Game-Changing Research at Ontario’s Universities

Click on a photo below to learn more about each discovery

  • Statue of Northrope Frye
    Mastering the Art of Criticism 1957 Northrop Frye revolutionizes the field of literary criticism through his Anatomy of Criticism, one of the most important works in 20th century literary theory. Learn more
  • Wheelchair wheel
    Creating Accessible Transit 1982 Henk Wevers develops Q’Straint, a retractable, four-point system used around the world to keep wheelchair passengers safe while in transit. Learn more
  • Man on bike blanacing a large storage of food on his head
    CAIRO, EGYPT - OCTOBER 9, 2014: The young boy carries the large basket of bread on his head and rides the bicycle, on October 9 in Cairo.
    Urbanizing Food Production Research partnerships with Ontario Universities support... an international discussion about food security and urbanization as the world's population continues to grow, identifying potential solutions to future problems. Learn more
  • Statue of Norman Bethune Courtesy of Flickr
    Revolutionizing Medicine 1936 Norman Bethune organizes the world’s first mobile blood transfusion unit, revolutionizing battlefield and remote medicine. Learn more
  • Two hands shaking
    Making Peace 1998 John McGarry’s work on the Northern Ireland conflict redefines the terms of debate and informs the successful Good Friday Agreement. Learn more
  • Frederick Banting and Charles Best
    Treating Diabetes 1921 Frederick Banting, Charles Best, J.J.R. Macleod, and J.B. Collip develop insulin to treat diabetes—a lifesaving discovery for millions. Learn more
  • People playing hockey on an outdoor rink
    RinkWatch Research partnerships with Ontario Universities create... a database of backyard ice rink conditions built on information provided by Canadians, leading to a better understanding of climate change patterns across Canada. Learn more
  • Alphabet blocks
    Setting Standards for Language Testing 1989 Janna Fox develops the trend-setting CAEL, a global leader in high-stakes, standardized English proficiency testing. Learn more
  • Pill bottle with a heart on it
    Preventing Strokes 1978 Henry Barnett leads the global study that demonstrates Aspirin can prevent strokes, creating new possibilities for the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Learn more
  • Woman and child using sulfer sprinkes
    © UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0610/Shehzad Noorani
    Treating Anemia 1996 Stanley Zlotkin develops an iron and mineral supplement for food, helping to eliminate childhood anemia in developing countries. Learn more
  • an image of the lab-in-a-pen tool
    Lab-in-a-pen Research partnerships with Ontario Universities create... a pen-sized Hepatitis B testing device that can be used anywhere that a lab is not available, improving access to diagnostic tools for remote and vulnerable communities. Learn more
  • Microsope look at plants; plant skin
    Preparing Plants for Climate Change Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a better understanding of the genes that control the protective layer on plants and how they function, improving our ability to grow crops that will be more adaptable to climate change. Learn more
  • Wind machines in a vineyard.
    VineAlert Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a tool that measures the cold-hardiness of grapevines and warns growers when to turn on their frost-fighting wind machines, protecting crops and the local economy. Learn more
  • Image of a wristband that uses your heartbeat as your password for your devices
    Security in a Heartbeat Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a smart wristband that syncs your heartbeat to your digital devices, providing a more unique and secure password than your fingerprint. Learn more
  • Children waiting for vaccine
    Courtesy of Wellcome Library
    Battling Polio 1949 Raymond Parker leads a team that discovers "Medium 199", which later helps Jonas Salk develop the polio vaccine. Learn more
  • The logo of the Feeding 9 Billion campaign.
    Feeding 9 Billion Research partnerships with Ontario Universities create... "The F9B Challenge" that supports students pursuing research to improve sustainability in the food system, reducing food waste and fighting hunger. Learn more
  • Image of the workings of efficient Solar Panels
    Solar Savings Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a unique, cost-effective solar panel system that converts solar rays into usable, alternating currents, feeding the power grid and powering homes. Learn more
  • SNOLAB Courtesy of SNOLAB
    Better Understanding the Universe 2001 Physicists at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory discover that neutrinos have mass and redefine the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Learn more
  • Atoms
    Diagnosing Genetic Disorders 1948 Murray Barr discovers the sex chromatin — the Barr Body — ushering in a new era in research and diagnosis of genetic disorders, including Downs syndrome. Learn more
  • TV screens with Marshall McLuhan on them Courtesy of Flickr
    Redefining Media 1967 Marshall McLuhan revolutionizes media theory and develops terms like “global village” and “the medium is the message.” Learn more
  • Diphtheria Vaccine
    Transforming Disease Control 1914 John FitzGerald pioneers public health and disease prevention in Canada, manufact- uring life-saving public health products such as diphtheria and tetanus vaccines. Learn more
  • Tomato held in two hands
    Exploring a Cell’s Life 2000 John Thompson discovers a gene that determines if a cell lives or dies, resulting in opportunities to enhance cancer therapy and prolong the shelf- life of fresh produce. Learn more
  • Man on the moon
    Fighting Gravity 1942 Wilbur Franks develops the anti-black-out suit, giving Allied pilots the advantage in WWII, and enabling high speed flight as well as space travel. Learn more
  • "Cobalt-Bomb" cancer treatment machine
    Treating Cancer 1951 Ivan Smith leads the development of Cobalt-60 therapy units, revolutionizing radiation treatment of cancer
    and benefitting millions of patients.
    Learn more
  • Image of a gene and a blood pressure device
    The Genetic Code of Blood Pressure Research partnerships with Ontario Universities discover... a gene that is linked to high blood pressure, improving personalized treatments for heart patients. Learn more
  • DNA barcodes and pictures of butterflies and owls
    Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
    Digitizing DNA 2003 Paul Hebert proposes DNA barcoding, a major breakthrough in species identification with applications ranging from protecting global biodiversity to curbing food fraud. Learn more
  • One needs and a group of pills
    Exploring Drug Resistance 1992 Susan Cole and Roger Deeley discover the gene coding for a multidrug resistance protein (MRP) that prevents cancer-killing drugs from working. Learn more
  • A woman in a wheelchair using the tecla device to access her phone
    Accessible Communications Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... the Tecla Shield 3, an assistive technology that enables people with upper-body mobility impairment to gain full access to their smartphones, providing them with the ability to communicate independently on their devices. Learn more
  • Random genetic sequence
    Understanding Genomes Research partnerships with Ontario Universities lead to... the decoding of the human genome that are commonly linked to specific medical conditions, as well as providing the world with a better understanding of the genetic factors that underline autism. Learn more
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes Nicholas Murphy, SPARK
    Reinventing the Potato 1966 Gary Johnston develops the Yukon Gold potato, giving new Canadians the kind of yellow-fleshed spud they had back home - its popularity has made it a household name. Learn more
  • Brain
    Treating the Untreatable 1958 Charles Drake pioneers the first surgical treatment for cerebral aneurysms at the base of the brain, a milestone in neuroscience. Learn more
  • A police officer talking to a woman
    Keeping Cool Under Pressure Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... psychological-based stress control training programs for police officers, changing the way their stress impacts their split second decisions in a crisis situations on the job. Learn more
  • Nutrition label
    Improving Health 1999 Bruce Holub discovers trans-fats have a significant negative impact on human health, resulting in the virtual elimination of them from supermarket shelves. Learn more
  • Several different types of rocks come together to forma heart full of diversity
    Heart made of pebbles, symbol and illustration of love romance relationship tolerance diversity religion faith hope zen relaxation mineral spa, homemade diy decoration
    Celebrating Diversity Research partnerships with Ontario Universities explore... religious identities and their place in everyday life in order to develop tools for citizen engagement in a multicultural Canada, helping to build an inclusive society in which everyone feels valued. Learn more
  • A farmer uses an iPad to survey his field conditions.
    Growing a Better Farm Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... remote, online support software that uses sensors to provide real-time, localized data about field conditions to farmers, helping them to make better decisions about growing their crops. Learn more
  • Gene sequence
    Identifying Genes 1989 Lap-Chee Tsui and Manuel Buchwald isolate the CFTR gene that causes cystic fibrosis, a milestone in fighting the disease. Learn more
  • A drawing of the diagnostic testing kits.
    Diagnostics Made Easier Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... tools and kits that preserve human samples without the need for refrigeration simplifying diagnostic testing. Learn more
  • Row of red needles
    Improving Cancer Treatment 1990 Elizabeth Eisenhauer discovers a method for administering a commonly used cancer drug Taxol® that reduces toxic side effects in patients. Learn more
  • Human body with nerve routes highlighted
    Repairing Nerves 1988 Alan Hudson and Susan Mackinnon perform the world’s first nerve transplant, restoring feeling to those with nerve damage due to accident or disease. Learn more
  • Digital drawing of cancer cells
    Cancer Fighting Viruses Research partnerships with Ontario Universities discover... that introducing a specific combination of viruses to cancer patients' immune systems primes their bodies to attack tumors, improving treatments for all and potentially long-term patient outcomes. Learn more
  • A image of the land where the village used to be
    Recognizing Canada’s Indigenous heritage Research partnerships with Ontario Universities design... a series of exhibitions and digital projects on c̓əsnaʔəm, a Musqueam village in Vancouver, raising awareness and igniting new discussions about urban Indigenous histories. Learn more
  • Arthur Lismer skipping rope with students
    Group of Seven member Arthur Lismer skipping rope with students, c. 1927. Courtesy OCAD U Archives.
    Revolutionizing Canadian Art 1920 - 1933 The Group of Seven explores the unique character of the Canadian landscape in a new distinctive and iconic painting style. Learn more
  • Children in foster care holding an adult's hand
    Supporting Kids in Foster Care Research partnerships with Ontario Universities find... that children in Canada's foster care system who have complex disorders are facing a dwindling number of suitable care providers, highlighting a need for change in the system. Learn more
  • Woman sitting in snowbank in the Northwest Territories
    Building Better Ice Roads Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... methods for evaluating northern snowpack water patterns, providing data that will improve safety and aid in the planning, construction, and maintenance of ice roads. Learn more
  • A woman with a hearing aid.
    Hear! Hear! Research partnerships with Ontario Universities design... hearing aids built on the science of the brain, bringing "music to the ears" of people with hearing impairments. Learn more
  • Bertram Brockhouse
    Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research
    Understanding the Atom 1956 Bertram Brockhouse invents the triple axis neutron spectrometer, shedding new light on how atoms in solids behave, which later earns him a Nobel Prize. Learn more
  • Slice of grapefruit
    Discovering the Power of Grapefruit 1991 David Bailey proves grapefruit can affect the way your body metabolizes drugs, the first discovery that what we eat can affect drug effectiveness. Learn more
  • Sculptures of neonatal babies
    Neonatal Art Research partnerships with Ontario Universities design... model fetuses that mimic fetal abnormalities to allow doctors to practice required procedures in utero, saving many babies' lives. Learn more
  • Maple leaf
    Inspiring the “Cultural Mosaic” 1965 John Porter makes significant contributions to the field of sociology, inspiring the term “cultural mosaic.” Learn more
  • Lake surrounded by forest
    Testing the Waters 1984 John Smol uses lake sediments to show that acid rain causes declining pH in many North American lakes, exposing the long-term negative impacts of humans on aquatic ecosystems. Learn more
  • Digital drawing of a "computerized brain"
    The Brain in Action Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a better understanding of how the brain lets us see and move in everyday life, improving how products are manufactured and how they are advertised to Ontarians. Learn more
  • Book cover Paris 1919 Penguin Random House Canada
    Understanding the Present 2002 Margaret MacMillan demonstrates the past’s influence on current international politics and how history can suggest solutions for today’s issues. Learn more
  • A field.
    A green row lettuce field in the Salinas Valley, California USA
    Smart Fertilizers Research partnerships with Ontario Universities design... a fertilizer that releases nutrients only when crops need them, preventing unused chemicals from polluting lakes and rivers. Learn more
  • Rocks and berries that emulate Mars; This image provided by NASA shows loose, BB-sized, hematite-rich spherules embedded in this Martian rock like blueberries in a muffin and released over time by erosion. The Mars Rover Opportunity found this cluster of them at its Eagle Crater landing site and analyzed their composition with its spectrometers. Hypotheses about their formation have contributed to the story of water on Mars. Ten years after NASA landed two rovers on Mars on a 90-day mission, one rover is still exploring, and the project has generated hundreds of thousands of images from the Martian surface. Now the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is presenting more than 50 of the best photographs from the two Mars rovers in an art exhibit curated by the scientists who have led the ongoing mission. (AP Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University)
    Illuminating Mars Research partnerships with Ontario Universities lead to... the discovery of debris from a meteorite that hit near Sudbury 1.8 billion years ago, giving geologists insight into the geology of the Red Planet. Learn more
  • Water pump
    Kitchener-Waterloo Record Photographic Negative Collection, University of Waterloo Library
    Supplying Clean Water 1970s Alan Plumtree and Alfred Rudin develop an easily repairable and inexpensive hand- operated pump, ensur- ing long-term access to clean, safe water in developing countries. Learn more
  • A very unsanitary toilet (looks like a rusted hole in the ground)
    “Off grid” toilet Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... an "off-grid" toilet that disinfects waste and converts it to energy, reducing disease and making toilets like this a thing of the past for billions in the developing world. Learn more
  • An elederly woman sits at a table to eat
    Quality of Mealtime Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... strategies for long-term care homes to make the most of mealtimes, improving the quality of life for their residents. Learn more
  • Digital drawing of a person's arm being helped by the robot
    A Robot for Stroke Patients Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... an intelligent and affordable therapeutic robot that can sense patients' needs, potentially improving recovery for thousands of Canadians. Learn more
  • Food growing under LED lights in a lab.
    Food for space Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... unique technologies including LED lighting, that allow us to grow food in harsh enviroments, providing alternative ways to sustain humans in Canada's North and during long-term space missions. Learn more
  • Allan Davenporte
    Defining Wind Engineering 1965 Alan Davenport defines the modern field of wind engineering by developing an equation to measure wind loads, making building structures safer and more economical. Learn more
  • Red tape surrounds a glass of drinking water and ice.
    Understanding Water Risks Research partnerships with Ontario Universities design... a new water quality assessment methodology with Dokis First Nation, incorporating Indigenous knowledge and improving our understanding of our relationships with water. Learn more
  • Scan of an atom © j.c.polanyi
    Ushering in a New Chemical Age 1986 John Polanyi’s research in chemiluminescence leads to innovations like chemical lasers and earns him the Nobel Prize. Learn more
  • Cattle behind fence
    Creating New Vaccines 1988 Pat Shewen and Bruce Wilkie develop a vacc- ine against “shipping fever” pneumonia in cattle, which becomes the foundation for all vaccines against this major disease. Learn more
  • A sample of wood is mapped out by type.
    Seeing the Forest Through the Trees Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a non-destructive mapping system that identifies wood quality before trees are harvested, making the forestry industry more environmentally friendly, competitive, and attractive to new investment. Learn more
  • Vintage Pablum advertisement
    Improving Infant Nutrition 1931 Fred Tisdall, Theo Drake, and Alan Brown develop a new food that becomes the infant cereal Pablum and provide nutrition for generations of children. Learn more
  • A solar house.
    Solar Houses Research partnerships with Ontario Universities design... solar houses that are more efficient, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions as well as changing the housing industry. Learn more
  • And example of a 3D printed prosthetic leg
    Printing Prosthetics Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a 3D printing application that creates affordable, customized prosthetics, improving access to treatment for patients in the developing world. Learn more
  • Surgeons in operating room
    Unleashing Potential Stem Cells 1961 James Till and Ernest McCulloch discover the hematopoietic stem cell, making bone marrow transplantation possible. Learn more
  • A long-exposure image of a city that emulates the movement of the traffic and people.
    Reversing the Social Divide Research partnerships with Ontario Universities discover... that improved housing leads to higher incomes, better health, increased education, and greater civic pride, helping to strengthen our communities. Learn more
  • Aboriginal performance art
    Celebrating Indigenous Arts Research partnerships with Ontario Universities support... Indigenous performing arts through the First Peoples Performance Space, highlighting Indigenous ways of knowing, and bringing oral traditions and cultural practices, including languages, into performance. Learn more
  • A child in a proto-type of Baby Vibe
    BabyVibe Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a garment that uses vibro-tactile stimulation to allow infants with special needs to detect and interpret sounds through touch, enhancing the emotional connection between parents and their children. Learn more
  • Collage of male model pictures © Andy Lee
    Thinking Differently about Beauty 2012 Ben Barry opens Fashion Diversity Lab, a global hub for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in fashion – changing our views of beauty. Learn more
  • Cow in front of sunset
    Breathing Easier 1981 Fred Possmayer extracts and purifies natural surfactant from a cow’s lung, helping premature infants breathe and saving millions of children worldwide. Learn more
  • Older woman
    Delaying Dementia 2007 Ellen Bialystok finds the lifelong use of two languages can help delay the onset of dementia symptoms by four years. Learn more
  • Shakespeare Sander's Portrait
    © Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute, CCI73456-0003
    Revealing Identities 2014 Daniel Fischlin confirms that a 400-year-old painting is of William Shakespeare and is the only known portrait painted while he
    was alive.
    Learn more
  • Trucks on a shipping dock
    A Big Data Haul Research partnerships with Ontario Universities tap... the power of big data to measure truck flows across the Canada-US border, helping manage cross-border supply chains and plan for new boarder infrastructure. Learn more
  • Fighting Antigens
    Fighting Antigens 1984 Tak Mak helps identify the T-cell receptor gene, a vital component of our immune system and a major advance in immunology and cancer treatment. Learn more
  • An image of Dairy Oh! products
    Got Omega-3? Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... Omega-3 products, like Dairy Oh!, that provide the important nutrient known as DHA omega-3, improving the nutritional value of meals, as well as the overall health of Canadians. Learn more
  • A detailed digital molecular image of a breast. image description
    Improving Chemo Research partnerships with Ontario Universities design... a cancer diagnostic test that measures the effectiveness of chemotherapy as early as a patient's first treatment, improving patient experience and outcomes. Learn more
  • A close up of an eye
    Closeup of blue eye on white background
    Restoring Vision Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... artificial corneas that can be used in place of donor tissue, identifying a new solution for conditions that cannot be treated with donated tissue and addressing a worldwide donor shortage. Learn more
  • Copyright symbol
    Defining 21st Century Standards 2007 Michael Geist changes Canadian government policy on copyright into one of the most significant, user-oriented and progressive reforms in the world. Learn more
  • Harold Innis
    Creating a Canadian Point of View 1930 Harold Innis’ seminal works on media, communications and economic history establish a distinctly Canadian approach to social science. Learn more
  • A close up of blood vessels.
    Treating Pain Research partnerships with Ontario Universities discover... that adult human blood cells can be converted into central or peripheral neural cells, giving researchers the opportunity to determine how pain is transmitted and how to treat it. Learn more
  • Poster for
    Making Research Local 2010 David Hulchanski provides ground-breaking evidence of income and geographic polarization in Toronto, putting critical social and neighbourhood disparities on the public agenda. Learn more
  • A digital drawing of the bacteria that can be found in the RePoopulate pills.
    Need RePOOPulate? Research partnerships with Ontario Universities create... healthy gut bacterial ecosystems in pill form, improving treatment of intestinal diseases. Learn more
  • An operating room table with two bright lights overhead - simulating where they may discuss cancer treatment
    Treating Cancer with Math Research partnerships with Ontario Universities discover... that mathematical modeling can measure bone temperature prior to using high-intensity focused ultrasound for tumor treatment, eliminating the need for more invasive tactics. Learn more
  • Bell Let's Talk Logo
    Fighting Stigma Research partnerships with Ontario Universities support... the creation of the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-stigma Research Chair, helping change the way people think about metal health, reduce stigma, and address fears and prejudices associated with mental illness. Learn more
  • Multi-coloured lights
    Seeing in Colour 1917 Herbert Kalmus develops the colour motion picture process Technicolor™ which becomes the most widely used colour process in Hollywood
    for nearly 50 years.
    Learn more
  • Army personel running with someone an a stretcher towards a plane; Les brancardiers s'empressent de transporter l’un des blessés sur une civière jusqu’à l’avion CC130 Hercules, le 15 février 2007, à Orogrande (Nouveau-Mexique), dans le cadre de l’exercice Réflexe Rapide. Photo : Cpl Bruno Turcotte, technicien en imagerie pour la Force opérationnelle Bearer stretchers hurry an injured victim during a simulation to a CC-130 Hercules aircraft during Exercise REFLEXE RAPIDE in Orogrande, New Mexico on February 15, 2007. Photo : Cpl Bruno Turcotte, Task Force Imagery Technician VL2007-1020-07
    Improving Military and Veteran Health Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... CIMVHR to help address the unique healthcare needs of military personnel, veterans, and their families, improving the treatment options available for all involved. Learn more
  • A screen capture of DeepCity the game. The image has buildings, farm land, and small unidentifiable creatures.
    DeepCity, Deep Understanding Research partnerships with Ontario Universities create... digital games that challenge players to find solutions to urban sustainability, increasing their awareness of and engagement with social issues. Learn more
  • Advancing Treatment
    Advancing Treatment 1958 Charles Beer and Robert Noble isolate the anti-cancer drug Vinblastine from the periwinkle plant, providing the first of a critical series of chemotherapy drugs. Learn more
  • Marguerite D'Youville
    Humanizing Medicine 1990 Jacalyn Duffin reveals the role of faith in medical practice, helping canonize Marguerite d’Youville as the first Canadian-born Catholic saint. Learn more
  • An image of a hospital room with drawn in numbers and letters flying out of monitors to represent big data
    Saving Babies Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... the Artemis Project using big data to identify complex patterns in premature babies, making it easier to detect life-threatening conditions before visible symptoms appear. Learn more
  • A white blood cell being attacked (fighting AIDS)
    A Quest to End AIDS Research partnerships with Ontario Universities develop... a preventative HIV vaccine, based on genetically modified viruses, changing the world's understanding of how to approach HIV and AIDS treatment. Learn more
  • Global map with human hand
    Protecting Human Rights 2001 The Citizen Lab exposes how some countries censor citizens’ use of the Internet and uncovers global cyber-espionage networks affecting governments, businesses, and human rights organizations. Learn more
  • Microscope image of bug
    Bringing the World into Focus 1938 Eli Burton leads development of the first practical electron microscope, allowing the study of materials on a molecular level for the first time. Learn more
  • Surgeons operating
    Leading the Way 1988 The Multi-Organ Transplant Program completes the world’s first combined liver and bowel transplant, improving outcomes for those with multiple organ failure. Learn more
  • A farmer holding eggs
    Helping Egg Farmers Research partnerships with Ontario Universities support... the egg farming industry by comparing the Canadian supply management systems to broader global food policies, changing how the Canadian market impacts, or is impacted by, international trade. Learn more
  • An image of a pizza with a wall socket cut out of it.
    The Power of Pizza Research partnerships with Ontario Universities discover... that a Pizza Pizza restaurant can be partially powered and heated by converting the heat from a pizza oven into thermal energy, harnessing a resource that is readily available and reducing the environmental footprint of the restaurant. Learn more
  • PREVNet Bullying - Child sitting against a wall with their head down
    Reducing Bullying with Evidence Research partnerships with Ontario Universities create... PREVNet, a national network that develops evidence-based bullying prevention strategies and tools, helping to build a society where every child can grow up happy, healthy, and safe. Learn more