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$2M funding supports in two major health challenges


Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto’s research funding program – the Connaught Fund – broke the mould this year with its $1 million Global Challenge Prize, awarding two projects instead of the usual one.

Projects led by two Faculty of Medicine scientists at the university – Professors Brenda Andrews and Jennifer Gommerman – will each receive $1 million.

Andrews, director of U of T’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, is leading a project focussed on the hot field of personalized medicine. The project is called Connaught Network for Modeling and Mapping Complex Disease: addressing the global challenge to understand our personal genomes.

Gommerman, a professor and scientist in the Department of Immunology at U of T, is heading up an investigation into the startling incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases in South Asian immigrants raised in Canada. The project is called Global Migration and Chronic Inflammatory Disease – The GEMINI Study (Generational differences in Environmental exposures caused by Human Migration: Impact on Incidence of Inflammatory Disease).

The Global Challenge Prize was launched in 2011 by Connaught to bring together U of T’s leading researchers from multiple disciplines with innovators from other sectors to heighten the university’s contribution to issues facing global society. Proposals come from the U of T research community, involving large, interdisciplinary teams, and are subjected to the highest level of international peer review.

“There were some marvellous proposals from U of T researchers this year. It was a difficult choice deciding on which projects we would award,” says Professor Paul Young, vice president (research and innovation) and Connaught Committee chair.

Reported by Paul Fraumeni, University of Toronto