Media releases

  • Brock University wine researchers headed to Parliament Hill

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00105 – 17 May 2016

    Jeff Stuart and his team of research students from Brock University in St. Catharines will showcase industry-changing grape research in an event on Parliament Hill this week.

    Stuart, a biologist in Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), has partnered with Niagara-based company Sweet and Sticky to research ways of fortifying the company’s ice syrups, a non-alcoholic product made from icewine grapes that is sold as a gourmet ingredient throughout the world.

    After a similar presentation at Queen’s Park in February, Stuart along with Brock student researchers Breanne Gillie and Shehab Selim, and Sweet and Sticky president Steve Murdza, will take part in a university research showcase event in Ottawa Wednesday, May 18 organized by Research Matters.

    Stuart says he’s looking forward to talking about the research.
    “The project received almost $50,000 in funding from the Ontario and federal governments, so it’s important to show that the investment produced results.”

    The University/industry collaboration is studying how to introduce resveratrol and other polyphenols extracted from grape skins into the company’s non-alcoholic products. Resveratrol, which is found in wine, has been shown to slow the growth of cancer cells and tumours.

    But, “in ice syrup, the levels of resveratrol and related molecules are lower, because it’s not a fermentation process, so there is no alcohol and therefore lower solubility of the molecules of interest,” explains Stuart. “Our challenge was to increase these levels.”

    To increase the concentration of the molecules in ice syrup, Stuart and his team came up with the idea of using a tasteless carrier molecule.

    “One resveratrol molecule fits neatly inside the carrier molecule’s structure and there it is shielded from water while the outside structure of the carrier is interacting with the surrounding water,” he says.

    The carrier molecule’s structure is shaped like a donut or a life preserver, which has the added benefit of protecting resveratrol during the initial stages of digestion.

    “This is a way to go from having relatively low levels of these resveratrol molecules in ice syrup to having potentially more than is found in any wines,” explains Stuart.

    More testing is needed before the Brock innovation makes its way into Sweet and Sticky’s products, “but the preliminary results are promising and the research continues to be funded to progress toward commercialization,” he says.

    In addition to the importance of research and development work happening in Niagara, Stuart says the project is “really about job creation.

    “If we are successful and develop new products, the company will need to recruit and employ more people,” he says.

    The research team’s visit to Parliament Hill in Ottawa is part of Research Matters’ Pop-Up Research Park, an annual event in which researchers from universities across Ontario showcase their work to MPs and staff.

    Stuart, Gillie, Selim and Murdza are all available to speak with the media in Niagara or Ottawa this week.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock’s Centre for Labour Studies signs transfer credit agreement with UFCW Canada union

    MEDIA RELEASE: R00103 – 13 May 2016

    The Centre for Labour Studies at Brock University has signed a partnership with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada union that will help members and their families turn courses from webCampus, UFCW Canada’s online training program, into Brock course credits.

    UFCW Canada members who have completed four relevant webCampus courses may earn one, half-credit elective toward a certificate or degree in Labour Studies, to a maximum of one credit in a certificate program and 2.5 credits in a degree program.

    “The agreement will help facilitate the transition from union education to a university education for UFCW members looking to obtain a degree from Brock,” says Larry Savage, Director of the Centre for Labour Studies. “The agreement also demonstrates the Centre’s commitment to working with the labour movement to provide greater opportunities for union members to obtain a Labour Studies degree.”

    UFCW Canada has offered webCampus training to members since the early 2000s, including many courses devoted to key aspects of Labour Studies, such as Advanced Stewarding and Understanding Collective Bargaining. However, this is the first time members will have an opportunity to gain university credits by completing them.

    As webCampus courses are free to UFCW Canada members and their families, the partnership will help defray costs for those looking to further their education in the Centre for Labour Studies.

    “UFCW Canada members believe in education, and we believe in them”, says Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada. “The partnership with Brock University is a tremendous opportunity to provide members with the empowering labour studies resources of webCampus and Brock University combined.”

    “The idea of democracy at work needs to be strengthened,” says Marv Funk, Director of Education for UFCW Canada. “The partnership with Brock University is an ideal way to recognize workers in their efforts.”

    Brock students will also benefit from sharing their classrooms with union members. “Having more UFCW Canada members in our courses will enrich the classroom experience for all Labour Studies students at Brock by diversifying our existing pool of students in terms of lived experience and union background,” Savage says.

    “Having different perspectives in the classroom always helps to liven debate, encourage dialogue and challenge preconceived notions.”

    For more information on the agreement between Brock University and UFCW Canada, visit the UFCW web site at


    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

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    Categories: Media releases