Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
April 20, 2006
Scientists Get $1.3 Million for Health Research
The University of Guelph today received more than $1.3 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to fund four projects aimed at advancing research on infectious bacteria, children's crossing of streets, and reproductive cells.
The U of G projects are part of a $112-million investment for research initiatives at Ontario universities and health research institutions announced today. Nationally, CIHR is investing more than $273 million in 793 research projects, 308 of them in Ontario.
“The University of Guelph is increasingly recognized for the interdisciplinary ways in which it can contribute to CIHR’s broad mandate,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). “The University is very proud of these four researchers and the success they have had in a national, highly competitive environment."
Currently, more than a dozen U of G professors are heading research projects supported by CIHR. In fact, Guelph received nearly $2.6 million last year from the federal agency for specific research projects, more than any other Canadian university without a medical school.
The latest U of G projects span across three of the University’s colleges, the College of Biological Science, the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, and the Ontario Agricultural College.
Molecular and Cellular Biology professor Joseph Lam received $563,135 for a five-year study on mapping the complex pathways of how specific sugar polymers are made by pathogenic bacteria. “The outcome of this research will allow us to identify important drug targets that could be used to screen for novel antimicrobials against a variety of bacterial infections,” said Lam.
Prof. Chris Whitfield, also in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, received a five-year, $522,350 grant to understand the ways in which bacteria build and maintain their cell surfaces. “It’s always rewarding to see our research proposals well received by colleagues on the national review committees,” said Whitfield. “CIHR’s generous support allows us to pursue a variety of fundamental questions concerning infectious bacteria. Equally important, the funding is providing opportunities for the training of the next generation of researchers.”
Lam and Whitfield share a modern laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment in U of G’s new Science Complex. “This CIHR funding will allow our laboratory to take advantage of the momentum that my group has built up in this project and continue to break new grounds in microbial glycobiology research,” said Lam.
In addition, psychology professor Barbara Morrongiello will receive more than $177,000 to study children's crossing of streets and the factors that affect how safely they do so. "It is also to develop a virtual reality training program for street crossing behaviour, and to evaluate how well this works to improve actual street crossing behaviour by children," she said.
Animal and Poultry Science professor Julang Li received $98,113 to continue her research on the germline potential of stem cells derived from the skin. “We’re trying to determine whether the cell isolated from skin differentiates into a female germ cell,” she said. “If the answer is yes, we plan to study the mechanism governing this differentiation.”
Launched in 2000, CIHR is Canada’s premier health research funding agency, supporting more than 8,500 researchers in universities, teaching hospitals, and research institutes nationwide.
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