News at Medicine - May 2012 - Memorial University research projects receive $8 million from ACOA

Memorial University research projects receive $8 million from ACOA
May 23, 2012
Three projects at Memorial University, including a project in the Faculty of Medicine headed by Dr. Proton Rahman, received a combined investment of $8 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). 
Dr. Rahman, with co-investigator Dr. Darren O’Rielly, received funding to support the development of genetic tests for the detection of developmental disorders, such as autism. Early definitive diagnosis of such disorders will improve the quality of life for those affected and their families through timely access to the appropriate health and social support systems. A secondary goal is to develop a database system to identify genetic markers that predispose individuals to develop common autoimmune disorders, particularly Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis. This project, with total estimated costs of $6 million, received approximately $2.9 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund.

The other two projects funded at Memorial are at the Centre for Marine Simulation at the Marine Institute, with the National Research Council and Kongsberg Maritime, for a project that aims to develop dynamic positioning system technologies specifically for ice-rich environments;  and in the Department of Chemistry,  with Dr. Christina Bottaro and co-investigators Drs. Erika Merschrod and Kelly Hawboldt, to develop technology to measure contaminants (e.g. components of oil) in harsh marine environments.

The projects are funded under ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund, a program aimed at fostering innovation through increased research and development in Atlantic Canadian universities and institutes.

“The projects funded by the Atlantic Innovation Fund address issues that are internationally significant, yet also have a special resonance in our own province,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University. “ACOA’s ongoing support for Memorial is helping us to deliver on our aspiration to truly be a first-rate, world-class learning and research environment, leading the province into a successful, sustainable future.”

With the addition of these three new awards, Memorial University is leading 16 AIF projects, with a total value exceeding $55 million dollars. These projects employ more than 150 people, approximately 100 of whom are undergraduate and graduate students, in the fields of energy and oceans, health and biosciences and information/communication technologies.