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‘Innovative’ Seneca lab will support applied research

Seneca Polytechnic is now home to a dedicated hub for industry-focused applied research in biotechnology, cosmetic science formulations and life sciences diagnostics.

“This new, dedicated space for the Seneca Centre for Innovation in Life Sciences will enable us to provide more applied research opportunities than ever before for our students, faculty and life sciences enterprises in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA),” says Seneca President David Agnew.

The 3,000-square-foot lab is located at Seneca@York Campus and will increase the capacity of Seneca and applied research industry partners to develop and test new products in controlled operating environments. “We are grateful to the federal and provincial governments and our industry partners for supporting our vision of an innovative centre that enhances our connection with the regional innovation ecosystem,” Agnew says.

The centre’s applied research areas of focus include life sciences diagnostics, including metabolomics testing, biochemical diagnostics, immunodiagnostics and molecular diagnostics used in either clinical or industrial settings. Novel cosmetics formulations is another area of focus. Seneca is home to Canada’s only cosmetic science program and supports companies nationwide in applied research.

With a Biosafety Level (BSL)-2 containment room, a specialized room for the storage of controlled substances and a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-certifiable clean room, Seneca is positioned to better serve the research needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in the GTA. All applied research projects conducted at the centre will be overseen by School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry faculty.

“Through this new facility, Seneca College students will have access to more experiential learning opportunities that will equip them with the skills and expertise they need for future jobs in the fields of biological science, applied chemistry and cosmetic science,” Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop said at the lab’s opening on October 16.

The $9.4-million lab, announced in October 2022, will also provide Seneca students and recent graduates with employment opportunities. Seneca received $2 million from the College and Community Innovation program managed by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, $1 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and College Industry Innovation fund, $1 million from the Ontario Research Fund, and $5.4 million from industry research partners and institutional investments.

Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop takes part in a demonstration at the grand opening of the Seneca Centre for Innovation in Life Sciences. Photo courtesy of Seneca College.

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