COVID-19 Research Infrastructure

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UHN researchers and collaborators receive $2.5M from CFI for COVID-19 research infrastructure.
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Toronto General Hospital Research Institute Scientist Dr. Slava Epelman (pictured) is leading one of the funded projects.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded nearly $2.5M to establish infrastructure for two COVID-19 research partnerships involving the University Health Network. This funding is provided through the Exceptional Opportunities Fund for COVID-19 research which was launched to support the urgent needs for equipment for ongoing research related to COVID-19.

See below for more details about the two projects.

Characterizing the inflammatory and cardiac effects of COVID-19

Emerging evidence continues to demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 may cause neurological damage and heart complications. A project led by UHN’s Dr. Slava Epelman, Scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, in partnership with the University of Toronto, aims to characterize the inflammatory and cardiac effects of COVID-19. Other UHN researchers involved include Phyllis Billia, Tak Mak, Philippe Monnier and Clinton Robbins. Funding will help establish a research facility to explore how SARS-CoV-2 affects the function of immune cells, cardiac cells and cells within the brain. The infrastructure will enable the use of advanced techniques that are capable of characterizing cells at the single-cell level. This research will advance our understanding of the biology of SARS-CoV-2 and move us closer to the development of targeted therapeutics and vaccines. 

University of Toronto COVID-19 Biobank

This SickKids-led research project will be carried out in partnership with UHN and the University of Toronto. Dr. Rae Yeung, Senior Scientist at SickKids and Scientific Director of the SickKids Biobank, will spearhead the development of a COVID-19 Biobank hosted by the University of Toronto. UHN researchers collaborating in the project include Drs. Angela Cheung and Shahid Husain. Funding will help establish a facility that will house over 500,000 biological samples to support 72 ongoing COVID-19 research studies, while ensuring the highest standards are met for sample collection, processing and storage.

CFI’s Exceptional Opportunities Fund is designed to support timely research projects that cannot be delayed for the normal course of a national competition.

Congratulations Drs. Epelman, Yeung and their teams!