Agricultural Research in Southern-Alberta Event a success! - Oct 13, 2011
The September 2011 AVAC Investing in Innovators event was held in Lethbridge in partnership with the University of Lethbridge. Looking out to a sunny day from the Coulee Junction at the U of L, more than 50 friends, colleagues and invited guests celebrated the works of Drs. Olga Kovalchuk, Igor Kovalchuk and Roman Przybylski.
The September 2011 AVAC Investing in Innovators event was held in Lethbridge in partnership with the University of Lethbridge. Looking out to a sunny day from the Coulee Junction at the U of L, more than 50 friends, colleagues and invited guests celebrated the works of Drs. Olga Kovalchuk, Igor Kovalchuk and Roman Przybylski. These internationally recognized and commercially-relevant researchers have been supported by AVAC since 2004, with close to two million ($2MM) agricultural research funding.
University president, Dr. Michael Mahon, and AVAC President and CEO, Ross Bricker, started the formal program by stating the importance of partnerships and funding in support of value-add and agriculture. Minister of Advanced Education and Technology, and MLA for Lethbridge-West, Greg Weadick , applauded the AVAC and University partnership, and for working hand-in-hand with industry to make great strides for keeping agriculture a pillar of the Alberta economy. The Government of Alberta continues to put a number of strategic initiatives in place to support agriculture in the province, such as water and nano-crystalline cellulose initiatives. Minister Weadick congratulated Dr. Przybylski in winning the 2011 research prize from the Premier’s Alberta Food for Health Award.
Vice President, Dr. Daniel Weeks, emphasized the added benefit of training highly qualified students and research associates by the celebrated researchers supported by AVAC. Dr. Olga Kovalchuk is a medically-trained scientist whose work is focusing on the role of epigenetics in carcinogenesis and cancer treatment responses. Through AVAC support, she is discovering new plant-derived agents from Alberta-grown plants that may prevent cancer and autoimmune inflammatory disorders. Dr. Igor Kovalchuk , also a medically-trained scientist and supported by AVAC, is developing and commercializing novel methods for improved plant transformation which will allow for more efficient, stable protocols for the genetic transformation of food crops to meet existing and emerging agronomic challenges. Dr. Roman Przybylski, an AVAC edible oils scientist, has been working closely with industry to develop alternative healthy vegetable oils that can positively impact health problems such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Over his career, he has built up tremendous insights into the quality and performance of oils and fats for frying, baking and other food applications.
The research outcomes of these U of L scientists cannot be overstated, says the General Manager of the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Ward Toma, “The Commission is always looking at and supporting new and innovative ways to make our canola crop more profitable and sustainable. Industrial research data, scientific know-how and health evidence from these scientists is transforming the edible oils industry.”
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