Eight University of Manitoba Researchers get $1.3 Million Boost

Jan 21, 2011 | Corporate Member News

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced today it has awarded $1, 332,798 to eight University of Manitoba researchers who are working on a variety of projects, enabling them to improve our knowledge of the world and continue to lead in their field.

“Access to modern, cutting-edge equipment and facilities is imperative in the 21st century,” said Dr. Gilles Patry, President and CEO of the CFI. “For more than a decade, the CFI has provided thousands of world-class researchers with the tools they need to do their work. Without the right infrastructure, they quite simply wouldn’t be in Canada.”

The contributions were provided under the Leaders Opportunity Fund, which supports infrastructure at Canadian institutions to attract and retain leading researchers. The University of Manitoba recipients are: Margaret Docker, Mostafa Fayek, Soheila Karimi, Song Liu, Brooke Milne, Afshin Raouf, James Roth and Jane Waterman.

Dr. Digvir Jayas

“This funding is vital in supporting our accomplished researchers to achieve their goal of innovation and discovery,” said Dr. Digvir S. Jayas, Vice-President (Research) at the University of Manitoba. “I wish them all success in their journey to breaking new ground.”

Margaret Docker, Faculty of Science, received $127,986 towards a molecular genetics facility that will dramatically increase the capabilities and consistency of molecular genetic analyses. The laboratory is developing genetic technologies for the early detection and species-specific control of aquatic invasive species (i.e., with minimal impact to non-target organisms) and studying genetic stock structure in walleye in Lake Winnipeg; commercial fishing for walleye in Manitoba is a valuable industry, generating on average $18 million per year. Molecular genetic research has significant potential to benefit Manitoba’s economic development, to maintain the high quality of our environment, and to thereby sustain and improve the welfare of its citizens.

Mostafa Fayek and Alfredo Camacho, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources, received $397,105 to establish a noble-gas mass-spectrometry laboratory. This will enhance understanding of the processes and rates that impact fluid-rock interactions, mechanisms of mass transport, and thermal history of geological systems. This research will support energy and mineral resources such as uranium deposits, and alternative energy developments.

Soheila Karimi, Faculty of Medicine, received $159,851 for equipment that will enable the integration of a wide range of cutting edge cellular and functional strategies in spinal cord and stem cell research that will complement existing infrastructure at the University and in the Province of Manitoba. The support will aid the development of an advanced regenerative medicine centre that focuses on the therapeutic application of neural stem cells in pre-clinical models of spinal cord injury.

Song Liu, Faculty of Human Ecology, received $145,536 to establish a medical textile surface engineering lab at the University of Manitoba to facilitate the research and development of new generation of textile materials for medical and biomedical applications such as self-disinfecting protective textiles, dual-functional chronic wound care dressings, vascular grafts and ligament prostheses. The use of self-disinfecting textiles can prevent cross infections and will contribute to disease prevention and reduced hospital-acquired infection. The dual-functional wound dressings could be used to deliver the function of active infection control and sustained nutrients delivery, thus facilitating wound healing and decreasing dressing change frequency which means reduced patient pain and costs. This facility will be unique to the University of Manitoba and will significantly benefit the provincial economy by creating new textile opportunities.

Brooke Milne, Faculty of Arts, received $194,877 for geophysical survey and digital microscopy equipment that will assist in the digital preservation of archaeological sites and artifacts in Canada’s Arctic and subarctic regions. This equipment will help speed up the pace of research, saving both time and resources, and facilitate environmental impact assessments prior to hydro, mining, and gas projects. The cutting edge technology will push Canadian archeology to the next level, making it competitive with other nations using similar approaches.

Afshin Raouf, Faculty of Medicine and the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology (a joint institute of the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba), received $156,292 for the establishment of an integrated lab to study the biology and functions of normal and malignant breast stem cells. Understanding how breast stem cells are normally regulated will provide a framework to understand how their inappropriate regulation can cause them to become cancer forming cells. Such knowledge will lead to the development of new therapeutics to prevent breast cancer recurrence and to diagnose breast cancer at an early premalignant stage. This infrastructure is essential to the establishment of an innovative and leading edge research program in Manitoba.

James Roth, Faculty of Science, received $81,199 for various equipment that will be used to collect and prepare biological samples for estimating animal diets. With Canada’s wildlife facing increasing threats due to habitat loss and climate change, the ability to reconstruct animal diets and trace the flow of nutrients and energy is crucial for wildlife conservation. This new infrastructure will complement the Stable Isotope Facility in the Department of Geological Sciences.

Jane Waterman, Faculty of Science, received $69,952 towards equipment used to create mobile field labs and analysis centre which will investigate how fertility is influenced by environmental factors such as age, social status, resources, and parasites in wildlife. This equipment will be used to collect live sperm, and behavioural, physiological and morphological data. It will significantly benefit the provincial economy by training future researchers in techniques used in the life sciences. Understanding the factors that influence infertility is important in agricultural breeding, conservation of endangered wildlife and in human reproduction.

For a complete list of the projects awarded today or to learn more about the CFI, go to http://www.innovation.ca/. The Canadian Foundation for Innovation is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed almost $5.3 billion in support of more than 6,800 projects at 130 institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

For more information, please contact Janine Harasymchuk, research communications & marketing manager, University of Manitoba, Tel: 204-474-7300.

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