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 April 23, 1999 Volume 6, Number 15

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Year 2000

Seven medical researchers receive $400,000 in bridge-funding; six others win $332,000 in MRC grants

Pat Atkinson

The provincial government has cast a $200,000 funding lifeline to seven U of S medical researchers who narrowly missed Medical Research Council funding this year, while six others have received about $332,000 in MRC grants in national competition.

The $200,000 in bridge funding actually climbs to $407,739 since it's matched by the MRC (under a regional partnership program established in 1996) and augmented by the College of Medicine.

Health minister Pat Atkinson says although the seven projects met the MRC criteria, the federal agency didn't have sufficient money to fund them.

"[This bridge money] is to make sure these seven projects go ahead."

Dr. Barry McLennan, assistant dean of Medicine (research), says it's been embarrassing that other provinces have been able to find the resources to take advantage of MRC's matching program while Saskatchewan has not.

But Dean David Popkin, Medicine, says the sustaining funding at least helps to level the playing field.

Sharing the research-sustaining money are:

  • Dr. David Schreyer, of Anatomy and Cell Biology, for his research on the regeneration of injured nerve cells;

  • Dr. John DeCouteau, of Pathology, who is seeking to identify the genetic mechanisms responsible for the loss of growth control in acute leukemia;

  • Dr. Peter Yu, of Psychiatry, who is studying how two relatively harmless chemical compounds - methylamine and aminoncetone - may represent a potential risk factor in vascular disorders and atherosclerosis;

  • Dr. Jorge Chedrese, of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, who is examining how the ovaries respond to normal hormonal stimulation during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause;

  • Dr. Colin Rasmussen, of Anatomy and Cell Biology, who is focusing on the molecular mechanisms by which calmodulin, a calcium receptor in cells, controls cell proliferation.

  • Dr. Keith Bonham, of the Division of Oncology, who is investigating how a particular gene product called tyrosine kinase is involved in the transformation of normal cells to malignant ones.

  • Dr. Raj Sharma, of Pathology, who is seeking to elucidate how the enzyme N-myristoyl-transferase modifies cellular activity.

The MRC funding will be shared by the following:

  • Dr. Michel Desautels, of Physiology, who is evaluating how certain hormones such as insulin or stress factors affect the behavior of brown fat grown in culture dishes to better understand how its capacity for heat production is decreased in various conditions;

  • Dr. Andrew Gloster, of Anatomy and Cell Biology, who is aiming to isolate stem cells from the olfactory epithelium and develop them for transplantation in patients with olfactory deficits;

  • Dr. Mary Pato, of Biochemistry, who is studying the enzymatic regulation of smooth muscle contraction and relaxation, deficits in which can cause hypertension, pre-term labor, and poor digestion;

  • Dr. Gordon Sarty, of Medical Imaging, who hopes to advance magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - especially of lungs, but also of other organs - with a new technique called ROSE scanning;

  • Dr. Wolfgang Walz, of Physiology, who is investigating the plasticity of satellite cells in the brain after brain injury;

  • Dr. Rui Wang, of Physiology, who is investigating the regulatory mechanisms and the structure-function relationship of Kv channels in peripheral vascular SMCs.

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