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Top row (l-r): Paul Marcogliese, Cristina Rosell, Xiaopeng Gao, Karen Alley; Bottom row (l-r): Robert Beattie, Asher Mendelson, Miguel Uyaguari-Diaz

UM researchers receive more than $1 million in new project funding

Six funded projects include neurogenetics, water safety in First Nation communities and much more.

March 13, 2024 — 

On Wednesday March 13, the federal government announced the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) recipients of the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) for fall 2022 and spring 2023. UM researchers are awarded more than $1 million in support of six projects in fields ranging from neurogenetics to water safety in First Nation communities, and much more.

“I congratulate these researchers on their success in expanding the scope and impacts of their research programs,” said Dr. Mario Pinto, Vice-President (Research and International). “Through this funding, UM will continue to attract and support outstanding researchers equipped with the cutting-edge tools and facilities they need to tackle society’s most pressing challenges.”

JELF is a funding initiative by CFI that supports universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions across Canada. The program provides infrastructure funding to enhance the research capacity of institutions by assisting in acquiring state-of-the-art equipment and facilities necessary for world-leading research and innovation.

The UM recipients include:

Dr. Karen Alley

Dr. Karen Alley, assistant professor, Centre for Earth Observation Science, Environment and Geography: Imaging Inaccessible Ice: Glacier Monitoring at the Ice-Ocean Interface

Funding: $158,883

Predicting sea-level rise is difficult due to risks in observing ice crevasses and calving events where glaciers meet ocean waters. Alley seeks to use new automated vehicles and sonar imaging to close this gap. The project will train students and provide open data to support global climate science research.

Dr. Miguel Uyaguari-Diaz

Dr. Miguel Uyaguari-Diaz, assistant professor / Indigenous scholar, Microbiology: Promoting equitable access to safe water in First Nations and urban communities by assessing water safety and security

Funding: $114,578

Uyaguari seeks to identify pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in water facilities and aquatic environments surrounding First Nation communities of Manitoba. This infrastructure will provide new experimental tools enabling comparison with urban counterparts. Uyaguari’s long-term goal is to develop diagnostic tools to identify health risks and facilitate rapid pollution prevention.

Dr. Xiaopeng Gao

Dr. Xiaopeng Gao, assistant professor, Soil Science: Optimizing Soil Fertility Management for Better Grain Nutritional Quality

Funding: $160,000

Intensification of high-yield crops has resulted in depletion of micronutrients in cereal crops. Gao seeks to use this newly funded infrastructure to simulate climate change scenarios and provide multi-disciplinary training for highly qualified personnel. This research supports improved production of value-added grain products, bringing economic benefits to producers across Canada.

Dr. Cristina M. Rosell

Dr. Cristina M. Rosell, professor and department head, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences: Platform maximizing the value of co-products from plant-protein processing

Funding: $157,258

The production of high-purity protein concentrates also creates wasted nonprotein co-products. The Rosell lab seeks sustainably transform these co-products into a new generation of healthy cereal-based foods. This research will help to alleviate environmental and economic impacts and improve the circular economy of the plant protein industry in Canada.

Dr. Paul Marcogliese

Dr. Robert Beattie

Dr. Paul Marcogliese and Dr. Robert Beattie, assistant professors, Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Max Rady College of Medicine: Functional Integration of Neurogenetics in Development & Disease.

Funding: $345,000

More effective treatments are needed for nervous system disorders affecting movement. The Marcogliese and Beattie labs have found synergies with fly and mouse models to explore new diagnostic and treatment measures. To translate their findings, this funding provides high-resolution imaging tools that will directly benefit patients in Canada and beyond.

Dr. Asher Mendelson

Dr. Asher Mendelson, assistant professor, Internal Medicine, Max Rady College of Medicine: Microvascular Physiology, Exercise, and Muscle Research Facility for Studying Critical Illness

Funding: $156,670

Patients that survive ICU admission often have weakness in their muscles, which may be related to inadequate oxygen delivery by small blood vessels. To prevent long-term disability and improve our ability to monitor the microcirculation, Mendelson seeks to establish a new exercise research facility dedicated to recovery after critical illness.

For more information on the CFI-JELF fund, please visit Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

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

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