SFU succeeds at winning health grants

Apr 21, 2003,
By Carol Thorbes

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The latest figures indicate that the success rate for SFU researchers seeking grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is comparable to the national average of 28 per cent.

Twenty seven per cent of 15 researchers submitting applications in the January competition were successful.

Eric Accili, kinesiology, ($295,599 over three years), Lynne Quarmby, biological sciences, ($299,919 over three years, plus $19,000 equipment grant) and Esther Verheyen, molecular biology/biochemistry, ($313,650 over three years) are recipients of operating grants.

The CIHR's institute of metabolism and diabetes has awarded Scott Lear, kinesiology, $418,316 over three years.

Lear's grant will fund an investigation of the relationship between ethnic background and obesity and how this relates to cardiovascular disease risk in men and women of Aboriginal, Chinese, European and South Asian descent. Current obesity targets have been based on predominantly white populations and it is believed that these targets are not applicable to other populations.

Accili's grant will fund exploration of a protein involved in regulating repetitive electrical activity in the heart and nervous system. It is believed that the malfunctioning of this protein and such activity may be linked to cardiac arrhythmias and epilepsy.

Quarmby's funding will further her research on the role and genetic identity of katanin (a protein that severs cellular protein fibers responsible for cell division).

Verheyen is using her funding to further investigation of the Nemo protein in regulating cell differentiation and growth.

The protein helps cells interpret and act upon a constant bombardment of biochemical signals that activate cellular growth, patterning and death.

Unravelling the mysteries of such regulatory cross talk will help scientists improve therapies and treatments for diseases, such as cancer.

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