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CIHR draws internationally renowned health researchers to Canada


Ottawa, ON – May 13 2004 – The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), says that eight internationally acclaimed health researchers have been recruited to Canada as a result of CIHR’s institutional establishment grant (IEG) program. This program aims to recruit and repatriate excellent health researchers.

The health researchers most recently recruited to Canada are:

– Dr Jan Behrends has been recruited from Germany to join the Centre de recherche Universite Laval Robert Giffard. Dr Behrends plans to use innovative research tools to study signal transmission in nerve cells at the nanometer scale. Dr Berhrends will receive $300,000.

– Dr Katherine Borden has been recruited from the Mt Sinai School of Medicine in New York by the l’Universite de Montreal. She is internationally known for her work on the function of eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF4E and how it transforms normal cells into cancerous cells. Dr Borden will receive $297,180.

– Dr Ann Marie Craig has been recruited back to Canada from Washington University School of Medicine by the University of British Columbia as a professor for the department of psychiatry and the Brain Research Centre. Dr Craig’s research is aimed at understanding how brain cells form synaptic connections, how they modify those connections with experience, and how such connections are perturbed in neurological disorders. Dr Craig will receive $228,850.

– Dr Jeff Dunn has been recruited to head the Experimental Imaging Centre by the University of Calgary. His work in imaging and the study of oxygen-related diseases is relevant to brain disease, cancer treatment, heart disease and musculoskeletal disease. Dr Dunn will receive $100,000.

– Dr Colin Funk has been recruited from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine by Queen’s University. Dr Funk’s research focuses on eicosanoids, lipid molecules that are involved in inflammation, asthma, atherosclerosis, carcinogenesis and circulation. Dr Funk will receive $287,500.

– Dr Pierre Magistretti has been recruited from the University of Lausanne by McGill University. Dr Magistretti will study the biology of glial cells in the brain and their role in neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders. Dr Magistretti will receive $300.000.

– Dr Stephen Strother has been recruited by the Rotman Research Institute from the University of Minnesota to set up a functional neuroimaging database and techniques for describing, recording and optimizing neuroimaging processing pipelines. This will facilitate the sharing of imaging data nationally and internationally and may lead to new insights from new and existing data. Dr Strother will receive $146,538.

– Dr Shoshana Wodak has been recruited from l’Universite Libre de Bruxelles by the Hospital for Sick Children to head the Centre for Computational Biology. The aim of her research is to gain an understanding of the factors that determine protein structure, stability and biological function. Dr Wodak will receive $298,800.

Over the past few years, the ability to recruit such individuals to Canada has improved through new federal initiatives such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which provides infrastructure support, and the Canada Research Chairs, which provides salary support and operating funds. However, the need for such recruits to switch from their existing sources of support often imposes a hiatus in their research activity.

The CIHR IEG program allows star recruits to begin their research programs in Canada without delay and are structured to provide a bridge to longer-term Canadian sources of funding. Funding under this program can be used for any purpose relating to recruitment, including a contribution to the salary of the recruit, equipment, operating funds, stipends for trainees and salaries for technical assistance. Each award ranges from $100,000 to $300,000.