Enabling industry-academic partnerships to develop, enhance and validate
life sciences and cosmetic science technologies and products

 

About Us

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. 

SCILS Overview

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 research@senecacollege.ca. 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.

Product Formulation

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.

 

 

Core Faculty

Paola Battiston

Paola Battiston

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

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 

Derek Gruchy

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 

George Clark

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 

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 

Barkev Keoshkerian

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

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 

Jim Cooper

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

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

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 programCosmetic 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.

 

 

 

Facilities

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.

Instruments

Atomic Absorption Spectrometer
Atomic Absorption Spectrometer
Gas Chromatography (GC)
Gas Chromatography (GC)
Headspace Gas Chromatography (GC)
Headspace Gas Chromatography (GC)
Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)
Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)
Microwave Extractor
Microwave Extractor
Inductively Coupled Plasma (IPC) Spectroscopy
Inductively Coupled Plasma (IPC) Spectroscopy
Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometer (LC/MS)
Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometer (LC/MS)
Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy
Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
Ultra High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC)
Ultra High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC)
Thermocyclers & Real Time PCR instrumentation
Thermocyclers & Real Time PCR instrumentation
Automated Cell Counter
Automated Cell Counter
Gel Imager
Gel Imager
High Throughput Spectrophotometer (HTC)
High Throughput Spectrophotometer (HTC)
High-Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC)
High-Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC)
Sonicator
Sonicator
Tissue Culture Lab
Tissue Culture Lab
Cell Culture Incubator
Cell Culture Incubator
Dissolution Apparatus
Dissolution Apparatus
Spray Dryer
Spray Dryer
Tablet Press
Tablet Press
Mixer
Mixer
Homogenizer
Homogenizer

 

 

Project Showcase  

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

Period: 2020

Project Summary

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

Period: 2020

Review project summary for Non-Organic Solvent Method of Extracting N-Acetyl Glucosamine from a Fermentation Broth

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

Period: 2020

Review project summary for Rapid Quality Control Test for the Presence of Glucoamylase

Development of an Effective and Ecofriendly Antimicrobial Fabric Using Herbal Nanoparticles

Principal Investigator(s): Frank Merante, Siyam Subair and Barkev Keoshkerian

Partner: Giftgowns

Funder: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Period: 2019

Review project summary for Development of an Effective and Ecofriendly Antimicrobial Fabric Using Herbal Nanoparticles

News 

Funding Acknowledgement

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.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada

Seneca Applied Research
Seneca Innovation