CFI Invests in U of G Research, Innovation Leaders

June 04, 2013 - News Release

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) will invest more than $800,000 in seven University of Guelph research projects headed by “innovation leaders.”

The announcement was made today by Gary Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology). In total, CFI will provide $47.7 million to support 234 research projects across the country. The funding comes from CFI's Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) to help universities attract and retain faculty and researchers. LOF recipients apply for matching funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

“CFI is supporting some of our most talented young researchers, who are conducting innovative and practical work across the disciplines,” said Kevin Hall, Guelph’s vice-president (research).

“This investment will provide vital infrastructure for advanced training and research facilities that will help improve health and well-being. Graduate and undergraduate students will also get to hone their skills on state-of-the-art equipment. As well, it will allow the researchers to secure other sources of support.”

U of G’s largest LOF grant — $160,816 — went to engineering professor Suresh Neethirajan, who uses nanoscale devices, technologies and methods to study biological and agricultural systems.

By studying biomolecules and cellular structures and molecular forces, he hopes to help combat pathogenic bacteria. His work will help in designing bio-nanorobots to deliver drugs into the body and in designing lab-on-a-chip systems to screen samples for food safety.

“I am thrilled to add state-of-the-art equipment to our bio-nanolab,” Neethirajan said. “This infrastructure will help us investigate techniques to detect diseases and provide advanced solutions for food safety and bioeconomy.”

Psychology professor Margaret Lumley received $103,215 to support the development and study of strengths-based tools for identifying and challenging youth depression and promoting youth mental health. To increase access to these tools for all youth, the research is grounded in both school and online contexts, Lumley said.

“Ultimately, we aim to better understand how to challenge depression in its early child and adolescent stages to prevent years of suffering in what is often a chronic difficulty, along with promoting positive functioning for all youth,” she said.

“Thanks to receiving the CFI, we will now have the infrastructure resources to further develop and carefully evaluate tools for promoting positive youth mental health."

Shauna Blois, a clinical studies professor in the Ontario Veterinary College, received $91,908 to study blood clotting, or hemostasis, in various animals. Normal blood clot formation is important to avoid hemorrhaging after trauma, but inappropriate clots can sometimes cause death. Many diseases and medications can disrupt hemostasis, leading to complications.

“The CFI-LOF grant will allow our lab to become one of the most comprehensive comparative hemostasis labs in Canada,” Blois said. “The funding will provide us with novel, cutting-edge methods of examining how blood clots form in normal and abnormal animals.”

She plans to examine hemostasis from different angles. “By pinpointing where the defect happens, we then have information to help us prevent such complications. Our work and discoveries in one species can have impacts on multiple species, helping both human and veterinary patients.”

U of G’s other LOF recipients are the following:

• Prof. Naseem Al-Aidroos, Department of Psychology, $124,983 for equipment for recording behaviour, eye movement and electrophysiology;
• Prof. Jaclyn Cockburn, Department of Geography, $90,231 for equipment to study sedimentary processes;
• Prof. Tami Martino, Department of Biomedical Sciences, $124,442 for integrated circadian-cardiovascular research;
• Prof. Brandon Plattner, Department of Pathobiology, $124,881 to study mycobacterial infection in cattle.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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