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CMC Microsystems Announces Winner of 2020 Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence

February 1, 2021: CMC Microsystems is proud to announce that Dr. Kyle Briggs of the University of Ottawa has been awarded the 2020 Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence. Dr. Briggs co-invented the controlled breakdown method of fabricating solid-state nanopores. These tiny holes are approximately the same size as DNA or typical protein molecules, and allow scientists to study single biomolecules, one at a time. This innovation allows nanopores to be fabricated for a fraction of the cost of any method that preceded it and allows for integration into previously impossible devices, opening up new potential applications that were believed to be inaccessible.

This new sensor technology can do much more than allow for an individual reading of DNA molecules.  For Dr. Briggs, this is an important step towards personalized medicine, among other applications. “Our work will allow for much more precise measurements of single biomolecules, for example of proteins or DNA fragments indicative of disease, enabling important diagnostic applications to be developed.”

Controlled Breakdown, or CBD, is a ground-breaking technique for nanopore fabrication developed at the Center for Interdisciplinary Nanophysics at the University of Ottawa, where Briggs and other researchers are developing their discoveries into applications for healthcare and life sciences.  

“CBD can fabricate nanopores using inexpensive batteries and off-the-shelf electronics to cause a nano-scale spark to perforate a thin membrane. It’s pretty similar in principle to the everyday static shocks that everyone is familiar with, but on a much smaller scale” explained Dr. Briggs. “Previously, making a nanopore required million-dollar electron microscopes, which was obviously an important barrier for research to move forward.”

For Gordon Harling, President and CEO of CMC, this is perfectly inline with CMC’s core mission of lowering barriers for researchers and industry across Canada. “Dr. Briggs’ research is a huge step forward that can have lasting effects for years to come. He and his team have helped pave the way for future researchers to advance innovations in healthcare, life sciences, and many other applications. On behalf of everyone at CMC, congratulations to Dr. Briggs on this remarkable achievement,” concluded Mr. Harling.

About the Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence:

Due to ongoing physical distancing requirements, the 2020 Colton was presented to Dr. Briggs virtually during TEXPO, CMC’s annual Graduate Student Research Competition. Established in 1994 in honour of the founding president of CMC Microsystems, The Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research Excellence is CMC’s most prestigious award. The Douglas R. Colton Medal recognizes excellence in research leading to new understanding, novel developments and/or applications in microsystems and nanotechnology in Canada.

About CMC Microsystems:

CMC Microsystems works with researchers and industry across Canada’s National Design Network® (CNDN). We provide access to world-class platforms for Computer Aided Design (CAD), prototyping and manufacturing services (FAB), training and support (LAB) for researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry. Our services are geared for microsystems, nanotechnologies, photonics, and support innovative sectors of the next-generation economy. CMC reduces barriers by offering simplified access to the right tools to create tomorrow’s technologies. Our network is made up of over 10,000 entrepreneurs and researchers at 60 post-secondary institutions across CNDN.

Government funding positions CMC for the future.

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Thursday, February 4
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