Di Sebastiano, Gilroy receive Young Innovator awards

Western Chemistry professor Joseph Gilroy and Robarts Research Institute postdoctoral scholar Andrea Di Sebastiano have been tapped as Western’s Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award winners for 2014.

Gilroy looks to develop revolutionary chelating (i.e. metal binding) formazan polymers for use in waste water purification for Canada’s thriving petrochemical industry. The project will bring important benefits to Canadians in the form of knowledge creation and transfer, enhanced sustainability for the industry as well as job and intellectual property creation through interactions with Canadian industry.

Di Sebastiano, a postdoctoral scholar working with Physiology and Pharmacology professor Dr. Stephen Ferguson, investigates the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors in Huntington’s Disease by examining the effects of two proteins, Optineurin and Rab8. Overall, these studies eye glutamate receptors as a therapeutic target to delay or prevent the devastating – and deadly – neurodegenerative disorder.

The Petro-Canada program provides two awards to new researchers at Western and Robarts to recognize, promote and support work that is particularly innovative, impacts positively on the learning environment in their department and has the potential to be of significance to society at large. This program is intended to help attract and retain bright young minds at Canadian universities, colleges and major research institutes and to help young researchers launch their scholarly careers and enable them to carry their research forward.