Two research projects led by investigators from the Faculty of Health Sciences have been awarded major funding from the Ontario Research Fund (ORF), part of a provincial investment of more than $9M in research at McMaster University.
The awards were announced last week by Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, Reza Moridi.
Under the category of Small Insfrastructure funding, Yu Lu, assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences, was awarded $400,000, and Elena Verdu, associate professor of medicine and Canada Research Chair in Inflammation, Microbiota and Nutrition, received $176,145.
Funded through ORF's Research Excellence stream, Heather Sheardown, Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems, and professor of chemical engineering, secured $4 million for her $14 million research project: C20/20: Responsive Materials for Ocular Therapy. She will lead a team of nine industry partners, along with academic colleagues from the University of Waterloo, to develop novel materials based solutions to tackle what she describes as a "crisis in vision health."
Among the project's priorities are macular degeneration and Glaucoma, two age-related diseases that, combined, affect about six million Canadians, with the potential to increase dramatically over the next decade.
"Now is the time to take an innovative and aggressive approach to find better ways to treat these debilitating conditions that affect the lives of many Ontarians," she said. "This investment will allow us to move forward in our work to identify the next generation of ophthalmic materials and drug delivery devices that are responsive to needs of individual patients."
Another significant grant was awarded to Saeid Habibi, professor of mechanical engineering and NSERC/Ford Chair in Hybrid Technologies, and co-investigator, Ali Emadi, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Hybrid Powertrain, and professor of electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering. They received $4 million for their $17 million project: Electric Extended range Clean affordable Ontario (EECOMOBILITY). Their goal is to develop a revolutionary long range Electric Vehicle (EV) that will alleviate the cost, range and safety constraints of the current EVs, and create new businesses and jobs for Ontario.
In addition to the McMaster-based projects, John Luxat, professor of engineering physics and NSERC/UNENE Chair in Nuclear Safety Analysis, was awarded $600,000 to work with colleagues at Western University on a project entitled: Analysis tools, measurement techniques and systems for mitigating severe accidents in CANDU nuclear power plants.
Rob Baker, vice-president, research, credits the researchers for their ability to tackle such relevant and strategically important work for the Province, in terms of commercialization opportunities, job creation and positioning Ontario as a global leader.
"This is an incredibly competitive competition, so success means two things," he said. "First, it means our researchers stand out among the strongest in the Province, and second, it means their work is recognized as critically important to the economic, health and social well- being of Ontarians and, indeed, the global community."
Besides Lu and Verdu, other recipients of Small Infrastructure funding include:
John Valliant, professor, chemistry and chemical biology, and Canada Research Chair in Medical Isotopes and Molecular Imaging Probes, $400,000.
David Ogborn, associate professor, communications studies and multimedia, $188,123.
Charles de Lannoy, assistant professor, chemical engineering, $125,000.
Oleg Rubel, assistant professor, materials science and engineering, $100,000.