The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will be funding three University of Manitoba research projects over a three year period. A total of $1,391,166 was awarded under the Strategic Project Grants (SPG) Program. The program’s goal is to increase research and training in targeted areas that could strongly enhance Canada’s economy, society and or environment within the next ten years.
The University of Manitoba awards were part of the announcement made today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre.
“Supporting science and research is critical to Canada’s future economic growth,” said Minister Goodyear. “This investment will bring together 100 teams of some of the world’s top researchers to work with industry on promising new projects that will help strengthen our economy, create jobs and bring other benefits for communities.”
“I congratulate the three teams. Their research programs will add to and expand upon existing knowledge in areas that will have direct impact on local and national economies,” said Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research) at the University of Manitoba. “I congratulate all of the research teams.”
The researchers whose projects received new funding include:
• Joe LoVetri, Faculty of Engineering, will receive $291,000 to enhance the spatial resolution of state-of-the-art Microwave Tomography (MWT) systems for biomedical imaging. MWT is a relatively new process that uses microwave measurements to create a quantitative image of the bulk-electrical material properties of biological tissues within a body. The research team, which includes Lotfollah Shafai, Faculty of Engineering, will investigate the feasibility of MWT for specialized biomedical applications and transferring the technology to their supporting organizations, CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) & IMRIS. Current indications are that MWT can be useful for breast cancer imaging, bone imaging, and the detection of ischemic tissues.
• Martin Scanlon, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba, will receive $524,710 to examine the fundamental mechanical properties that control texture in the commercial production of Asian noodles using Canadian wheat. The team includes Dave Hatcher at the federal Grain Research Laboratory in Winnipeg and John Page of the University of Manitoba department of physics. They will use the knowledge gained from the mechanical characterization of Asian noodles to optimize the texture of fiber-enriched noodles, supporting the sales of Canadian wheat in a growing product sector of the Asian market-the functional foods market.
• Peter Zahradka, Faculty of Medicine, principal investigator and team leader, Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine, will receive $575,456 to identify and characterize the molecule in pulse crops that has been shown to decrease arterial stiffness. This molecule will then be available for incorporation into novel enriched or fortified functional food products, or utilized in its purified form as a nutraceutical. The team, led by Zahradka, includes Carla Taylor and Michel Aliani, Faculty of Human Ecology. Their research findings can potentially lead to the development of products for human consumption that will enhance the commercial value of pulse crops due to strong market interest in the underlying therapeutic applications.
About The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC):
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.
For more information, please contact Janine Harasymchuk, research communications & marketing manager, University of Manitoba, Tel: 204-474-7300.