News at Medicine - August 2020 - State-of-the-Art Support

State-of-the-Art Support
August 21, 2020

‚ÄčThe Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is providing more than $830,000 for critical infrastructure and equipment for five specialized research projects based at Memorial.
The new funding comes from the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), which provides foundational support to Canadian researchers to think big and innovate.

Those benefitting from the new funding include researchers in the faculties of Science, Medicine and Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as the School of Pharmacy.

Discoveries and innovations

“When equipped with the very best tools, technologies and equipment, our teams of multidisciplinary researchers are able to make bold discoveries and spearhead cutting-edge projects that benefit all Canadians,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“I thank the Canada Foundation for Innovation for its vital and continued support of the exciting and critical research happening here at Memorial. I congratulate each of our recipients and wish them much success with their research projects.”

Faculty of Medicine funding

Drs. Craig Moore (project leader, biomedical sciences) and Rob Brown (biochemistry) are receiving $101,073 for the project, Seahorse XFe24 Analyzer for Real Time Measurement of Metabolism in Live Cells.

Drs. Rodney Russell (project leader, biomedical sciences), Sherri Christian (biochemistry) and Bruno Stuyvers (biomedical sciences) are receiving $247,728 for their project, Applications of Live-cell and Super Resolution Confocal Microscopy for BioMedical and Biochemistry Studies.
Funding for these projects was announced on Aug. 18.

Dr. Michelle Ploughman (medicine) has received $218,360 for her project, Functional Brain Imaging and Assessment Suite, which is associated with her renewal as Canada Research Chair in Rehabilitation, Neuroplasticity and Brain Recovery earlier this year. Her funding was announced by CFI on Aug. 14.
Global leadership

‘Internationally competitive’

The CFI funding is allowing Dr. Moore and his collaborators to acquire a critical piece of scientific infrastructure – the first of its kind on the St. John’s campus – for biomedical and basic science research.
He says the equipment will allow them to investigate how individual cells switch their metabolic profiles under specific types of environments, such as in the presence of drugs, inflammation or growth-promoting environments.

“Because we know that a cell’s ability to switch between different forms of metabolism can ultimately determine how it functions and/or survives, it is critical that we have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation that allows researchers to ask key questions related to a cell’s overall health and how it may behave under stressful conditions,” noted Dr. Moore, Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience and Brain Repair.

He says having access to such equipment helps researchers make their work internationally competitive.

“As a single organ, it is well established that the brain uses more energy than any other organ.”— Dr. Craig Moore

As part of his individual research program, Dr. Moore and his team want to better understand how microRNAs – small non-protein coding RNA molecules – “can influence the ability of immune and neural cells to tolerate stressful environments and switch their metabolic profiles in a manner that decreases inflammation and promotes repair.”

“As a single organ, it is well established that the brain uses more energy than any other organ. It is critical that we understand how the body uses this energy as efficiently as possible.”

Essential support

Dr. Moore says CFI’s funding enables world-class research to be performed at Memorial.

“Very few granting agencies directly permit the purchase of large pieces of equipment,” he said. “Researchers require access to newer infrastructure in order to publish their work in high-quality journals and provide granting agencies and reviewers with data that supports their proposed research programs.”

Read about other projects that received funding, visit the Gazette.