Campus News

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

News Release

June 11, 2007

CFI Invests $1.5 Million in U of G Research

Increasing the efficiency of work teams, developing environmentally friendly urban landscape systems and studying the relationships of proteins are just some of the University of Guelph research projects that received more than $1.5 million in support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

In total, nine U of G projects will be advanced through the CFI investment announced Friday. The funding comes from CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund, which is designed to help launch the careers of new and talented faculty and help institutions attract and retain scholars in priority research areas.

Canada-wide, CFI is investing $39.2 million in projects involving 261 researchers at 42 universities.

“We’re ecstatic,” said Guelph psychology professor David Stanley upon learning that he and colleague Prof. Harjinder Gill will receive more than $200,000 to set up an industrial-organizational psychology research centre.

“The funding will allow us to develop our research programs in ways not otherwise possible,” Stanley said. He and Gill will examine the factors that affect work team performance and the effects of unfair treatment on employee productivity and well-being.

Profs. Katerina Jordan and Eric Lyons of the Department of Plant Agriculture received nearly $250,000 to study turfgrass threshold levels for pest and drought tolerance. The new knowledge will ultimately aid in developing new varieties of turfgrass and turfgrass products that are low-management and can survive harsh temperate climates. Ultimately it will have a positive effect on public health and the environment as fewer chemicals will be needed.

Across campus, molecular and cellular biology professors Steffen Graether and Matt Kimber will be establishing a structural biology laboratory in the science complex’s Advanced Analysis Centre. They received a $250,000 grant to engage in studies to better understand the structure/function relationships of proteins.

“We are, of course, delighted to receive this award,” Kimber said. “The equipment purchased with these funds will give us the tools to help us understand how biological molecules function as atomic-scale building blocks and machines, affecting fields as diverse as health sciences and the development of novel industrial materials.”

Other Guelph CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund projects and the lead researchers are:

Prof. Andrew Brooks, Department of Pathobiology, who received $115,142 to investigate genetic variations that alter the susceptibility of swine to infection. The goal is to develop markers for breeding stock that is more resistant to economically important diseases.

Prof. Karen Gordon, School of Engineering, $127,953 for a lab to study orthopedic soft-tissue mechanics (ligaments, tendons, etc.). Collaborating with clinical studies professor Mark Hurtig, she will apply the engineering measurements to the clinical study of osteoarthritis.

Profs. Ryan Gregory and Robert Hanner, Department of Integrative Biology, $249,586 to investigate biodiversity at the genomic level, to use molecular tools to characterize biodiversity at the species level, and to enhance future biodiversity and genomic research.

Prof. Judi McCuaig, Department of Computing and Information Science, $64,023 for a novel lab to perform human computer interaction experiments. The ultimate goal is to help develop more optimal software systems that involve human interaction, such as cellphones and automated bank machines.

Prof. Steven Newmaster, Department of Integrative Biology, $124,120 to study plant biodiversity, including questions surrounding variation in individual genes and genomes and morphological traits within and between species.

Prof. Ian Tetlow, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, $123,429 to study the regulation of starch biosynthesis in plants. The research involves plant biology, biochemistry and molecular biology and will lead to the creation of new products.

CFI is an independent not-for-profit corporation established by the Canadian government 1997 to address the urgent needs of Canada’s research community. Its goal is to strengthen Canada's university research and training environment through partnerships with the research institutions, the provinces and other levels of government, as well as the private and voluntary sectors.

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

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