Kenneth NgBiochemistry professor Kenneth Ng is a member of a multidisciplinary group of UWindsor researchers partnering in an effort to enhance Canada’s preparedness for future pandemics.

University of Windsor partners in pandemic peparedness research hub

The University of Windsor is a major partner in one of five new federal research hubs set to enhance Canada’s biomanufacturing capacity and preparedness for future pandemics.

A multidisciplinary group of UWindsor researchers will contribute by extending their research expertise and taking advantage of the unique cross-border location of the Windsor-Essex region to boost the development of pathogen surveillance technologies, knowledge translation, and highly qualified personnel training.

The UWindsor researchers include: Kenneth Ng and Yufeng Tong from chemistry and biochemistry, Kendall Soucie from psychology, Pooya Moradian Zadeh from computer science, Arezoo Emadi from engineering, Mike McKay from the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, and Lisa Porter from biomedical sciences and the WE-Spark Health Institute.

On March 2, the federal government announced an investment of $10 million in support of the creation of five research hubs across Canada with support from the Canada Biomedical Research Fund. Windsor will be a major partner in the University of Toronto-led hub called the Canadian Hub for Health Intelligence & Innovation in Infectious Diseases (HI3).

HI3 is a coalition of 80+ partners forming a powerful network to support a robust domestic pipeline of life-saving pandemic-related vaccines and therapeutics, made by Canadian scientists and produced by biomanufacturers in Canada. It will pursue innovations that fall into three research themes:

  • precision interventions like vaccines and therapeutics;
  • process innovations, from automation to second-generation biomanufacturing; and
  • health intelligence, to evaluate interventions and inform efficient and equitable delivery of pandemic countermeasures.

HI3 will link the innovation engine and infrastructure of nine Ontario universities and six research hospitals with commercialization and manufacturing partners including several with ties to the Windsor-Essex region.

Collaborators brought to the hub by the UWindsor researchers include:

The project will help Canada to respond more rapidly, effectively, and equitably to future pandemics, said François-Philippe Champagne, federal minister of innovation, science, and industry.

“To continue to protect Canadians and to build a resilient biomanufacturing ecosystem, our government is taking every action possible to be equipped with the best tools,” he said. “We’re proud to foster the research needed to produce cutting-edge discoveries and products in our very own labs that will help us build a stronger, more robust life sciences sector that responds to the needs of Canadians for decades to come.”