> Home News April 27, 2010 — CFI awards U of T more than $3 million

April 27, 2010 — CFI awards U of T more than $3 million

by Christine Elias — Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010

Arts & Science projects include a state-of-the-art facility to investigate how folding and modification of our DNA genome influences gene expression...


April 27, 2010

By Jennifer Hsu

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded U of T close to $3M through the Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) and $866,589 through the Infrastructure Operating Fund (IOF). The funds will aid 14 projects concerning health, social, technological and environmental issues.

"The investments announced today help Canadian universities become even more competitive when it comes to attracting the best and brightest researchers from around the world," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, president and CEO of CFI.

Since its inception in 1997, CFI has committed $5.3 billion in support of approximately 6,700 projects at 130 institutions across Canada.

"It is through CFI that I will be able to establish a state-of-the-art facility to investigate how folding and modification of our DNA genome influences gene expression in a tissue-specific and developmentally-regulated manner," said assistant professor Jennifer Mitchell of the Department of Cell and Systems Biology.

Every cell in the human body contains the same genetic information, but what differentiates a neuron from a muscle cell is how that information is interpreted. The mechanisms by which DNA is packaged and modified all contribute to a cells function.

"Not only will I be able to establish a facility to further investigate gene expression, but I'll also be able to train highly qualified personnel in cutting edge genomics techniques," said Mitchell. "In addition, the new facility will impact numerous other fields including gene therapy, stem cell therapy and cancer research, as changes in the normal patterns of gene expression underlie many diseases."

Mitchell is one of 14 U of T professors who will benefit from CFI's investment. The latest round of funding also provides support to: Aimy Bazylak (mechanical and industrial engineering), Maria Dittrich (physical and environmental sciences, UTSc),Marc Jeschke (surgery), Qinya Liu (physics), Alison McGuigan (chemical engineering and applied chemistry), Goldie Nejat (mechanical and industrial engineering), David Nussbaum (psychology, UTSc), Jonathan Rast (medical biophysics), Brian Raught (medical biophysics), Gregory Scholes chemistry), Bojana Stefanovic (medical biophysics), Joseph Tate (electrical and computer engineering) and Kenneth Welch (biological sciences, UTSc).

"Support like CFI's drives our research community," said Professor Paul Young, vice-president (research) at U of T. "Without CFI and similar programs we wouldn't be able to move our ideas and discoveries forward for the benefit of global society."