Driving The Innovation Economy At McMaster



    McGuinty Government Building Ontario's Innovation-Driven Economy

    TORONTO, July 14 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Research aimed at reducing bacterial contamination in food and improving
the treatment of hip fractures are two of the eight projects at McMaster that
will receive $1,120,000 in funding from the province's Early Researcher Awards
program.
    Funding world-class research is part of Ontario's plan to build an
innovation economy.

    
    The researchers include:

      -  Dr. Brian Coombes
         (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/Era071408_bd1.asp), who is
         discovering the link between infectious bacteria and livestock
         contamination to reduce the rate of food-borne illness in Ontario.
      -  Dr. Mohit Bhandari
         (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/Era071408_bd1.asp), who is
         finding better surgical treatments to reduce the number of
         complications occurring following hip surgery.
      -  Dr. Andrew Knights
         (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/Era071408_bd1.asp), who is
         creating more powerful silicon chips to handle tomorrow's
         mega-information processing needs in optical computing and
         telecommunications.
      -  Dr. Greg Slater
         (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/Era071408_bd1.asp), who is
         discovering the environmental effects of contaminants in our
         ecosystem, long after they are out of our sight.
    

    In total, 66 projects across the province worth $9.24 million will
receive funding from the Early Researcher Awards program
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/era/program.asp).
    The goal of this program is to improve Ontario's ability to attract and
retain the best and brightest research talent from around the world. Today's
investment will ensure that leading Ontario researchers have the resources
they need to build their research teams of graduate students, post-doctoral
fellows, research assistants and associates from across Canada and abroad.

    QUOTES

    "Today's investment is an important part of Ontario's plan to build an
innovation-driven economy. We are investing in the people that are pioneering
the scientific breakthroughs that will improve healthcare, protect the
environment, and ignite growth in the industries that will shape Ontario's
future," said Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/about/MinisterBio.asp).
    "Communities across Ontario are home to world-class centres of research,
scientific discovery and innovation, and Hamilton is no exception. Supporting
our world-class researchers is an important part of keeping our province - and
our community - at the forefront of an innovation based economy," said
Hamilton-Mountain MPP Sophia Aggelonitis (http://sophiaaggelonitis.onmpp.ca/).
    "Hamilton is a research and innovation powerhouse where you can find the
most academic-industrial partnerships in the province. Today, we are building
on this strength and creating opportunities for our up-and-coming researchers
to be mentored by many of the brightest scientific minds in the world," said
Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin
(http://www.tedmcmeekin.com/).

    
    QUICK FACTS

      -  The Early Researcher Awards program is an important part of
         Ontario's Innovation Agenda
         (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/oia/program.asp), a plan
         to make innovation the driving force of the provincial economy.

      -  Innovation is part of the McGuinty government's five-point plan for
         the economy. The other parts of the plan are:
           -  Skills and training
           -  Building infrastructure
           -  Strategic business tax cuts to create investment
           -  Partnerships with business
    

    LEARN MORE

    Learn More about the Early Researcher Awards
    (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/era/program.asp)

    Learn More about Ontario's Innovation Agenda
    (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/oia/program.asp)

    Learn how Ontario's Budget 2008 (http://ontariobudget.ca/english) is
    supporting innovation

    
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                                                                BACKGROUNDER
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                 STRENGTHENING ONTARIO'S INNOVATION ECONOMY
    

    Funding world-class research is part of Ontario's plan to build an
innovation economy.
    Ontario's universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutes play
a vital role in the government's five-point plan to ensure Ontario remains at
the forefront of the global knowledge-based economy by supporting cutting-edge
research and developing world-class researchers.
    The Early Researcher Awards program
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/era/program.asp) (ERA) helps
promising, recently-appointed Ontario researchers build their research teams
of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants and
associates. The goal of the program is to improve Ontario's ability to attract
and retain the best and brightest research talent from around the world.
    The ERA program is a key part of Ontario's Innovation Agenda. Supported
by close to $3 billion in spending over eight years, the Ontario Innovation
Agenda (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/OIA042908.asp) is building
Ontario's innovation economy on the strength of our province's creative
environment, diverse culture, highly skilled workforce, world-class
educational system and internationally recognized research community.

    
           MCMASTER UNIVERSITY EARLY RESEARCHER AWARDS RECIPIENTS
    

    Dr. Brian Kenneth Coombes
    Studying Intestinal Pathogens

    Dr. Brian Coombes's team is researching how to reduce serious
gastrointestinal illness caused by the presence of certain bacteria in
domesticated livestock. The researchers are discovering ways to disable the
ability of these bacteria to infect the animals, by blocking the bacteria
before they attack healthy cells.

    Dr. Mohit Bhandari
    Alternative Implants for the Treatment of Hip Fractures

    Dr. Mohit Bhandari and his research team are researching better ways to
perform hip surgeries, with the goal of reducing the number of post-surgery
hip fractures, accidents and other complications that result from common
surgical procedures. With hip fractures and related hospitalization expected
to increase as the population ages, this research will help to improve the
well-being of Ontario's seniors and reduce costs to the health-care system.

    Dr. Greg Slater
    Radiocarbon Analysis for Organic Contaminants

    Compound specific radiocarbon analysis is an innovative new approach to
investigate and monitor organic contaminants in environmental systems.
Advances in our understanding of the sources of organic contaminants, where
they end up, and how long they persist are essential to environmental policy -
and to developing solutions to pollution. Using this new approach, Dr. Greg
Slater and his research team will work to improve our ability to understand
where organic contaminants come from and how long they take to degrade, and as
a result improve our ability to predict and prevent associated health risks.

    Dr. Anne Frances Klassen
    Understanding the Caregiving Process for Immigrant Parents of Children
    with Cancer

    While immigrants make up an increasing proportion of the Canadian
population, they have been largely overlooked in care-giving research. The
goal of Dr. Anne Klassen and her research team are to explore first-generation
South Asian and Chinese parents' experience of caring for a child with cancer,
and to describe the implications of their experiences for pediatric oncology
services, programs, and policy.

    Dr. Andrew Knights
    Building a Better Silicon Chip

    Dr. Andrew Knights and his research team are working to address the
ever-increasing demand for information bandwidth to power the next generation
of communications devices. The research will attempt to integrate light and
electricity on a single silicon chip, creating a new, faster and more
efficient form of processing information.

    Dr. Bartosz Protas
    Math Modeling, Theory and Advanced Manufacturing

    Dr. Protas' team of interdisciplinary researchers will use mathematical
modelling and scientific computing improve our understanding of fluid
mechanics - used in many industrial and commercial applications involving
fluid and gases manipulation. One industry that could benefit from the
research is the automotive industry, where industrial partners can use the
results to improve fabrication and assembly technologies.

    Dr. Megumi Harada
    The Geometry of Classical and Quantum Physics

    The focus of Dr. Harada's project is symplectic geometry, a field of
mathematics related to both classical and quantum physics. An important
benefit of this branch of geometry is that it can use a geometric object to
represent a physical system, and reveal complex characteristics of that
system. Dr. Megumi Harada and her research team will study the symmetries in
the geometry of certain physical systems in order to reveal their properties:
physical systems such as the structure of DNA or the orbit of Earth around the
sun.

    Dr. Xu-Dong Zhu
    Studying DNA Sequences in Cancer Cells

    The integrity of DNA sequences at the ends of human chromosomes is
essential for cell growth and proliferation. Dr. Xu-Dong Zhu and her team will
research the protein complex that controls maintenance of these DNA sequences.
The results of the research will enhance our understanding of the causes of
cancer and how we can improve prevention and treatment for this disease.

    
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For further information:

For further information: Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416)
314-7067; Perry Blocher, MRI Communications Branch, (416) 326-7717

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

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