CIHR awards $3.78 million to York health researchers

Fifteen York University researchers received some good news from Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. On Oct. 12, Dosanjh and Dr. Diane Finegood, scientific director of the CIHR’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, announced that York researchers would receive $3,783,883 in funding from CIHR’s operating grants open competition.

Left: Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh

“These grant awards reflect the growing breadth of York’s exceptional health research community, from health policy, cognitive aging and rehabilitation medicine, to pain management in palliative care, alcoholism and vision research,” said Stan Shapson, York’s vice-president, research & innovation.

“Promoting groundbreaking health research is a crucial component of our government’s plan to build a healthy, prosperous and innovative Canada for the 21st century,” said Dosanjh. “Each new discovery fuels leading-edge treatments, advanced technologies and health system innovation. And the culture of excellence in research fostered by the CIHR makes Canada a global magnet for the best minds, ideas and investment.”

Examples of some of the innovative funded projects include York Psychology Professor Trevor Hart’s investigation into social anxiety as a risk factor for HIV transmission. John McDermott, professor of biology, York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, will look at the role of the gene SMAD7 in cardiac and skeletal muscle growth and hypertrophy. Distinguished Research Professor Ellen Bialystok, Department of Psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts, will undertake three research approaches to investigate the effect of lifelong bilingualism on changes in cognitive functioning with aging. Sociology Professor Pat Armstrong will examine working conditions in long-term care facilities in Canada which her investigative team will compare with research undertaken by Nordic countries. Kinesiology Professor Lauren Sergio will examine the stages of visuomotor transformation in human and non-human primates. Debra Pepler, former director of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution and a professor of psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts, will evaluate treatments for substance-using women.

CIHR’s announcement is the largest funding announcement made by the agency to date. Over 1,600 projects across Canada received a total of more than $354 million.

“The federal government’s investments in health research are a key contributor to Canada’s knowledge base and to our quality of life,” said Shapson. “Through these CIHR grants, our health researchers are able to contribute significantly to both scientific and public policy scholarship across a full range of disciplines.”