The road to commercialization

Having your research commercialized, as part of a new product by a private company, is no small feat. It is what researchers strive for. 

And it is something Dr. Adam Metherel, from the University of Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology, has achieved and been recognized for through a Mitacs Award.

Working with Certo Labs, Adam helped the company develop a new kit that speeds up the process of measuring fatty acids and cholesterol in foods.

Adam’s Research

We’ve all seen nutrition information labels on foods we purchase – they are required under Canada’s food labelling regulations. Until now, measuring the fat content of foods has been a time-consuming and tedious process involving complex equipment.

During his postdoctoral studies, Adam was testing fatty acids in human blood and started thinking of a more efficient way to isolate the lipids for analysis. But getting funding for the research proved difficult.

Certo Labs was looking for better ways to analyze fats in solids, such as foods, and brought Adam onboard through a Mitacs Elevate fellowship.

After much trial and error, Adam developed a new kit that speeds up the process of measuring fatty acids and cholesterol in foods through a simple one-step filtration process. The kit saves time and money and improves productivity in labs.

As his supervising professor, Ken Stark, explains, “The kit simplifies the process. Before, you would need skilled lab staff to do this kind of testing, but Adam’s kit takes that out of the equation. He has made it so anyone can do it and it doesn’t need any complex equipment at all.”

Result: Award-winning commercialization project

Professor Stark nominated Adam for the Mitacs & NRC-IRAP Award for Commercialization, which he won after evaluation by the Science and Technology team at Mitacs.

While Certo Labs is still in start-up mode, Adam’s research is helping to put it on the innovation map.  The company was founded in 2005 and is now focused on developing the one-step extraction kits. The kit has other potential – for screening fatty acid levels in blood, crops, and pharmaceuticals and even measuring pesticide contamination of soil.

“The Elevate fellowship has helped me greatly – it has allowed me to continue on with the project that I’ve been very excited about and has helped me improve my research skills in method development and commercialization of a product,” Adam said.

Are you working on commercializing your research?  Let us know about it by leaving a comment below, and share this story with your colleagues.



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