding – Kamloops News

Thompson Rivers University has received even more funding from the federal government for a grant in genomics research.

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) gave TRU $850,000 that will go towards the expansion of the world-class genomic research lab.

“The CFI funds infrastructure, so building new lab space and equipment, so it really has a long lasting impact, that will be there for decades to come,” Dr. Jonathan Van Hamme, professor of microbiology, told Castanet Kamloops.

Van Hamme is collaborating with two other professors, TRU’s Dr. Eric Bottos (molecular ecologist) and University of Saskatchewan’s Dr. Lingling Jin (computer science) to establish the TRUbI/O Network.

“Today’s announcement is an example of the confidence the federal government places in our researchers and in our students. The world-class tools that are possible with this grant will continue to put our region and TRU on the map as leaders in environmental research,” TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn said in a press release.

They look to integrate several of TRU’s current technologies and transform the lab into a state of the art facility, a project that will cost $2-million in infrastructure.

“In terms of modern molecular microbiology equipment for environmental and climate change research, TRUbI/O will have almost everything we need from end to end. With these tools the possibilities for our research is profound,” said Van Hamme.

But the focus for the professors is on environmental remediation and climate change, plant genome evolution, as well as agricultural systems and products.

“We have different expertise, but some overlapping interests, and we collaborate on projects together,” said Van Hamme. “This investment will result in some really enriched collaborations, and our contributions to our international research collaborations will be much greater. The experiences our students will now have is as good or better than they can get anywhere else in the world.”

The Government of Canada chose 35 post-secondary institutions and 102 projects, and TRU was one of them.

“There was a lot of big institutions that have much longer histories of big research than TRU does,” Van Hamme said. “So we were very pleased to be included in that.”

“We were pretty excited, unfortunately Lingling, one of our collaborators, wasn’t around, but Eric Bottos just lives down the street from me, so we ran down the road to each others houses, very excited,” he laughed.