Campus News

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

News Release

April 26, 2004

U of G adds ‘one million’ New Opportunities

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is investing more than $1 million in 10 up-and-coming researchers at the University of Guelph.

The announcement was made today at the University of New Brunswick by Carmen Charette, CFI’s interim president and CEO. The U of G faculty are among professors from 33 universities who will share in $23 million in support from CFI’s New Opportunities Fund.

The fund provides research infrastructure to talented faculty in their first full-time academic appointment so they can undertake leading-edge research. It covers 40 per cent of the costs of a project, with additional support supplied by the institutions and private-, public- and voluntary-sector partners.

“The New Opportunities program continues to provide new faculty with the critically important kick-start to their research efforts,” said Alan Wildeman, U of G’s vice-president (research). “The research programs of these 10 new faculty will contribute to Ontario's capacity for knowledge creation, and to the ability of the province to generate the discoveries that will help it remain competitive.”

The U of G faculty represent seven different departments. Their research projects run the gamut from delving into social behaviour and studying cultural adaptation among international students to examining urban watershed management and improving plant species through biotechnology.

“Hearing about the approval of my CFI grant was very exciting,” said psychology professor Elena Choleris, who received nearly $200,000 to study the expression and regulation of social behaviour. She said the grant will enable her to set up state-of-the-art laboratories where she can conduct multiple levels of analysis “from gene to behaviour and vice-versa.”

“My long-term objective is to understand social recognition and social learning at various levels: their underlying neurobiological mechanisms, their roles within the complexity of a social system and their evolutionary significance and history,” she said.

Psychology professor Saba Safdar will use the nearly $98,000 she received from CFI to study the process of adjustment for international students in Canada. “With increased globalization and the expansion of international education, researchers – particularly psychologists – have a unique opportunity to provide insight into the phenomenon of intercultural contact and the process of adjustment,” she said. Safdar also plans to develop and evaluate intercultural training programs to increase the academic and social adaptation of Canadian students studying abroad.

Engineering professor Andrea Bradford will use her $125,000 to develop urban watershed management systems that meet the needs of humans without neglecting the needs of aquatic ecosystems. “Field studies are a very important part of my research program,” she said. “With this grant, I am able to acquire the field equipment that is absolutely essential to beginning what I see as my life’s work.”

Other U of G New Opportunities recipients are:

• Christina Caruso, Department of Botany, $125,000 for research on plant ecological genetics.

• Hermann Eberl, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, $34,270 for a computational biomathematics laboratory.

• Lewis Lukens, Department of Plant Agriculture, $124,788 for an environmental genomics lab and plant bioinformatics facility.

• Hafiz Maherali, Department of Botany, $125,000 to study the genetics, evolution and ecosystem consequences of plant physiological traits.

• Robert McLaughlin, Department of Zoology, $124,643 to research the ecological consequences of movement in fish.

• Jayasankar Subramanian, Department of Plant Agriculture, $119,620 to explore the use of plant biotechnology.

• Patricia Turner, Department of Pathobiology, $82,843 to study genetics and susceptibility to immune dysregulation disease in mice.

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 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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