Brock University faculty and student researchers working in the natural sciences have received more than $2.3 million in federal funds to work on projects with implications for human health, plant science and a better understanding of our natural world.
These awards are part of the 2012 competition results for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships.
The funds will support research at the University in such diverse fields as applied health science, biological sciences and biotechnology, chemistry, computer science, kinesiology, mathematics, physics and psychology.
“We are delighted to see our researchers’ success in receiving funding through NSERC,” says Gary Libben, Vice-President, Research. “This success is evidence of Brock’s national and international research leadership. Our faculty members, together with their graduate students, are making important and highly impactful advances to knowledge.”
A Brock professor whose research examines molecular aspects of disease resistance in plants was recognized by NSERC for his groundbreaking work in plant biology.
Charles Després, associate professor of Biological Sciences, was awarded a coveted Discovery Accelerator Supplements grant – one of only 125 handed out to researchers in this round of funding. His research group at Brock is breaking new scientific ground in identifying detailed molecular processes that activate common plant defense responses.
Knowledge about these defense systems will help boost innate disease resistance in plants, thus producing crops that require fewer applications of pesticides. Després’ research has the potential to impact the development of sustainable and disease-resistant crops, which will also result in cleaner soils and water, and safer food.
The Discovery Accelerator Supplements program provides timely resources to a small group of researchers whose research proposals suggest and explore high-risk, novel or potentially transformative concepts and lines of inquiry, and are likely to have impact by contributing to innovative advances in the area.
Sixteen other Brock projects received Discovery Grants – NSERC’s largest program and a key element of Canada’s support for excellence in science and engineering research. These grants support ongoing programs of research with long-term goals. Researchers generally use the grant money to hire graduate students, replace or purchase new lab equipment, to conduct experiments, collect and analyze field data.
Six graduate students from the University were also recipients of Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships. These awards provide financial support to high-calibre scholars so that they can fully concentrate on their studies and seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields.
“NSERC scholarships are among the most prestigious and most competitive awards offered at the national level in Canada,” says Michael Plyley, Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies. “They represent a measure of excellence for all graduate students to aspire to. The awards bring much-deserved recognition to our graduate students who are pursuing research that will contribute to the world in very meaningful ways.”
The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, and Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC, made the national funding announcement for $410 million in grants and scholarships at the University of Toronto on May 23.
“Our Government’s top priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Goodyear. “To remain at the forefront of the global economy, our government is investing in the people and ideas that will produce tomorrow’s breakthroughs.”
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging about 2,000 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.
2012 NSERC grants and projects at Brock University
Discovery Accelerator Supplement Grants
* Charles Després, Biological Sciences, $120,000, “Deciphering signaling events in the arabidopsis NPR1signal transduction pathway”
* Charles Després, Biological Sciences, $325,000, “Deciphering signaling events in the arabidopsis NPR1signal transduction pathway”
* Vincenzo De Luca, Biological Sciences, $235,000, “Regulation of monoterpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus”
* Georgii Nikonov, Chemistry, $225,000, “New catalytic reduction and coupling methods”
* Stephen Cheung, Kinesiology, $200,000, “Separate and combined effects of thermal and oxygen influences on neuromuscular function”
* Allan Adkin, Kinesiology, $125,000, “Regulation of human posture control”
* Stefan Brudzynski, Psychology, $125,000, “Neural mechanisms of animal vocalization and communication”
* Robert Carlone, Biological Sciences, $125,000, “Studies on the role of retinoid signaling and microRNAs in adult newt spinal regeneration”
* Debbie Inglis, Biological Sciences, $125,000, “Redox balance in wine yeast under hyperosmotic stress and the relation to wine quality”
* Brian Roy, Kinesiology, $125,000, “Osmotic induced changes in cell volume: a regulator of protein metabolism in skeletal muscle”
* David Crandles, Physics, $100,000, “The effects of disorder and defects in interesting and useful materials”
* Michael Winter, Computer Science, $70,000, “Relational methods in software development”
* Omar Kihel, Mathematics, $60,000, “Arithme?tique des corps de nombres”
* Yuanlin Li, Mathematics, $60,000, “Research in group rings and its applications in combinatorial number theory”
* Thomas Wolf, Mathematics, $60,000, “Applications of advances in computer algebra to studying classical integrable systems and various algebraic structures”
* W.K. (John) Yuen, Mathematics, $60,000, “Efficiencies of MCMC and nonparametric estimation method”
* Karen Arnell, Psychology, $27,000 (one year), “Behavourial and electrophysiological investigations of individual differences in dual-task attention costs”
2012 NSERC Graduate student awards at Brock University
NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships
* Vincenzo Coia, Mathematics & Statistics, “On modelling spatio-temporal extremes of the environment in response to human activity through max-stable processes”
* Tyler Weaver, Applied Health Sciences, “Falls in older adults: New insights into the biomechanics, physiologic mechanisms, causes and circumstances”
NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships (Master’s)
* Carolyn Dowling, Biological Sciences, “Determining anthocyanin and phenolic composition, and anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway in novel yellow European plums”
* Raechelle Gibson, Psychology, “An electrophysiological investigation of age-related decline in memory and attention”
* Caitlin Heit, Biotechnology, “Acetic acid formation and redox balance in wine yeast under hyperosmotic stress during Icewine fermentation”
* Jesse Larone, Mathematics & Statistics, “Studies in the context of Fourier Analysis”