Wide range of innovative studies get federal support
BY REBECCA KENDALL
In the largest research funding announcement from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to date, U of G has received more than $2.7 million to fund seven faculty, three post-doctoral and two graduate student projects.
“This announcement is absolutely terrific for our researchers,” says Prof. Alan Wildeman, vice- president (research). “Any tri-council competitive process is extremely challenging, and these successes underscore the fact that work of the highest quality is being done at Guelph.”
The U of G projects are part of a $138.5-million investment for research initiatives at Ontario universities and health research institutions. Nationally, CIHR is investing more than $354 million in 1,600 research projects, 617 of them in Ontario.
Currently, more than a dozen Guelph professors are heading research projects supported by CIHR. In fact, U of G receives more than $1.1 million annually from the federal agency for specific research projects, more than any other Canadian university without a medical school.
“U of G researchers are consist- ently making great strides in the extremely competitive CIHR funding arena,” says Prof. Mark Baker, Molecular and Cellular Biology, who received $608,650 to explore mechanisms for repairing damaged DNA in mammalian cells.
Prof. Scott Weese, Clinical Studies, was awarded $119,000 to investigate whether dogs visiting with patients in hospital can be a source of hospital-acquired infections, which are a significant cause of illness and death in hospitalized people.
“This study is one part of a large research program we have under way evaluating the transmission of infectious diseases between animal and human populations,” says Weese. “Not only does the CIHR funding enable us to perform this study, but it is also recognition from a major agency that there's a need to study the role of pets in human disease.”
Launched in 2000, CIHR is Canada's premier health research funding agency, supporting more than 8,500 researchers in universities, teaching hospitals and research institutions nationwide.
Other U of G funding recipients are:
Prof. Christopher Bauch, Mathematics and Statistics, who received $38,623 to study and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a universal hepatitis A vaccination program.
Prof. David Dyck, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences (HHNS), $208,602 to research the role of adipokines as regulators of skeletal muscle fatty acid metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Christa Johnston, an M.Sc. student in HHNS, $17,500 to examine how the regulation of an important gene in lipid metabolism (Pcyt2) varies in normal breast and breast cancer cells.
Rene Jorgensen, a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, $135,000 to study the structural characteristics of bacterial ADP- ribosyltransferases when combined with the ribosome trans- locase.
Prof. Allan King, Biomedical Sciences, $366,600 to explore telomere length and chromosome stability in domestic animal clones and their offspring.
Sean Leonard, a PhD candidate in HHNS, $17,500 for a microscopic study of the spiral arteries of the murine placental bed at various stages of gestation.
Prof. Rod Merrill, Molecular and Cellular Biology, $680,350 to look at the molecular mechanisms of bacterial mono-ADP-ribosyl- transferases.
Gordon Mitchell, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Pathobiology, $135,000 to examine how stress compromises immune responses in the lung.
Prof. Roger Moorehead, Biomedical Sciences, $275,000 for a model to map out the function of the insulin-like growth factor IGF-IR in breast cancer.
Ifat Sher-Rosenthal, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, $135,000 to study the role of the growth factor VEGF in the development of ovarian cancer.
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