Chain reaction

Researchers discover that their quest for answers often leads to social advances and economic gains
Atlantic Canada’s post-secondary R&D is wide ranging in its approach and topics—from 3D printing to gluten-free beer to helping Adidas design better basketball shoes. Such research, spanning the region’s many universities and public colleges, is producing important scientific discoveries as well as innovations with commercial potential. It’s also linking global academics, from New Brunswick to New Delhi, in their pursuit of innovation and knowledge. The following profiles detail some of the region’s most interesting R&D projects.

Brew master
Dr. Bohdan Luhovyy, the Mount Saint Vincent University researcher who is helping to create a gluten-free craft beer.

Dr. Bohdan Luhovyy, the Mount Saint Vincent University researcher who is helping to create a gluten-free craft beer.

Aidan Brunn was diagnosed with Celiac disease a decade ago. He quickly grew “frustrated and overwhelmed” with the dietary changes he had to make, most notably the avoidance of gluten.

“I was even more upset with the lack of affordable, quality gluten-free food options on the market,” he recalls.

So Brunn, along with his partner, Jennifer Laughlin, started Schoolhouse Gluten-Free Gourmet. Based in Martins Point, N.S., the company sells products ranging from potato-millet bread to pumpkin muffins, macaroons and butter tarts.

Schoolhouse, in partnership with a researcher at Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University, is now working to develop a new gluten-free beer. Bohdan Luhovyy, an assistant professor of applied human nutrition at MSVU, will help Schoolhouse refine its beer formula and prepare it for the gluten-free product.

The work is being funded through a $25,000-productivity and innovation voucher from the provincial government. The work is aimed at optimizing the nutritional value and taste of the Schoolhouse suds. If successful, Schoolhouse’s brew will put the company at the crossroads of two popular trends: craft beer and gluten-free food.

The collaboration between Luhovyy and Schoolhouse was aided by MSVU’s Industry Liaison Office, which aims to link the university’s research with industry players.

Said Laughlin: “We are excited by the opportunity to work with (professor Luhovyy) and hope to introduce our new beverage to the market within the next two years.”

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