Announcing the 2020 Precision Health Seed Grant Award Recipients

Five teams will propel innovative research ideas hoping to develop larger-scale precision health projects.

22 January 2021

The Precision Health Signature Area (PHSA) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Precision Health Seed Grant Awards. This competition aimed to support new and innovative projects and pilot studies to advance multidisciplinary, pan-faculty research at the University of Alberta. The boost would help teams in preparation of larger-scale and longer-term precision health projects.

The call for applications garnered 55 proposals from diverse groups across campus and included international collaborations, resulting in a highly competitive grant program. The winning teams will cover different approaches to precision health, including precision diagnostics, precision therapeutics and artificial intelligence applied ot health.

“We were very impressed with all the ideas for precision health projects, and hope everyone joins us in congratulating the recipients and research teams of the top five ranked proposals,” says Lawrence Richer, chair and academic lead of the PHSA.

The following projects were selected:

Title: Precision Diagnostics of Depression using UK Biobank and Machine Learning

PI and co-PI: Bo Cao and Jie Sui
Co-applicants: Russell Greiner; Andrew Greenshaw; Yanbo Zhang; Xin-Min Li; Megnzhe Wang

Affiliation of applicants: U of A (Psychiatry, Computing Science); Alberta Health

Title: Design of a Two-parameter Cell-based activin A Signaling Reporter for Drug Screening

PI and co-PI: Javier Clemente-Casares and Amit Bhavsar

Affiliation: U of A (Medical Microbiology and Immunology)

Title: Precision Diagnostics in Prostate Cancer: Targeted Biopsy and Germline Sequencing to Predict Tumor Aggressivity in Men on Active Surveillance

PI and co-PI: Adam Kinnaird and John Lewis
Co-applicants: Paul Boutros; Christopher Fung; Rizwan Rasheed

Affiliation: U of A (Surgery, Oncology, Radiology, Pathology); UCLA (Human Genetics and Informatics)

Title: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Diabetes Therapy: A Sweet Solution

PI and co-PIs: James Shapiro; Gregory Korbutt; Nilanjan Ray

Affiliation: U of A (Surgery, Computing Science)

Title: Developing RNA based diagnostic techniques to improve the diagnosis of genetic disease in Alberta

PI and co-PI: Peter Kannu and Sherry Taylor

Co-applicants: Oksana Suchowersky; Oana Caluseriu; Alison Eaton; Karen Niederhoffer; Melissa MacPherson; Alicia Chan; Shailly Jain Ghai; Saadet Andrews

Affiliation: U of A (Medical Genetics)

The PHSA congratulates all the winners and wishes all participants of this competition continued success in their future research endeavors. Stay tuned for an upcoming series of stories about the approved projects to share their ideas and vision.