Vanier College is pleased to announce that Christopher Gregg of the Biology Department was recently awarded a two-year grant of close to $32,000 a year from the Fonds de Recherche Nature et Technologies Québec (FRQNT) to evaluate the efficiency of genetically engineered strains of yeast to produce commercially important compounds similar to morphine and codeine.
His research project will be carried out in collaboration with the lab of Dr. Vincent Martin at Concordia University who has made headlines by engineering a strain of yeast that can produce morphine (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/gm-sugar-can-be-turned-into-morphine-heroin-without-using-poppies-1501726).
Vanier students who work on the project will benefit from learning to use equipment bought with the grant money to do a lot of the molecular biology work on campus. Christopher is hoping his research students will have engineered 12 yeast strains by the end of this semester, which will then be tested using facilities at Concordia University this coming winter.
“This project will be a step toward implementing effective, innovative pedagogical practice, namely the inclusion of students as part of an active research team. It is also an opportunity for Vanier to connect with the larger research community in Montreal, which will help enhance Vanier’s appeal and distinctiveness as a learning institution,” says Christopher Gregg.