Research Chairs Awarded

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Five UHN researchers receive funding through new or renewed Canada Research Chairs.
Posted On: November 17, 2022
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Clockwise: Drs. Courtney Jones, Gregory Schwartz, Anastasia Tikhonova, Sushant Kumar and Myron Cybulsky.

The Government of Canada has announced the latest round of Canada Research Chair (CRC) funding.

The CRC program provides funding to attract and retain Canada’s most accomplished and promising researchers. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence, improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada's international competitiveness and help to train the next generation of highly skilled professionals.

In this latest round of funding, the CRC program invested more than $139 million to support 176 new and renewed Chairs across 46 Canadian research institutions. 

“This program is a catalyst for discoveries and innovations that directly benefit Canadians,” says Dr. Brad Wouters, Executive Vice-President of Science and Research at UHN. “The Chairs announced this round highlight the rich diversity of Canadian scholars and will strengthen our leadership across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Congratulations to all our researchers on this wonderful achievement.”

Read below to learn more about the five UHN researchers that received CRC funding:

 Dr. Myron Cybulsky, Tier 1 CRC in Arterial Wall Biology and Atherogenesis (renewal). Dr. Cybulsky is a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and a world leader in the mechanisms of atherosclerosis, a contributing factor to heart disease and stroke. This Chair will help to advance Dr. Cybulsky’s research into the formation of arterial plaques, which will help doctors treat heart disease before it becomes fatal.

 Dr. Courtney Jones, Tier 2 CRC in Leukemia Stem Cell Metabolism (new). Dr. Jones is a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and an emerging international leader in leukemic stem cell (LSC) metabolism. Funding from this Chair will enable Dr. Jones’ group to study how LSCs use energy differently from normal cells and how healthy blood-forming stem cells become cancerous and cause acute myeloid leukemia. This research will help to develop strategies that target LSC metabolism to prevent cancer relapse and improve patient outcomes.

 Dr. Sushant Kumar, Tier 2 CRC in Genomic Medicine (new). Dr. Kumar is a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre with expertise in bioinformatics and the analysis of large-scale cancer data. This Chair will enable his team to develop computational methods to integrate and analyze cancer data sets from gene sequencing, functional genomics, protein structure and pharmacogenomics studies. This research will contribute to precision oncology efforts by yielding novel tools for studying tumour evolution and heterogeneity and identifying clinically actionable disease biomarkers.

 Dr. Gregory Schwartz, Tier 2 CRC in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (new). Dr. Schwartz is a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and an expert in computational biology and the analysis of single-cell data sets. His research team is developing computational tools to analyze multi-omic, single-cell data sets to uncover cell-cell communication networks in cancer. Understanding how cells communicate in cancer will provide insights into disease progression and drug resistance, and will enable the development of innovative diagnostic tools and strategies to overcome resistance.

 Dr. Anastasia Tikhonova, Tier 2 CRC in Stem Cell Niche Biology (new). Dr. Tikhonova is a Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and an emerging leader in the fields of hematopoiesis and stem cell biology. Her research focuses on how communication between blood stem cells and the bone marrow environment changes during cancer. Funding from this Chair will enable her group to define the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in malignant hematopoiesis and identify microenvironmental cues that promote the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

These latest funding results were announced by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, on November 16, 2022. To read more, see the official press release.