Funding: CIHR Project Grant recipients announced

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) today announced more than $8.6 million in research funding through their project grants competition for 13 projects across Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute.

“The funding that has been awarded to investigators within the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry is a reflection of the excellence of our research teams and will support research and training in a number of areas aligned with our strategic plan to Optimize Life Long Health,” said David Litchfield, Vice Dean of Research and Innovation at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

Funded research projects ranged from the role of dynamic DNA methylation in gene regulation and cancer, to the surveillance of HIV outbreaks, and a randomized controlled trial for the Hockey Fans in Training Program.

Jefferson Frisbee, Professor and Chair of the department of Medical Biophysics will be using the funding to study how chronic stress and the development depressive symptoms leads to poor cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. “One compelling aspect of this general area of study is that women, although experiencing the symptoms of depression more acutely and with somewhat greater prevalence, are relatively protected from the poor cardio/cerebrovascular outcomes as compared to men,” said Frisbee who is working with a diverse group of researchers from across campus on this project.

“While we are extremely fortunate to have been able to assemble this team of investigators for this project, without the generous support from CIHR, we could not even consider undertaking integrated projects such as this. Our challenge now is to deliver on that investment,” he said.

For Jimmy Dikeakos, Assistant Professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology the funding will go toward studying the unique ability of an HIV-1 protein called Nef to fool the immune system and result in a rapid progression of  AIDS disease in HIV infected patients. Dikeakos says the hope is to better understand how HIV infected individuals who are infected for life lose the ability to mount a functional immune response.

“This funding is critical to ensure we advance our knowledge of the mechanisms of AIDS disease, considering that close to 37 million individuals are HIV positive globally,” he said.


Congratulations to all of the successful applicants:

Frederick Dick - Epigenetic regulation of repeat expression by RB and EZH2 in cancer

Jimmy Dikeakos - HIV-1 Nef-Host Interactions Mediating Immune Evasion and Pathogenesis

Jefferson Frisbee and Kevin Shoemaker - Sex-based protection from systemic vasculopathy with chronic stress and depressive symptoms.

Paul Gribble - Sensory Motor Neuroplasticity and Motor Learning by Observing (Faculty of Social Science)

Mansour Haeryfar - Functional Roles and Therapeutic Potentials of Invariant NKT Cells in Sepsis

Stephen Lomber -  Contributions of the Ventral Auditory Cortical Pathway to Auditory Cognition

Elysee Nouvet - BEYOND IDEALS: Ethical and practical complexities of informed consent and compensation in Global Health Research (Faculty of Health Sciences)

Robert Petrella and Arya Sharma -  Hockey Fans in Training (Hockey FIT): A pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial of a gender-sensitized weight loss and healthy lifestyle program for men who are overweight or obese

Art Poon - Development, evaluation and implementation of genetic clustering methods for the real-time molecular surveillance of HIV outbreaks

Art Poon - Phylodynamics of HIV within hosts

Joseph Torchia - The role of dynamic DNA methylation in gene regulation and cancer

James Koropatnick – Inducing Mismatch Repair Deficiency in Cancer Cells for Therapeutic Benefit (Funded through Lawson Health Research Institute)

Akshya Vasudev – Sahaj Samadhi Meditation in treatment resistant late life depression: a randomized controlled trial (Funded through Lawson Health Research Institute)