Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 12, 2005

Scientists Receive $2.7 Million for Health Research

In the largest research funding announcement from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to date, the University of Guelph received more than $2.7 million to fund seven faculty, three post-doctoral and two graduate student projects.

“Today’s announcement is absolutely terrific for our researchers,” said 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 announcement was made today in Vancouver by minister of health, Ujjal Dosanjh. 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 1600 research projects, 617 of them in Ontario.

Currently, more than a dozen U of G professors are heading research projects supported by CIHR. In fact, Guelph 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 consistently making great strides in the extremely competitive CIHR funding arena," said Prof. Mark Baker from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, who received $608,650 to explore mechanisms for repairing damaged DNA in mammalian cells.

Prof. Scott Weese from the Department of Clinical Studies received funding for a project that was chosen as one of only four studies across Ontario to be publicly highlighted by the agency. Weese received more than $119,000 to investigate whether canines visiting with patients in hospital can be a source of hospital-acquired infections, which are an important cause of illness and death in hospitalized individuals.

“This study is one part of a large research program we have underway evaluating the transmission of infectious diseases between animal and human populations,” said Weese. “Not only does the CIHR funding enable us to perform this study, it is 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 funding recipients from U of G are:

Prof. Christopher Bauch, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, received $38,623 to study and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a universal Hepatitis A vaccination program.

Prof. David Dyck, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Science, received $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 the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, received $17,500 to research how the regulation of an important gene in lipid metabolism (Pcyt2) varies in normal breast and breast cancer cells.

Rene Jorgensen, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, received $135,000 for a study of the structural characteristics of bacterial ADP-Ribosyltransferases when combined with the ribosome translocase.

Prof. W. Allan King, Department of Biomedical Sciences, received $366,600 to study telomere length and chromosome stability in domestic animal clones and their offspring.

Sean Leonard, a PhD student in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, received $17,500 for a microscopic study of the spiral arteries of the murine placental bed at various stages of gestation.

Prof. Rod Merrill, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, received $680,350 to study the molecular mechanisms of bacterial mono-ADP-ribosyltransferases.

Gordon Mitchell, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Pathobiology, received $135,000 to study how stress compromises immune responses in the lung.

Prof. Roger Moorehead, Department of Biomedical Sciences, received $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 fellow in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, received $135,000 to study the role of the growth factor VEGF in the development of ovarian cancer.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt,(519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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