Published Wednesday, October 10, 2018 5:53PM EDT
There is new money from Ottawa this week for several research projects at Sudbury's Laurentian University.
One of the projects involves studying frogs, and it could have important medical applications.
Behind this door lies the lair of "the frog guy."
David Lesbarreres, also known as ‘The Frog Guy’, is a Laurentian biology professor who is trying to figure out why amphibians are disappearing.
Amphibians have been disappearing in places around the world for decades due to disease and pollution, but some in northern Ontario are not.
"We found that in some ponds of the mining around us, whether it's at Vale or Xstrata Falconbridge, they do exist still and they do breed, so they do adapt to some level of pollution." said Lesbarreres.
He says if he can figure out how some amphibians can survive among the heavy metal pollutants in mining ponds, there could be very important medical applications for humans.
"So, understanding how amphibians are living in those waters and do well, can cope with those pollutions, might help us." said Lesbarreres.
His work is now getting a federal funding boost.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada awarded the school $1.4 million for ten projects, including Lesbarreres’.
"This is the leading research facility in northern Ontario and we want to see more of that spread across the north." said Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre.
Lesbarreres says his share will allow him to pay grad students, like David Coady, to study amphibians at 10 to 15 sites across the city over the next five years.
"This broader understanding is going to allow us to reach solutions for this amphibian crisis and the heavy metal contaminants in Sudbury." said Coady.
The researchers believe their findings could also help Sudbury's environment and bio-diversity. Lesbarreres says if he and his students can understand how some amphibians cope with pollution, that knowledge could be used to help other wildlife.