More than 40 health researchers at the University of Manitoba have received a total of $11 million in new funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The announcement was made at the Bannatyne Campus on October 14, 2005, by Reg Alcock, president of the Treasury Board and minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board.
“Thanks to continued Government of Canada investments, Manitoba is building a strong foundation of excellence in health research that is strategic, proactive and responsive to the health challenges facing us,” Alcock said. “Today’s announcement will not only help attract and retain some of the best researchers to the province’s universities and research centres, but also ultimately lead to improved health for all Canadians.”
The funded projects will be conducted at the University of Manitoba and partner research institutions, including CancerCare Manitoba, the Saint Boniface General Hospital Research Centre, and the Health Sciences Centre. The studies will be carried out over periods of one to five years and they cover a wide spectrum of health research.
“This group represents a broad range of specialized knowledge,” said Joanne Keselman, vice-president (research) at the University of Manitoba. “These projects also highlight the importance of collaborative research. Whether it’s collaboration within a single laboratory, collaboration between laboratories, or collaboration between institutions nationally and internationally, our health researchers are sharing their expertise to advance knowledge in their fields.”
The researchers who received new CIHR funding included:
Rheumatology Research Chair Hani El-Gabalawy, internal medicine/immunology, who is studying rheumatoid arthritis in First Nations peoples. He will follow a cohort of patients and their families for five years to better understand the interaction between the genetic and environmental factors that cause this debilitating disease.
Geoff Hicks, biochemistry and medical genetics, Canada Research Chair in Functional Genomics, and director of the Mammalian Functional Genomics Centre at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, a joint institute of the University of Manitoba and CancerCare. Hicks is leading an international project aimed at creating mice with specific genes “knocked out” and making them available to researchers worldwide. This will provide critical new knowledge about the genetic causes of a wide range of human diseases.
Larry Jordan, physiology, who is studying the neural pathways responsible for locomotion and the nerve cells of the spinal cord that are activated by these pathways. This knowledge will help to develop new strategies to restore walking after spinal cord injury.