Five York-led research projects receive over $3M in new CIHR funding

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By Corey Allen, senior manager, research communications

York University researchers are leading five projects awarded a combined total of more than $3 million in new funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Mark Bayfield in the Faculty of Science and Elham Dolatabadi, Skye Fitzpatrick, Anthony Scimè and Jeffrey Wardell in the Faculty of Health are among the latest recipients of CIHR’s Project Grants, which support a variety of health-related research initiatives from initial discovery to practical application.

“I extend my congratulations to these five exceptional faculty members whose projects hold promise for advancing health research, care and outcomes, both locally and globally,” said Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation. “CIHR’s Project Grants empower York researchers to continue to create positive change through their leadership and unique expertise in addressing many of today’s health-related challenges.”  

Bayfield’s project, “Regulation of gene expression by the La and La-related proteins,” received $921,825. His team will study the process of how genes are translated into proteins, advancing the understanding of the roles these proteins play in causing diseases and how human cells respond to stress.

Dolatabadi’s project, “The socioeconomic impact of the post-COVID-19 condition in the Canadian context,” received $100,000. Using machine learning, among other methods, Dolatabadi and her team will investigate how various societal and environmental factors such as gender and ethnicity affect the health of people with post-COVID-19 –condition (also known as long COVID) differently.

Fitzpatrick’s project, “A randomized controlled trial testing Safe: a brief intervention for people with borderline personality disorder, their intimate partners and their relationship,” received $952,425. The research tests a couple therapy for borderline personality disorder (BPD) developed by Fitzpatrick and her colleagues and compares it to the standard care couples receive when one member has BPD.

Scimè’s project, “A new paradigm for managing myogenic stem cell fates,” received $787,950. Scimè’s research aims to develop innovative treatments in regenerative medicine for neuromuscular disorders such as sarcopenia, a condition that causes muscle degeneration due to aging.

Wardell’s project, “Disentangling medicinal and recreational cannabis use among young adults,” received $374,852. The research team will analyze participant data collected from a smartphone app to better understand the distinctions between medicinal and recreational cannabis use and how factors like gender influence reasons for cannabis use.

The York-led projects are among 374 funded across the country in the Fall 2023 competition, totalling approximately $325 million.