QHS research programs secure federal funding | Faculty of Health Sciences | Queen’s University
Eight successful Queen’s Health Sciences research applicants will receive a total of $5.94 million.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have released the results of their latest Project Grant competition. Six QHS researchers were awarded funds for projects spanning from cancer to autism and social determinants of health. Another two researchers were listed as Priority Announcements, that provide additional sources of potential funding to projects that are relevant to CIHR and partners.
Learn more about the QHS funded researchers and their programs:
Project Grant awardees
Bruce Banfield (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) is an expert on viruses, with a focus on the study of the herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Both viruses cause lifelong infections for which there is no cure, and which can be severe in people with compromised immune systems. Dr. Banfield’s research program aims to deepen our understanding of HSV replication with an aim to identifying new antiviral drug targets. Funding amount: $856,800.
Christopher Mueller (Queen’s Cancer Research Institute) has been investigating new strategies to extend the lives of women with metastatic breast cancer. He led the development of a blood test that will be used to determine if a given patient is responding well to the treatment of choice within the first few weeks of therapy. This grant will allow the team to start a clinical trial in Kingston and Ottawa that will show if the new blood test can be used to guide clinical decisions and help physicians provide the most effective treatment for each patient. Funding amount: $891,226.
Maria Ospina (Public Health Sciences) is an epidemiologist and population health researcher focusing on maternal and perinatal health. In this project in collaboration with the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, McMaster University, and Cork University (Ireland) she will recruit 600 pregnant persons and assess them and their babies up to three years after birth. The proposed research will evaluate whether mothers’ social living conditions influence the gut bacteria of the mother and child, and whether gut bacteria is a biological link that explains how maternal social circumstances influence their mental health and child’s neurodevelopment. Funding amount: $1,350,225.
Patrick Stroman (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences,Centre for Neuroscience Studies) develops methods to apply Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to the study of the central nervous system. This research program will explore fMRI to investigate pain in patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that, while it affects roughly a million people in Canada, is poorly understood. The team will look at why people with fibromyalgia experience heightened pain, exploring the neurobiological basis of pain. Funding amount: $646,425
Xiaolong Yang (Pathology and Molecular Medicine) researches how cancer initiates, progresses, and resists to drugs. This program will investigate the role of a group of genes called “Hippo” in breast cancer spreading and metastasis. The results will inform the development of new treatment strategies that target metastasis, which accounts for over 90% breast cancer fatality. Funding amount: $956,250
Shetuan Zhang (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) focuses on the molecular mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. In collaboration with Drs. Baranchuk and El Diasty (Medicine), his current research is unravelling the role of inflammation enzymes in the most common complication following heart surgery: irregular heartbeat initiated in the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart). The goal is to explore novel ways to prevent and treat post-operative irregular heartbeat, which can cause adverse effects and even death. Funding amount: $1,048,050
Josee-Lyne Ethier (Oncology) conducts population-based research to evaluate the effectiveness of cancer therapies. In this program, she will examine data from patients that received ovarian cancer treatment in Ontario to identify if maintenance therapy after surgery and chemotherapy led to better long-term outcomes, delaying recurrence and prolonging survival. Funding amount: $100,000.
Chandrakant Tayade (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) is an expert on endometriosis, a disease in which the lining of the uterus – or endometrium – grows on other organs in the pelvic cavity, such as bowel, bladder, and ovaries. Endometriosis can lead to infertility, but there’s still no cure for it, and the diagnostic requires an invasive surgical procedure. This research program will study the use of interleukin 33 (IL-33), a protein associated with lesion growth, blood supply and pain in endometriosis, to develop new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies. Funding amount: $100,000.
Get a complete breakdown of all Queen’s University researchers who received CIHR funding in this Queen’s Gazette story.
Learn more about the grants on the website →
Transitions in Care
CIHR also announced the results of its team grant Transitions in Care, in partnership with The Rossy Foundation. A multi-institutional team led by Queen’s Professor Anne Duffy (Psychiatry) received $480,000 from CIHR, plus $480,000 from the funding partner, to further develop a novel translational research program. The team works in partnership with students to engage them, from entry to university and over the course of undergraduate studies, in a conversation about their mental health using a digital survey. Findings are translated into sustainable and scalable resources organized in a stepped care framework. The initiatives include a digital accredited mental health literacy course offered as an interdisciplinary elective and a digital wellbeing platform where students can access tailored wellbeing plans, wellbeing self-monitoring tools, and based on their entries, are signposted to wellness resources. This work is also being adapted and evaluated across six universities in the UK with the support of a large MRC grant, which allows the team to compare findings between universities and countries. Learn more.
Respiratory Outbreak Over: Jasper Place – Thunder Bay District Health Unit
March 27, 2023 – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) and The City of Thunder Bay – Jasper Place confirm that the respiratory outbreak at Jasper Place, located at 1200 Jasper Drive, has been declared over. All outbreak restrictions have been lifted.
TBDHU recommends the public refrain from visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities and other high risk settings when feeling unwell to avoid spreading infections to those most vulnerable and at higher risk of severe outcomes.
The Health Unit reminds the public that they can prevent getting and spreading infections by:
- Staying at home when sick. Wearing a well-fitted mask in indoor spaces, especially when around vulnerable people or when recovering from illness.
- Keeping up-to-date with influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Washing hands often, for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Covering coughs/sneezes with the upper sleeve if no tissue is available.
- Being familiar with the Ontario screening tool, to self-assess and know what to do next.
For more information on current outbreaks, please visit the following link: https://www.tbdhu.com/outbreaks.
For more information – TBDHU Media: email@example.com
Diseases & Infections
COVID cold and flu assessment centre to close Friday
It’s the end of an era of the pandemic.
The COVID Cold and Flu Care Clinic at 400 Southgate Dr. is closing at the end of the week.
The location will take patients until the end of day Friday.
Guelph General Hospital said in a news release the closure is because of the steady few months of low volumes and stable COVID hospital admissions.
“The COVID, Cold, Flu Care Clinic played a significant role in meeting the needs of the community during the pandemic by providing community residents a much-needed alternative to the emergency department and primary care,” Guelph General Hospital president and CEO Marianne Walker said in a release.
“As care transitions back to community providers, I’d like to thank the over 100 team members from Guelph General Hospital, Guelph Family Health Team and other partner organizations for their valuable service during some very difficult times.”
The clinic opened in September 2020, after moving over from the Victoria Road Recreation Centre. The clinic also used to operate on Delhi Street.
The Southgate Drive location expanded last December to include treatment for cold and flu symptoms.
Anyone looking for COVID-19, cold and flu treatment are now asked to go to family doctors, walk-in clinics, pharmacies and clinics led by Guelph Family Health Team physicians and nurse practitioners.
Severe COVID cases should still go to the emergency department.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said it will still offer COVID-19 and flu shots at its Chancellors Way building.
The hospital does caution that COVID-19 is still prevalent in the community, and to continue taking precautions if you’re not feeling well.
Whooping cough on the rise in southern Ontario
Several public health units in southwestern Ontario say they’ve seen a spike in cases of whooping cough and are urging residents to get vaccinated against the respiratory illness that can be particularly severe in young children.
Southwestern Public Health – which serves Oxford County, Elgin County and St. Thomas, Ont. – said it recorded 82 cases of whooping cough from January 2022 to the end of this February.
“This was 40 per cent of the provincial total from that time period,” Dr. Ninh Tran, medical officer of health for Southwestern Public Health, said in an interview.
“It’s a significant increase … that is certainly striking.”
Previous years have seen annual caseloads in the single digits, Tran said.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, can see a person’s cough intensify to the point where a “whooping” sound is heard when they try to catch their breath, Tran said.
Lower rates of immunization against whooping cough could be a factor in the rise in cases, he said.
“In our region, we have relatively lower rates of immunization compared to others,” Tran said.
“We’ve had a few cases that were hospitalized. That’s why we just really need folks to get up-to-date on their immunization.”
Huron Perth Public Health, which serves Stratford, Wingham, Listowel and Clinton, said it has confirmed at least 21 cases of whooping cough so far this year. In 2022, there were only three cases.
“The illness can be serious for infants younger than 12 months of age who are not vaccinated, or who have not received all doses of the pertussis vaccine,” Dr. Miriam Klassen, the medical officer of health for Huron Perth, wrote in a statement.
“Young children have the highest risk for severe complications, such as hospitalization and death, if they get sick.”
Klassen said the COVID-19 pandemic might have put residents of southern Ontario behind on routine immunizations, and urged residents to catch up on their vaccines.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said there had been “a recent dramatic rise” in whooping cough cases in its region. It said last week that it counted 18 cases since November 2022.
“Cases have predominately been clustered in the Leamington and Kingsville communities, and exclusively in children who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated,” it wrote in a statement, urging residents to get vaccinated.
The health unit noted that the cough brought on by pertussis can be so severe that it can cause vomiting. If left untreated in infants, young children and the elderly, it “can lead to complications such as pneumonia, dehydration, brain damage, hospitalization and death.”
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said it recorded 12 cases over the fall and winter, which is “higher than normal for the region.”
“Many individuals may be behind in their vaccinations because they were unable to get them due to COVID-19,” it wrote in a statement. “Now is the time to get fully vaccinated as we engage in more community activities.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2023.
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