Government of Canada invests more than $3.7 million in innovative health research

By Krista Baliko Posted: October 11, 2017 2:00 p.m.

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Dr. Tarun Katapally, assistant professor at the University’s Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public  Policy, Dr. Mohan Babu, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), at today’s CIHR funding announcement at the University of Regina.
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Dr. Tarun Katapally, assistant professor at the University’s Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, Dr. Mohan Babu, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Dr. Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), at today’s CIHR funding announcement at the University of Regina. U of R Photography

Substantial federal funding for University of Regina health research was announced today by the Honourable Ralph Goodale, speaking on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health.

Three research projects geared at helping address the challenges facing Indigenous youth, people living with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, and people who receive mental health care, received more than $3.7 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Goodale group lab
Minister Goodale meeting with researchers, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, in Dr. Babu’s proteomics and genomics facility prior to today’s more than $3.7 million funding announcement.
"The work of health researchers across Canada elevates the standard of science and health care delivery from coast to coast to coast,” says the Petitpas Taylor. “By supporting these three teams of innovative researchers in Regina, the Government of Canada will help address the health challenges facing Indigenous youth, as well as people living with Parkinson’s disease, and mental health injuries. We will deliver on our commitment to research today, so that our scientists will achieve health care breakthroughs tomorrow."

As part of today’s announcement, Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Member of Parliament for Regina-Wascana, spent time touring a research facility at the University.

"Saskatchewan is home to some of Canada's leading health researchers. This project is an example of the leading-edge research being done in the province. It also highlights the strong support for research and innovation at the University of Regina,” says Goodale.

Dr. Mohan Babu, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will use his more than $1.9 million grant to shed light on the genes linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Goodale lab tour
Dr. Babu providing Minister Goodale and Dr. Chase with a tour of his research facility.

“Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, for which no effective long-term cure currently exists,” says Babu. “This CIHR funding will help to facilitate the discovery of potential new therapeutic targets for patients suffering with debilitating disorders, and inspire further research into novel treatments for sustainable health care.”

Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos, a University of Regina psychology professor and director of the Online Therapy Unit, will use internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) to make accessing mental health care easier for all Canadians.

"I am delighted to have secured this CIHR award. These funds will allow our team to advance how internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy is offered by therapists in diverse mental health-care settings to ensure we are meeting the mental health-care needs of Canadians who have difficulties accessing care for various reasons, such as rural and remote location, time, mobility, costs, lack of providers or concerns about stigma,” says Hadjistavropoulos, whose work is supported by a grant of more than $971,000.

Finally, Dr. Tarun Katapally, assistant professor at the University’s Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, will use his more than $772,000 grant to study how to adopt culturally appropriate ways to integrate physical activity into the daily lives of Indigenous youth to foster better physical, mental and emotional health.

“This investment will allow me and my team to embark on a five-year research project to implement a land-based, culturally appropriate, active living intervention to help improve the mental health among Indigenous youth,” says Katapally. “The CIHR award will also help to extend this project to schools in different communities across Saskatchewan, ultimately informing school physical activity policies and programs throughout the province.”

Dr. David Malloy, University of Regina Vice-President (Research), says the University is a proud leader in health research.

“The almost $4 million boost from CIHR means our researchers can continue the critical work of making breakthrough discoveries and finding innovative solutions to some of the biggest health issues of our time in order to help create a healthier future for the people of Saskatchewan and for all Canadians,” says Malloy.

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