Western Researchers Share in More than $1 Million


By Communications Staff
Friday, April 23, 2010
London, ON – More than one million dollars has been allocated to four research teams making breakthroughs related to stroke and Alzheimer’s, cancer and infertility, stem cells and industrial robotics at The University of Western Ontario.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) provided the grants, totalling $1,066,058, through its Leaders Opportunity Fund.

Among the four principal investigators receiving funding this morning was John MacDonald, Director of Robarts Research Institute, who received $400,000 for three suites of equipment that will be used to develop new pharmacological therapies for treating stroke and related Alzheimer’s disease. MacDonald, who is also a professor of Physiology & Pharmacology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, will use this equipment to determine how brain cell communications are disrupted and how cells die in stroke-induced dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Electrical & Computer Engineering professor Mehrdad Kermani will develop a new generation of robotic arms that allow for safe interactions with humans, transforming not only the hand, but the face of industrial automation. Kermani received $300,723 to create a robotics platform that pays specific attention to safety and opens avenues for applications as human-assistive devices.

A long-term objective for Cheryle Séguin at Schulich’s department of Physiology & Pharmacology is to generate clinically relevant organ-specific stem cells. She received $194,513 to establish a cutting-edge mammalian stem cell laboratory that will enable her to study the mechanisms that control stem cell fate, and to generate novel and therapeutically relevant organ-specific stem cells through genetic manipulation and three-dimensional tissue engineering.

The unifying goal of Bonnie Deroo's research is to determine the molecular mechanisms driven by Estrogen Receptor in the ovary. Ultimately, these studies will lead to an increased understanding of the causes of infertility in women. Her co-investigator, Trevor Shepherd, is developing novel research models of ovarian cancer to test the molecular mechanisms underlying the origin and progression of this disease. Deroo is a Lawson Health Research Institute Scientist and Biochemistry professor at Western, while Shepherd is a Translational Oncology Scientist at the London Regional Cancer Program and Obstetrics & Gynaecology professor at Western. Their combined research received $300,723.

“Funding from the CFI is critical in our mission to attract world-class researchers and students, and to support and develop outstanding research programs,” says Ted Hewitt, Western’s Vice-President (Research & International Relations). “It allows us to remain competitive not only in Canada, but on the increasingly competitive global stage.”

“The investments being announced today at Western will further enhance our country’s reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers,” said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. “They will make our universities even more competitive when it comes to attracting the best and brightest researchers from around the world.”

Douglas Keddy, Research Communications Coordinator, 519-661-2111 ext. 87485, dkeddy@uwo.ca
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The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI’s mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed almost $5.2 billion in support of more than 6,300 projects at 130 institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.













Media Relations team

Keith Marnoch
Director, Media Relations
519-661-2111 x85468

Jeff Renaud
Senior Media Relations Officer
519-661-2111, ext. 85165

Susanna Eayrs

Communications Officer

Kathy Wallis

Media Relations Officer
Medicine & Dentistry Robarts Research Institute
519-661-2111, ext. 81136
kathy.wallis@ schulich.uwo.ca

Douglas Keddy

Research Communications Manager
Research Western
519-661-2111, ext. 87485

Ivan Langrish
Senior Manager, Media Strategy Richard Ivey School of Business


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