Scientific circles are taking notice of two companies based at Trent University: Noble Purification Inc. and Noble Reliance Inc. Both are the brainchildren of Adam Noble, a young scientist and entrepreneur who spent two years as a research assistant at Trent while still in high school. Mr. Noble will be recognized on Thursday, June 5, 2014 when he receives a Top 20 Under 20 award from Youth In Motion, a Canadian organization identifying exceptional youth who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, leadership and innovation in their endeavors. Mr. Noble credits Trent University, its state-of-the-art facilities, and the faculty members and staff who worked with him at Trent for much of his success.
“Trent is known as an environmental university,” Mr. Noble said. “I would never be here without the support of the community and the people at Trent. There are definitely not many people who have had the opportunities I have had.”
Mr. Noble is currently a student in the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of the Art of Obstetrics programs at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He stated that the time he spent as a research assistant at Trent holds a special place in his development as a scientist, mentioning his experiences working with faculty and researchers like Dr. Paul Frost, Schindler Professor and expert in the role of nutrients in aquatic foodwebs; Dr. Neil Emery, professor of biology and the vice-president of research at Trent; Dr. Craig Brunetti, professor of biology; and Andressa Lacerda, a Ph.D. candidate and researcher at Noble Purification.
The companies established at Trent through his research are noble in ambition as well as in name. Noble Purification has set its sights on isolating aquatic impurities, using algae to remove contaminants from wastewater systems, and Noble Reliance is focused on finding ways to use specially engineered coated nanoparticles as a treatment for cancer. While still in high school, Mr. Noble conducted research at Trent into the toxic effects of silver nanoparticles on aquatic organisms, winning the top award at the 2013 Canada-wide Science Fair for his project which illustrated how these nanoparticles can be used to treat cancer.
Mr. Noble’s work has caught the attention of the science community before. Two years ago, still early in his nanoparticle research at Trent, he received national acclaim in the form of a $5,000 Community Action Grant from the RBC Foundation’s Blue Water Project. Last year, he was also profiled as an up-and-coming young scientist in a feature on CBC’s The National entitled “The Whiz Kid: Teen breaking new ground in the fight against cancer”.
At the 11th Annual Top 20 Under 20 Awards Celebration on June 5, Mr. Noble will be celebrated with other young people who have shown a significant level innovation, leadership and achievement, all before the age of 20. Mr. Noble was nominated for the award by John Knight, manager of Corporate Research Partnerships at Trent University.
“In my time working with Adam, I have seen some amazing developments,” Mr. Knight wrote in his submission. “Adam has an insatiable curiosity that one only sees in high achieving innovators. His experiments at Trent became the initial step on a discovery pathway that has resulted in the development of a new method to utilize silver nanoparticles to kill cancer cells.”
Trent has licensed Adam Noble’s intellectual property to establish two new research programs at the university, and has launched two new start-up enterprises, which are managed by the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster in Trent’s DNA Building. One research program is led by Trent’s Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Sciences and Biogeochemistry, Dr. Celine Gueguen, and involves applied research on bio-filtration technology; the other program is led by Trent biology professor, Dr. Craig Brunetti, and conducts fundamental research using nano-silver particle technology as a chemotherapy agent for neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer with a high mortality rate and difficult to treat.
The fundamental cancer research initiatives were launched with generous support from two anonymous donors. The applied research programs to establish the innovative bio-filtration technology have been supported by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Community Futures Development Corporation (and the Federal government’s FedDev Ontario program), and the Connect Canada internship program. Noble Purification has developed a strong working partnership with the City of Peterborough’s Wastewater treatment facility, the Fleming College Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment, and utilizes the entrepreneurial services program of the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster including some valuable support from GPIC partners, and intellectual property legal firm, Bereskin and Parr. Collins Barrow and LLF lawyers have also provided support to the new company start-ups.