University of Saskatchewan

September 17, 2014   

Four U of S Medical Research Projects to get Federal Funding

Wednesday, July 15 1998

Four U of S Medical Research Projects to get Federal Funding

Medical research at the University of Saskatchewan will get a $1.86-million injection over the next five years from the Medical Research Council (MRC) of Canada.

In the spring grants competition announced this week, four out of 11 U of S applicants were awarded funding -- a success rate of 36 per cent. Nationally, 43 per cent of applicants for operating grants were successful.

"These are very substantial awards that will certainly help our research effort," said Barry McLennan, assistant dean of research at the college of medicine. The success rate is "a very significant improvement" over the previous competition last fall when none of the 20 applicants got any money in the original announcement, said McLennan. He noted a "most welcome" cash infusion to the MRC in the spring federal budget did result in two of the projects receiving funding. "We're now heading in the right direction," he added.

The four projects that will be funded involve basic research that could have important implications for understanding cancer and other diseases:

  • $161,199 per year for five years to veterinary microbiologist Lorne Babiuk for the study of viral-cell interactions and responses by the host animal. This could lead to a vaccine against the herpes virus in cows and bovine rotavirus, a form of diarrhea in cattle. This research also has implications for similar diseases in humans.

    Prof. Babiuk is a former recipient of the U of S distinguished researcher award and is currently director of the Veterinary Infectious Diseases Organization (VIDO), a leader in infectious disease research.

  • $117,938 per year for five years to biochemistry professor and department head Louis Delbaere to study the structure and function of cell proteins, work which could be important in developing new treatments for diabetes.

    Prof. Delbaere also will receive a one-time grant of $46,155 to purchase equipment for freezing protein crystals.

  • $70,460 per year for three years to Jim Xiang, a senior research scientist and professor of oncology at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre. He will study a new way of destroying tumors that involves using a genetically engineered protein to induce an immune response against the tumor.

    Prof. Xiang will also receive a one-time equipment grant of $14,047.

  • $65,250 per year for three years to Wei Xiao, an associate professor of microbiology, to study how cells repair damage to their own DNA after exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and other mutagens. His work is having significant impact in cancer research.

    Prof. Xiao will also receive a one-time equipment grant of $5,503.

As well, Robert Hopfner, a PhD student working on factors involved in hypertension and blood vession damage under pharmacology professor V. Gopal, will receive a doctoral research award that pays the student researcher's salary. Hopfner was one of four U of S applicants. There are 105 graduate students across Canada who'll receive the awards.

Grants and personnel awards announced this week by the MRC total $119.2 million over the three- to five-year life of the grants.

MRC is the major federal agency responsible for funding health research and training in Canada.

For more information, contact:

Barry McLennan
Assistant Dean of Research
U of S College of Medicine
Ph: 306-966-4338
FAX: 306-6164

Kathryn Warden
Communications Officer
Office of Vice-President Research
Ph: 306-966-8576
FAX: 306-966-8597

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