University of Saskatchewan

April 20, 2014   

U of S Awarded $1.46 M from CFI for 16 Innovative Research Projects

U of S Acting Vice-President of Research Karen Chad
December 16, 2009

University of Saskatchewan (U of S) researchers have been awarded a total of more than $1.46 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in support of 16 wide-ranging projects that could advance treatment for diseases such as diabetes and asthma, boost food production and industry competitiveness, and improve processes for water treatment and nuclear waste disposal.

“These outstanding U of S researchers have successfully met the CFI’s world-class standards for innovative research that will benefit our health, the economy, and our environment,” said U of S Acting Vice-President of Research Karen Chad.

She noted the $1.46 million from the CFI will leverage another $2.58 million from provincial government, industry and university sources, for a total investment of $4 million.

CFI president Dr. Eliot Phillipson noted the CFI helps stimulate various sectors of the economy by supporting cutting-edge research infrastructure. It’s estimated that every dollar invested directly in research yields over $7 in economic benefits including spin-off jobs.

“These investments being announced today for the U of S will further enhance our country’s reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers,” he said.

Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost noted that research and development is key to Canada’s success in the 21st century. “The cutting-edge work being done day after day by the U of S makes Canada a world leader in many fields,” he said. “I am happy that the federal government has played a role in growing our economy and in the case of medical advancement, improving the health of Canadians.”

The successful U of S recipients of equipment and other research infrastructure under the CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) are:

  • Improving health

    Adam Baxter-Jones (kinesiology), David Cooper (anatomy and cell biology) and James Johnston (mechanical engineering) will acquire a high-resolution bone scanner that will improve knowledge of bone development and enable earlier detection of bone disease.

    Scott Butcher (physical therapy) will examine the many limitations on exercise and daily activities for patients with chronic lung disease, using these findings to develop optimal exercise rehabilitation practices.

    Anas El-Aneed, Ildiko Badea, and Jane Alcorn (pharmacy and nutrition) will evaluate the safety of new pharmaceuticals, specifically nanoparticles used in gene therapy, as well as medications used to treat addictions associated with alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. Methods will be developed to detect very small amounts of these pharmaceuticals within cells, blood and tissues.

    Scot Stone (biochemistry) will study mechanisms of fat biosynthesis, research which may lead to improved treatment or prevention of obesity and related metabolic disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

    Emily Jenkins (veterinary microbiology) will detect, anticipate, and mitigate the emergence of parasites and other diseases that transmit between people and animals (known as zoonotic diseases) in the rapidly changing environment of northwestern Canada. Zoonotic diseases are the most important source of new diseases for humans.

    Jennifer Jones (gastroenterology) will develop a provincial database on inflammatory bowel disease to study the relationship between drug treatments and adverse events such as infection, malignancy, hospitalization, and mortality. This research will improve understanding of the safety, provincial utilization patterns, and cost-effectiveness of such potent and at times costly medical therapies.

    Terra Arnason (medicine) will study how metabolic efficiency is lost in people with diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance. Reversing these inefficiencies will help overcome the huge personal and public health costs of diabetes, obesity and insulin resistance.

    Matthew Loewen (veterinary medicine) will examine the movement of chloride, a component of salt, in cells lining the windpipe, knowledge that will lead to better understanding of respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis, influenza, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as development of innovative treatments.

    Michael Rogers (food and bioproduct sciences) will examine naturally occurring substances that could potentially replace trans and saturated fats, reducing the need for these fats as functional ingredients. This research is expected to alleviate health implications, such as coronary vascular disease and metabolic syndrome, caused by high consumption of heart unhealthy fats.

    Scott Bell (geography and planning), Nazeem Muharjarine (community health and epidemiology), and Karen Chad (kinesiology) will study the relationship between neighborhoods and health, research that could assist in city planning and in ensuring healthy cities across Canada.

  • Boosting Food Production and Competitiveness

    Martin Reaney (food and bioproduct sciences) will establish a pilot plant to study new industrial processes for the food and bioproduct industries. The pilot research will improve existing industrial processes, introduce new improved products, and generate potential for commercialization of these new discoveries.

    Hank Classen (animal and poultry science) and Trever Crowe (agricultural and bioresource engineering) will develop a world-class facility for turkey research that will study turkey behavior, nutrition, thermal comfort, and welfare, thereby enhancing the turkey industry’s competitiveness and sustainability.

    José Andrés (biology) will identify and characterize key genes controlling the reproductive potential of insects, including a grasshopper species that is a major pest to agriculture. This work will enhance understanding of ecological adaptation in insects and could pave the way for new biological controls for crop protection.

    David Logan (biology) will examine microscopic cell processes known to underpin plant health and development, research that will increase knowledge of how intracellular events govern plant growth, viability, seed production, and disease resistance. This work could lead to new advances in crop health and productivity.

  • Fostering a cleaner environment

    Andrew Grosvenor (chemistry), Yuanming Pan (geological sciences), and Jim Hendry (geological sciences) will use new high-resolution X-ray equipment to study the structure of radioactive materials, helping to further Saskatchewan’s role as a world leader in technologies devoted to uranium mining, environmental impact, and nuclear waste disposal.

    Jafar Soltan (chemical engineering) will develop a laboratory that will use innovative ozone treatment processes to remove pollutants from air and water, work that could lead to more effective water and waste water treatment processes.

The CFI announced today a total of more than $59.3 million in new funds to support 262 projects at 40 institutions across Canada, with $45.6 million awarded under the LOF and the remaining $13.7 million under the Infrastructure Operating Fund.

The CFI is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure, which includes state-of-the-art equipment, buildings, laboratories, and databases required to conduct research.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Kathryn Warden
U of S Research Communications
(306) 966-2506

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