University of Saskatchewan

September 20, 2014   

U of S Projects Awarded More than $1M in Canada Foundation for Innovation Funding

Angela Baerwald is working with colleague Donna Chizen in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences to better understand potential effects of environmental contaminants on women's reproductive health. OCN photo by Mark Ferguson
January 21, 2011

Thirteen University of Saskatchewan (U of S) research teams have been awarded just over $1 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for projects that will help develop new therapies for HIV, advance knowledge of reproductive health, and foster development of advanced materials for the auto and aerospace industries, to name just a few.

“The diversity of projects funded in this round illustrates the broad-based strength of the research enterprise at the U of S, particularly in engineering and human health,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad. “Our researchers are exploring questions that are top of mind for people in our province and across Canada.”

The successful recipients are:

  • Angela Baerwald and Donna Chizen (obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences) are acquiring high-resolution ultrasound imaging equipment to study the ovaries of women going through menopause and those with polycystic ovarian syndrome. The research will shed light on potential effects of environmental contaminants on women's reproductive health.
  • Ildiko Badea (pharmacy and nutrition) is working to develop efficient, non-toxic drug delivery systems for biotechnology products, such as proteins and DNA as well as promising small molecules.
  • Linda Chelico (microbiology and immunology) is examining human enzymes that can block replication of some types of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Understanding these enzymes is an important step toward new HIV therapies that use the body's own defenses.
  • Xiongbiao (Daniel) Chen and Wenjun Zheng (mechanical engineering) are acquiring a bio-manufacturing system to develop scaffolds seeded with cells and nutrients that can be used to repair nerve injuries and damaged or diseased cartilage of jaw joints.
  • Lisa Feldman and Bruce Sparling (civil and geological engineering) will expand facilities within the Structures Laboratory to allow full-scale testing of masonry wall systems subjected to realistic loading conditions. The researchers will examine the bonding of reinforcing steel, which has implications for the design of lap splices in masonry walls as well as bond behavior in very slender masonry walls.
  • Reza Fotouhi (mechanical engineering) is developing robotic-assisted farming technology to help farmers control weeds and plant crops precisely. His project promises to enhance competitiveness of Saskatchewan farmers as well as the manufacturing and mining industries.
  • Chris Holmden (geological sciences) will use an automated high performance ion chromatography system (HPIC) to further studies of calcium and magnesium at the Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory. These versatile tools are currently being applied to studies of forests, rock weathering, soils, ocean sediments, animal health and nutrition.
  • Akindele Odeshi (mechanical engineering) is engineering lightweight materials such as aluminum to be stronger and more impact-resistant. His work promises to speed development of advanced materials for defense, automobile and aerospace applications.
  • Matthew Paige (chemistry) and Ian Burgess (chemistry) are acquiring a microscope for looking at surfactants. These chemical compounds have a range of medical uses, such as treating the immature lungs of premature babies. The microscope will aid development of lung surfactant mixtures as well as the design of new molecular sensor devices.
  • Gregory Penner (animal and poultry science) will investigate how functions such as absorption, metabolism, and barriers are regulated within the gut tissue of cattle. His work will inform herd management programs that enhance nutrient absorption and gut health.
  • Yandou Wei, David Logan and Peta Bonham-Smith (biology) will use a new plant growth facility to explore how changing environments affect how plants become infected by pathogens. Their work promises to provide a blueprint for sustainable disease management in crops such as canola and other Brassicas.

The CFI is an independent corporation created by the federal government to fund research infrastructure. This includes state-of-the-art equipment, buildings, laboratories, databases and other advanced tools.

The grants are provided through CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides infrastructure support to Canadian institutions so they can attract and retain leading researchers at a time of intense international competition for knowledge workers.

For a complete list of the projects awarded, visit www.innovation.ca.

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For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
University Research Communications
(306) 966-1425
michael.robin@usask.ca

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