University of Regina researchers receive funding for state-of-the-art infrastructure

By Krista Baliko Posted: August 13, 2019 1:00 p.m.

Dr. Julia Totosy de Zepetnek, assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, received funding for the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Lab (CMR Lab).
Dr. Julia Totosy de Zepetnek, assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, received funding for the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Lab (CMR Lab). Photo: U of R Photography

Conducting research that leads to exciting new discoveries requires the right space, tools, and equipment. To help ensure that the nation’s researchers can continue to conduct exceptional research, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, recently announced more than $61 million for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This investment will support 261 projects at 40 universities across Canada. 

The federal government, together with matched provincial funding, has awarded two University of Regina researchers more than $344,000 for the tools necessary to conduct their world-class research. The federal funding was matched by Innovation Saskatchewan’s Innovation and Science Fund. 

“Researchers in Canada know that cutting-edge tools and labs are necessary to make discoveries and innovate. That is why our government is announcing funding for the infrastructure needs of Canadian researchers. Their groundbreaking contributions to science and research have an enormous impact on the breakthroughs that help make our visions for a better future a reality,” says Duncan.

Dr. Julia Totosy de Zepetnek, assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, is one of the University of Regina researchers who will benefit from the funding.  

Totosy de Zepetnek says her research focuses on the urgent need to identify effective strategies to improve cardiometabolic health and food intake regulation in individuals with type 2 diabetes. 

“Our findings will provide a foundation for advice on diet and exercise in preventing and managing overeating,” says Totosy de Zepetnek. “No initiative of similar scope and practice exists in Canada and the results from our work are anticipated to yield substantial health and economic benefits to Saskatchewan and Canada.” 

Gwen-Grinyer
Dr. Gwen Grinyer (middle)
with students Shivani
Sharma (left) and Jay Suh
(right) in front of the
GRIFFIN spectrometer at
TRIUMF in Vancouver.
Photo: Zarin Ahmed,
University of Guelph

Through monetary and in-kind support from CFI, Innovation Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, and biotech lab supply companies, Totosy de Zepetnek received $213,540 which will help to fund the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Lab (CMR Lab) – a space that will include a wet lab for blood collection and analyses, a quiet light- and temperature-controlled space for cardiovascular and metabolic assessments, and an experimental kitchen for food preparation and food intake. 

Dr. Gwen Grinyer, assistant professor in the University’s Faculty of Science, seeks to answer some of the most fundamental questions – such as “How did the heaviest elements end up on Earth?” 

Now, funding from CFI, Innovation Saskatchewan, and the University of Regina, which totals $130,918, will help the University physicist sift through the star dust of our universe. 

“The funding will help to build the Regina Cube for Multiple Particles, which will be a compact and highly efficient array to detect delayed charged particles emitted from exotic decays of nuclei,” says Grinyer. “The array will consist of a set of double-sided silicon strip detectors that will be operated at the centre of the GRIFFIN spectrometer at TRIUMF.” 

GRIFFIN, which stands for Gamma-Ray Infrastructure For Fundamental Investigations of Nuclei, is one of the most powerful spectrometers worldwide for studying γ-ray radiation from excited states in nuclei. Operational since 2015, GRIFFIN is a state-of-the-art facility for decay spectroscopy with rare-isotope beams and is located at TRIUMF in Vancouver. 

“The combination of the Regina Cube and GRIFFIN would represent the most powerful tool of its kind worldwide and provide unprecedented sensitivity for studies of rare decay modes and multiple-particle emission from exotic nuclei,” says Grinyer. “Together, the instruments will help our team of researchers recreate and study stellar explosions to help answer questions about our universe.”

Dr. Kathleen McNutt, Interim Vice-President (Research), says this federal and provincial funding into University of Regina infrastructure is critical to ensuring that scholars can continue to conduct ground-breaking research that positively impacts Canadians and the economy.

“Ensuring the University of Regina has the most up-to-date labs and equipment benefits not only our researchers, but also attracts the best and brightest minds–students and faculty, as well as collaborators from around the world, to our institution” says McNutt.

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