Cambrian College Officially Opens New Chemistry Research Lab

By Cambrian College Modified on May 15, 2023
Tags : Academics | News | STEM

The new Chemical Analyses and Scientific Services (CASS) Lab provides Cambrian students with essential hands-on experience in several industries.

 Cambrian College Officially Opens New Chemistry Research Lab

Chemistry is the science of combining elements into compounds to create something new. At Cambrian College, the elements of applied research, government support, and industry partnerships have combined to create the new Chemical Analyses and Scientific Services (CASS) Lab, which officially opened April 5, 2023 at the Cambrian’s main campus.

What can you do at the CASS?

The CASS lab serves industries across several key sectors, including agriculture and food, construction, energy, environmental sciences, life sciences, mining, and pulp and paper. Services available through the CASS Lab include:

  • Sample preparation and digestion for a variety of materials.
  • Sulfur and carbon analysis
  • Precious and base metal detection
  • Micropollutant and persistent organic pollutant quantification
  • Microbial and genetic assays
  • Live cell imaging

CASS brings together industry clients, students from Cambrian’s Chemical Engineering Technology program, faculty, and Cambrian R&D staff to collaborate and solve real-world challenges.

Cambrian’s Research Capacity Development Project

The new CASS Lab is one part of Cambrian’s Research Capacity Development Project, which has received approximately $2.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor) and $2 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).

Construction and equipping the CASS Lab cost approximately $1.97 million, with FedNor and the NOHFC each contributing 45% of the costs, or approximately $887,000. Cambrian providing the remaining 10%.

Specialized equipment now available

Funding for the Research Capacity Development Project was also used to purchase specialized, industrial-grade equipment in other departments of Cambrian R&D including a 5-axis computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine, a waterjet cutter, and 3D printers.

“There is a lot of chemistry involved in major industry, and many companies don’t have in-house expertise or equipment to do some of the novel analysis and testing that needs to be done to stay competitive, and that’s where our CASS Lab comes in,” says Dr. Mike Commito, Director of Cambrian R&D. “It’s a game-changer for the region.”

“The CASS Lab demonstrates the collective success we will all see through partnerships and the support of the provincial and federal governments,” says Shawn Poland, Interim President of Cambrian College. “Students who use the lab will gain valuable experience and networking opportunities that we know leads to future employment. Faculty and our research team benefit by broadening their skills and experiences while staying current with latest trends and technologies. Thank you to FedNor and NOHFC, and our local representatives for supporting this project.”

Hands-on experience for Cambrian students

“The new CASS Lab is the perfect example of how Cambrian College continues to be an innovative leader in experiential learning,” says Viviane Lapointe, Member of Parliament for Sudbury. “This investment has substantial benefits for both students and industry partners — by providing hands-on experience to students, while also assisting partners address challenges.”

“In order to grow, Northern cities and communities require top-notch learning and research facilities which is why we are proud to invest in Cambrian College,” says Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development. “Through the NOHFC, Cambrian College has created a state-of-the-art chemistry lab for students, as well as for key industry sectors in the North, including agriculture, forestry, and mining. We are confident that this targeted investment will lead to innovation across the board, making Northern Ontario a destination for post-secondary education.”

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