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Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

Funding paves way for drug discovery platform for heart research at UM

March 25, 2024 — 

A project led by Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba has received $3.9 million in federal and provincial funding to develop lab infrastructure dedicated to studying heart disease in women. The research team aims to develop therapies for women living with heart disease, who are historically understudied.

On March 13, the federal government announced funding of $1.9 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) – Innovation Fund to develop the new lab space that Kirshenbaum and his team will use.

Kirshenbaum is professor of physiology and pathophysiology in the Max Rady College of Medicine, Canada Research Chair in molecular cardiology and director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. His team will study new treatment options to improve quality of life in women with heart disease.

“Research labs and facilities, like those being funded today, provide the foundation upon which Canada’s research leaders can make discoveries and drive innovation that will contribute to a better future for all of us,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, president and CEO of the CFI.

The Province of Manitoba also announced its support of the project via Research Manitoba’s $1.9 million investment through the CFI – Matching Program. Additional funding partners include the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre and Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, and the UM department of internal medicine, Max Rady College of Medicine and Faculty of Science.

“Research Manitoba is pleased to provide funding support for this critical lab that will be used by Dr. Kirshenbaum’s research team to improve the lives of women who experience heart disease,” said Jennifer Cleary, CEO of Research Manitoba. “Funding research infrastructure is essential to support cutting-edge, world-class research here in Manitoba.”

Next to cancer, heart disease is the number one killer of women in Canada, and the development of a dedicated drug discovery platform for heart research will have far-reaching implications for UM and women’s health.

“This funding will allow our research team to study the sex differences of heart failure that uniquely affect women through a dedicated discovery platform,” said Kirshenbaum. “We know that women’s heart health is very complex, so developing our understanding is vitally important, particularly for Manitoba and Canada.”

The professor and his team will primarily study how metabolic dysfunction (the way our cells process energy from food) contributes to factors that lead to heart disease.

“I congratulate Dr. Kirshenbaum and his team on this tremendous step forward for women’s heart health in Canada,” said UM Vice-President (Research and International) Dr. Mario Pinto. “On behalf of the University of Manitoba, I would like to express our appreciation for today’s investment in cutting-edge research infrastructure in the Prairies. This lab will open many new training opportunities for medical and graduate students, along with establishing a platform for international collaboration at the highest level.”

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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