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Bio-Matrix Golden Horseshoe

Biosciences Network

n W inter 2008-09 n volume 2 n issue 4

GHBN Blog –
The voices of
The Golden Horseshoe The ‘greening’ of Niagara’s wineries
Biosciences Network
Blog (www.ghbn-blog. Ontario wineries are drinking in savings in their energy That led in 2006 to the report, Sustainable Winemaking is the usage by embracing responsible environmental policies. Ontario: Energy Best Practice for Wineries. The study found
first Regional Innovation Their eco-ethiquette means that thinking green is that smaller wineries were less energy-efficient than
Network Blog to start reaping long green. And even the animals in some medium and larger facilities. It also found that, as a general
up in Ontario. The blog vineyards are getting into the act. rule, processing of the grape crop consumed the most energy,
followed by space heating and cooling within buildings.
features posts by a Wineries increasingly see eco-stewardship makes
diverse group of authors, natural sense and also dollars and cents. Narelle Energy is integral to winemaking. Controlling temperatures
and they focus on areas Martin, a consultant to the Wine Council of Ontario’s during fermentation is a big energy user and varies from
of innovation, networking, environmental plan, says it “was made clear facility to facility. Refrigeration in making and storing premium
biosciences, and other throughout development of the program since 2003 wine may occupy 50 per cent of all energy consumed.
that good environmental practice is good business”.
related fields. The 2006 best practice study was followed in 2007 by an
“It is now a driving political issue, even within environmental charter, touching on wastewater effluent and
We have already gotten a toughening economic conditions recently,” says treatment and renewable energy systems, among other things.
number of GHBN authors winemaker Ron Giesbrecht, of Henry of Pelham
submitting their posts, and winery. Energy champions, such as Tawse, Stratus, The charter also offered pointers on the LEED program – for
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – that
together with this we have and Flat Rock wineries, are among the key drivers
along Niagara’s green roads. focuses on reducing environmental impact. The Stratus winery
these authors featured
in Niagara-on-the-Lake was way out-front here: it became, in
on the GHBN homepage Wineries are doing energy audits, investing in new 2005, the world’s first winery to gain LEED green certification.
( If you strategies and equipment, and developing “an open
have ideas on current news culture of energy conservation,” says Giesbrecht. His Stratus uses deep geothermal wells to transfer heat to and
from Biotech, Pharma, own company is insulating lines and tanks, putting from the ground and relies on a gravity system for grape
in new boilers and compressors, and doing below- sorting and crushing (eliminating or minimizing the need
Agriculture, or other
ground construction to reduce cooling and heating for pumps). Stratus believes LEED-certification details have
related fields that you feel reduced energy needs by an estimated 40 per cent.
should be shared with the costs for wine storage and aging.
public, become a GHBN The movement even has movers and shakers from Tawse also uses gravitational flow and has a geothermal
Blog Author by sending us the animal kingdom. At Southbrook and Featherstone system at its Vineland facility. At Flat Rock, they’ve gone
wineries, sheep strip off low-hanging vine leaves to green – literally. Insulating grass sod on the roof that
a few articles or ideas to
increase sun exposure for grapes. Of course, they leave overhangs wine barrels and fermentation tanks (see related story on page 2) helps reduce heating and cooling costs.
behind their own fertilizer. At Rosewood, bees feed on
wildflowers, clover and orchards and produce honey Henry of Pelham and Southbrook Vineyards are among
Inside – used in the making of mead at the Beamsville estate. operations that have developed natural filter channels to
n A nose for Like other industries, wine producers began getting handle runoff water. Such management plans make use of a
environmental hit with rising electricity, natural gas and other power bio-swale, a vegetated open channel designed to attenuate
excellence costs early this decade. OCETA – the Ontario Centre for and treat stormwater drainage, and a wetland to provide
[page 2] Environmental Technology Advancement – developed an tertiary treatment of wastewater.
energy benchmarking and best practices project in concert
n Seeding the with the wine council.
[page 4]

n Two careers
in search of
a cure
[page 5]
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A nose for environmental excellence

It commands the high That means using anti-microbial ozone technology to

ground, poised like a clean barrels and tanks and to rinse bottles, resulting in
space-age factory the use of no chemicals, such as chlorine or ammonium
on steel stilts atop compounds, and producing only water runoff.
Bottling an the escarpment.
economic This distinctive The environmental stress even comes into play with the
harvest look almost masks takeaways, the bags that visitors carry their newly bought
the eco-innovation wines in. Flat Rock used to offer cardboard boxes, says
The wines are that is a hallmark Madronich. Now reusable fibre bags are supplied as well
impressive but the of Flat Rock Cellars. A as biodegradeable plastic bags.
visitor sees the six-sided The design insights that went into Flat Rock had
Ontario winery and
buildings and connecting bridge, not so much the their beginnings in the early 2000s. That was just as
grape-growing sector’s pond out back or the grass sod that sits on one the Canada Green Building Council began drafting
impact is just as roof of part of the winery. its audit standards for energy and environmentally
substantial. That’s the sustainable buildings. So, the facility doesn’t have a
conclusion of a KPMG But the pond and sod are among key design LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
features that have shaped the Jordan-area facility. – certification. (It was only in 2005 that nearby Stratus
study, released last fall,
Beneath the pond water are some of the almost became the world’s first LEED winery.)
that shows the value- 5,000 metres of glycol-filled pipe that act as a
added impact of the geo-thermal heat and cold transfer system. Below Madronich says Flat Rock’s environmental and energy
industry to the province’s the six or so inches of sod is the contained space themes are not a matter of money – he says he does not
economy is about $530 devoted to wine barrels and fermentation tanks. have an estimate of energy cost-savings earned, thanks
to eco-sustainable innovations – but are more “a moral
The grass not only blends into the surrounding and ethical thing, first and foremost.” After all, the winery,
The study found the landscape, it acts to insulate the tank room, to he notes, exists within the escarpment, a World Biosphere
limit energy loss, and to trap carbon dioxide, Reserve.
wine industry supported
identified as one of the greenhouse gases behind
about 7,000 jobs during dramatic climate change. It also helps stop water Flat Rock does its grape processing via a gravity-fed
2007. KPMG also runoff that would otherwise send rainwater operation: the fruit enters the winery at the top and
concluded that, for each cascading onto soils below. moves down through various stages, minimizing the need
litre of Ontario wine for pumping and handling equipment and causing less
“The fact that the green roof is there is really (so damage to grapes.
purchased by residents,
we are) not intrusive on the landscape,” says Flat
the value-added return Rock president Ed Madronich. “We’ve tried to have The cellars turn out their 120,000 litres annually – key
to the provincial as small a footprint from the winery as possible.” varietals are Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir – from
economy is $8.48 80 acres of vineyards. The Wine Spectator lauded Flat
– combined income Rock’s 2006 Nadja’s vineyard Riesling in its May 15, 2008
issue, part of a tour by the consumer’s wine bible of the
for labour, business
Niagara region. n
and government
– versus 67 cents a
litre of foreign wines
consumed in 2007.

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Niagara sees promise in bio-economy

The potential is clearly there, now it’s time to assess the The region’s wineries are all about fermentation.
promise. Niagara economic leaders are about to proceed Both Niagara College and Brock University are
with an investment-marketing strategy as they continue working with plants and biomass. Brock plans a
to plan for a bio-industry cluster within the region. $90-million health and biosciences complex. Two
Port Colborne firms, Jungbunzlauer and CASCO
Mac grad
The marketing strategy, which will be done in 2009, is Inc., collaborate in making bio-processed products. gets top
the next step in going from the existing Niagara embryo Biolyse Pharma in St. Catharines makes paclitaxel, recognition
of bio-oriented companies and public institutions to a a cancer drug, from the yew tree.
full-scale, critical-mass economic cluster that will create McMaster PhD
new jobs and attract outside businesses and researchers. In all, the Vista report identifies 22 Niagara chemistry/biochemistry
organizations active in the bioeconomy, 18 of grad Weian Zhao
The investment study follows a consultant’s report, which are in the private sector. Overall, more has won honourable
Bioeconomy Industry Development Opportunities for than 80 per cent of organizations, mostly private mention at a national
Niagara, that surveyed the current state and potential of companies, were doing R & D. That knowledge sciences competition for
the region’s bio-infrastructure in the public and private base itself could be a draw in persuading outside
a report on how a gold
sectors. companies to locate in Niagara.
Big dollar figures come with a successful bio-cluster. But the rush to develop local bio-economic system might protect
For example, the worldwide market for bioproducts communities is headlong across Canada and against and capture
alone is estimated to reach $150 billion US by 2050, the around the globe. Many areas of Southern harmful pathogens such
consultant’s report notes. In Canada, as much as 10 per Ontario are heavily involved in R & D, bio- as the SARS virus.
cent of organic chemicals and plastics could be derived product development, functional foods,
from biomass by 2010. nutraceuticals, and energy-from-waste projects. Zhao’s report,
Biodetection kits using
“The report was helpful in terms of identifying more “One of the things I think Niagara has to do is gold nanoparticle-coated
of the research and development in the broader to try to identify the very unique opportunities paper, extolled the cost,
community,” said Alan Teichroeb, vice-president of that exist . . . (but) we are somewhat behind flexibility and sensitivity
business development and services with Niagara the curve in terms of some of the regions in the virtues of using gold
Economic Development Corporation. country and in the world,” said Lemay. nanoparticle-coated paper
compared to current
The survey report, done by Vista Science and Technology, Funding for Niagara’s bio-economy cluster study
detection systems.
of Welland, found extensive bio-research and is coming from several partners, including the
development ongoing in both private and public sectors Golden Horseshoe Biosciences Network, and The technology is part
but that collaboration is limited. The report urges from the federal Community Investment Support
of the Sentinel Bioactive
networking and mobilizing of R & D resources, which Program. n
Paper Network, a
could include sharing of best practices, as the wine
Canadian public-private
industry has done in Ontario.
consortium led by
“I think awareness-building is going to be very critical McMaster University.
here,” said Vista president Amy Lemay. “because I don’t The network hopes
think anybody, including myself, expected to find this R to develop paper-
& D aspect as strong as it is.” based systems,
such as a face
The report, which is still being refined, concluded that mask, to protect
the nascent bio-community needs a stronger investment against, detect
and venture capital base and far more alignment
and deactivate
between the various players. But it notes that there
are great strengths in the amount of biomass in the
region, and its expertise in fermentation, plant genetics,
biomanufacturing, biofuels, and bio-energy.

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Seeding the community farm

Each week, six families in Dawn Ward’s west-end giant Parmalat closed its operation in Millbank, north
Hamilton neighbourhood go to a depot to pick up much of Stratford, in 1999, local farmers literally grabbed a
of their food. They take home organic fruit and veggies challenge by the horns. They formed a new co-op, today
From grown at a West Flamborough farm or on other farms the largest goats’ milk co-op in Ontario.
grapes to not that far away.
The Mornington Heritage Cheese and Dairy Co-operative
greenhouses Depending on what type of share-plan they participate is often heralded as among Canada’s new-generation
in, the families may also buy during winter, getting co-ops. But it wasn’t easy. The venture was under-
Isabelle Lesschaeve, an
root vegetables or fruit that comes either from capitalized for a long time. “We’re always just under a
expert in development
greenhouses or from cold storage. Sometimes, winter positive cashflow,” key founder Bob Reid told The Rural
and marketing of Ontario pickings include food from organic farms in Voice publication back in 2006.
wines, has moved from Mexico or other places.
the vineyards to the Farmers frequently cannot go it alone. But
farms and greenhouses The families are all participants within a co-op or community structure,
of horticultural science in a community operation called they have a chance. At Plan B, they’re
and innovation. Plan B Organic Farm. They put “looking at establishing a large
down money – it could be one farmer’s co-op among the growers
Dr.Lesschaeve is now big cheque or several post- we’ve been working with for years,”
Research Chair, Sensory dated ones – to buy food shares. part-owner Alvaro Venturelli said in an
and Consumer Sciences, A family-sized share might get email message. And that might lead to
them several food items weekly. The a certified organic kitchen down the line,
at Vineland Research
subscription shares translate into up- he wrote.
and Innovation Centre. front capital for seeds, soil amendments, and
She will be working with other supplies needed for the growing season. The movement to local produce, or locavore – of course,
consumer researchers, not all locally grown foods bear an organic-certified label
plant breeders, “We love the share because everything we get – is one spur to farm survival. Locavore plays on themes
production researchers from it we just throw in the blender and feed to of global warming, energy emissions, and a sustainable
and stored products the babies,” says Ward, the mother of two young environment.
specialists as they boys. “I’m all for supporting the small, local organic
rather than the big corporate thing.” The farmers market at your local mall pushes locavore. So
focus on research in
do the province’s wineries, whose buy-Ontario campaign
horticulture breeding,
Plan B’s membership-share plan is not really a co- tells buyers that their purchases of VQA wine means
production and yield op system where local farmers and investors pool cheaper transportation and energy costs relative to those
security. money to form a larger venture. But its operators do borne by wine imports.
work co-operatively with other organic farmers to fill
Dr. Lesschaeve was food boxes. And Plan B is typical of non-traditional The locavore movement has a strong online presence.
formerly head of the financing that keeps the family farm alive during a There are several websites, including the Local Food Plus
Cool Climate Oenology time of globalization, free trade and deregulation. site and a Hamilton-based
and Viticulture blog Foodie
Institute at Brock Sometimes, the entry or exit of a big corporate Sarah Elton of CBC Radio’s Here and Now program is
University. While thing creates an opportunity. When Italian dairy writing a book on the subject. n
at Brock, she was
deeply engaged in
the sensory and
marketing aspects
of wine production
and sales.

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Sheila Singh
E X C E L L E N C E Salim Yusuf

Bay Area
Two careers in search of a cure Logistics
An overhead bridge links the two worlds of Sheila combusts a fire in Dr. Singh. “A two-year-old with
goes global
Singh’s career. a brain tumour is the most unfair anomaly you
Bay Area Research
could ever see. ... I rage against it. It is something
At one end of the passageway is the stem cell that makes me angry.” Logistics has gone
laboratory space she shares with other principal cancer global in its first year
investigators at McMaster University. At the other is the Cancer stem cells (CSCs) – the phrase remains of operation. The drug-
university medical centre where she works as a pediatric somewhat controversial, with critics saying the packaging operation, a
neurosurgeon. idea amounts to only a hypothesis – are seen
spinoff from Bay Area
as the self-renewing equivalents of normal
The bridge is a metaphor, she says, between her clinician adult stem cells. Like normal adult stem cells, Health Trust, is shipping
and scientist roles. Her bedside watch allows her to follow CSCs can divide indefinitely, giving rise to both product for at least three
a child’s progress. The lab environment gives her time to more cancer cells and progeny that ultimately clinical trials.
reflect and storm ideas with other investigators. differentiate into the different cell types in a
tumour. The company – licensed
But there is also a bridge to the past, back to the memory
by Health Canada and
of a five-year-old boy who succumbed to a brain tumour The CSC model has several implications, one
almost a decade ago. of which is that successful treatment requires with Good Manufacturing
complete elimination of the CSC population. Practices certification
He and another five-year-old boy, both named Excising a tumour surgically might not stop – packages and distributes
Christopher, were treated for brain cancer at Sick new cancer cells arising later. It is as if, says pharmaceuticals from its
Children’s Hospital in Toronto. Both received surgery, Dr. Singh, the CSCs “hide out for a while.”
plant on Wellington Street
chemo, and other treatment. One lived, the other did not.
So, she and other investigators in McMaster’s in Hamilton. One of its
“At that point, in my head, it crystallized,” says the stem cell and cancer research institute seek lines is part of a worldwide
mother of two boys. “Why did they have the same to identify CSC-specific surface markers that heart-risks study run by
disease? Why did one survive and the other one die? . might be targeted for antibody therapy. They
Dr. Salim Yusuf, head of
. . That child (the boy who died) is the one who always look for molecular signaling pathways that can
stayed with me and what really drives my work today. be pharmacologically targeted and evaluate the Population Health
To me, it’s not important unless it’s clinically relevant, not agents that promote the differentiation of CSCs Research Institute,
unless there’s something you can do to help someone.” into progenitors that do not self-renew. out of Hamilton Health
Sciences / McMaster
Her residency at Sick Kids led to leading-edge research For example, there is evidence to suggest that
with Dr. Peter Dirks and other colleagues. In 2003, they the glycoprotein, CD133, is a marker for a subset University.
discovered an abnormal stem cell — the brain tumour of leukemia and glioblastoma cancer stem cells. If
initiating cell (BTIC) — that may drive formation of brain scientists can identify these cells at a pre-cancerous Bay Area also looks
tumours. It was the first isolation from a solid tumour of stage, they may be able to avoid maligancy after the pharma and
what is believed to be a cancer stem cell from the central altogether. placebo blinding-
nervous system. controls for the
“All we’re saying is that the most primitive cells are
various ongoing
Brain tumours are the most common solid tumour in probably the most powerful cells, the ones that are
childhood and come with a high mortality rate. The probably going to cause the cancer,” said Dr. Singh. n clinical trials.
mystery of why children develop brain cancers still

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Bitnet Breakfast Agri-food innovation forum

Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 Time: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.  Date: February 10-12, 2009
Location: Burlington Art Centre Location: Hyatt Regency 370 King St. West
City: Burlington City: Toronto
For more information: visit For more information:

Events listing
Stephen Collins visit
Innovation Café Series
McMaster Art + Science = Culture Health research in the city
Gene-Environment Interactions
gets $15M Date: Wednesday, January 21, 2008
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  Time: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 
digestive gift Location: The Art Gallery of Hamilton Date: Wednesday, February 11, 2009
City: Hamilton Location: Hamilton Convention Centre
McMaster University, For more information: visit City: Hamilton
a leader in gastro- Future dates: Feb. 25, 2009, April 15, 2009 For more information: visit
enterology research,
Innovation Night Golden Horseshoe venture forum
has taken another step
Share your Passion Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
towards global excellence
Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2008 Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
with creation of a new Location: Royal Botanical Gardens
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
digestive health research City: Burlington
Location: Emma’s Back Porch
institute. A $15-million gift City: Burlington For more information: visit
from the Farncombe family For more information:
2009 TBI Gala: A Celebration of Success
of Oakville will allow for fur- visit
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 
ther focus on inflammatory Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2009
bowel diseases, including Location: The Four Seasons Hotel
the microbial environment City: Toronto
in the human gut. For more information: visit
McMaster, already with
top-flight researchers
such as bacteria specialist
Stephen Collins, recruited
n Health research in the city feature: Gene-Environment Interactions
pharmacologist John
Wallace, a founder of Nature and nurture on tap
Feature event

two pharmaceutical The aged-old questions of nature and nurture – or more properly, genetic and physical environments
companies, as the and their effects on each other – will be up for discussion at the next Health Research in the City forum
institute’s first director. in Hamilton in February.

The theme of the Feb. 11 third annual conference, geared to research investigators, students,
In addition to capital
administrators and industry/public partners, is Gene-Environment Interactions.
facilities, the Farncombe
gift will allow for Principals behind the all-day seminar include Dr. Sonia Anand, research chair in Population Health Research
creation of a digestive at McMaster University; Dr. Petra Arck, research chair in neuroimmunology at St. Joseph’s Healthcare brain
health research chair and body institute; and Dr. Salim Yusuf, director of the Population Health Research Institute. n
and three chairs,
endowed with
$2 million each, Contact Golden Horseshoe Biosciences Network
to attract high
McMaster University, Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery
potential junior 5105-1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA L8N 3Z5
researchers. n Ana Paredes Office Administrator/Incubator Assistant – Tel: 905-525-9140 Ext. 26602 Fax: 905-528-3999
n Darlene Homonko Executive Director – Tel: 905-525-9140 Ext. 26609 Web:

GHBN News is a quarterly newsletter published by GHBN. Director and editor: Darlene Homonko

Writer: Mike Pettapiece Graphic Design: Nadia DiTraglia