Lab Canada

Ontario scientists awarded infrastructure grants

Waterloo, ON – Three scientists at Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University have been awarded more than $150,000 in infrastructure grants by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Stephanie Dewitte-Orr, Diane Gregory and Geoff Horsman have each been awarded an Ontario Research Fund-Research Infrastructure grant to provide equipment and resources for their research labs.

“Laurier is proud of these extraordinary researchers and is thrilled that the Ministry of Research and Innovation has seen fit to acknowledge the importance of their research through these infrastructure grants,” said Abby Goodrum, vice-president: Research.

Dewitte-Orr, assistant professor in Laurier’s biology department and the health sciences program, will receive $44,373 for her work on antiviral strategies. With viruses causing global pandemics and vaccine resistance, it is more important than ever to understand the interactions between viruses and their hosts. The infrastructure provided by her ORF award will allow her research team to study virus-host interactions at the cellular level.

Gregory, assistant professor in the department of kinesiology and physical education and the health sciences program, will receive $76,997 for her musculoskeletal spinal disorders laboratory. Her research focuses on identifying and reducing potential risks of low back pain that exist in occupational and daily living tasks. She will be testing the material properties of spinal tissue to understand the detrimental effects of high forces and certain postures on the spine and measuring muscle demand during various tasks performed by human participants.

Horsman, assistant professor in Laurier’s chemistry department, will receive $30,902 for his research on how microorganisms naturally synthesize small molecules such as antibiotics. More than 99 per cent of microorganisms do not readily grow in the laboratory. Horsman’s team will investigate previously unexplored microbial metabolism by extracting environmental DNA naturally occurring in Canadian environments.