A board has been named for U of G’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO). Its role is to provide governance and strategic oversight of BIO’s mandate to establish U of G as a world leader in the field of biodiversity science and to ensure financial and operational sustainability, says John Livernois, interim vice president (research).
The board will also help in the selection of a chief executive officer for BIO in the coming months, says Livernois, who will serve as chair.
Other members are: Christian Burks, founder and principal at Scienega and former president and CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute; Bob Civak, senior vice president (business development operations) at the Ontario Centres of Excellence; Geoff Munro, former chief scientist and assistant deputy minister, innovation and energy technology sector, Natural Resources Canada; Cafer Tosun, senior vice president (strategic research and innovation) SAP; Mike Emes, dean of the College of Biological Sciences; John Miles, Guelph’s associate vice president (finance and integrated planning).
BIO, which first opened in 2007 and was expanded in 2013, provides researchers with the equipment needed to discover, identify and catalogue species from around the world using barcode technology. It’s also the hub for the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project that involves more than 1,000 researchers worldwide.
First proposed by Guelph integrative biologist Prof. Paul Hebert, DNA barcoding allows scientists to identify animal and plant species using short, standardized regions of genetic material.
The novel technique has led to the discovery of hundreds of overlooked species and been used to authenticate and identify mislabelled food and consumer products.
The ultimate goal is to introduce barcoding technology to public use for applications such as border control, pest management, food safety and environmental monitoring.