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

News Release

November 25, 2005

Three 'Early Researchers' Nab Provincial Support

Three University of Guelph professors are among 64 researchers province-wide who each received $100,000 today from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. The funding was provided through the newly created Early Researcher Award program.

Integrative biology professor Kevin McCann, physicist Vladimir Ladizhansky and plant agriculture professor Jayasankar Subramanian will use the funds to help build research teams of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates.

“It’s great to see the province making investments in people still early in their careers,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). “The peer review process for these awards is very stringent, and all three of these researchers should be proud of their accomplishment.”

The Early Researcher Award program succeeds the Premier’s Research Excellence Awards program and is open to researchers within the first five years of their career. A total of $6.4 million was invested in this round of awards, and the provincial money is supplemented by contributions from the universities.

“This really is a tremendous honour,” said McCann, who, since joining the U of G faculty in 2003, has been developing an internationally recognized research program on the role and function of biodiversity in ecosystems.

Both he and Ladizhansky also hold prestigious Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs (CRC), a national honour that acknowledges emerging leaders and awards them $100,000 a year. But the CRC funding and the majority of other research grants are earmarked for infrastructure, McCann said. “That is why this award is so wonderful. I’ll be able to use the money to hire talented researchers and assemble a support staff to help run the laboratory.”

Ladizhansky, who also joined U of G in 2003, said: "This is a very important award and timely as well. It will certainly enhance my research and will let me attract new graduate students." He is investigating the development of sophisticated techniques to learn about the structural detail of biological materials at the atomic level. The research could lead to an increased understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis.

Subramanian, a tree fruit breeder, is isolating the antioxidants found in plums and other stone fruits, and testing them to see how they can improve human health. He received a New Opportunities research grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation in 2004.

The Ministry of Research and Innovation was created in June 2005 and is headed by Premier Dalton McGuinty.

“Our government created a ministry dedicated to research and innovation because we believe in the creative potential of all Ontarians,” said Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph-Wellington. “This funding will attract some of the brightest and best minds to Guelph-Wellington, to make leading-edge research discoveries that will help create prosperity for all.”

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

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