Funding the Future of Health Care

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UHN researchers involved in three projects awarded $22.9M in infrastructure funding from CFI.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with the support of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced more than $518 million in research infrastructure support through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Of this, $22.9 million will go towards cutting-edge research equipment for three projects involving UHN researchers at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Techna Institute. The three funded projects include one led by UHN and two led by collaborators at Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) research hospitals:

• The Toronto Liver Research Centre: A Multi-Disciplinary Concentration of Liver Research, led by Drs. Jordan Feld and Adam Gehring of Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. Funding from CFI will be used to establish the Toronto Liver Research Centre—a shared cutting-edge research facility that will spark collaboration among Toronto’s liver researchers. Working together, the team aims to define the common mechanisms that cause liver damage; develop approaches to repair, regenerate and create new livers; and identify ways to target and eliminate liver cancer.

• An Integrated Platform for the Analysis of Brain Inflammation, led by Dr. Jennifer Gommerman of the University of Toronto, in collaboration with Techna’s Dr. Kâmil Uludağ and TAHSN researchers. Neurological and mental disorders involve complex mechanisms that cannot be fully understood by studying the central nervous system in isolation. The Toronto Neuro-Immunology/Imaging Consortium (TONIIC) is an unprecedented collaboration among Toronto area research institutes that leverages expertise from across fields and institutions. Funding from CFI will help provide advanced technologies to advance our understanding of brain inflammation.

• Single Particle CryoEM Analysis Project (SPaCEMAP), led by Dr. Patricia Lynne Howell of SickKids, in collaboration with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Drs. Mitsuhiko Ikura, Mohammad Mazhab-Jafari and TAHSN researchers. Structural biology provides atomic-resolution snapshots of biological molecules in action. These images can reveal how biological processes occur and how alterations in these processes contribute to disease. However, some molecules cannot be captured with traditional imaging approaches. Advances in cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) have revolutionized structural biology, enabling scientists to determine the atomic structure of elusive molecules quicker. Advanced technologies funded by CFI will accelerate discovery and enhance efforts to develop new therapeutics for cancer and infectious disease.

Congratulations to all UHN researchers involved in these ground-breaking projects!