CIFAR’s four new programs are having their first collaborative meetings, delving into questions such as how to improve solar energy, define the complexities of human consciousness, and improve health through a better understanding of microbes and the molecular basis of life.
The program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness met in March for the first time to plan the direction and goals of their research investigating the fundamental underpinnings of consciousness and its connections to biology and philosophy. This program, co-directed by Adrian Owen and Melvyn Goodale (both Western University), is supported by a partnership with the Brain Canada Foundation and donors Richard M. Ivey, The Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Michael and Sonja Koerner and Céline and Jacques Lamarre.
The Bio-inspired Solar Energy program held its first full meeting in May. Presentations discussed how engineered materials could mimic the way plants transport energy, which is very efficient, and how scientists could engineer a solar fuel. This program, directed by Edward Sargent (University of Toronto), is supported by a partnership with Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) – Nature et technologies and donors The Arthur J.E. Child Foundation, Jerry and Geraldine Heffernan, Max Bell Foundation and The Metcalf Foundation.
Humans & the Microbiome, a program dedicated to discovering how microbes affect our health, development and behaviour, gathered in Galliano, B.C. June 1–3 for its first full research meeting. Speakers gave talks about how the microbiome connects to broader aspects of health and society, including aging, disease and development. This program, co-directed by Brett Finlay (University of British Columbia) and Janet Rossant (The Hospital for Sick Children) is supported by partnerships with FRQ Santé and the Brain Canada Foundation.
The Molecular Architecture of Life program will meet in October after a productive planning meeting in January 2015. This program, co-directed by Oliver Ernst (University of Toronto) and R.J. Dwayne Miller (Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, University of Toronto) explores where life originated, uncovering the processes that make life possible.