Research Themes and Initiatives
Research in the Faculty of Science is broad, of high quality and reflects the interests of our researchers as well as the needs of Manitobans and Canadians.  Many of our researchers work in a number of broad research "themes" that span multiple departments while others focus on more specific research areas. The current themes in the

Faculty of Science are: the Life Sciences, Materials Science, Environmental Science and Computational Science & Visualization.
 
Expertise in the Life Sciences, includes Structural Biology, Cell and Molecular Development and Evolution as well as Bio-analytical Chemistry.  A strong collaboration between researchers in Microbiology and Chemistry focusing on the study of protein structure has recently been bolstered by the acquisition of a high quality X-ray diffractometer. New imaging systems have been added to support a range of research activities. A wide range of analytical and imaging techniques and tools have also been developed and refined in the faculty. The caliber of our work in Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry was recognized by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) in 2006 with its highly prestigious Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. The Faculty also boasts outstanding strength in the production of mono-clonal antibodies for therapeutic purposes.

Building research capacity in Materials Science has been a major focus and has resulted in the hiring of many new researchers, including three Canada Research Chairs (CRCs), and the acquisition of significant new research infrastructure. As a result, we now have extensive expertise in the characterization of material properties at scales ranging from single atoms and molecules, to complex molecular systems (e.g. biological and pharmaceutical), and beyond.  By better understanding the behaviour of technologically important materials we will be well positioned to make important contributions such as the design of new semiconductors and Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) via manipulation of the properties of the materials used.  Together with the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources, we have recently created the new Manitoba Institute for Materials which will serve as a focal point for future work.

The Faculty also has many researchers (including a Northern Research Chair) who work in Environmental Science. Specific research areas include ecology, plant stress responses, environmental microbiology, and studies of the effects of environmental change on animals and their behaviour and on plant physiology. The faculty has particular strength in, and access to quality infrastructure supporting, the study of Aquatic ecosystems. Our Environmental Science researchers are looking at ways of gathering evidence of changes occurring in our environment and are trying to determine if there are causal relationships between human activities and those changes.  Additionally, a major research effort is now underway looking at how to use agricultural waster products to cost-effectively produce clean bio-fuels.  The growing importance of the north has also been recognized by Faculty of Science researchers. In addition to studying northern animals, such as polar bears, and assessing northern plant species for use as indicators of environmental change, the secondary metabolites of lichens are being assessed for potential antibacterial, antifungal and other properties of potential value.

Much scientific research now depends on advanced analytical, computational and visualization techniques, so much so that some now describe computation as a new  "pillar of science."  In cases where cost, scale, and/or environmental or safety concerns preclude physical experimentation, analytical models can often be built that allow "virtual" (computer-based) experimentation as an alternative. Such techniques are widely used across the Faculty of Science in areas as diverse as astronomy, physics, chemistry, epidemiology, bioinformatics and proteomics.  New data analysis and data mining techniques offer the possibility to help scientists extract knowledge from huge and complex data sets, created using experimental instruments, that might otherwise be left undiscovered.

This list of research is, of course, non-exhaustive. Additional information, including areas of growing interest such as biological and medical physics, is provided in the Faculty of Science strategic research plan.  Still more detailed information and points of contact can be found by examining the research pages of the various departments, research groups and individual researchers.