l-r: Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and Sujoy Ghosh Hajro, chief technology officer at Surrey Memorial Hospital's NeuroTech Lab, discuss a new portable technology capable of scanning brains remotely. The research, developed by SFU professor Ryan D'Arcy, was showcased during an SFU-hosted CFI funding announcement on Jan. 8, 2014.

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New CFI funding spurs SFU research projects

January 08, 2014
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Half a dozen Simon Fraser University research projects—from brain scanning for concussions to simulating wind turbines for energy—have received more than $1million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (formerly the Leaders Opportunity Fund) is providing $48.4 million to 37 universities across Canada. Another $14.6 million will go towards operating support through the CFI’s Infrastructure Operating Fund.

SFU’s researchers, all recognized or emerging leaders in their fields, will spend their funds on research infrastructure and training.

Mario Pinto, SFU vice-president, research, says, “This funding enables researchers to take their programs to the next level, and train students on the latest tools and techniques.”

SFU researchers sharing in this funding include:

Ryan D’Arcy, an engineering science professor and neuroscientist whose portable brain scanner could soon be used remotely from hockey rinks or elsewhere to detect brain injuries such as concussions. D’Arcy, who holds a research chair at Surrey Memorial Hospital, will use the CFI funding to help establish his medical imaging lab at the hospital, where it will serve as a cornerstone to Surrey’s new health sciences initiative Innovation Boulevard. His research emphasizes the translation from critical care instruments to point-of-care technologies for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Uwe Glasser, a computing science professor, will create a secure High Performance Computing Laboratory (sHPC lab) at SFU. Glasser and SFU criminologists Patricia Brantingham and Martin Andresen will use it to store and analyze large volumes of crime data entrusted to them by agencies such as the RCMP and Vancouver Police Department. Their research will examine organized crime, cybercrime, border security, and drug and human smuggling, and help in developing policy on mitigating risks from crime and terrorism

Janet Marontate, an associate professor in the School of Communication, will create a facility for digital cultural heritage research. Together with assistant professor Kate Henessey in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), researchers will address the need for strategies that document, preserve and control access to cultural heritage resources in art worlds and Indigenous communities, including developing protocols and content management systems.

Damon Poburko, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology (BPK), will acquire infrastructure to further his cardiovascular physiology research program. Poburko’s research aims to identify early molecular changes in blood vessels, which promote high blood pressure/hypertension.

Krishna Vijayaraghavan, an assistant professor in the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) at the Surrey campus, will establish the Advanced Nonlinear Control Laboratory for Clean Energy Technology (ANCLCET). Vijayaraghavan’s focus on wind energy will bring new research capacity to SFU, with infrastructure to simulate wind turbines and smart grids, or wind-turbine drivetrains.

Matthew White, an associate professor in BPK, will establish a climatic chamber in the Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Physiology. He’ll use the chamber to study human cardiorespiratory and thermoregulatory responses at tightly controlled temperatures. The lab will have the capacity to study human function in a wide range of simulated extreme environments. The lab’s research will contribute to developing health care and safety management policies for those working in extreme climates, such as search and rescue operations.

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