U of G Health Research Gets $2-Million Boost

July 09, 2010 - News Release

Three University of Guelph professors whose research may lead to new treatments for human diseases including cancer have received more than $2 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The U of G grants are part of a five-year, $230-million investment for 405 health-related projects at universities and research institutions across Canada announced this week.

“This investment from CIHR speaks volumes about Guelph’s ability to deliver results that will make a difference in the health and lives of Canadians,” said vice-president (research) Kevin Hall.

“The research being supported will provide new understanding about human diseases such as breast cancer, leading to new tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.”

Molecular and cellular biology professor Mark Baker received more than $700,000 to continue studying how mammalian cells control homologous recombination, or the exchange of genetic information between DNA molecules. Improper recombination can trigger cell death or mutations linked to cancer. Baker hopes his research will help design therapeutic drugs and processes to prevent cancer.

Biomedical scientist Roger Moorehead will use his $453,000 grant to study breast cancer, particularly susceptibility of mammary glands to tumour formation and dietary effects. In earlier CIHR-supported work with U of G biomedical scientist Jim Petrik, Moorehead discovered a potential marker protein for ovarian cancer.

Prof. Rod Merrill, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, received nearly $860,000. Using X-ray crystallography, he studies how toxins affect proteins to help find new treatments for bacterial diseases and infection.

CIHR supports thousands of health researchers in universities, teaching hospitals and research institutes nationwide.

Currently, some two dozen U of G researchers head projects supported by CIHR. Guelph receives more than $3 million annually from the federal agency, more than any other Canadian university without a medical school.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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