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$3.7M funds research projects in Newfoundland


St. John’s, NL – Researchers at Memorial University are receiving a total of $3.7 million in funding from the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC) to support 34 academic-led research projects. The research is being conducted in areas including natural resource industries, manufacturing and health and life sciences. These projects have secured additional funding totalling $6.3 million through federal funding, private sector investment and other sources.

Funding is distributed through four of RDC’s academic programs, designed to strengthen institutional R&D capacity through supporting business-academic collaboration, providing funding for new researchers and by leveraging against other funding sources.

“The Research and Development Corporation is one of Memorial’s strongest allies,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University. “Its support for our researchers and students fosters the creation of new knowledge that helps Memorial continue to serve the public good in our communities and beyond.”

Collaborative funding partners for these projects include Bombardier Inc., Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Canada Research Chairs, Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd., Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador, the College of the North Atlantic, Ocean Choice International, Dalhousie University, Université Laval, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, NL Geological Survey, Silver Spruce Resources Inc., and others.

Funding is received through four of RDC’s academic programs: CollaborativeR&D, GeoEXPLORE Collaborative Research Projects, LeverageR&D and IgniteR&D. RDC’s investment of $3.7 million has helped secure additional investments of $6.3 million, from federal programs, industry and other sources. The projects receiving funding are as follows:

CollaborativeR&D

(1) Characterization and development of novel materials and coatings for aircraft materials integrity in harsh environments, Dr. Amy Hsiao, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. RDC: $300,000. Leveraged: $300,000 from Bombardier. 

(2) GeoEXPLORE Collaborative Research Projects. This is a three-year directed research program intended to enhance geoscience research and development (R&D) capacity, collaboration and industry innovation in support of mineral and petroleum exploration and development in Newfoundland and Labrador. Regional assessment and modelling of epithermal & porphyry-style gold mineralization on the Burin Peninsula, Dr. Graham Layne, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science. RDC: $98,910 with additional contributions from NL Geological Survey, and mineral industry stakeholders, TerraX Minerals Inc. and Silver Spruce Resources Inc.

LeverageR&D

(1) Development of a crustacean biology laboratory, Dr. Iain McGaw, Ocean Sciences Centre, Faculty of Science . RDC: $121,845. Leveraged: $97,475 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and $24,369 from other sources.

(2) Impact of agricultural drainage and climate change on greenhouse gas emissions from northern peatlands, Dr. Jianghua Wu, Grenfell Campus. RDC: $125,000. Leveraged: $100,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Leaders Opportunity Fund (CFI, LOF) and $25,000 from other sources.

(3) Maximizing energy efficiency – analytical fuel research for enhanced oil recovery and second generation biofuels, Drs. Kelly Hawboldt and Dr. Lesley James, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and Dr. Robert Helleur, Department of Chemistry Faculty of Science. RDC: $148,743. Leveraged: $100,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Leaders Opportunity Fund (CFI, LOF) and $44,005 from other sources.

(4) Far-infrared spectromicroscope for assessing disorder in solids, Dr. Kristin Poduska, Department of Physics & Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science. RDC: $110,000. Leveraged: $150,000 from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Research Tools and Instruments Grants Program (NSERC-RTI).

(5) High performance scientific computing infrastructure for Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modeling, Dr. Lev Tarasov, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science. RDC funding will leverage Canada Foundation for Innovation to provide required high performance computing resources for the Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modeling at Memorial University. RDC: $141,476. Leveraged: $100,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and $41,476 from other sources.

(6) Canada Research Chair in Glacial Dynamics Modeling, Dr. Lev Tarasov, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science. RDC: $100,000. Leveraged: $500,000 from Canada Research Chairs Program (CRC).

(7) Commercialization of high-pressure processing for crab and other species, Robert Verge, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, Fisheries and Marine Institute. The project is being led by the CCFI in collaboration with the Marine Institute of Memorial University, the College of the North Atlantic and Ocean Choice International. RDC: $280,000. Leveraged: $2,289,618 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Atlantic Innovation Fund (ACOA-AIF), $188,632 from CCFI, $100,000 from Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program (FTNOP), and $600,000 from Ocean Choice International (OCI).

(8) Climate change impacts on carbon reservoirs in boreal ecosystems (Canada Research Chair in Environmental Science), Dr. Susan Ziegler, Faculty of Science, Department of Earth Sciences. RDC: $100,000. Leveraged: $433,333 from Canada Research Chairs Program (CRC).

The following research projects were approved under the Joint Funding Agreement between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and RDC as part of the Regional Partnerships Program. Under this Agreement, RDC co-funds 50/50 on projects recommended for RPP funding by the CIHR scientific review committee.

(9) Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids as regulators of metabolic pathways: A mechanistic study, Dr. Abeer Ahmed, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science.  RDC:  $22,500, Leveraged:  $22,500 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(10) Analysis of the role of the p7 protein in the hepatitis C virus life cycle, Ali Atoom, Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. RDC:  $24,375. Leveraged:  $24,375 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(11) Genetic and epigenetic determinants for juvenile-onset ovarian tumourigenesis, Dr. Ann Dorward Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. RDC: $179,771. Leveraged:  $179,771 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(12) The role of FGF23 in fetal phosphorus metabolism, Dr. Christopher Kovacs, Division of Endocrinology, Faculty of Medicine. RDC:  $176,772. Leveraged: $176,772 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP) and $30,000 from other funding sources.

(13) Discovering the neuroendocrine features of obesity with food addiction, Daniel Wadden, Faculty of Medicine. RDC:  $8,750. Leveraged:  $8,750 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP). 

(14) PAR2-calcium signaling in vascular endothelium, John Hennessey, Faculty of Medicine, Division of BioMedical Sciences. RDC funding: $8,750. Leveraged: $8,750 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research  Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(15) Identifying intervention to increase breastfeeding duration in Newfoundland & Labrador, Dr. Julia Temple Newhook, Faculty of Medicine  RDC: $22,500. Leveraged: $22,50
0 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(16) Mechanisms of Ras-dependent oncolysis, Dr. Kensuke Hirasawa, Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. RDC: $167,329 from RDC. Leveraged:  $167,329 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(17) Role of neuroinflammatory mediators in energy homeostasis, Maria Licursi, Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. RDC: $22,500. Leveraged: $22,500 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(18) A cross-sectional and case-control analysis of physically independent and physically dependent cohorts of octogenarians: Part one of the life after 80 study, Dr. Marshall Godwin, Division of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine. RDC: $89,653. Leveraged: $89,653 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(19) Identification of novel copy number variants (CNVs) using a custom genome-wide microarray chip for diagnosis of familial spondyloarthritis, Dr. Proton Rahman and Dr. Darren O’Rielly, Faculty of Medicine. RDC: $146,389. Leveraged: $146,389 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(20) Improving cholesterol efflux by targeted disruption of hepatic lipase interactions with the cell surface, Dr. Robert Brown and Dr. Valerie Booth, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science. RDC: $68,073. Leveraged: $68,073 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(21) Mechanisms of molecular regulation of pre-adipocyte differentiation by CD24, Dr. Sherri Lynn Christian, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science. RDC: $79,438. Leveraged: $79,438 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

(22) NMR structural studies of surfactant protein B, Drs. Valerie Booth, Department of Biochemistry,  and Michael Morrow, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science. RDC: $173,090. Leveraged: $173,090 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Regional Partnerships Program (CIHR,RPP).

IgniteR&D

(1) Assessment of human exposure to flame retardants using size-resolved particle sampling, Dr. Cora Young, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science. RDC: $99,500, $5,000 from other sources.

(2) Impact of insulin therapy on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with Type 2 diabetes, Dr. John-Michael Gamble, School of Pharmacy. RDC: $100,000.

(3) Modelling and behaviour of a flexible subsea structure and associated risk, Dr. Ayhan Akinturk, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. RDC: $100,000.

(4) Study of boreal vegetation responses to support economic competitiveness of the forest and agriculture sector, Dr. Dmitry Sveshnikov, Grenfell Campus. RDC: $99,976.

(5) Multiphase flow and heat transfer in offshore energy applications, Dr. Greg Naterer, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. RDC: $100,000.

(6) System of multisource data fusion for operational ice monitoring, Dr. Igor Zakharov, C-CORE, which is independent not-for-profit R&D corporation housed at Memorial University. RDC: $100,000.

(7) Newfoundland and Labrador fishery resource dynamics impacted by changing ocean conditions, Dr. Jonathan Fisher, Fisheries and Marine Institute. RDC: $100,000.

(8) Quantifying maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points when productivity varies, and marine stewardship, Dr. Noel Cadigan, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, Fisheries and Marine Institute. RDC: $100,000.

(9) Development of a novel risk-based alarm system, Dr. Salim Ahmed, Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science. RDC: $95,459. 

(10) Rebuilding Newfoundland groundfish stocks in a changing environment, Dr. Sherrylynn Rowe, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research, Fisheries and Marine Institute. RDC: $99,700 and $28,000 from other sources.