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Laurier scientists awarded Ontario Research Fund grants
Apr 12/13| For Immediate Release
Abby Goodrum, Vice-President, Research
Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications & Public Affairs
Three Wilfrid Laurier University scientists have been awarded more than $150,000 in infrastructure grants by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. The grants were announced today at the University of Waterloo by John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre.
Stephanie Dewitte-Orr, Diane Gregory and Geoff Horsman have each been awarded an Ontario Research Fund-Research Infrastructure grant to provide equipment and resources for their research labs.
“Laurier is proud of these extraordinary researchers and is thrilled that the Ministry of Research and Innovation has seen fit to acknowledge the importance of their research through these infrastructure grants,” said Abby Goodrum, vice-president: Research.
Dewitte-Orr, assistant professor in Laurier’s Biology department and the Health Sciences program, will receive $44,373 for her work on antiviral strategies. With viruses causing global pandemics and vaccine resistance, it is more important than ever to understand the interactions between viruses and their hosts. The infrastructure provided by her ORF award will allow her research team to study virus-host interactions at the cellular level. Understanding these interactions will aid in the development of novel drug treatments, with clear benefits to Ontario’s economy, environment, and health care system.
Gregory, assistant professor in the department of Kinesiology and Physical Education and the Health Sciences program, will receive $76,997 for her musculoskeletal spinal disorders laboratory. Her research focuses on identifying and reducing potential risks of low back pain that exist in occupational and daily living tasks. She will be testing the material properties of spinal tissue to understand the detrimental effects of high forces and certain postures on the spine and measuring muscle demand during various tasks performed by human participants.
Horsman, assistant professor in Laurier’s Chemistry department, will receive $30,902 for his research on how microorganisms naturally synthesize small molecules such as antibiotics. More than 99 per cent of microorganisms do not readily grow in the laboratory. Horsman’s team will investigate previously unexplored microbial metabolism by extracting environmental DNA naturally occurring in Canadian environments. The infrastructure funded by the ORF grant will be critical to the discovery of molecules with potential benefits for health, agriculture, and the environment.
“Research teams in southwestern Ontario are ready to make breakthroughs in key areas like health, communications and advanced manufacturing. I’m proud to be part of a government that recognizes how cutting-edge research improves our quality of life and our economic future,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation.
Ontario is supporting more than 5,000 researchers working on 42 projects at 18 institutions across the province through the Ontario Research Fund–Research Infrastructure program. Since 2003, the Ontario Research Fund–Research Infrastructure program has supported 1,430 projects and helped train more than 20,000 highly qualified personnel province-wide.