CFI awards York researchers more than $592,000 in research infrastructure

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded York University $592,631 in infrastructure funding to support the research of four York professors.

Ali Kazimi, professor in Department of Film in the Faculty of Fine Arts, will receive $143,186 in funding for industry standard infrastructure of a Stereoscopic 3D Lab @ York. The funding will allow Kazimi to augment and build upon the core of the stereoscopic research based production and post-production facility that has emerged out of the 3D FLIC (Film Innovation Consortium) project. S3DL @ York will become the first dedicated facility of its type in Canada, enabling the study of stereoscopic 3D story-telling practices, their production and distribution, combined with insights and best practices gleaned from stringent psycho-physical tests and experimentation. S3DL will meld art and science in the best tradition of inter-disciplinary research, enabling one to push the boundaries of the knowledge generated by the other and vice versa in a deliberate, complementary and interactive way. Kazimi will work with researchers Laurie Wilcox and Rob Allison from York’s Centre for Vision Research on this project.

Tom McElroy, professor in the Department of Earth & Space Science and Engineering, in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, will receive $135,671 in funding for the creation of a new laboratory to support the development of next-generation space technology. This new technology will be used to measure the composition of the atmosphere from space.  The development of this advanced technology for atmospheric remote sounding will enhance Canada’s contribution to the global monitoring capacity for the climate and atmospheric communities. These contributions are necessary for Canada to maintain its access to global data sets and to provide input for the analysis and modeling of climate change and air quality – critical knowledge for a sustainable future.

Thilo Womelsdorf, professor in the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, will receive $158,237 in funding to establish a world-class laboratory to study local and large-scale brain circuits that underlie “attentional control” of behavior – processes that determine what individuals attend to and how efficient individuals are in concentrating on the most relevant sensory information in our environment. Womelsdorf’s research examines how alterations in these brain circuits lead to dysfunctions of attentional control in major neuro-psychiatric disorders (including major depression, schizophrenia, and addiction).  His research focuses on the key cognitive functions and on areas of the brain that underlie severe dysfunctions of attentional control in order to help improve diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

Muhammed Yousaf, professor in the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, will receive $155,537 in funding to develop infrastructure and state-of-the-art methodologies to cultivate new surface chemistries, tailor materials for fundamental studies of cell behaviour and develop next-generation biomolecular microarrays. The funds will establish a new advanced biomolecular materials laboratory at York University to study how man-made materials interact with biological systems. The generation of these smart and responsive materials will provide a platform for new diagnostic screening assays of human disease and for studies of stem cell differentiation towards regenerative medical applications.

“I am delighted that the Canada Foundation for Innovation has recognized four of York’s leading researchers through these awards,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation.  “CFI’s investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure further enhances York’s vibrant research culture and enables our researchers to continue to build on and expand their innovative research programs.”

York’s projects were part of a $44.5-million investment in CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides Canadian researchers with the necessary tools to carry out a range of frontier research. The funding supports 210 research projects across the country.

Minister of State Gary Goodyear announced the funding on Tuesday.

“Our government recognizes that investing in science and technology leads to a stronger, more innovative economy,” he said. “We understand that Canada’s research enterprise is critical to economic growth and job creation.”

“Given the right infrastructure, this talented group of innovators will create solutions that benefit Canadians and Canadians communities,” said Gilles Patry, president and CEO of the CFI.

A complete list of recipients is available on the CFI website.