The provincial government has given the University of Saskatchewan 2.1 million dollars for nine research projects.

More than half of the money will be used for the new BioXAS beamline project. The three beamlines look at the role metals play in the human body and the outside world.

"Basically, it's a vital contribution from the province," Canada Research Chair and lead researcher Graham George said. "We couldn't move forward without it."

Disease research

George said the beamline will be useful in researching Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Graham George

Canada Research Chair Graham George says the new BioXAS beamline will be very helpful to researchers. (David Shield, CBC)

"Both of these diseases involve metals," George said. "We're not really sure if they're part of the problem or they're part of the cause of the problem, but we know they're involved and we want to understand this."

George said the beamline will also allow research into metal-based drugs, explaining why they work in the human body.

"This infrastructure here at the Canadian Light Source will be a world-beater," he said. "It'll allow us to do things no one else in the world can do."

Zooming in

The new beamline will allow researchers to zoom in on images, something that isn't available at other synchrotrons.

"If you wanted to do that at the moment, you would have to do an experiment at one synchrotron in a different part of the world, and then to zoom in you might have to go to a completely different synchrotron in yet another part of the world," he said.

Researchers hope to have the beamlines up and running this year.