Western and partners receive nearly $20M in funding for research excellence

Western University and Lawson Health Research Institute have received an extraordinary financial boost from the Government of Ontario as 20 potentially transformative projects are now being supported with more than $19 million ($19,465,828) from the Ontario Research Fund.

Biomedical imaging researchers in London, Ont. were the big winners as three new locally-led initiatives in advanced health technologies received more than $9.5 million ($9,553,488) in Research Excellence funding, while a fourth project, led by investigators at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto and Maria Drangova and Terry Peters from Robarts Research Institute, brings an additional $1.8 million ($1,777,666) to Western.

For a complete list of new Western affiliated Ontario Research Fund recipients, please visit http://communications.uwo.ca/media/orf2015/

Biomedical imaging is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional field of research investigated in London, Ont. by more than 350 scientists, engineers, physicists, students and support staff. The researchers are tightly integrated with the major hospitals in London, enabling the discovery and development of innovative imaging techniques and instrumentation to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.

“Biomedical Imaging is a major area of strength at Western and in London as it is so strongly linked to the excellent research being done by our experts in neuroscience and musculoskeletal health,” says John Capone, Western’s Vice-President (Research). “Western is extremely proud of all of the researchers as these funded projects significantly enhance our capabilities for basic discovery and will also have a positive economic impact in the region.”

Projects funded by the Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence program are matched with funding from private sector partners and local institutions, bringing the total funding for the following three projects to more than $28 million ($28,660,464) over the next five years:

Blaine Chronik

Blaine Chronik

Development and Translation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology for Neuro-interventional Applications

Blaine Chronik from Western’s Faculty of Science received $2.6 million to develop new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems that are smaller, lighter, cheaper and easier to use, yet still deliver high-performance neuroimaging results.


David Holdsworth

David Holdsworth

Development of Novel Therapies for Bone and Joint Diseases

David Holdsworth from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and his co-investigators from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western’s Faculty of Engineering and the Bone & Joint Institute received $3.3 million to advance novel therapies for musculoskeletal disorders, which cost the Ontario economy more than $9 billion dollars annually, based on state-of-the art MRI and x-ray systems.


Frank Prato

Frank Prato

Heart Failure: Prevention Through Early Detection Using New Imaging Methods

Frank Prato from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Lawson Health Research Institute (working with collaborators at the Ottawa Heart Institute and Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto) was awarded $3.6 million to improve methods for early diagnosis and preventive care for heart disease, which affects 10 percent of Ontarians over 60.


Additional provincial funding of nearly $7 million will support new research infrastructure for nine researchers at Western, including $3.5 million for Elizabeth Gillies towards building a new facility enabling biomaterials to be studied in 3D, while $2.2 million in funding was awarded to Timothy Newson for an unique laboratory designed to conduct scaled physical modeling of geotechnical problems.

Seven more Western investigators received more than $1.3 million in total funding through the Early Researcher Awards program, which is intended to help new researchers build a team.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, jrenaud9@uwo.ca, @jeffrenaud99

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