Campus News

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

News Release

July 10, 2001

CFI awards U of G nearly $2 million for new opportunities

Three University of Guelph research projects aimed at developing economically and environmentally sustainable cropping systems, improving beef cattle breeding and developing carbohydrate-based drugs have received nearly $2 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

All the Guelph projects fall under the New Opportunities Fund, which covers 40 per cent of the infrastructure costs of a project. The remaining funds come from the research institutions and private-, public- and voluntary-sector partners. In total, the CFI is investing $12.2 million in 68 projects at 23 Canadian institutions, CFI president and CEO David Strangway announced today. U of G received the following awards:

  • $980,908 to fund advanced data acquisition and analysis systems for beef cattle breeding, headed by beef cattle geneticist Stephen Miller.

  • $596,447 to support research by land resource scientists Richard Heck and John Lauzon and plant agriculturist Bill Deen on cropping systems, soil composition, and soil and plant nutrient management.

  • $343,609 to carbohydrate chemist France-Isabelle Auzanneau for equipment to develop new carbohydrate-based drugs.

Miller’s research involves improved data acquisition for targeted changes in beef cattle breeding. This will involve taking live animal measurements in a state-of-the-art cattle evaluation facility. The animals will be monitored for food intake and behaviour, and their body composition will be evaluated using ultrasound as well as infrared and digital imaging. There will also be sophisticated equipment that measures meat quality such as tenderness and stores electronic data, DNA and tissue.

Heck, Lauzon and Deen are working to develop economically and environmentally sustainable cropping systems, understand the variability of soil composition and functionality in landscapes, and manage soil and plant nutrients. They plan to acquire field and laboratory equipment that will allow them to conduct interdisciplinary, collaborative research. This includes monitoring soil and crop conditions using remote-sensing and geophysical devices, and establishing and maintaining field-scale crop trials. The scientists also plan to reproduce specific soil conditions in the laboratory to study soil processes and crop responses.

Auzanneau is pursuing cutting-edge research on the discovery of new carbohydrate-based drugs, from their design via their synthesis to their pre-clinical testing. She is developing strategies for the chemical synthesis of important complex carbohydrate molecules that will find potential therapeutic applications as tumour vaccines and antibacterial agents. Her research will involve three facilities equipped with state-of-the art computing equipment: a computer-assisted molecular modelling facility, an organic synthetic facility and a biochemical testing facility.

CFI’s New Opportunities Fund is intended to attract and retain young faculty members. It provides money for research infrastructure for new faculty or to help universities recruit academic staff to priority areas of research. “Our investment will enable over 150 researchers and new faculty at Canadian universities to compete globally in the knowledge-based economy,” Strangway said. The CFI was established in 1997 by the federal government to address the urgent needs of Canada’s research community. Its goal is to strengthen Canada’s university research and training environment.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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