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Renewed and new support for Canada Research Chairs

by NationTalk on March 13, 2012395 Views

March 13th, 2012

Their aim is to develop an Indigenous-based social work, find new ways to diagnose and treat life-threatening disorders, extend the lives of people with brain tumours, and improve the Canadian economy by helping entrepreneurs become more successful.

They have big research goals and now they have a combined $2 million to help make them reality.

Three new Canada Research Chairs (CRC) have been awarded to University of Manitoba professors Michael Anthony Hart, Tamra Werbowetski-Ogilvie, and Zhenyu Wu. They are considered research leaders or rising stars in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, or social sciences and humanities. A fourth professor, Joerg Stetefeld, had his CRC designation renewed.The appointments were announced today in Ottawa by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology. They each received a $500,000 Tier 2 Chair over five years.

The new CRCs will also receive a combined $368,594 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure.

“I extend my congratulations to these researchers and applaud their ongoing efforts to advance our knowledge of the world around us,” said Digvir Jayas, Vice-President (Research and International) and Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba. “They are leading the way in their field of study.”

Michael Anthony Hart, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledges and Social Work, will connect with Elders to explore their cultural philosophies and practices which relate to helping. While much research has been done regarding the social challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada, there remains little awareness of their helping perspectives as this portion of the population has been pushed to the periphery of society. Hart’s investigations will support the development of an Indigenous-based social work. His research will lead to new interventions that are culturally safe and relevant, and show how implementing Indigenous knowledges of helping practices could prove to be a way of overcoming colonialism.

Joerg Stetefeld, Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology, studies the structure, function, and regulation of proteins involved in the extra-cellular matrix. This is a complex structure that surrounds and supports cells in mammalian tissues. He uses advanced techniques, like nuclear magnetic resonancy and X-Ray crystallography, to examine the structure of proteins and determine their function in both health and disease. His work will result in new diagnostic and treatment strategies for a range of human disorders like muscular dystrophy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and tumours.

Tamra Werbowetski-Ogilvie, Canada Research Chair in Neuro-oncology and Human Stem Cells, is doing her part to improve and extend the lives of those diagnosed with brain tumours. Her goal is to develop new biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for these particularly aggressive and often deadly forms of cancer in the hopes of treating these tumours earlier, before they spread. She will use her expertise in human embryonic stem cell biology to better understand the molecular behaviour of brain tumours in children, and to better characterize the invasion of the most malignant growths in both children and adults.

Zhenyu Wu, Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, explores the risk-taking behaviours of entrepreneurs and investors in new venture financing. Business ventures are the primary engine of economic growth but it’s challenging for entrepreneurs to secure financing, especially during the current downturn. Wu’s findings could help ensure these new ventures continue to survive and grow. His objective is to assess the risk-taking behaviour of the different parties involved, and to explain how decisions are made in light of this behaviour. This insight would help entrepreneurs succeed in their ventures, and ultimately benefit the Canadian economy.

The University of Manitoba is currently home to 47 Canada Research Chairs.

For more information contact Katie Chalmers-Brooks, research communications officer (204) 474-7184

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