Four York University researchers were awarded with funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The researchers received a combined total of $677,990 to advance our understanding in areas related to sustainable materials, honeybee behaviour and health approaches to mitigate disease.
The CFI funding was awarded through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), which helps institutions recruit and retain outstanding researchers. The funding, which was announced on Feb. 22, will also support the development global legal epidemiology, an emerging area of research that evaluates the role and impact of international law on global health.
“We are grateful for the continuing support and investment provided by the Government of Canada through CFI,” says Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation. “The infrastructure funding provided by CFI plays a critical role in supporting important research that will have a positive, transformative impact on society, particularly in areas related to health, sustainability and food security.”
List of CFI JELF awards:
Building infostructure for quasi-experimental analysis in global legal epidemiology – Steven Hoffman (Faculty of Health, Osgoode Hall Law School)
Award amount: $200,000
Global legal epidemiology is an emerging research field that seeks to understand how international laws, policies and norms shape the causes, distribution and prevention of disease and injury. Led by Dahdaleh Distinguished Chair in Global Governance and Legal Epidemiology Steven J. Hoffman – in collaboration with York Research Chair in Global Health Equity Mathieu Poirier, Assistant Professor Tarra Penney, and Associate Professor Adrian Viens – York University’s Global Strategy Lab will develop the world’s first research program built from the ground up to conduct global legal epidemiologic evaluations. With the funding from CFI, the Global Strategy Lab will regularly conduct global policy and outcome surveillance; rigorously evaluate international laws, policies and norms using quasi-experimental methods; improve the equity and effectiveness of international laws and policies; and become a global centre of excellence for training and education in this emerging field.
Multifunctional aerogel innovation platform – Thomas Cooper (Lassonde School of Engineering)
Award amount: $140,000
Society desperately needs new solutions to address climate change, energy security and access to clean drinking water. Assistant Professor Thomas Cooper’s research seeks to accelerate and enable the development of the next generation of multifunctional aerogel materials to help address these societal challenges. Aerogels are highly porous solid foams with interconnected pores ranging in size from the nanoscale to the macroscale. Their unique structure affords them many remarkable properties, making them excellent candidate materials for meeting multifunctional requirements needed in energy, water and sustainability applications.
With support from CFI, the team will develop the critical research infrastructure that can enable high-throughput fabrication and systematic characterization of next-generation aerogels for innovative applications focusing on renewable energy, clean water and sustainability. The research program will generate novel materials for Canada’s rapidly expanding environmental and clean technology industry.
Novel targets of whole-food dairy products for human musculoskeletal and cardiometabolic health – Andrea Josse (Faculty of Health)
Award Amount: $125,000
The incidence of chronic disease, including obesity and diabetes, continues to increase in Canada, contributing to a major health burden on our citizens and an economic burden on our health care system. Assistant Professor Andrea Josse‘s research focuses on creating and testing strategies of lifestyle modification (via nutrition and exercise) and their underlying mechanisms to improve body composition, bone, cardiovascular and metabolic health. She uses innovative, multidimensional and collaborative approaches to explore novel targets and make key discoveries regarding the effects of whole-food dairy products, which contain important nutrients that can promote health, mitigate disease and/or augment the beneficial adaptations associated with exercise.
The funding provided by the CFI will support the acquisition of vital infrastructure for exercise training and testing, body composition assessment, and physiological biomarker quantification to expand the research.
Research apiary to study honeybee behaviour, genetics and health – Amro Zayed (Faculty of Science)
Award Amount: $212,990
York Research Chair and Professor Amro Zayed’s research aims to advance knowledge on the genetics and evolution of the social behaviour of honeybees. Despite nearly a century of inquiry, the evolution and genetics underlying sociality in animals remains a mystery. The social behaviour of these insects has been extremely difficult to study at the genetic level because the typical tools for studying the genetics of behaviour in solitary organisms are not directly applicable to social animals. The funding will support Zayed by enhancing the capacity to experiment on honeybee colonies to support cutting-edge research on the genetics and health of these important pollinators. The research will lead to better understanding of honeybees and their role in supporting food security and sustainability.