Province Invests $1.8 Million in U of G Research

August 19, 2010 - News Release

The provincial government today announced more than $1.8 million in funding for 14 leading-edge research projects at the University of Guelph, from investigating lung cancer treatments to studying diseases that jump between animals and humans to developing biomaterial replacements for oil-based synthetics. In all, seven U of G departments in five colleges received support.

"This funding will provide our researchers with the tools needed for innovation and discovery," said president Alastair Summerlee. "It will also support translating those breakthroughs into practical, useful knowledge."

The funding is part of an $18-million provincial investment to support 1,663 researchers at 21 institutions. Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph, made the announcement at U of G for Glen Murray, minister of research and innovation.

“I’m proud of the tremendous talent we have in Guelph,” Sandals said, “and I am proud that our government is helping them make discoveries that will lead to new companies and jobs, while ensuring a better quality of life for Ontarians and people around the world.”

Three projects are headed by U of G professors who received provincial Early Researcher Awards. The highly competitive program is open to Ontario researchers in the first five years of their career. Professors receive $140,000 to further their research and to help build teams of graduate students, post-docs and research associates.

Prof. Leah Bent, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, studies balance control problems caused by age or injury. She is looking at skin receptors controlling posture and connections between feet and the inner ear in balance control, including recent tests of balance receptors in astronauts' feet during zero gravity.

By developing “green” technologies that mimic biological systems, integrative biology professor Doug Fudge hopes to develop biomaterials to replace oil-based industrial materials and related harmful solvents.

Environmental sciences professor Christian Blodau studies the effects of climate on carbon, nutrients and toxic trace elements in wetlands, lakes and freshwater reservoirs. He hopes to help sustain Canada’s aquatic ecosystems under global environmental change.

Blodau also received $179,656 through the research infrastructure program of the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) for lab space, equipment and software.

Other Guelph researchers receiving ORF infrastructure support are:

- Prof. Paula Barata, Psychology, $85,460: cervical cancer in women with a history of dometic abuse;

- Prof. Cortland Griswold, Integrative Biology, $126,866: high-performance computing to study evolution;

- Prof. Claire Jardine, Pathobiology, $87,209: zoonotic diseases;

- Prof. Frederic Laberge, Integrative Biology, $124,571: developing self-learning robots and a new treatment for brain disorders, including addiction and depression;

- Prof. Dmitriy Soldatov, Chemistry, $165,694: single-crystal X-ray diffractometer to develop new materials for energy, biomedicine and food;

- Prof. Carl Svensson, Physics, $124,854: how nuclear structure affects synthesis of chemical elements in stellar explosions;

- Prof. Merritt Turetsky, Integrative Biology, $176,453: ecosystem analysis laboratory to study climate change and disturbances in boreal ecosystems;

- Prof. Scott Weese, Pathobiology, $122,258: zoonotic diseases;

- Prof. Geoffrey Wood, Pathobiology, $117,954: dog and mouse models of cancer to develop novel therapies; and

- Prof. Sarah Wootton, Pathobiology, $120,711: treatment of lung cancer in non-smokers.

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

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