University of Calgary

Two researchers receive CFI funding

UToday HomeJanuary 24, 2012

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced the latest round of Leader’s Opportunity Fund projects on Jan. 24, and two University of Calgary researchers were among those who received funding.

Uttandaraman (U.T.) Sundararaj, PhD, Head of chemical and petroleum engineering, Schulich School of Engineering
Total Award: $222,920
Project name: Viscoelastic Materials Characterization for Novel Highly Conductive Polymer Blends/Nanocomposites and Heavy Oils

This award will fund laboratory equipment for research in the areas of polymer nanocomposites and heavy oil production. This could lead to new polymer processing methods to produce more effective encasings for devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers. The goal is to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI) for better device functionality and to address health concerns. The World Health Organization recently reported that excessive EMI radiation may contribute to some cancers.

The new equipment will also help predict oil flow in reservoirs and lead to the development of new techniques for use in the oil sands. Sundararaj will collaborate with Schulich researchers Ian Gates and Harvey Yarranton to design new methods to make heavy oil production more sustainable by enhancing recovery while using less energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Grant Gordon, PhD, Faculty of Medicine
Total Award:
Project name: Two-photon Imaging of Cerebral Blood Flow: From Cells and Vessels to Behaving Animals

Reductions of blood flow in the brain can have devastating health consequences. When the vital delivery of glucose and oxygen to the brain is compromised, diseases and conditions such as stroke, vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and migraine, can develop. It is the brain cells themselves that regulate the delivery of these vital nutrients, by altering the diameter of brain blood vessels and consequently adjusting the speed of blood flow. How this information is communicated from the brain cells to the brain blood vessel however, is not fully understood.

The Faculty of Medicine’s Grant Gordon, PhD, will use the award from CFI, along with funding from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), to build a state-of-the-art fluorescence imaging and electrophysiology lab. This will enable him to investigate how the brain cells alter the diameter of brain blood vessels. He will also be able to purchase new technologies for light-direct manipulations of particular brain cells to delineate the role different cellular players. This research will be crucial for the future development of effective treatments for several brain health problems.