FREDERICTON (GNB) – A new research facility, funded in part by the provincial government’s Innovation Fund, officially opened today at the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Institute of Biomedical Engineering. The Centre for Adaptive Rehabilitation Engineering enables specialized neurological rehabilitation in a research space furnished with state-of-the-art equipment.

“The Institute of Biomedical Engineering has been conducting world-class research for decades now and today’s opening demonstrates how it continues to innovate and grow,” said Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman, who is also minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation. “The Province of New Brunswick is pleased to have been a partner in the construction and support of this facility through the Innovation Fund. The completion of this project places the institute in an even stronger position to lead Canada and beyond in the development of adaptive rehabilitation tools and technologies that will ultimately improve the quality of life in people living and aging with chronic neurological disorders.”

The facility includes several specialized laboratories, including a computer-assisted rehabilitation environment with a highly responsive treadmill platform surrounded by an immersive virtual reality screen; a mobility lab with a zero gravity body-support track and weight harness that reduces a user’s weight so they can get up and walk safely; and a lab where researchers can assess how people behave while completing daily, real-world tasks.

The provincial government contributed $2.28 million toward the project through the Regional Development Corporation while the Canadian Foundation for Innovation provided another $2.28 million. Additional support was provided by a private donation, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation.

“UNB’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering exemplifies some of the best qualities of university research: a progressive confluence of knowledge, innovation and leadership over decades, addressing complex and important challenges faced in our lives, all the while teaching and training the next generation of experts,” said university president and vice-chancellor Paul Mazerolle. “That work is made possible, in large part, due to our private and public funders, whom I thank for their generosity and vision.”

Research is already underway in the new centre in collaboration with other research institutions and new industry and community partners.