Researchers receive more than $23.5 million from CIHR

Four Western researchers received grants totaling $9.9 million over seven years from the inaugural Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Grant. Each is studying factors which may lead to improved health outcomes for people living with osteoarthritis, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The CIHR Foundation Grant is designed to contribute to a sustainable foundation of health research leaders by providing long-term support for the pursuit of innovative, high-impact programs of research.

Of more than 1,600 applications received by CIHR, 150 applications were successful in receiving funding, four of those from Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Robarts Research Institute:

  • Physiology and Pharmacology professor Frank Beier, Canada Research Chair in Musculoskeletal Research, received more than $3 million for his research into the molecular pathways behind osteoarthritis;
  • Medicine and Biochemistry professor Dr. Robert Hegele, Jacob J. Wolfe Distinguished Medical Research Chair in Human Gene Function, Robarts scientist, received more than $2.3 million for his research into understanding the genomic factors behind cardiovascular disease, strokes and diabetes;
  • Medical Biophysics, and Medical Imaging professor Terry Peters, Robarts scientist, received more than $2.2 million for research to develop a program for image-guided, minimally invasive surgery and therapy; and
  • Medical Biophysics and Biochemistry professor Dr. J. Geoffrey Pickering, Robarts scientist, received more than $2.1 million to investigate the mechanisms related to vascular aging, repair and regeneration.

An additional 19 researchers have received CIHR Open Operating Grants of more than $13.6 million, including Dr. Julio Martinez-Trujillo, for research into mapping the circuits of the brain related to attention, which may impact diseases such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and schizophrenia; Steven Kerfoot, who is researching the role of B cells in multiple sclerosis; and Aaron Fenster, who is developing a magnetic resonance imaging-guided laser thermal therapy approach to target tumours in patients with prostate cancer.