Brock researchers awarded more than $2.3M in federal NSERC and SSHRC grants

Will drinking rooibos tea help mothers strengthen bone tissue after the end of lactation?

Do the beliefs we hold about how our lives are unfolding over time affect how successfully we age?

These are among the many questions Brock researchers are exploring with funding from two government agencies, announced Tuesday, June 15 by Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.

Brock University has been awarded $1.4 million in grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and $923,911 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

“NSERC and SSHRC are vital sources of support for the leading-edge research we conduct at Brock University,” says Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon.

“We are grateful for the extensive funding awarded to Brock scholars in so many fields, through these highly competitive national programs,” he says.

Among the NSERC award recipients is Canada Research Chair in Bone and Muscle Development, Kinesiology Professor Wendy Ward.

With her Discovery Grant, Ward’s research team will be exploring whether natural chemicals called polyphenols found in rooibos tea (a type of herbal tea) will help mothers’ bones to form more mineral and become stronger after pregnancy and lactation, a time when bone cell activity is very active.

NSERC’s Discovery Grants program promotes and maintains a diversified base of high-quality research capability in the natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities, fostering research excellence and providing a stimulating environment for research training. Funding extends over a five-year period.

Brock’s 2021 Discovery Grants recipients are:

  • Naser Ezzati-Jivan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Observability Compensation Paradigm: Leveraging Adaptive Execution Tracing and Analysis”
  • Yifeng Li, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Neural Network Models for Modelling, Design and Optimization of Structurally Complex Entities in Biomedical Data Science”
  • Kirill Samokhin, Professor of Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Theory of noncentrosymmetric and other unconventional superconductors”
  • Gaynor Spencer, Professor of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Understanding how retinoic acid affects neurite outgrowth and synaptic function using invertebrate neurons”
  • Wendy Ward, Professor of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Food bioactives and bone metabolism”
  • James Willwerth, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Improving freeze tolerance of Vitis under a changing climate”

NSERC also has its Research Tools and Instruments program, which provides funding for research equipment to foster and enhance the discovery, innovation and training capability of university researchers in the natural sciences and engineering.

Brock’s recipients are:

  • Glenn Tattersall, Professor of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Infrared Thermal Imaging System for High Precision Field Thermography Research”
  • Val Fajardo, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Ultra Focus DXA for longitudinal and non-invasive assessment of rodent body composition”

Among the SSHRC Insight Grant recipients is Professor of Psychology Michael Busseri.

Busseri will be carrying out a series of studies, Theme 1 of which will explore ideas and perceptions of aging and Theme 2 focusing on expectations of whether life gets better or worse over time. The research is expected to transform understandings of aging-related beliefs among the young, middle-aged and older adults, enabling them to better plan for the future.

SSHRC’s Insight Grants program support research excellence proposed by scholars and judged worthy of funding by their peers and/or other experts. Insight Grant research initiatives can be undertaken by individual researchers or a team working together.

Brock University’s 2021 Insight Grant recipients are:

  • Sandra Bosacki, Professor of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, “The development of mentalization, identity, and well-being across adolescence”
  • Michael Busseri, Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Beliefs about how life unfolds over time: Content, causes, and consequences for successful aging across the adult lifespan”
  • Dirk De Clercq, Professor of Management, Goodman School of Business, “Innovating through Interaction: Establishing Work Settings to Leverage Cross-Functional Collaboration into Innovative Behaviours”
  • Thomas Farrell, Professor of Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Exploring the Lived Experiences of Early Career ESL Teachers”
  • Maureen Lux, Professor of History, Faculty of Humanities, “Inuit Health and Qallunaat Medicine 1940s – 1980s”
  • Catherine Mondloch, Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, “First Impressions Based on Facial Cues: A Lifespan Development Approach” 
  • Tanya Tang, Associate Professor of Accounting, Goodman School of Business, “Adopting New Technology in Investigating Aggressive Tax Avoidance”

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