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$16M funding supports research into chronic health conditions


Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has announced funding of $16 million over five years for eight new research teams to study the role of environmental and genetic factors in chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.

It is commonly understood that both environmental and genetic factors play a role in the development of these chronic conditions. But how exactly genes interact with the environment to contribute to the conditions is not well understood.

Funding partners for the projects include Genome BC and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. The teams will advance understanding of the complex interaction between genes and the environment and guide the development of new approaches to prevent, treat or better manage chronic conditions.

Following is a list of funding recipients, host institutions, topics, and funding amounts:

– Dr. Stuart Turvey, University of British Columbia (Vancouver), Asthma, $1,971,100

– Dr. Jennifer Gommerman, University of Toronto, Autoimmune disease, $2,000,000

– Dr. Philip Awadalla, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, (Toronto), Metabolic syndrome, $1,932,450

– Dr. Padmaja Subbarao, Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto), Asthma and other respiratory conditions, $1,953,002

– Dr. Alain Stintzi, University of Ottawa, Inflammatory bowel disease, $1,971,800

– Dr. Alberto Martin, University of Toronto, Colorectal cancer, $2,000,000

– Dr. Vernon Dolinsky, University of Manitoba (Winnipeg), Obesity, $2,000,000

– Dr. Gregory Steinberg, McMaster University, (Hamilton), Obesity, diabetes, and liver disease, $1,998,323

“Most chronic diseases, such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and obesity, involve multiple genes in complex interactions with environmental influences,” said Dr. Philip Sherman, scientific director, CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. “New technologies have emerged that provide researchers with a greater understanding of the genome, the epigenome, the microbiome, and the metabolome. This research funding will enable researchers to use these new technologies to better understand the complex interactions that cause chronic disease, and ultimately help us to identify better ways to prevent and treat chronic disease conditions.”