Queen’s doctoral research into lower back strain by Mohammad Abdoli-Eramaki with Professor Joan Stevenson inspired the creation of a lightweight, wearable product aimed at reducing back injuries caused by lifting and repetitive reaching tasks. His ingenious device, which transfers stresses on the spine to the external harness, has been successfully tested at major automative plants and is now in production by Canadian safety equipment licensee PeakWorks Inc.
Queen’s Physicist David Atherton’s research into electromagnetics led to a patented technique to detect leaks in prestressed concrete pipes. The resulting spinoff company, Pressure Pipe Inspection Co., inspected more than one million miles of pipe in countries world-wide, and in 2011 the company was acquired by Pure Technologies Ltd. of Calgary for $35 million.
The 2000 tainted water tragedy in Walkerton, ON, spurred a team of university and industry reserachers to develop a better alternative to existing water monitoring and testing processes. A key breakthrough was Dr. Stephen Brown’s novel fibre-optic sensory technology, which led to the development of the first viable, fully automated alternative to current test methods for E.coli and Total Coliform bacteria in drinking water. This simple, reliable ‘anywhere, any time’ testing technology now forms the basis of Kingston-based ENDETEC, the global sensor platform for France’s Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies.
In 1992 Drs. Susan Cole and Roger Deeley addressed an important question in cancer research: why did some cancer patients develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs? Their discovery of a class of Multidrug Resistance Proteins showed that MRP molecules acted as as molecular ‘pumps,’ inhibiting the effectiveness of several chemotherapy drugs by moving them out of the cancer cells. Today their discovery is PARTEQ’s most-licensed technology, and it continues to be significant in the advancement of cancer research.
Research by Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhauer at Queen’s led to a new method for administering the world’s leading cancer drug, Taxol®. that significantly reduced the toxic side effects of the drug. This dosing regimen has become the standard of care in use today for the treatment of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma.
Solar research pioneer Dr. Stephen J. Harrison has developed a number of innovative technologies for making solar and conventional heating systems more efficient and effective. His Integral Stagnation Control (ISC) prevents overheating in flat plate collector installations by controlling collector temperature. This technology extends product life and maintains system performance while reducing overall systems costs in flat plate collector installations, making it ideal for large-scale commercial systems and residential combination systems.
Dr. Harrison is also the inventor of a Passive Back Flushing technology that prevents fouling and scaling in brazed plate heat exchangers. Used in a variety of applications, this passive technology maintains the effectiveness of plate heat exchangers, while extending the lifespan of the product and providing a platform for new, thin-layered heat exchangers.
Both of these technologies are currently marketed in North America and are being evaluated in Europe by world-leading manufacturers.
Praveen Jain, Director of the Queen’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER), is a world renowned expert in power electronics and a highly successful serial entrepreneur. His advanced, energy-saving digital power solutions for the computer and telecom markets formed the basis of his startup company, CHiL Semiconductor (now International Rectifier). His most recent efforts have focused on developing advanced photovoltaic (PV) microinverter products and systems, now being brought to market by SPARQ Systems Inc., a PARTEQ spinoff company.
Breakthrough research by Philip Jessop, Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry at Queen’s resulted in an award-winning suite of technologies with the potential to address some of the world’s most intransigent pollution problems. His “switchable” solvents and surfactants offer the potential for clean, energy-efficient ways to separate chemical compounds, with broad applications, including oil sands recovery, seed oil extraction, remediation of drill cuttings and plastics recycling.
Dr. James Kennedy (Queen’s University) and Dr. Roy Pottier (Royal Military College) discovered a way to harness a non-toxic, naturally occurring substance in the body to treat a common precancerous skin condition. Their discovery, commercialized by DUSA Pharmaceuticals as Levulan Photodynamic Therapy®, is being used to treat patients worldwide. As well, their ALA research has resulted in more than 1,000 citations in research publications, and it has stimulated studies into the potential of photodynamic therapy in a vast field of applications.
Since the 1970s Dr. Robert Kisilevsky of Queen’s University has worked to broaden scientific understanding of abnormal protein structures known as amyloids. These needle-like deposits in tissues interfere with cell function and are associated with a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s and adult-onset diabetes. Searching for a way to interfere with the molecular formation of one particular form of amyloid, Dr. Kisilevsky began collaborating with Queen’s chemist Dr. Walter Szarek in the 1980s.
The Queen’s researchers’ investigations of the mechanisms that form these deposits, and the formulation of compounds to block and remove them, led to the formation of Neurochem Inc., a leading Canadian biotechnology company that continues to advance the commercial development of this breakthrough research.
Educators and biological researchers worldwide praise the ruggedness, accuracy and versatility of research and instrumentation systems developed by Qubit Systems. The company was formed by Queen’s biologist David Layzell and colleagues Steven Hunt and Nick Dowling to fill the need for durable, inexpensive research equipment for their classes. The company’s products are now used in more than 500 institutions and by industry, worldwide.
A need for up-to-the-minute information on patients and their waiting times inspired the creation of novel software by Dr. John Marshall and Mr. John Lott of Kingston General Hospital. Now in use across three provinces, their Novari suite of web-based tools gives hospitals, physicians and staff a coordinated, paperless, on-line system for managing and reporting patient wait lists, surgical wait times and for remote booking, resulting in shorter patient wait times and a smoother path along the health care continuum.
Drs. Alvaro Morales, Michael Adams and Jeremy Heaton (pictured left to right) developed an exciting new use for apomorphine, a drug used by doctors for more than a century to rid patients of poison. Recognizing the fast-acting effects of apomorphine on the central nervous system and its ability to stimulate erection, the Queen’s University researchers began exploring ways of delivering the drug so as to bypass the stomach and avoid the drug’s primary effects of nausea and vomiting. Their discovery that the drug could be absorbed directly into the blood stream through the membranes of the mouth formed the basis for Uprima™, the first centrally acting therapy for male erectile dysfunction approved by the European Commission. The drug is approved for use in 71 countries and is currently on sale in 56 countries worldwide.
KINARM, a robotic technology discovered by neuroscientist and inventor Dr. Stephen Scott and developed by PARTEQ Innovations spinoff company BKIN Technologies, is rewriting the way researchers and clinicians diagnose brain injury. Now in use in more than 35 research installations worldwide, provides quantitative assessments on the effects of concussion, stroke and other traumatic brain injuries. In 2012 it was purchased by Canada’s Own to Podium to assess the effects of concussion in Olympic athletes.
Dr. Jeremy Squire developed a novel technology for detecting genomic loss of tumor suppressor genes in patient biopsies. Dr. Squire’s novel platform enables researchers to identify and analyze, with unprecedented accuracy, the chromosomal loss in the area of the genome in and around the PTEN gene. PTEN is considered one of the most important cancer-causing tumor-suppressor genes and it is the target of intense commercial drug development activity. Now licensed to Cymogen DX, a U.S. molecular diagnostics company, Dr. Squire’s technology offers a significant improvement to current detection capabilities, with the potential for better diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer patients.
Research into wheelchair seatbelts and wheelchair anchors by Mr. Henk Wevers and the Clinical Mechanics Group at Queen’s University was was protected and licensed by PARTEQ to Q’Straint Systems Inc., which has become the world’s leading wheelchair securement company. Today, life-saving Q’Straint™ products have been responsible for more than 10 billion safe passenger buckle-ups in transit vehicles in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South Africa.