Supporting research into how we age, how we address global health challenges, and how our climate is changing
Despite advancements in our knowledge about how to prevent disease and improve health outcomes, global progress in improving health continues to fall short of expectations. Professor James Blanchardâ€”who today received a new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Epidemiology and Global Public Healthâ€”conducts a research program that focuses on discovering how to better plan and deliver important health programs and services to the worldâ€™s most poor and vulnerable.
Two additional professors had their Canada Research Chairs renewed by the Government of Canada: Distinguished Professor David Barber (environment and geography) and Debbie Kelly (psychology).
â€śI congratulate these three researchers on their success in receiving these funds,â€ť says Digvir S. Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) and Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba. â€śThey are all recognized leaders in their fields, having an impact on our understanding of factors affecting how we age, how we address global health challenges, and our changing climate.â€ť
These CRCs will receive a total of $3.3 million in funding over the next seven years. Blanchard is the recipient of a new Tier 1 chair ($1.4 million over seven years). He previously held a Tier 2 chair which expired in December 2014.
Barber holds a Tier 1 CRC in Arctic System Science ($1.4 million over seven years). Barberâ€™s research has defined the principal causes of Arctic climate change [the loss of an average of 70,000 km2 of multiyear sea ice per year over the past three decades; over 80 per cent of the pre-1970 total], with regional interrogation of the inherent spatial and temporal scales of change. His research has also elaborated numerous consequences of this change on the Arctic marine system in terms of ecology, biogeochemical impacts, industrial development, Inuit Traditional lifestyles and teleconnected impacts to temperate parts of our planet.
Kelly holds a Tier 2 CRC in Comparative Cognition ($500,000 over five years). Her research focuses on the age-related decline in our cognitive abilities, particularly the ability to remember important locations. We know that all parts of the brain do not age at a constant rate, which results in some abilities showing earlier age-related degeneration compared to others. Animal models of aging permit us to examine the aging process under controlled conditions, allowing us to clearly differentiate between healthy aging and diseased aging â€“ such as Alzheimerâ€™s disease. Kelly uses an avian model, which presents a unique opportunity to study the two brain hemispheres independently, to better understand cognitive aging.
There are currently 37 CRCs at the University of Manitoba.