CFI invests $10M in McGill research

Thirty McGill research projects funded through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund for innovative tools and infrastructure

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, and the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health announced more than $96 million to support 329 research infrastructure projects at 54 universities across the country through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). Thirty McGill researchers received grants totalling $10 million. The recipients also received matching funds from the Quebec government for their research endeavours for a total research investment of over $20 million. The funding was announced as part of a suite of national science and research investment.

The John R. Evans Leaders JELF helps universities attract top talent in diverse fields of research by providing them with the highly specialized research infrastructure they need to excel.

“I would like to thank the CFI and the Government of Quebec for their generous investments in world class research and innovation through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation). “Through this Fund, McGill’s talented researchers can acquire the cutting-edge tools and infrastructure they need to embark on ambitious projects across disciplines, including tackling climate change through machine learning, and advancing the critical work of vaccine development. My congratulations are extended to all the researchers who received funding today.”

From Alzheimer’s to marine mussels

Among the thirty researchers who received funding through the JELF is Udunna Anazodo, Assistant Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery. With the grant, Dr. Anazodo and co-investigator Professor Pedro Rosa Neto, of the Department of Psychiatry, will acquire an ultra-high-resolution positron emission tomography (PET) device that will be integrated into a whole-body ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system to study astrocyte dysfunction, a significant biological process related to Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. This world-first ultra-high-resolution PET/MRI system dedicated to brain imaging will enable novel discoveries in neuroscience across biological scales, at unparalleled spatial precision.

For researchers, nature can provide guidance to design functional materials in a sustainable manner, offering solutions to pressing environmental challenges. With JELF funding Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne, an Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering and a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Biologically-Derived Materials, will acquire state-of-the-art spectroscopic and imaging tools to study marine mussels, and specifically their byssus – a material featuring a tough, self-healing fibrous core covered by a hard yet flexible coating – at the nanoscale. The research findings can be applied to creating sustainable polymers, developing wearable devices, and advancing tissue engineering techniques.

The devastating impact of COVID-19 on health and the economy has underscored the importance of basic research and domestic vaccine capacity. With JELF support, Paul Wiseman, Professor in the Department of Chemistry, and co-applicant Brian Ward, Professor in the Department of Medicine, will focus on vaccine development, specifically how plant-made virus-like particle (VLP) influenza vaccines interact with the immune system. Although the vaccines produced using this Canadian-developed technology work, there are fundamental questions about their mechanisms of action, including transport, delivery, and receptor binding, that need to be understood to fully exploit their potential. The project will utilize a state-of-the-art laser scanning microscope to track VLPs in immune cells, optimizing immune responses, and inform preparedness efforts against future infectious challenges like pandemic influenza.

List of CFI JELF-funded projects at McGill:

  • Towards a Safer, Less Invasive, and more Effective Mapping of Drug-resistant Epilepsy Networks
    Professor Boris Bernhardt, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
    $467,119 from JELF, $467,119 matching provincial funds
  • Centre for Study and Treatment of Circadian Rhythms
    Professor Diane Boivin, Department of Psychiatry
    $225,630 from JELF, $225,630 matching provincial funds
  • Elucidating the Structure and Assembly of Biologically-derived Materials via Spectroscopic and Imaging Techniques     
    Professor Noémie-Manuelle Dorval Courchesne, Department of Chemical Engineering
    $719,441 from JELF, $719,441 matching provincial funds
  • Political Landscape Archaeology Laboratory
    Professor Peter Johansen, Department of Anthropology
    $105,921 from JELF, $105,921 matching provincial funds
  • Infrastructure for Harnessing Bone and Periodontal Stem Cell Regenerative Potential
    Professor Mari Kaartinen, Faculty of Dentistry, Division of Biomedical Sciences
    $546,130 from JELF, $546,130 matching provincial funds
  • Harnessing the Optical Properties of Natural and Engineered Systems for Environmental Pathogen Control     
    Professor Stephanie Loeb, Department of Civil Engineering
    $126,505 from JELF, $126,505 matching provincial funds
  • Advanced Bioimaging Tools to Study Neuronal Disease and Cancer Metastasis
    Professor Anne McKinney, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
    $796,174 from JELF, $796,174 matching provincial funds
  • Physiologic-and Pathophysiologic-responsive Brainstem Neurons Regulating Appetite
    Professor Paul Sabatini, Department of Medicine
    $88,955 from JELF, $88,955 matching provincial funds
  • Empirical Evaluation of Intelligent Soft Robots
    Professor Audrey Sedal, Department of Mechanical Engineering
    $200,000 from JELF, $200,000 matching provincial funds
  • Accurate Characterization and Prediction of Hydrogen Embrittlement for a Reliable Pathway Towards Hydrogen Economy
    Professor Jun Song, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering
    $525,000 from JELF, $525,000 matching provincial funds
  • Experimental Characterization of Pathogen-biofluid Interactions for Disease Models and Therapeutics
    Professor Caroline Wagner, Department of Biological & Biomedical Engineering
    $97,307 from JELF, $97,307 matching provincial funds
  • Tracking Virus like Particles in Real Time in Cells to Guide Next Generation Vaccine Development
    Professor Paul Wiseman, Department of Chemistry
    $325,535 from JELF, $325,535 matching provincial funds
  • Establishing a Tool for Hybrid Ultra-high Resolution Molecular and Structural Brain Imaging
    Professor Udunna Anazodo, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
    $799,243 from JELF, $799,243 matching provincial funds
  • Storage, Transport, and Concentration of Critical Metals in Ore Deposits         
    Professor Don Baker, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
    $793,047 from JELF, $793,047 matching provincial funds
  • Experimental Platform for Probing Thermal Properties and Exotic Thermal Transport
    Professor Samuel Huberman, Department of Chemical Engineering
    $415,310 from JELF, $415,310 matching provincial funds
  • Next-generation Measurements of Complex Species Traits
    Professor Lars Iversen, Department of Biology
    $105,504 from JELF, $105,504 matching provincial funds
  • High-resolution Characterization of Patient-derived Transcriptomes in Heavily-mutated Skin Cancers
    Professor Philippe Lefrançois, Department of Medicine
    $106,745 from JELF, $106,745 matching provincial funds
  • Studying the Neural Basis of Interpersonal Interactions in Severe Mental Illnesses
    Professor Lena Palaniyappan, Department of Psychiatry
    $139,528 from JELF, $139,528 matching provincial funds
  • Video Rate Multiphoton Bessel Beam Imaging System
    Professor Edward Ruthazer, Department of Psychology
    $273,206 from JELF, $273,206 matching provincial funds
  • High Resolution Intravital Imaging Platform to Assess Inflammation in the Pulmonary Vasculature
    Professor Donna Senger, Department of Medicine
    $645,978 from JELF, $645,978 matching provincial funds
  • An Elemental Analyzer Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (EA-IRMS) for Stable Oxygen Isotope Analysis in Phosphates
    Professor Christian von Sperber, Department of Geography
    $264,716 from JELF, $264,716 matching provincial funds
  • Mechanoadaptation and Whole Body Bioenergetics in Osteogenesis Imperfecta and other Metabolic Bone Diseases     
    Professor Bettina Willie, Department of Pediatric Surgery
    $445,302 from JELF, $445,302 matching provincial funds
  • Infrastructure for the Establishment of a Riparian-River Ecohydrological Connectivity Observation Network (RECON)
    Professor Genevieve Ali, Department of Geography
    $139,988 from JELF, $139,988 matching provincial funds
  • Functional Genomics Platform to Study Gene Function and Drug Development 
    Professor Raquel Cuella Martin, Department of Human Genetics
    $140,000 from JELF, $140,000 matching provincial funds
  • Autoantibodies and Molecular Mimicry with Gut Microbiota in Chronic Pain
    Professor Emerson Krock, Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences
    $173,458 from JELF, $173,458 matching provincial funds
  • Exploring the Role of Extracellular Vesicles in Schistosoma Mansoni
    Professor Thavy Long, Institute of Parasitology
    $254,691 from JELF, $254,691 matching provincial funds
  • Machine Learning for Tackling Climate Change
    Professor David Rolnick, School of Computer Science
    $107,866 from JELF, $107,866 matching provincial funds
  • Characterizing Mechanisms of Therapeutic Resistance in Metastatic Cancers to Discover Novel Therapeutic Opportunities           
    Professor April Rose, Department of Medicine
    $100,000 from JELF, $100,000 matching provincial funds
  • The Vasculome of Hypertension and Small Vessel Disease
    Professor Rhian Touyz, Department of Family Medicine
    $570,000 from JELF, $570,000 matching provincial funds
  • Laboratory for Quantum Meta-Optics     
    Professor Kai Wang, Department of Physics
    $379,606 from JELF, $379,606 matching provincial funds

 

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