Campus News

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

News Release

June 18, 2003

CFI invests $1.4 million in ‘New Opportunities’ at U of G

The University of Guelph has received more than $1.4 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support innovative projects headed by its “next generation” of outstanding researchers, it was announced today.

Eleven professors from nine U of G departments will benefit from the $33.5-million investment from CFI’s New Opportunities Fund that was announced in Ottawa by Industry Minister Allan Rock; Rey Pagtakhan, minister of veterans affairs and secretary of state (science, research and development), and CFI President and CEO David Strangway. The New Opportunities Fund was designed to help launch the careers of new and talented faculty members and help institutions recruit exceptional scholars in priority areas for research. The fund covers 40 per cent of the infrastructure costs of a project, with the remaining funds coming from the research institutions and private-, public- and voluntary-sector partners.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said engineering professor Michele Oliver, who received $112,355 to purchase equipment to research repetitive strain injuries and joystick dynamics and design. Until now, Oliver, who joined U of G in 2001, has had to rent equipment at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto or travel to New Brunswick to do much of her work. “This will
make a huge difference to me and to the biomechanics lab that I share with (fellow engineering professor) John Runciman. We will now have a state-of-the-art facility.”

Plant agriculture professor Julie Dionne, who joined U of G in 2001, plans to use the $125,017 she received from CFI to equip a new turfgrass science/management laboratory. She hopes to increase the tolerance of turfgrass systems to stresses such as freezing temperatures, disease and insects, and reduce inputs of pesticide, irrigation and fertilizer.

Kathryn Preuss, who joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2002, will use her $159,655 grant to purchase an electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer with low-temperature capabilities. She hopes to develop a rational synthetic design for single- molecule magnets, which can potentially be used in ultra-high-density digital data storage. “In theory, one bit of read/write digital data can be stored per molecule, approximately one thousand times the capacity of current high-density data storage devices.”

Dominique Bureau, who joined the Department of Animal and Poultry Science in 2001, will use his $127,480 for improvements at U of G’s Fish Nutrition Research Laboratory, the oldest and best known of its kind in Canada. "The funding of this CFI infrastructure project is great news,” said Bureau, who is working to develop a more comprehensive understanding of fish nutrient use. “It will allow the renovation of 30-year-old facilities that have set the standards for fish nutrition research in the world and allow U of G researchers to make a meaningful contribution to the field for the next 30 years.”

Other U of G New Opportunities recipients are:

-- Milena Corredig, Department of Food Science, $146,454 for research on macromolecular assemblies in creative novel and improved food products.

-- John Dawson, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, $81,794 to purchase equipment for actin purification and biochemical analysis stations.

-- Niel Karrow, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, $121,340 for research on the genetics of disease resistance.

-- John Lumsden, Department of Pathobiology, $151,122 to study innate immunity and acute phase response in salmonid fish.

-- Baozhong Meng, Department of Microbiology, $124,373 for an integrated facility to study the biology and molecular biology of plant viruses and virus diagnosis.

-- Glen Pyle, Department of Biomedical Sciences, $125,336 to investigate muscle function and intracellular signalling transduction.

-- Wanhong Yang, Department of Geography, $143,822 for a GIS modelling laboratory for agricultural conservation management.

"The CFI continues to provide faculty with the resources they need to excel,” said Alan Wildeman, U of G’s vice-president (research). “Today's announcement confirms that departments and colleges at Guelph are doing a terrific job recruiting the very best faculty and building long-term capacity for innovative research and training in Canada."

The CFI was established in 1997 by the federal government to address the urgent needs of Canada's research community. It has a capital investment budget of $3.15 billion, and 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 Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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