Guelph residents invited to discover Why Research Matters

It’s groundbreaking research that stretches from the home to the darkest corners of outer space to high-tech printers that can make medical products or art installations — and Guelph residents are invited to hear all about it at an event highlighting U of G research.

“Why Research Matters” will be a panel discussion for U of Guelph researchers to share their latest discoveries with local residents. The free event will take place March 31 at the Guelph Civic Museum at 52 Norfolk St. Seating is limited. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

Researchers will discuss space science, 3D printing and healthy kids at home.

Environmental sciences professor Mike Dixon, director of the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, will discuss growing produce in outer space.

“Life support for long-term space exploration is based on food from plants. We have become world leaders in this field, and the U of G exemplifies our main contribution internationally,” Dixon said.

While growing food in space is the main goal, Dixon sees applications for many Canadians.

“Harsh environments are second nature to Canadians, and the technologies designed to master life support in space are remarkably suited to the Canadian north. It is important the community understands the value of their investment and its potential in the Canadian economy,” he said.

“Many industries and products, especially in the agri-food sectors, will rely on these technologies. These include recycling systems and products, disinfection systems that leave no residue, plant breeding of environmental stress-tolerant varieties and controlled environment strategies for harsh environments.”

Fine art professor Christian Giroux will talk about how 3D printers affect a range of fields, from science to the arts.

Giroux is the principal investigator in the Digital Haptic Lab (DHL) on campus. This design and prototyping facility uses 3D printing technology to create complex objects quickly and cheaply. DHL manager John Philips will attend the event to demonstrate projects.

“John and I will be talking about contemporary prototyping, and specifically how we use 3D printing as an integral part of our design-build process,” said Giroux.

“3D printing is changing the way that everyday objects are designed, which impacts myriad forms of research on our campus and elsewhere. The implications are vast, and we want the community to understand what’s possible with these new technologies.”

Profs. Jess Haines, Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, and David Ma, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, will discuss the Guelph Family Health Study.

The study aims to track 3,000 young families in the Guelph area to help prevent disease.

“New approaches are needed to combat obesity and prevent chronic disease, and we believe families can be part of the solution,” said Haines.

“We want to identify strategies that can enable Guelph families with young children develop healthy diet, activity and sleep habits. We are looking forward to presenting our progress so far, what we have learned and our future steps.”

The event is part of Ontario Research Week’s “Research Matters” campaign, a province-wide university initiative to engage local communities in university research.


For media questions, contact:

Lori Bona Hunt
519-824-4120 ext. 53338

Kevin Gonsalves
519-824-4120 ext. 56982