Funding: CIHR grants support important projects from Indigenous health to cancer immunotherapy

Health researchers in London were awarded more than $10 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), with $7.3 million supporting projects through Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and $2.8 million through Lawson Health Research Institute.

In total, 15 projects were funded ranging from looking at new targets for anti-cancer Immunotherapy, to two projects addressing Indigenous health.

"Funding from the CIHR will enable our research leaders to advance their studies in a number of important areas related to our understanding of the underlying basis of health and disease as well as advances in treatment and health care delivery," said David Litchfield, PhD, vice dean of research and innovation at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. "This research reflects the commitment of our School to address the needs of our society."

For Lloy Wylie, PhD, assistant professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, this funding will allow her to continue to build on a project aimed at improving the ability of health care organizations to meet the health care needs of Indigenous people.

“The objectives of this project grant are to complement local initiatives through supporting and evaluating interventions including relationship building and engagement, storytelling and training, and implementing new policy and practice guidelines in Indigenous health care,” said Wylie. “Support for this type of research will advance knowledge an evidence-base on successful and sustainable strategies to advance equity of Indigenous people in health care.”

Shawn Li, PhD, is investigating the molecular basis of immune evasion in cancer with the aim of developing new immunotherapy for the treatment of hard to treat cancers. “This CIHR finding will allow us to address fundamental questions underlying the basis of immune escape mediated by immune checkpoints,” said Li, a professor in Biochemistry. “A deepened understanding of the molecular basis of immune escape in cancer would pave the way for the development of rationally designed immunotherapies.”

Congratulations to all the funding recipients:

Subrata Chakrabarti, with collaborators Bekim Sadikovic, Krishna Singh, and Stephanie Frisbee:  “Novel mechanisms in diabetic cardiomyopathy.”

Peter Chidiac and Jeffrey Dixon:  “Allosteric regulation of GPCR signaling by extracellular nucleotides.”

Bryan Heit: “Role of ELKS1 and Rab17 in Differential Antigen Sorting and MHC II Trafficking Following Efferocytosis and Phagocytosis.”

Marlys Koschinsky and Michael Boffa: “B Apo(a):apoB100 interactions as key  determinants of Lp(a) biosynthesis.”

Shawn Li: “Novel anticancer immunotherapy targeting the molecular mechanisms of T cell suppression by immune checkpoints.”

Julio Martinez‐Trujillo and Michael Poulter: “Reverse engineering working memory circuits in the primate brain:  Implications for the study of memory deficits.”

Maria Mathews and Jennifer Shea with collaborators, Ivy Bourgeault, Emily Marshall, Amy Bombay, Nicole Doria, Julia Lukewich, and Amanda Myers: “Increasing Indigenous Participation in  the Physician Workforce.”

Charles McKenzie, and Timothy Regnault: “Hyperpolarised 13C MRI of Placental Metabolism in Intrauterine Growth Restriction.”

Marco Prado: “A Regulation of chaperone‐mediated proteostasis by STI1.”

Lloy Wylie and Lana Ray with collaborators Christopher Mushquash, Victoria Smye, Nadine Wathen, Cheryl Forchuk, and Brock Pitawanakwat: “Educating for Equity: Building  Culturally Safe Care through  Indigenous Narratives.”

Xiufen Zheng: “The role of circular RNA in heart transplantation.”

Through Lawson Health Research Institute:

Karen Bosma, and Laurent Brochard: “Proportional Assist Ventilation for Minimizing the Duration of Mechanical Ventilation: The PROMIZING Study.”

Dianne Bryant, and Alan Getgood: “Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction using Bone Patellar Bone or Quad Tendon Autograft with or without Lateral Extra Articular Tenodesis in Individuals who are at High Risk of Graft Failure (STABILITY II)”

Patrick Luke and Rabindra Bhattacharjee: “Therapeutic potential of bloodless oxygenated perfusion of donor kidneys for prolonged storage and protection for transplantation.”

Emil Schemitsch: “The DECIPHER Study: DEterminants of Function and Clinically Important outcomes in Proximal Humerus Fractures in the Elder Population: A National CohoRt.”