Dear U of G community members,

Throughout the course of this pandemic, the University of Guelph has proven itself an important contributor in the fight against COVID-19.

We have a number of experts at U of G who are involved in research to help forecast the near-term course of the pandemic, investigate the global management of COVID-19 using a “One Health” approach, and engineer proteins to act as “molecular antidotes” to stop the coronavirus from replicating. Nearly every day, you’ll hear our experts commenting in national news media about Canada’s food supply amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Prof. Steven Newmaster’s research was profiled. He is part of a research group developing a rapid DNA test for COVID-19 that can provide results within an hour. The device they’re working on can be used to test patients, hospital surfaces and commercial products for the virus.

Ontario’s agri-food and veterinary sectors also rely heavily on the analytic and diagnostic services and expertise provided by U of G’s laboratory services division. The Agriculture and Food Laboratory and the Animal Health Laboratory support the safety of food, including animal and plant health and animal welfare. These employees ensure that safe food continues to be supplied to Ontarians, which is even more important during this time of supply chain disruption. Within the challenges of physical distancing and heightened sanitation requirements, these staff continue to produce the high-quality data needed by all Ontarians.

Every day, about 100 U of G staff continue to manage the province’s world-class network of field stations across Ontario, where cutting-edge research fuels discovery and innovation in Ontario’s agri-food sector. Under the constraints of physical distancing and enhanced sanitation and hygiene on the job, these staff are dedicated to delivering exemplary animal care to ensure herd health. Working within the same constraints, these staff are also preparing equipment and fields for summer 2020, as they are optimists dedicated to supporting the University’s agri-food researchers.

And finally, in today’s update to the province, Premier Ford specifically acknowledged U of G’s donation of 10,000 N95 masks to support public health.

These examples highlight the many ways that our people are contributing, and they have been particular moments of pride for me and the entire U of G family.

Thank you for everything you’re doing to combat COVID-19 and Improve Life.


Franco Vaccarino
President and Vice-Chancellor