Enabling industry-academic partnerships to develop, enhance and validate
life sciences and cosmetic science technologies and products
Seneca’s Centre for Innovation in Life Sciences (SCILS) is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). We're here to support product development, enhancement and validation in the life sciences and cosmetic science sectors with access to expertise from the students, faculty and infrastructure at Seneca.
SCILS Applied Research Areas of Interest
Life Sciences Diagnostics
Diagnostics in the life sciences includes metabolomics testing, biochemical diagnostics, immunodiagnostics and molecular diagnostics, used in either clinical or industrial settings. Developing, enhancing and validating these products is complex and costly. We’re here to address business-driven challenges and opportunities of regional companies in Canada’s life sciences sector, making life sciences diagnostics investments more feasible for companies on their growth journey.
Novel Cosmetics Formulations
Developing safe cosmetic products with consumer appeal can be prohibitive. Since Seneca is home to Canada’s only cosmetic science program, we're here to assist companies nationwide in addressing this challenge through support in applied research.
Ben Rogers, Dean of Seneca Innovation shares an overview of the SCILS Program R&D focus areas and highlights the value of the program to advance Ontario’s Life Sciences diagnostics and cosmetic science sectors.
Work With Us
We're here to support product development, enhancement and validation in the life sciences and cosmetic science sectors with access to expertise from students, faculty and infrastructure at Seneca.
If you are seeking expertise from Seneca to address a business challenge, please complete our project request form (DOCX) and email it to email@example.com. We will contact you for a discovery discussion.
Applied Life Sciences and Cosmetic Science Capabilities
Assay Development and Validation
This includes developing novel techniques for testing the safety and/or efficacy of compounds and formulations, and demonstrating correlation between such tests and real-world outcomes.
Focusing on cosmetics and diagnostic reagents, this field involves the combination of active ingredients with excipients and meeting consumer preferences for colour, consistency and fragrance (in cosmetics), while also aligning with safety and efficacy expectations.
Method Development and Process Optimization
This area focuses on using novel analytical, biochemical and enzymatic methods to operationalize novel concepts and resolve product development challenges.
Product Stability Enhancement and Testing
Enhancing product shelf life of cosmetics and diagnostic reagents, and validation of such enhancements, are addressed in this area.
Quality Control and Regulatory Affairs
This includes investigating regulatory requirements surrounding new products and processes, developing strategies to meet such requirements and formulating processes to ensure consistent product quality.
Paola Battiston is the Chair of Seneca's School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. She has led new program development in the school with the development and launch of graduate certificates and a degree program. She has also been a strong advocate for applied research initiatives engaging faculty and students. Ms. Battiston holds a bachelor of science and bachelor of education from the University of Toronto as well as a masters of education from Brock University. Her experience includes environmental and pharmaceutical industries, regulatory affairs and quality assurance.
Dr. Frank Merante
Dr. Frank Merante is the Principal Scientist for SCILS. He is a full-time professor in Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry where he has also been instrumental in establishing applied research capabilities. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto, and has traversed multiple disciplines including biochemistry, molecular biology and human genetics. Dr. Merante was the recipient of Seneca Innovation’s Research Leader of the Year Award in 2020.
Sharon Robertson is a part-time professor in Seneca’s Cosmetic Science graduate certificate program within the School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. She holds a bachelor of science in chemistry and geology from the State University of New York. Ms. Robertson has substantial experience leading capstone and applied research projects in the Cosmetic Science program, bringing more than 30 years of experience in formulation and scale-up of colour cosmetics and toiletries. She also has advanced knowledge of cosmetic-related regulatory requirements for North America and Europe.
George Clark is a full-time professor in Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. He holds a master’s degree in anthropology/archaeological sciences from the University of Manitoba and a bachelor of science in chemistry and general science from the University of Waterloo. He is a licensed archaeologist in Ontario and specializes in a range of inorganic analysis techniques and instrumentation. Mr. Clark also brings years of hands-on analytical instrumental experience through his experience in both industry and academia.
Dr. Jamie Cote
Dr. Jamie Cote is a full-time professor in Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor of science in chemistry from both Red Deer College and Carlton University. Dr. Cote specializes in organic analysis analytical chemistry, specialist instrumentation. Prior to teaching, he worked as a senior medicinal chemist at Dalton Pharma Services, working on numerous projects in drug discovery.
Barkev Keoshkerian is a part-time professor in Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. He holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry from the University of Toronto. He has more 38 years of industrial research expertise in a wide range of areas in polymer chemistry, colloid science (latex polymerization), pigment dispersions, ink design, coatings, materials science and composites. Mr. Keoshkerian has a well-established reputation as a creative researcher with more than 140 patents in various fields. He is the recipient of multiple excellence in research awards for polymer synthesis and applications.
Dr. Lesley Rutledge
Dr. Lesley Rutledge is a full-time professor in Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. She holds a PhD in biomolecular science from the University of Lethbridge and bachelor of education from Mount Saint Vincent University. Dr. Rutledge has extensive expertise in computational chemistry including density functional theory, molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics, and has taught science and mathematics in university and college settings.
Jim Cooper is a part-time professor in Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. He holds a master of science from the University of Guelph. His primary areas of expertise include biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, cell culture and animal husbandry.
Dr. James Mayo
Dr. James Mayo is a part-time professor in Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry. He holds a PhD in chemistry from McMaster University focused on carbon nanotubes and reversible polymers. His industry experience includes more than 35 years as a Senior Scientist at Xerox Research Centre of Canada. His primary areas of expertise include organic and polymer synthesis, materials processing and scale-up engineering. He has also worked extensively in printing, with expertise in ink formulation, characterization and evaluation, as well as security printing.
Laboratory technicians are an integral part of Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry. They play a pivotal role in ensuring applied research projects are scientifically robust and well-documented. They also ensure laboratory facilities are operating with the greatest scientific rigor and the associated scientific instrumentation remains in optimal condition.
Research assistants (RAs)
Research assistants (RAs) are critical to the success of applied research projects. RAs carry out research activities working under the supervision and mentorship of project principal investigators, applying their academic knowledge and skills to project design, execution and reporting. RAs develop practical experience, advanced technical skills and professional skills relevant to a successful career in life sciences. They are advanced-year undergraduate students from Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry in the Biotechnology – Advanced advanced diploma program, Cosmetic Science graduate certificate program and Chemical Laboratory Technician diploma program. They also provide an opportunity for our industry partners to train RAs and hire them as highly qualified personnel who are oriented to the company and their R&D processes and strategy.
Seneca is home to state-of-the-art technologies and instrumentation to support life sciences — diagnostics applied research studies and novel cosmetics science formulation projects. Relevant to experimental and in-depth analysis across the fields of analytical chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry and cosmetic science, our facilities can aptly support cutting-edge research and innovative applications.
Recombinant Protein Production in Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Heterologous Hosts for Serological Assays for COVID-19
Principal Investigator(s): Frank Merante and Bryan Chalk
Partner: Kenota Health
Funder: Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19 /Potential for an NSERC CCI Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19
Kenota Health (formerly ExVivo Labs) in Kitchener, Ont., has developed a complete sample-to-result lateral flow immunoassay testing system for point-of-care medical diagnostics. Kenota’s technology fully integrates blood collection, purification and quantitative analyte analysis with an intuitive easy-to-use interface. Kenota has designed IgG and IgM antibody tests that can determine COVID-19 exposure in 10 minutes. Kenota plans to collaborate with Seneca’s School of Biological Sciences & Applied Chemistry to develop processes and procedures for manufacturing SARS-CoV-2 recombinant proteins. The proposed project will lower the cost of testing and reduce the risk of delays in availability of tests. These serological assays are critical in determining the incidence of a pathogen in a population. In future, the ability to identify sensitive and specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies could support screening of health-care workers, minimizing the risk of viral spread to colleagues and other patients.
Non-Organic Solvent Method of Extracting N-Acetyl Glucosamine from a Fermentation Broth
Principal Investigator(s): Frank Merante and Margot Wassenaar-Faber
Partner: Wellesley Therapeutics Inc.
Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Engage for Colleges Program
Rapid Quality Control Test for the Presence of Glucoamylase
Principal Investigator(s): Frank Merante and David Zwick
Partner: Selene Biosystems Inc.
Funder: Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) through the Engage for Colleges program
Development of an Effective and Ecofriendly Antimicrobial Fabric Using Herbal Nanoparticles
Principal Investigator(s): Frank Merante, Siyam Subair and Barkev Keoshkerian
Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Nous remercions le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRSNG) de son soutien.