CFI Invests in U of G Research

April 23, 2010 - News Release

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has announced more than $27.8 million in support for 118 research projects at 32 institutions across Canada, including four at the University of Guelph.

"The investments being announced today will further enhance our country's reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers," said Eliot Phillipson, CFI’s president and CEO.

Support for the U of G projects, which involve faculty from three colleges, totals more than $527,000. The funding comes from CFI's Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF), which was created to allow Canadian universities to attract and retain faculty and researchers. LOF recipients also apply for matching funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

“CFI is supporting some of Guelph’s most talented and innovative young researchers, whose work is both innovative and practical,” said Kevin Hall, Guelph’s vice-president (research).

“This latest investment will provide vital infrastructure that will help our researchers prevent and treat diabetes and obesity and increase understanding of tissue regeneration. We’ll also be creating a novel laboratory that will physically and intellectually merge engineering and fine arts.”

Fine art professor Christian Giroux received $154,295 for Ontario’s first digital haptic lab. It will include high-end scanning equipment and haptic interface technology, which enables the manual manipulation of virtual forms. This specialized facility will allow Giroux and others to visualize and design functional components and complex forms for 3D construction using contemporary prototyping tools. It will be housed in the School of Engineering.

Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences professor Graham Holloway will use his $124,902 grant to better understand the events controlling the development of Type 2 diabetes. He is establishing a metabolomics research laboratory for understanding the role of mitochondria in health and disease to help prevent and treat Type 2 diabetes.

His colleague Prof. David Mutch received $125,822 to create an internationally competitive nutrigenomics laboratory. It will be among the first in Ontario dedicated to studying the dietary regulation of adipocyte (fat cells) function using modern technologies such as gene expression and metabolite profiling. The goal is to generate important knowledge to prevent and treat obesity.

Prof. Matt Vickaryous of the Department of Biomedical Sciences was awarded $122,421 to continue his research on tissue regeneration and developmental biology, using lizards as study models. Lizards can voluntarily detach their tails as an anti-predator strategy, and then generate a replacement while avoiding infections. Understanding this phenomenon will eventually help lead to therapies for tissue replacement and wound healing.

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