Innovative researchers in Greater Toronto Area receive Premier's Research Excellence Awards

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Innovative researchers in Greater Toronto Area receive Premier's Research Excellence Awards

TORONTO, July 16 /CNW/ - Some of Ontario's best and brightest young researchers have received Premier's Research Excellence Awards (PREA), said Minister of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation Jim Flaherty today as he announced the winners from the latest round of applications to the program.
The 34 researchers included in today's announcement, representing three Greater Toronto Area universities, each received up to $100,000 from the Ontario government and $50,000 from their university to continue their work.
"Scientific and technological research and innovation are critical to Ontario's economic future," said Flaherty, who made the PREA announcement on behalf of Premier Eves. "As Premier Eves said last month when he presented the first-ever, $1 million Premier's Platinum Medals for Research Excellence, our government is committed to quickly making Ontario a worldwide centre for research excellence."
By celebrating research excellence, the awards programs contribute to Ontario's 'brain gain' by providing our scientists with the support they need to undertake leading-edge research right here in Ontario.
The Premier's Research Excellence Awards were created in 1998 to help Ontario's world-class researchers attract talented people to their research teams and to encourage innovation among the province's brightest young researchers at universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutes. The 10-year, $127.5-million awards program includes an $85-million provincial investment, and an additional $42.5 million from research institutions and private-sector partners.
To date, 378 Ontario researchers have received $56.8 million in awards from the Ontario government and its partners. Research projects range from Alzheimer's disease to Canadian ecosystems to developing new materials for improved wireless communication.
Each year, applications from eligible researchers go through a competitive process. Attached is a list of the Greater Toronto Area's 34 PREA recipients from McMaster, Toronto and York universities who were successful in round six of the 10-year awards program.

For more information visit www.ontario-canada.com

Premier's Research Excellence Awards 2001
Award Winners, Round Six: Greater Toronto Area

McMaster University

Dr. Juliet Michelle Daniel
Dr. Daniel is investigating new regulators of cell adhesion and tumour
progression. Her findings will increase scientists' understanding of
tumour metastasis and significantly contribute to the development of
improved therapies for cancer patients.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

The University of Toronto

Prof. Maydianne Andrade
Prof. Andrade is studying the mating patterns of cannibalistic black
widow spiders. This research will lead to an enhanced understanding of
mating theories and sexual selection.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Claude Alain
Prof. Alain is developing new neuroimaging techniques to study human
perception of multiple sounds. His findings will help identify and
understand these brain areas, and will contribute to new technologies
that aid hearing loss and specialized tasks in the workplace.
PREA total funding: $150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Robin Cameron
Dr. Cameron is studying systemic acquired resistance, a way in which
plants respond to microbial infections. Her findings will clarify the
genetic causes of this response and lead to the production of genetically
engineered crops that require no fungicides or pesticides.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Alan R. Davidson
Prof. Davidson is investigating the complex interactions between proteins
within cells, focusing on a specific protein-protein interaction module
called the SH3 domain. His findings will provide new insights into how
cell growth is controlled, and will help scientists develop new cancer
therapies.
PREA total funding: $ 149,832
(Government portion: $ 99,967 Matching portion: $ 49,865)

Prof. George V. Eleftheriades
Prof. Eleftheriades is developing new technologies by harnessing
electromagnetic waves. His research will combine these waves with
existing electronic and micro-electromechanical devices, and will also
engineer new artificial materials with unusual properties that can be
electronically controlled. These results will contribute to a wide range
of future wireless devices for broadband Internet access and automotive
collision avoidance.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Paul Fraser
Dr. Fraser is studying factors that contribute to Alzheimer's disease.
The research examines protein deposits, known as amyloid plaques, that
accumulate around nerve cells and blood vessels in the brain. The results
will help develop new treatments for patients suffering from Alzheimer's
disease.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. David Stuart Guttman
Prof. Guttman's research uses genomic and genetic techniques to examine
the ways in which infectious bacteria evolve, interact with their hosts
and cause disease. His findings may lead to new ways to combat bacteria-
caused diseases in plants and animals.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Gregory E. Hannigan
Prof. Hannigan studies the growth patterns of cells and how they interact
with surrounding materials, such as connective tissues. His findings will
help develop new drugs to combat cancerous tumours.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Gillian Hawker
Dr. Hawker is conducting research to understand which factors determine
the treatments people receive for osteoarthritis, the most common type of
arthritis. The results may help develop new ways to prevent and reduce
arthritis disability.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Timothy R. Hughes
Dr. Hughes is studying the functions of genes and proteins that have
never before been investigated in the laboratory. The research uses DNA
microarrays, a technology that allows scientists to examine thousands of
molecules simultaneously. The results will help develop new treatments
for a wide range of diseases.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Donald Andrew Jackson
Prof. Jackson is investigating the ecosystems of Canadian lakes and how
they affect fish population, diversity, and extinction. His findings will
help predict fish community dynamics and the continued diversity of fish
species in Canada and beyond.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Steve Joordens
Prof. Joordens studies memory loss in people who suffer from Alzheimer's
disease. The research will investigate the specific types of memory
responsible for the condition and the time scale in which memory
deterioration occurs. The results will help develop technologies to
improve the quality of life for Alzheimer's patients.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Brian Kavanagh
Dr. Kavanagh studies mechanisms to reduce lung damage in critically ill
patients in intensive care units. His findings may lead to the
manipulation of life support machines, resulting in less damage caused to
patients' lungs.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Ren-Ke Li
Dr. Li is developing new techniques to repair heart defects by growing
patients' own muscle cells and implanting the cells into damaged hearts
to restore function. The results will lead to new treatments for heart
attack and congenital heart disease, particularly in newborns.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Leonid Libkin
Prof. Libkin is studying the design principles of World Wide Web
databases. The results will lead to faster, more efficient creation and
use of databases on the Web.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Gergely L. Lukacs
Dr. Lukacs is investigating how the transportation of chloride and water
within cells are impaired by genetic mutations that cause cystic fibrosis
and a type of diabetes. His findings will help develop better treatments
for cystic fibrosis and other genetic diseases.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Kelly S. MacDonald
Dr. MacDonald is conducting research into new approaches to HIV vaccine
design, focusing on individuals who are exposed to but not infected by
HIV. The results will contribute to critically needed prevention and
treatment strategies for this global epidemic.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Robert J. McDonald
Dr. McDonald studies the neural basis of learning and memory in mammals.
His findings will contribute to a deeper understanding of the causes of
human behaviour.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Rajiv Midha
Dr. Midha is developing new methods of nerve grafting to repair nerves
outside the brain and spinal cord, using growth factors (molecules that
enhance nerve regeneration) to help create new synthetic nerve grafts.
The results will lead to better treatment and quality of life for people
suffering from peripheral nerve injury.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Beverley A. Orser
Dr. Orser studies receptors for the GABA, a chemical that inhibits
excitation of neurons in the brain. The results will determine the
molecular makeup of a recently discovered GABA(A) receptor and may lead
to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Christopher E. Pearson
Prof. Pearson is investigating a genetic mutation that has been linked
with at least 15 genetic diseases, including Huntington's disease. The
research will examine the ways this mutation occurs in the DNA
replication and repair process, leading the way to better treatment and
prevention of genetic disease.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Amanda Wensley Peet
Prof. Peet studies string theory, which holds that strings, not
particles, are the basic elements of matter. Her findings will help
explain the structure of black holes, spacetime, and the origin of the
universe, and will contribute to the establishment of the theory as
fundamental to quantum physics.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Ue-Li Pen
Prof. Pen is testing basic theories of cosmic evolution against data
obtained by a supercomputing complex, PSciNet. The research will develop
new theoretical models for understanding complex phenomena such as galaxy
formation, and will lead to a more complete picture of intergalactic
space and of the history of the universe.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Toniann Pitassi
Prof. Pitassi studies computational complexity, which is the level of
difficulty in solving computational problems, and proof complexity, which
is the level of difficulty in proving mathematical theorems. Her findings
will have a major impact on fields such as cryptography, Internet
security and artificial intelligence.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Sean C. Thomas
Prof. Thomas studies growth dynamics and photosynthesis in forest trees.
His research will examine how large canopy trees respond physiologically
when neighbouring trees are harvested, and will contribute to a better
understanding of sustainable forest management.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. A. Christopher Thompson
Prof. Thompson is investigating neutron stars, which weigh more than our
sun but which are only 20-30 kilometres in diameter. The research will
analyze new data from space-born telescopes and lead to insights with
broad applications in the physics of radiation and dense matter.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. Robert G. Tsushima
Dr. Tsushima studies the properties of certain ion channels and their
link to electrical abnormalities in the heart. The results will help
develop new therapeutics to block lethal electrical disturbances in the
heart.
PREA total funding: $150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. David Westaway
Dr. Westaway is studying infectious microbes that cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob
and related diseases. The results will contribute to better understanding
and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Andrew Rhys Wilde
Prof. Wilde is investigating cell division and its effect on genetic
material. His research will attempt to identify new proteins responsible
for regulating cell division and, possibly, for the creation of cancerous
cells. The results will help researchers develop new drugs to combat
cancer.
PREA total funding: $150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Prof. Michael Yampolsky
Prof. Yampolsky studies the universal constants behind the creation of
chaotic systems, sequences that seem to follow a logical pattern, but
where a small occurrence can lead to unpredictable, drastic results. The
research will lead to a better understanding of these dynamical systems
and of fundamental phenomena in mathematics and the physical sciences.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

York University

Dr. Vinod Goel
Dr. Goel is investigating the neurobiological changes that happen in the
human brain when our beliefs about the world interact or conflict with
the logic of a situation or problem. His findings will help scientists
develop ways to rehabilitate patients suffering from reasoning deficits.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)

Dr. John C. McDermott
Dr. McDermott is studying how muscle cells become highly specialized. The
information he gathers may lead to advances in repairing and engineering
the tissues that are composed of these cells and that are affected in
various muscular diseases.
PREA total funding: $ 147,690
(Government portion: $ 98,460 Matching portion: $ 49,230)

Dr. Chun Peng
Dr. Peng is investigating the role and importance of hormones and growth
factors in female reproduction. Her findings may help improve and develop
tools to diagnose and prevent reproductive orders, as well as therapies
to treat them.
PREA total funding: $ 150,000
(Government portion: $ 100,000 Matching portion: $ 50,000)
For further information: contact: Dan Miles, Minister's Office, (416) 325-6795