Acadia's Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment (CARE) receives a glowing report card from the Canada Foundation for Innovation

by Kristie, David

Visitors to the KC Irving Environmental Science Centre, who tour the beautiful Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens, visit the extensive greenhouses, and see posters and signs for the Herbarium and Seed Bank, may be forgiven if they assume that research at the KC Irving Centre focuses only on plants. However housed within the research wing on the lower level of the KC Irving Centre is one of the crown jewels of Acadia's research infrastructure, the Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment, or CARE.

CARE is an interdisciplinary centre that brings together faculty from Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Science, and Engineering, and provides advanced analytical equipment for studying and measuring contaminants in the environment at trace levels. CARE faculty and laboratories have provided diverse research and learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate Acadia students in Geology, Environmental Science, Biology, Engineering, Chemistry, and Math, as well as research opportunities for visiting graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from Dalhousie, UNB, Memorial University, Portugal, and Chile.

CARE laboratories in the KC Irving Centre include:

Dr Nelson O'Driscoll's Environmental Biogeochemistry Lab which focuses on mercury speciation and bioaccumulation in ecosystems.

Dr Jennie Rand's Water Quality Lab which is involved in wastewater quality assessment and treatment Inactivation of microbial pathogens in drinking water.

Dr John Murimboh's Trace Metal Lab which measures trace metal (eg arsenic) speciation and bioavailability in the environment.

Dr Anthony Tong's Organic Contaminants Lab which monitors the occurrence and fate of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and petroleum hydrocarbons in the environment.

The state-of-the-art analytical facilities in the CARE labs arose from five successful Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) applications. CFI makes financial contributions to Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research organizations to increase their capability to carry out high-quality research. CFI recently introduced a new way to examine the impacts of its funding, ie a “catalyst study” aimed at assessing the overall impact of CFI investments. For the first study of this kind, they looked at Acadia University’s Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment.

Some of the key findings are that:

  • funding from CFI-funded infrastructure projects and the recent development of the KC Irving Environmental Science Centre have helped Acadia University attract leading researchers in the area of environment and have played a role in retaining those researchers, resulting in a multidisciplinary group of top-tier scientists at CARE.
  • although primarily a small undergraduate university with a limited number of graduate programs, CARE is attracting graduate students from other institutions through co-supervision arrangements.
  • students at all levels benefit from the training and learning opportunities offered by CARE and its researchers.

Read the full report here: Catalyst Study: Acadia Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment (CARE)

While the research wing of the KC Irving Centre housing the CARE labs is closed to the public after 5:00 pm and on weekends, the Centre and its many research posters are available for viewing by the public, Monday to Friday, during normal working hours. Interested visitors can ask at the information desk on the main floor to arrange a tour.

For other recent articles on CARE research see:

A) Dr Erin Mann, PhD candidate Sara Klapstein (now Dr Sara Klapstein), and Dr Nelson O'Driscoll, setting up a mercury experiment in the KC Irving Centre research gardens.

B) Dr Jessica Younker (Postdoc) and Jacob Barton (BASc '17), working in Dr Jennie Rand's Water Quality Lab.

C) Graduate student Shane Higbee (MSc Geology)  and Honours student Lee Brannen (Chem '17), analyzing samples in Dr Murimboh's Trace Metals Lab.

D) Students sampling for marine oil pollution for Dr Tong's Organic Contaminants Lab.

Go back