CFI Invests $600,000 in U of G Research


University of Guelph researchers working to fight human and avian diseases, develop new antimicrobials, and improve plant genetics received nearly $600,000 in federal support today.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is funding five U of G research projects spanning three colleges. Ed Holder, minister of state (science and technology), made the announcement during an event at the University of Moncton.

In total, CFI is contributing $23.2 million through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund to 143 research projects across Canada. The fund was created to help universities attract and retain leading faculty and researchers. Ontario researchers apply for matching support from the provincial Ministry of Research and Innovation.

“This is a crucial investment in our research talent and capacity,” said Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president (research).

“It will provide leading researchers with the vital infrastructure they need to excel and give our students access to state-of-the-art equipment. It will also open doors for new discoveries and applications in biotechnology, antibiotic resistance, cardiovascular disease and avian viruses.”

Human Health and Nutritional Sciences professor Philip Millar’s $111,000 grant will help equip a human cardiovascular physiology laboratory. He will study the mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular disease.

“I am honored to receive a CFI John R. Evans Leaders Award,” Millar said. “These funds will help launch collaborative research programs designed to make important advances in our understanding of neural control of circulation in health and disease.”

Prof. Cezar Khursigara of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology said he and his research team are feeling “excited and fortunate” about their $149,424 grant.

“The scanning electron microscope it will purchase will be used to study chronic infections caused by multidrug resistant bacterial biofilms,” Khursigara said.

“Our goal is to use the microscope to help develop new antimicrobial therapies to better treat Canadians suffering from chronic infections.”

Pathobiology professors Nicole Nemeth and Leonardo Susta teamed up and received a $125,000 grant to advance their studies in infectious avian diseases. The Ontario Veterinary College professors will investigate novel, emerging and re-emerging viral pathogens in hopes of improving disease surveillance, control and prevention.

Plant agriculture professors Alireza Nababi and Andrew Jones received $102,714 and $100,000, respectively. Nababi is working to improve wheat genetics to enhance yield and disease resistance. Jones is studying in vitro technologies at the Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation.

“I am excited to get this grant so that I can incorporate cutting-edge technologies into my research program and open new avenues to study plant growth and development,” Jones said.

“This program will help develop new techniques for long-term plant conservation and genetic improvement of crops not currently possible.”