York researchers receive CFI funding

Two York researchers have received funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The financial support will fund critical research infrastructure in two unique areas. Chemistry Professor Robert Hudgins and Professor Michael Riddell from the School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences are the recipients of the CFI funding.

Hudgins (left) received $200,167 from CFI for his project, Facility for the Structural Characterization and Sequencing of Proteins and Peptides in Vacuo. He will use the funding to develop more cost effective, custom-built instrumentation to perform electron-capture dissociation (ECD) and ion mobility spectrometry (IMS).

ECD is a promising new biological mass spectrometry/proteomics technique used to perform gas phase sequencing on biological ions that are mass-selected. IMS is the only technique available to study the structure of these large biomolecules in the gas-phase environment. The concept and design of this ECD/IMS apparatus is unique and will provide York with new opportunities to train personnel and to patent the new instrumentation. “This investment recognizes York as one of the premier university research centres in mass spectrometry and will provide continued opportunity for its innovative biomedical and biotechnology research,” said VP Research & Innovation Stan Shapson.

Riddell (right) has received $206,195 for an exercise physiology and endocrinology laboratory to study metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Employing two different approaches, he will investigate the divergent effects of exercise, stress and lifestyle on the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

“Over two million Canadians have diabetes and up to three million more have one or more symptoms of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome (i.e. high insulin levels, hypertension, high blood glucose levels, visceral obesity, hyperlipidemia). Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not use insulin effectively. Ninety per cent of people with diabetes have type 2,” said Riddell. “Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes increase the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, renal failure, nerve damage and blindness. Regular exercise prevents the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes while stress appears to accelerate the disease process.”

Using endocrine and metabolic tools Riddell will assess changes in hormones and receptors caused by stress and exercise. He will study the effects of lifestyle factors on the progression of diabetes using exercise physiology equipment. “This investment provides important support for the continued growth of ground-breaking health research at York,” said Shapson.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation established by the Government of Canada in 1997, with a goal to strengthen the capability of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and other not-for-profit institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development.