The CFI announced the latest results of its John R. Evans Leaders Fund on Feb. 28. Eleven Memorial researchers working on five diverse projects will receive more than $680,000 in new federal funding, allowing the teams to purchase sophisticated new tools, technology and equipment.
Dr. De Carvalho describes the research as ‘a game changer.’
“Without this equipment, Dr. Ploughman and I are only able to study small pieces of our research puzzle indirectly or in isolation. With it, we can collect direct measures and get a complete picture of any human movement problem we are faced with.”
Dr. De Carvalho’s research seeks to study the biomechanical and neuromuscular responses to prolonged sitting in order to develop evidence-informed guidelines and intervention strategies for the early-identification and prevention of occupationally related low back pain.
Dr. Ploughman is the Canada Research Chair in Neuroplasticity, Neurorehabilitation and Brain Recovery. Her research program focuses on developing innovative intensive rehabilitation paradigms -to affect neuroplasticity and promote recovery in stroke and multiple sclerosis. Their research provides complementary approaches to the study of the underlying mechanisms and effect of various interventions on these high-impact diseases.
“This funding will allow us to put together the first comprehensive biomechanics laboratory in the province that is available for full-time research,” said Dr. De Carvalho, assistant professor of medicine.
“The equipment in this new lab is able to precisely track whole body motion in three dimensions, quantify muscle activity and model internal joint forces. With these highly sophisticated outcome measures, we will be able to objectively characterize disease and injury states and accurately test the effect of novel intervention strategies.
Benefit all Canadians
“Combining Dr. Ploughman’s research on stroke and multiple sclerosis with my research on low back pain, will have far-reaching impacts on the health and well-being of almost every person in Canada,” she noted. “As clinicians, we are both reminded daily of the impact that high-quality science has on moving forward patient care and quality of life. This is the best example of translating knowledge from bench to bedside. As a result of this award, we will be able to produce high-impact and timely research that will significantly benefit workers, patients and families in our province and all across Canada.”
At Memorial, researchers in the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy are on the receiving end of this latest investment.
“As Newfoundland and Labrador’s university, Memorial plays a vital role in driving innovation and fostering new ideas across the disciplines,” said President Gary Kachanoski.
“Through the ongoing support of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, our researchers are equipped to lead critical scientific studies and solve technical challenges facing, not only Canadians, but those living around the world. I thank the federal government for this investment and congratulate Memorial’s newest recipients of funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.”
Overall, federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan announced more than $51 million for 223 research projects at 39 universities across the country. “The state-of-the-art equipment acquired with these funds will help Memorial University attract and retain the best and brightest researchers, and allow them to create the 21st-century science and technology needed to grow our knowledge-based economy,” said Nick Whalen, member of Parliament for St. John’s East.
The John R. Evans Leaders Fund provides researchers with critical infrastructure required to be or become leaders in their field.
Photo: Drs. Margaret Steele, Michelle Ploughman, Diana De Carvalho and Reza Tabrizchi from the Faculty of Medicine.