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Health research teams to receive total of $20M funding


Edmonton, AB – The first recipients of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Interdisciplinary Team Grants competition have been announced. This multimillion dollar initiative provides opportunities for collaborative teams of researchers from different research disciplines and institutions to address important research questions or health problems in areas of priority for Alberta.

“This program represents a bold, new way of supporting research,” says Dr Jacques Magnan, AHFMR interim president and CEO. “The varied disciplines of the investigators on these teams will allow them to address issues from all angles-the basic science behind the problem, the problem’s effects across a population, all the way to real solutions to be used in the clinic, and policy recommendations to be implemented by decision makers.’

Each team grant is valued at $1 million per year for five years. The grants can be renewed once.

The four successful teams in the 2007 AHFMR Interdisciplinary Team Grants competition are as follows:

1) The Preterm Birth and Healthy Outcomes team:

Team leaders: Dr David Olson, department of obstetrics & gynecology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta; Dr Suzanne Tough, departments of paediatrics and community health sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary/Alberta Children’s Hospital/Calgary Health Region.

Team members: University of Alberta: Larry Guilbert; Shoo Lee; Joyce Magill-Evans; BF Mitchell; Christine Newburn-Cook; Martin Somerville; University of Calgary: Karen Benzies; Donna Slater; Stephen Wood; Wendy Yee; University of Lethbridge: Gerlinde Metz; Calgary Health Region: Shirley Leew; Debbie McNeil; Calgary Laboratory Services: Andrew Lyon; Institute of Health Economics, Edmonton: Donald Schopflocher; University of Toronto: Alan Bocking; Stephen Lye; Craig Pennell.

Project description: This 20-person research team provides expertise in 13 disciplines. The team will investigate ways to better predict preterm birth, and develop and test ways of preventing and addressing the problem.

2) The Impact of Maternal Nutrient Status during Pregnancy on Maternal Mental Health and Child Development:

Team leaders: Dr Bonnie Kaplan, departments of paediatrics and community health sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary; Dr Catherine Field, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta; Dr Deborah Dewey, departments of paediatrics and community health sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary.

Team members: University of Alberta: Rhonda Bell; Anna Farmer; Laki Goonewardene; Donna Manca; Linda McCarger; University of Calgary: Francois Bernier; Marja Cantell; Michael Eliasziw; Libbe Kooistra; Maeve O’Beirne; Steven Simpson; Nalini Singhal; University of Tilburg (The Netherlands): Victor Pop

Project description: This team of 16 researchers will explore to what extent a woman’s diet affects her mental health, her ability to nurture her infant, as well as the actual growth and development of her baby.

3) Improving Health Care Access and Sustainability with Microfluidic Platforms:

Team leader: Dr Linda Pilarski, department of oncology, faculty of medicine & dentistry, University of Alberta.

Team members: University of Alberta: Larry Guilbert; Shoo Lee; Joyce Magill-Evans; B.F. Mitchell; Christine Newburn-Cook; Martin Somerville; University of Calgary: Karen Benzies; Donna Slater; Stephen Wood; Wendy Yee; University of Lethbridge: Gerlinde Metz; Calgary Laboratory Services: Andrew Lyon; Institute of Health Economics: Donald Schopflocher; University of Toronto: Alan Bocking; Stephen Lye; Craig Pennell.

Project description: This team of 12 researchers aims to develop a microfluidic platform (lab-on-a-chip) that can carry out many different health and disease-related tests.

4) The AHFMR Interdisciplinary Team in Vaccine Design and Implementation:

Team leaders: Dr Anthony Schryvers, departments of microbiology & infectious diseases and biochemistry & molecular biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary; Dr Lorne Babiuk, vice-president research, University of Alberta; Dr James Kellner, departments of paediatrics and microbiology & infectious diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary.

Team members: University of Alberta: Jason Acker; Christopher Backhouse; Jutta Preiksaitis; Tony Reiman; Andrew Belch; John Mackey; Michael Mehta; University of Calgary: Nizar Bahlis; Edna Einsiedel; Canadian Blood Services: Gregory Denomme; National Institute of Nanotechnology: Lorraine Sheremeta.

Project description: This team of 11 researchers will study how bacteria evolve within the human population and design vaccine products capable of providing protection against different strains and species.