University of Calgary

CFI Fund Award

January 24, 2011

Researchers awarded nearly $2-million through CFI Fund

By Bob Hearn

Dr. Elena Di Martino with an epi-fluorescence microscope—one of eight U of C researchers to secure CFI infrastructure funding recently.  Photo credit: Jennifer SowaDr. Elena Di Martino with an epi-fluorescence microscope—one of eight U of C researchers to secure CFI infrastructure funding recently. Photo credit: Jennifer SowaThe Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), under its Leaders Opportunity Fund, has awarded $1,914,453 to the University of Calgary to support eight research projects. The fund is designed to support research infrastructure and equipment associated with a Canada Excellence Research Chair.

Dr. Jon Meddings, U of C interim vice president of research, welcomed the CFI’s investment. “The breadth and depth of our CFI Award winners merely underscores the quality of the people and the research being done here,” said Meddings. “We greatly appreciate our evolving partnership with CFI as we all work towards better supporting our research community.”

The winners are from the faculties of science, engineering, medicine and veterinary medicine and include:

  • Dr. Simon Trudel’s research focuses on designing innovative materials, which can find applications in biomedical and information technology. A $344,370-grant will enable Trudel, an assistant professor in the chemistry department, to design recipes to make magnetic nanomaterials, and evaluate their properties. In the human body, nanoparticles can creep in all the nooks and crannies for better diagnostics and imaging and efficient drug delivery.

  • Dr. Belinda Heyne, assistant professor, chemistry department, received $163,582 for the creation of photochemical tools that will help researchers understand what causes cancer. Her research focuses on the role of “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) in organisms. The funding will allow her to create tools able to produce ROS on demand upon light activation. ROS can fight against infectious agents but also damage genetic material (DNA) and additional cellular components, such as proteins and lipids (fats). The funding will enable state-of-the-art research in photochemistry and photobiology in the lab and will foster collaborations with researchers around the world.

  • Dr. Elena Di Martino, biomedical engineer at the Schulich School of Engineering, received $118,956 to develop a mechanical imaging system to study the heart and blood vessels, leading to earlier diagnoses and better treatments for heart disease and stroke. Her work will also contribute to research aimed at building engineered vessels for tissue engineering applications.

  • Dr. Gilaad Kaplan and his colleagues Dr. Chad Saunders and Dr. Carla Coffin were awarded $175,391 for the development of a comprehensive custom made database that will serve the co-applicants by providing the information technology infrastructure needed to securely support collaboration in their clinical, epidemiological, and translational research.

  • Dr. Brenda Gerull is a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta in the Faculty of Medicine. She is receiving $246,868 to focus her research on genetically determined heart muscle disorders and offers a unique opportunity to study fundamental mechanisms leading to heart failure and sudden cardiac death—the clinical endpoints of most cardiac diseases.

  • Dr. Katherine Wynne-Edwards is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The $399,980-CFI funding will equip a state-of-the-art laboratory for sample preparation and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to deliver exceptionally sensitive and precise concentrations for naturally occurring steroid hormones found in complex biological tissues ranging from human serum, to hair from wildlife, and eggs from fish and birds.

  • Dr. John Gilleard from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, received $204,932 to establish a molecular parasitology laboratory.

  • Dr. Robin Yates from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s comparative biology and experimental medicine department received $260,374 for fluorometric instrumentation for the measurement of sub-cellular microenvironments.

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