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University receives $6.7 million Canada Research Chair funding

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November 15, 2005

Source: University of Alberta:

University receives $6.7 million Canada Research Chair funding

Five U of A professors have been appointed to national Canada Research Chairs (CRC) for work ranging from dinosaurs to gender identity to plant development and detection of diseased cells. In announcing the awarding of $6.7 million to the U of A, the federal government also announced today funding of more than $750,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Philip Currie, recently recruited to the biological sciences department from the Tyrrell Museum, will hold the Canada Research Chair in the Systematics & Evolution Group. Dr. Currie will receive $1.4 million over seven years for the continuation and extension of his long-standing research program on the palaeobiology of theropod dinosaurs. Although these carnivores make up only a small fraction of known dinosaur species, they are more significant than other dinosaurs in that they have living relatives (birds) and have attracted the most intense attention by other researchers and by the public.

As the Canada Research Chair in Analytical Chemistry, Liang Li, chemistry, also receives $1.4 million to develop techniques and methods with increased detection sensitivity, thus allowing researchers to routinely identify and quantify hundreds and even thousands of proteins and metabolites from 10,000 cells. Completion of this research should result in the creation of several novel analytical techniques and discovery of new biomarkers for certain types of cancer such as breast cancer.

Christopher Power is another $1.4 million recipient and will hold the CRC in Neurological Infection and Immunity to develop a novel research centre, building on the strong areas of infection/immunity and neuroscience at the University of Alberta. The centre's chief goal is the translation of research findings into clinical benefits through improved understanding of disease mechanisms, better diagnostic tools, more effective treatments and training of highly qualified personnel in neurological infectious and immune diseases.

Cressida Heyes, Faculty of Arts' philosophy department, has been awarded $500,000 over five years for her quest to explain the conceptual bases of popular and academic understandings of sexual difference, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Enrico Scarpella, biological sciences, will seek new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying plant development, yielding important breakthroughs in aspects of plant biotechnology, like plant propagation, crop yield, and production of wood, paper, fabrics and pharmaceuticals.

In addition, the federal government announced that three U of A professors had their CRCs renewed for another five years: Sean Caulfield (art and design), Janet Elliott (engineering) and Chris Le (medicine) for a total of $1.5 million.

The U of A holds 95 Canada Research Chairs valued at more than $95 million. The CRC is a $900- million Canadian government program aimed at supporting outstanding researchers to help them advance their careers among world-class colleagues and gain access to top graduate students and state-of-the-art research facilities. The program supports the establishment of 2,000 research chairs at Canadian universities by 2005. The CFI was created by the federal government to fund research infrastructure to allow for world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians.

For more information please contact File No: 36

Sandra Halme, Public Affairs, November 10, 2005




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