Leading SickKids researchers receive more than $5.1 million in CFI funding
By Sarah Warr
Today, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced new funding for research infrastructure and technology that will help advance research across Canada, including an investment of more than $5.1 million in support of cutting-edge studies led by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
One of the SickKids-led projects that was awarded Innovation Funds is led by the incoming Chief of Research at SickKids, Dr. Michael Salter, who received more than $2 million to establish the Centre for Developmental Brain Plasticity and Repair, which will support research in developmental neurobiology. SickKids scientists also collaborated with other researchers from across Canada in several CFI-funded projects, including $23.3-million in Innovation Funds for a national genomics network led by the University of British Columbia, in partnership with scientists at SickKids and McGill University.
“SickKids research has a profound impact on child health not only across Canada but also globally. These Innovation Funds will help equip our researchers with the tools needed to answer complex and difficult questions in rapidly-evolving scientific disciplines,” says Salter.
The SickKids research projects that received Innovation Funds include:
Centre for Developmental Brain Plasticity and Repair – $2,072,739
Dr. Michael Salter, Head and Senior Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health Program
The Centre for Developmental Brain Plasticity and Repair will conduct research into infant and child brain development, learning and memory through studying the process of neuroplasticity. The Innovation Funds will be used to employ a range of advanced neuroimaging techniques to analyze the processes that shape the brain and spinal cord during development.
Dynamic complexes and large-scale assemblies in neurobiology and disease – $1,241,973
Dr. Julie Forman-Kay, Head and Senior Scientist, Molecular Structure & Function Program
The brain is highly enriched in intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) which lack stable structure and can interact with other proteins in unusual ways. These interactions of disordered neural proteins underlie many aspects of normal brain function and pathology. Research on these IDP interactions will help gain powerful insights into brain function and dysfunction.
Next generation genome editing and functional evaluation of pre-clinical models of human disease – $1,079,999
Dr. Monica Justice, Head and Senior Scientist, Genetics & Genome Biology Program
Genetic mutations, either inherited or acquired, often cause or contribute to disease. Since the genes in mice and humans are very similar, scientists can use these models to learn about how genes function and gain insight into which mutations cause human disease. This grant will establish the latest technology, called genome editing, to generate mice with exactly the same mutations as humans.
Rapid prototyping of patient specific models, dexterous tools and implants – $712,850
Dr. James Drake, Head of Neurosurgery and Senior Associate Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health Program
This project will develop customized patient models, and patient specific tools and implants for the implementation of innovative minimally invasive therapies. This technology includes image processing, 3D printing technologies, and robotic/interventional tools and sensors.
The CFI’s Innovation Funds were developed to support transformative research projects that work to improve the lives of Canadians. The funding will be distributed to universities, colleges and research hospitals to provide them with state-of-the-art tools and laboratories to facilitate the advancement of research across the country.