FoMD researchers earn 13 of the U of A’s 15 fall 2021 CIHR project grants

Impressive showing reflects the power of collaboration and partnership, with research institutes playing a key role in supporting and encouraging new heights in health research.

Sasha Roeder Mah - 6 May 2022

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry continues to shine on the national research stage, receiving  13 of the University of Alberta’s 15 recently announced fall 2021 project grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The funding, totalling $11,203,977, includes a project co-led with the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

This news also highlights the continued importance of our research institutes. Nearly all who received funding are members of one or all of the following: Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology (LKSIoV)Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta (CRINA), Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) and Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute (NMHI). The U of A’s strength in neuroscience is particularly well represented, with six grants in this area alone.

“These awards are a testament to the excellence in research in our Faculty, the hard work of the principal investigators, and the support of their teams,” says Lawrence Richer, vice-dean of clinical research. “The breadth of research is remarkable, spanning disciplines from molecular mechanisms to new therapeutics and innovative clinical applications.” 

The CIHR’s Project Grant program provides federal support for ideas with the greatest potential to advance health-related fundamental or applied knowledge, health care, health systems, and/or health outcomes. The fall 2021 competition saw 417 grants awarded across the country, for a total of $325 million.

Find out more about the researchers and their projects below.

FoMD CIHR Project Grant program awardees

The role of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in modulating motoneuron properties to restore motor function after spinal cord injury.

Principal investigator: Monica Gorassini, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and member of NMHI and WCHRI 

Cell-specific role of ADAM17 in remodelling following myocardial infarction: identifying a therapeutic window

Principal investigator: Zamaneh Kassiri, professor in the Department of Physiology

Targeting SARS-CoV-2 Main protease and variants for effective antiviral development

Principal investigator: Joanne Lemieux, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and LKSIoV, WCHRI, CRINA and NMHI member 

Insights into dentate gyrus structure and function in the aged brain: possible functional and clinical correlates

Principal investigator: Nikolai Malykhin, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry, member of NMHI

Pyroptosis in the CNS: Molecular mechanisms & therapeutic targets in progressive MS

Principal investigator: Christopher Power, professor of neurology in the Department of Medicine and founding director of the University of Alberta Multiple Sclerosis Centre, member of NMHI

Advanced immunotherapeutic oncolytic reovirus combination therapy for breast cancer

Principal investigator: Maya Shmulevitz, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology and member of LKSIoV, CRINA and WCHRI

A stress activated Znf281 signalling pathway can be therapeutically targeted to prevent chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity

Principal investigator: Gopinath Sutendra, associate professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology, CRINA member

OPAL: Online Prehabilitation for Patients Awaiting Liver transplantation - a multicentre randomized controlled trial to reduce physical frailty and improve health outcomes

Principal investigators: Puneeta Tandon, associate professor of gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine and Margaret McNeely, WCHRI and CRINA member, associate professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Oncology 

Relaxation mapping for the clinic: Application to multiple sclerosis

Principal investigator: Alan Wilman, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and NMHI member

Leukocyte activation via endothelin-1 as a key regulator of futile recanalization after ischemic stroke

Principal investigators: Ian Winship, professor in the Department of Psychiatry, director of the Neurochemical Research Unit (NRU) and deputy director of NMHI; and Glen Jickling, NMHI member and associate professor in the Department of Medicine

The role of mitotic sumoylation events in establishing nuclear envelope structure

Principal investigator: Richard Wozniak, professor in the Department of Cell Biology and member of LKSIoV

Enhancing the efficacy of antisense oligonucleotide-mediated therapy for spinal muscular atrophy

Principal investigator: Toshifumi Yokota, professor in the Department of Medical Genetics, NMHI and WCHRI member

Widespread regulation of P-type ATPases and ion homeostasis by small membrane proteins

Principal investigator: Howard Young, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, member of WCHRI and the recently launched Cardiovascular Research Institute

Priority announcement grant: Erythroid progenitors and precursors impair tumour immunogenicity and promote tumour progression in breast cancer

Principal investigator: Shokrollah Elahi, associate professor in the School of Dentistry and member of LKSIoV, WCHRI and CRINA