Reducing inequity in health systems. Using artificial intelligence to develop therapies for breast cancer. Targeted and immuno‐therapy to overcome resistance in aggressive cancers. These are among some of the significant Western-led research projects which received more than $9 million in cumulative federal funding through Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).
“We’re really excited to see these projects come to life,” said vice-president (research) Bryan Neff. “By taking fundamental and applied approaches to better understand health systems, cancers, our brains and bodies, Western’s research community is helping create a healthier Canada and adding to London’s long reputation for health research excellence and impact.”
Shehzad Ali, whose research focuses on the equity and efficiency of health systems, is undertaking a project on how to maximize population health while integrating equity into policy evaluations to better inform decision-making. The resulting guidelines will, for the first time, facilitate integration of equity into economic evaluations. The project received CIHR funding of $439,876 over four years.
“I’m trying to bring the two groups together – those who want cost-effective allocation of resources, and those who want this allocation to be equitable across all parts of the population,” said Ali, Canada Research Chair in public health economics at Schulich School of Medicine.
Ali’s research will first explore the challenges and opportunities of incorporating equity into real-world economic evaluations through interviews with key stakeholders in Canada, such as Ontario Health. The team will then conduct ‘equity-efficiency trade-off’ experiments using population samples to quantify the relative value society places on reducing inequity at the cost of sacrificing efficiency. The work will result in guidelines to help policymakers incorporate equity considerations into their cost effectiveness models.
“The hope is that this work will inform allocation of resources in the health system in a more equitable way, so we can better reflect societal values in our policy decisions,” Ali said.
Principal investigators and names of winning projects
Brian Allman, associate professor, anatomy and cell biology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry – Neural mechanisms supporting listening in noisy environments: Implications for normal and impaired hearing
Brian D. Corneil, professor, physiology and pharmacology, joint appointment with psychology, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry – Temporal interference stimulation in the awake brain: Spatiotemporal resolution and interactions with endogenous activity
Dimitrios Dikeakos, associate professor, microbiology and immunology, Schulich Medicine – Mechanisms of cell surface protein regulation by the HIV‐1 accessory proteins Nef and Vpu
Lakshman Gunaratnam, associate professor, microbiology and medicine, Schulich Medicine – Deciphering mechanisms of maladaptive repair after acute kidney injury
Ilka Heinemann, associate professor of biochemistry, Schulich Medicine – Rescuing Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease‐causing tRNA synthetases
David Holdsworth, professor, medical biophysics, Schulich Medicine – Combined gamma probe and ultrasound imaging system for cancer surgery
Anthony Nichols, professor of otolaryngology, Schulich Medicine – Targeted and immuno‐therapy to overcome innate and acquired resistance in aggressive MAPK‐ addicted cancers
Silvia Penuela, associate professor, anatomy and cell biology, Schulich Medicine – Targeting pannexin‐1 channels in glioblastoma multiforme
Andrew Pruszynski, associate professor, Brain and Mind Institute – Touch processing in the distal branches of first‐order tactile neurons
Rommel Tirona, associate professor, physiology and pharmacology, Schulich Medicine – Drug transporters as treatment targets for mushroom poisonings
CIHR priority announcement recipients
Frank Beier, professor, physiology and pharmacology, Schulich Medicine – The role of Pannexin 3 in aging-associated osteoarthritis
Pingzhao Hu, associate professor, epidemiology and biostatistics, biochemistry and computer science, Schulich Medicine – Artificial Intelligence‐empowered approaches towards the development of combination therapies for HER2+/ER+ breast cancer
Wei‐Yang Lu, professor, physiology and pharmacology, Schulich Medicine – Nitric oxide deficiency and cerebellar Purkinje neuron aging
Arghya Paul, associate professor, chemical and biochemical engineering, Faculty of Engineering – Developing tough, elastomeric, bioactive hydrogel dressings to accelerate in situ bone repair
Christopher Pin, professor, physiology and pharmacology, Schulich Medicine – Tumour cell reprogramming in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma as a means for therapeutic resistance
Caroline Schild‐Poulter, professor, molecular medicine, Schulich Medicine – Investigating the molecular pathology of WDR26 deficiency
An additional $2.9 million in funding was awarded to four research projects at Lawson Health Research Institute, the research arm of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London.