Dr. Thomas Merritt – Canada Research Chair, Laurentian University

Dr. Thomas Merritt – Canada Research Chair, Laurentian University


So basically what got me into sciences is
what’s . And it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that we live in an amazing world. What we’re trying to do, is go from, understand, how you go from genetic
complexity combined with environmental complexity to biological complexity. And what we want
to do is get to the point where we actually can establish the rules that do this. Now you
can start asking big questions: “What’s gonna happen with drug response?”, “What’s gonna
happen with disease response?”, “What’s gonna happen with environmental toxin response?”.
This is why we use things like acid. We can do a really good job of using fruit flies,
using the genetic diversity that we find here to start to put together these rules. That’s
what we do in my lab, is try to establish the rules that allow the, or explain the connection
between genetic diversity, the environment and biological diversity. I have a really
interesting instrument it’s called a liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spec, it
is the best instrument in the world for what it does. With this new tool that the CRC has
allowed me to have, I can start asking questions that I couldn’t ask before we had that. And
there’s some really great basic science implications for how metabolism works in flies but there’s
also some really neat direct applied application so one of the things that we’re working on
is looking at metabolism in these damaged acid mine sites. So we’ve got acid mine drainage it’s
trickling through the rocks, it’s being held in these pools, we’ve got this really hostile
environment. That environment is the way it is because of the microbial community that
is there. At the end day of the, the instrument’s gonna allow us to understand the system much
better, with an ultimate goal of not only having a more limited impact on the environment,
a healthier impact on the environment, but also recovering some of those resources that
otherwise would be lost. And putting those back into the system. So it’s a win-win.

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