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Laurier researchers receive over $200,000 in provincial funding

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris made the announcement on Friday
Stock photo.

Two researchers from Laurier have received over $230,000 in funding for their research from the Ontario's Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Associate professor Bree Akesson was given $140,000 for her research into Syrian refugee families living in Canada, while Professor Geoff Horsman recieved $97,651 for his research into antibiotic resistance and polluting chemical methods.

The announcement about the investment was made on Friday by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris.

Laurier's vice president of research, Jonathan Newman, says both professors are emerging leaders in their respective fields of international social work and green chemistry.

"This provincial funding will allow Professor Akesson and  her team to deepen their understanding of how families experience war, displacement and resettlement, while Professor Horsman and his team will gain a valuable tool to help them research that could help solve problems both related to antibiotic resistance and polluting chemical method." says Newman.

Akesson has also made news for winning the Ontario Early Researcher Award in 2018 for her research into Syrian refugees in Lebanon. 

She says she is now focusing on research that will inform policy and practice to assist families in Canada that have experienced significant challenges in the contexts of war and displacement, as well as help develop effective research methods for use with vulnerable populations.

"The provincial funding will allow me to work with and train undergraduate and graduate research assistants as well as to engage refugee youth through the creation of a youth council that will help guide the research and its dissemination." says Akesson. 

Horsman's research focuses on discovering new biocatalysts for green chemistry which could create a way of developing agents to mitigate increasing antimicrobial resistance. 

Horsman says he plans to buy a state-of-the-art mass spectrometer, a sophisticated tool that sensitively detects molecules and measures their mass. 

"Being able to purchase a mass spectrometer will help me, my colleagues and students to discover new molecules and understand how they're made in nature," says Horsman, "This could have implications for solving the problem of antibiotic resistance as well as for green chemistry." 

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