University-industry research partnerships

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Simon Fraser University | Agri-food and Agriculture

Key facilities

The Punja Laboratory conducts research on fundamental aspects of plant host-fungal pathogen interactions from a cellular, biochemical and molecular perspective, using genetic engineering techniques.

Pletter Resaerch Group conducts research on synthesis, insect olfaction and biocatalysis in biochemistry.

The Pollination Ecology Lab at SFU conducts research on the determinants and impacts of pollinator diversity and crop pollination.

Pacific Water Research Centre supports cross-disciplinary exploration of water science, social values, and public policy. It supports the advancement technological innovation and concrete societal change.

Major collaborations

Enhancing Growth and Quality of Medical Marihuana in Hydroponic Systems is a project sponsored by Agrima Botanicals Corporation to provide the medical marihuana industry in Canada, as well as regulatory agencies, with a much-needed set of research-derived guidelines to ensure that a high quality product is guaranteed for consumers.

Development and Implementation of Integrated Pollination Strategies for Specialty Corps is a project sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture and in collaboration with Michigan State University that explores a combination of scientific research and economic analysis to develop management tools for blueberry growing.

Genomic epidemiology application ontology $4M Genome Canada project to develop ways to effectively analyze, interpret and apply big data to improve health-related issues, including food crops management.


  • Dr. Zamir Punja, Professor of Biological Sciences. Research focuses on plant pathology, involving studies on the etiology and control of various fungal diseases on vegetable and horticultural crops, and plant biotechnology, with the aim to improve plant resistance to disease using techniques in plant tissue culture, molecular biology, and through genetic engineering.
  • Dr. Mark Winston, Professor of Biological Sciences, Governor’ General’s Literary Award recipient, and one of the world’s leading experts on bees and pollination.
  • Dr. Erika Plettner, Professor of Chemistry. Research in Bio-organic chemistry focuses on molecular recognition, binding protein, pheromone, olfaction, enzyme, and monooxygenase.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Elle, Professor of Biology and Department Chair. Research focuses on the importance of ecological selection pressures and the determinants and impacts of variation in pollinator diversity in fragmented ecosystems.

Special programs and work integrated learning initiatives

-SFU’s Work Integrated Learning program offers co-operative education, and career planning and building opportunities through workshops and advising in 75 programs spread across 8 faculties

-The bioinformatics undergraduate and graduate training programs provide access to high performance computing resources for research at the interface of computer science and biology, including infectious disease affecting food crops.

-SFU offers a graduate certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization, geared towards providing science and engineering students with the frameworks, perspective, and techniques to make their inventions a commercial success.


BC Blueberry Council

BC Cranberry Marketing Commission

Canadian Forest Products Ltd

Bioforest Technologies Inc

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agrima Botanicals Corp

Active Agriproducts Inc

Active AgriSciences Inc

BC Agritourism Alliance

Universities Canada