News at Medicine - January 2018 - $1.9 million in federal funding to strengthen health research at Memorial

$1.9 million in federal funding to strengthen health research at Memorial
January 24, 2018
A new investment by the Government of Canada will energize Memorial’s research expertise while further boosting its international reputation for innovative health-related studies.
A trio of researchers, including two from the Faculty of Medicine, received $1.9 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the major federal agency responsible for funding health and medical research in Canada, on Jan. 24 to advance their studies.

The researchers

Dr. Craig Moore, Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience and Brain Repair, Division of BioMedical Sciences, received $600,525; Dr. Dake Qi, assistant professor, Division of BioMedical Sciences, received $650,250; and Dr. Francis Bambico, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, received $650,250.

Dr. Moore studies multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. He and his team received funding to develop new strategies to protect the brain from MS.

Dr. Bambico and his team focus their research on better understanding why some people are more vulnerable to contracting illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And, Dr. Qi and his team received support for their work exploring how to limit the side effects of drugs to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Fostering talent for innovative research

Memorial hosted the national CIHR announcement during an event in the Faculty of Medicine. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal minister of Health, announced $372 million in funding from CIHR for projects across the country.

She was joined by Nick Whalen, member of Parliament, St. John’s East, who emceed the event; Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews, a Memorial alumna and acting vice-president, research, knowledge translation and ethics, CIHR; and Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

Dr. Bose says the Government of Canada is one of Memorial University’s "most important partners" in cultivating and mobilizing the talent needed to foster innovative research.

“Through the continued support of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Memorial will lead critical health-related studies that will benefit all Canadians," Dr. Bose said.

"I applaud the federal government for today’s investment as it will strengthen our university’s research capacity and enhance our reputation for pioneering health research.”

“This investment will fund research that will lead to new treatments, breakthroughs and fundamental advances in health science." -- Ginette Petitpas Taylor

“Our government is fully committed to taking concrete action when it comes to the health and well-being of all Canadians,” said Minister Petitpas Taylor.

“This investment will fund research that will lead to new treatments, breakthroughs and fundamental advances in health science. We are proud of our researchers and will continue to support them in their efforts to help keep Canadians healthy and continue their research right here at home.”

Laboratory tour

In addition to attending the news conference, dignitaries also toured Dr. Proton Rahman’s laboratory in the Craig L. Dobbin Genetics Research Centre in the Faculty of Medicine on the St. John's campus.

Dr. Rahman is associate dean, clinical research, a University Research Professor, and a Memorial alumnus. As a rheumatologist and genetic epidemiologist, he is internationally recognized for his research on the genomics of rheumatic diseases.

Global leader

“This $372 million represents an enormous investment in health research for the science community and benefits all of Canada,” said Dr. Roderick R. McInnes, acting president, CIHR.

“Through these grants, CIHR is supporting researchers at all career stages, across the entire country, and in all areas of health research. Our investigators have made Canada a global leader in health research.”

CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health-care system.