University investment pushes pandemic research forward

CDC // Special to Western News

In April, Western launched the Research Western Catalyst Grant: Surviving Pandemics initiative, a $1-milliojn investment in interdisciplinary projects that contribute to a broad range of evidence, tools, theories and guidelines into disease outbreaks.

Western-led research to aid humanity in its resilience and recovery efforts during the current and future disease outbreaks got a recent boost thanks to university backing of 13 projects, Research Western announced this week.

“This investment in our research community will support work that improves the world we live in and help us move beyond this, and future, pandemics,” said Sarah Prichard, Acting Vice-President (Research).

“Western’s research community has rallied to help our world transition from the effects of COVID-19 by not only addressing important medical questions, but significant systemic social and economic issues.”

In April, the university launched the Research Western Catalyst Grant: Surviving Pandemics initiative, a $1-million investment in interdisciplinary projects that contribute to a broad range of evidence, tools, theories and guidelines into disease outbreaks.

Priority was given to multi-disciplinary teams taking novel approaches to the problem, with the potential for long-term meaningful impact. Proposals included medical research, but not limited to health care.

The 13 projects funded in the first round include:

  • Robert Bartha, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Long-term neurologic effects of severe COVID-19 illness, $49,500;
  • Lauren Cipriano, Ivey Business School, Dynamic epidemic modelling of COVID-19 for local and regional critical care capacity, $49,750;
  • Giovanni Fanchini, Science, Manufacturing of autoclavable and reusable graphene-enhanced N95-grade respirator masks from Western nanofiltration technology, $49,750;
  • Jason Gilliland, Social Science, Food Retail Environment Surveillance for Health & Economic Resiliency: The FRESHER Futures Project, $48,187;
  • David Holdsworth, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Emergency ventilator system using additive manufacturing, $49,700;
  • Jed Long, Social Science, COVID-19 rapid response mapping of human-mobility indicators, $49,908;
  • Elysee Nouvet, Health Sciences, At the front of the front-Line: Ontario paramedics’ experiences of risk, safety, and adapted patient care protocols during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, $43,096;
  • Bridget Ryan, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Developing best practice guidelines for family physician virtual visits during pandemics, $50,000;
  • Jacob Shelley, Law, Ethical, legal, and policy dimensions of scaling back social distancing and restrictive public health measures for the COVID-19 pandemic, $49,664;
  • Martin Stillman, Science, Does zinc crosslinking in ACE2 control COVID-19 spike binding?, $46,800;
  • Saverio Stranges, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, The development and implementation of a real-time geospatial surveillance portal to monitor the spread of epidemics and pandemics in local communities, $50,000;
  • Nadine Wathen, Information & Media Studies, Violence against women services: What can COVID-19 teach us, and are we willing to learn?, $48,363; and
  • Lloy Wylie, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Pandemic partnership or colonial calamity? First Nations health systems during COVID-19, $49,990.

Western is currently accepting proposals for Phase 2 of funding. The application deadline is May 28. Successful proposals will be announced next month.