Brock receives $2.4 million to attract and retain world-class researchers

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock

Brock receives $2.4 million to attract and retain world-class researchers

Feb. 24, 2009

Brock is celebrating its growing reputation as a leading research institution in Canada with the recent announcement of more than $2.4 million in federal funds for three Canada Research Chairs at the University.

"Whether it's working to reveal the inner workings of plants or human genetics, or studying the effects of stress on human behaviour and physiology, the investment in these world-class researchers and the work they are doing will contribute to solving many of today's pressing social challenges," says President Jack Lightstone, Brock University. "Research is the foundation of innovation and innovation is the key to stronger global competitiveness, good jobs and a better quality of life for all Canadians."

"These Canada Research Chair renewals and appointment are a clear sign of Brock's growth as a hub for pervasive research and creative activity," says Liette Vasseur, Vice-President, Research, Brock University. "Brock now has 10 Canada Research Chairs. This significant growth in research capacity lies at the heart of our mission to expand our graduate programs and forge partnerships to help drive the economic, social and cultural development of the communities around us."

Brock's newest Canada Research Chair relocated to the University after establishing himself as a leading bioinformatics investigator (the application of information technology to molecular biology) in cancer research at the world-renowned Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y.

Associate Professor Ping Liang recently joined the Department of Biological Sciences to continue his interdisciplinary studies in areas of human and plant genetics. Liang's research has the potential for advancements in knowledge and technology of applications in medical genetics, forensic sciences and viticulture.

As a Tier 2 Research Chair, Brock will receive funding of $500,000 over the next five years. These positions are awarded to researchers who are acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) also awarded Liang $31,913 from its Leaders Opportunity Fund to support the infrastructure of a bioinformatics and genomics laboratory.

Brock is also celebrating the renewal of funding for its first Canada Research Chair, Professor Vincenzo De Luca, a biological sciences professor conducting groundbreaking research in plant biochemistry and biotechnology. De Luca's current work reveals the inner workings of plants and the products they make, with applications in such areas as medicine and energy. Recent studies have concentrated on the anticancer alkaloids of the Madagascar periwinkle plant.

De Luca has been renewed as a Tier 1 Chair and Brock will receive $200,000 a year for the next seven years, for a total of $1.4 million. The Tier 1 Canada Research Chair is targeted at experienced researchers who are acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields.

Professor Cheryl McCormick from the Department of Psychology, was also renewed as a Canada Research Chair at the Tier 2 level. McCormick will continue her interdisciplinary work in neuroscience studying how the impacts of stress experiences early in life influence the development of stress-related physiology and behaviour. Specifically, she will investigate the immediate and long-lasting effects on behaviour and the underlying neural mechanisms of social stress in adolescence in both males and females. Her research will increase our understanding of the role of stress in adolescence as it relates to shaping mental health-related vulnerabilities in adulthood.

McCormick was also awarded $65,234 under CFI's Leaders Opportunity Fund for the expansion of a behavioural neuroendocrinology laboratory at the University.

"These Canada Research Chair appointments further strengthen Brock University's capabilities in the fields of bio- and neuro-scientific research," says Rick Dykstra, M.P., St. Catharines. "Professor Deluca's and Professor Liang's research into plant biochemistry, and human and plant genetics respectively, will yield knowledge that will ultimately benefit our agricultural sectors, while Professor McCormick's work in the impacts of stress experiences will produce valuable insights into the diagnosis and treatment of stress related disorders."