Prof. Jennifer Murray

The federal government is investing more than $1 million in seven University of Guelph research projects, ranging from disease resistance to food safety to drug addiction.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) will fund these projects through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund,  created to help universities attract and retain leading faculty and researchers.

The announcement was made today by Kirsty Duncan, federal minister of state for science and sport. In total, CFI will invest more than $61 million  to support 261 research projects at 40 universities across Canada.

“University of Guelph research has impact, here and around the world,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research).

“The seven researchers whose projects are receiving funding today are examples of this. Their crucial and fundamental work is improving life through knowledge generation and tangible innovations.”

Lloyd Longfield, MP for Guelph, added: “Our government has been committed to funding scientific research though out our mandate, including support for researchers, their facilities, and equipment which has aligned well with research excellence at the  University of Guelph.  Congratulations to the most recent recipients of federal research funding for equipment so they are able to continue contributing to improving life, and add to Canada’s contribution to global scientific knowledge.”

The largest share of U of G’s funding went to Prof. Cezar Khursigara, who received $420,000 to further his studies on microbial systems. The Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology professor is researching chronic infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacterial biofilms. The goal is to develop antimicrobial therapies to better treat Canadians suffering from chronic infections.

Prof. Cezar Khursigara

 Fellow Molecular and Cellular biology Prof. Georgina Cox is also researching antibiotic resistance. She received a $70,857 grant to study how to combat pathogenic bacteria.

Psychology Prof. Jennifer Murray will use her $101,903 to study individual susceptibility and addiction. A behavioural neuroscientist, she investigates the underlying learning and neural mechanisms of the development and maintenance of addiction, with the goal of manipulating learning processes to reduce drug abuse.

Prof. Iris Joye

Food scientist Prof. Iris Joye, who studies gluten proteins, will use her $127,500 grant for chemical mapping of soft matter. Among other things, she is involved in a research project that aims to give meat lovers the textures they savour while retaining the human and environmental health benefits associated with eating plants.

Other JELF funding recipients are:

  • Jennifer Geddes-McAlister, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, $75,500 to study host-pathogen interactions;
  • Lawrence Goodridge, Department of Food Science, $180,001 to study the virulence of salmonella; and
  • Wei Zhang, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, $75,504 to help support a protein engineering laboratory to study cell signaling.