News at Medicine - October 2018 - Infusion for innovation: significant federal investment fuels discovery research

Infusion for innovation: significant federal investment fuels discovery research
October 22, 2018
By Jeff Green and Michelle Osmond

Research ranging from developing sustainable road pavements for harsh Canadian climates to evolutionary drivers of variation in bat migration are among more than 60 projects receiving roughly $8.8 million from the Government of Canada.
The funding comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and supports early-career and established researchers, as well as the next generation of innovators.
One of the funded projects includes Dr. Rod Russell’s Expanding the Genetic Code of Viruses. “We’ve recently established a new way to make viral proteins glow in cells,” explained Dr. Russell. “Making the viruses and their proteins glow will allow direct visualization of them under microscopes so that we can understand how the viruses replicate and behave in the cells they infect.”

“This new funding has allowed us to recruit new students who will develop applications of this technology, such as virus imaging in living cells, as well as on/off switches for vaccines against viruses.”
Generating new knowledge

The investment will propel and energize studies in the faculties of Engineering and Applied Science, Medicine, Science, and Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of Pharmacy and Grenfell Campus.
“For more than 40 years, our teams of multidisciplinary researchers and graduate students have secured important funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research of Canada through increasingly competitive processes, allowing them to lead critical research in a range of areas,” says Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).
“The support of the Government of Canada allows Memorial to continue enhancing our global profile for innovative ground-breaking research and as a national and international leader. I congratulate each of our newest NSERC funding recipients and look forward to learning more about their work.”
‘Invaluable support’

At Memorial, the new funding comprises the 2018 competition results for NSERC’s Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Research Tools and Instruments Grants and Ship Time Grants as well as Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships.
Largest investment
Kirsty Duncan, minister of Science and Sport, announced more than $558 million in NSERC funding for projects across the country on Oct. 9, supporting roughly 4,300 researchers and students. This is the largest investment in research from NSERC this year and it includes $70 million in new funding announced in Budget 2018.

A list of the Faculty of Medicine NSERC award recipients can be found below.

Discovery Grants
  • Rodney Russell, BioMedical Sciences, Expanding the Genetic Code of Viruses
  • Qi Yuan, BioMedical Sciences, L-type calcium channels in memory
  • Laura Gillespie, BioMedical Sciences, Molecular characterization of the MIER2 and MIER3 transcriptional regulatory complexes
Research Tools and Instruments Grants
  • Craig Moore, BioMedical Sciences, Using Flow Cytometry to Elucidate Cell Phenotype and Function in Life Sciences Research
NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships
Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program (PGS D – $21,000 per year)
  • Brandon Collins, PGSD3
  • Evan Lockyer, PGSD3
Canada Graduate Scholarships Masters (CGS M – $17,500 per year)   
  • Erynn Button