Driving The Innovation Economy In Ottawa

    McGuinty Government Building Ontario's Innovation-Driven Economy

    OTTAWA, July 31 /CNW/ -


    Research aimed at controlling destructive wood-boring beetles and
significantly improving our understanding and treatment of genetic diseases
are two of eight projects in Ottawa that will receive $1.12 million 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. Jamie Brehaut (http://www.ohri.ca/profiles/brehaut.asp), at the
        Ottawa Health Research Institute, who will use new research knowledge
        from psychological studies to improve how patients and practitioners
        make health-care decisions.

    -   Dr. Natalie Kazumi Goto,
         at the University of Ottawa, who will study how bacteria divide to
         help in the development of new, more powerful antibiotics.

    -   Dr. Mads Kaern (http://www.oisb.ca/members/member_mads_kaern.htm), at
        the University of Ottawa, who will identify how disease affects our
        genetic systems so that new treatments can be developed to create
        better patient outcomes and ensure healthy gene function.

    -   Dr. Jayne Elizabeth Yack
        (http://atlas.scs.carleton.ca/%7Exji/search.php), at Carleton
        University, who is exploring how wood-boring beetles use sounds and
        vibrations in an effort to improve pest management strategies and
        help protect forests and urban landscapes throughout North America.

    In total, 66 projects across the province worth $9.24 million will
receive funding from the Early Researcher Awards program.
    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.


    "Ottawa is a research and innovation powerhouse, where leading
researchers play active roles in developing the technologies of tomorrow - in
health care, environmental protection and information and communications
technologies. Today we are building on this strength and creating
opportunities for our up-and-coming researchers to be mentored by some of the
brightest scientific minds in the world," said Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeleine
Meilleur (http://www.madeleinemeilleur.onmpp.ca/en/index.htm).

    "Ontario's economy of the future must be built on ideas and innovation.
In order to compete in the global 21st century economy, we have to be at the
front of the pack in terms of cutting-edge research and breakthrough ideas
that will improve our quality of life, which we can also sell to the world.
Today's investment is ensuring Ottawa remains in a strong position to help
keep Ontario at the forefront of the innovation economy," said Ottawa Centre
MPP Yasir Naqvi

    "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 health care, protect the
environment, and ignite growth in the industries that will shape Ontario's
future," said Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson


    -   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

    -   The Ottawa research projects will create jobs for 17 graduate
        students and two post-doctoral researchers.

    -   Today, as a result of Ontario's investments in skills and education,
        Ontario has one of the highest postsecondary enrolment rates in the
        G8 group of industrialized nations. More than 90,000 more young
        people are going on to college or university than five years ago.

    -   Since the emerald ash borer's 
        accidental introduction into the United States, it has spread to
        seven states and Ontario and Quebec. It and has already killed at
        least 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan and threatens to
        decimate ash tree species throughout North America.


    Learn More about the Early Researcher Awards

    Learn More about Ontario's Innovation Agenda

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

                                                      Disponible en français

    Ministry of Research and Innovation
                                                               July 31, 2008


    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.
    Across the province, this investment will mean cutting-edge research
opportunities for as many as 225 graduate students and post-doctorate
researchers, and engage as many as 6700 high school students each year, giving
them an inside look at real research and inspiring them to consider a career
in science and technology.
    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.


    Dr. Hanan Anis
    University of Ottawa
    Medical Imaging Technology for the Study of Deep Tissue

    Dr. Hanan Anis has developed an affordable optical imaging technology to
probe the behaviour and response of biological matter including tissues.
Existing technology cannot perform real-time imaging of live tissue in its
natural biological state. Dr. Anis and his research team will work to extend
the capabilities of the technology to enable real-time in-vivo imaging of deep
tissue. This affordable technology will increase the productivity of a broad
spectrum of multi-disciplinary fields that rely on real-time, high resolution

    Dr. Ramesh Balasubramaniam
    University of Ottawa
    Timing in the Body's Motor Behaviour

    Many people in Ontario suffer physical movement impairment due to
neurological damage. Despite significant developments in neuro-imaging,
mapping the relationship between brain structure and movement disorders has
proven difficult. Dr. Ramesh Balasubramaniam and his research team will use
new experimental methods and computational tools to understand how brain
damage causes functional movement impairment. The knowledge gained will pave
the way for innovative rehabilitation technologies that will serve Ontarians
recovering from the effects of stroke.

    Dr. Jamie Brehaut
    Ottawa Health Research Institute
    Health-care Knowledge and Better Decision-making

    Translating new research knowledge into better health care is dependent
on an understanding of how individuals incorporate this knowledge into
health-care decisions. Dr. Jamie Brehaut and his research team will use
methods and theories from cognitive and social psychology to better understand
the process of health-care knowledge translation, and to improve health-care
decision-making by both patients and practitioners.

    Dr. Natalie Kazumi Goto
    University of Ottawa
    Understanding Bacterial Cell Division

    Bacteria divide symmetrically at the cell mid-point to produce two
equal-sized cells, but how do bacteria know where the middle is? Dr. Natalie
Goto's research team will focus on one of the proteins important for this
"middle-finding" function. This will improve the understanding of bacterial
cell division, the disruption of which is sought in the development of new

    Dr. Mads Kaern
    University of Ottawa
    Control of Gene Expression in Synthetic Gene Regulatory Networks

    Precise control of gene expression is critical to all living organisms,
but our understanding of the mechanisms that enable this control remains
limited. Dr. Mads Kaern and his research team will combine advanced genetic
engineering and mathematical modeling to shed new light on regulatory
mechanisms in complex biomolecular interaction networks. This research will
allow biomedical scientists to build more reliable models of gene
dysregulation in disease and help bioengineers to develop improved
biotechnologies with the aim of improving human health.

    Dr. John E Lewis
    University of Ottawa
    The Dynamics of Sensory Processing

    Dr. John Lewis's research focuses on how brain sensory systems acquire
and encode information from the outside world. Dr. Lewis's team uses the
weakly electric fish as a model system, because these fish are experts in
sensory processing. To capture prey and communicate, electric fish must detect
minute signals amongst many distractors. Understanding how the brain solves
this problem will have wide-spread benefits for biotechnology and high-tech in
Ontario, through improved sensory prosthetics, pattern recognition systems,
and novel communication technologies.

    Dr. Robert Joseph Smith
    University of Ottawa
    Modelling Human Papillomavirus Vaccination

    Dr. Robert Smith and his research team are working to construct
mathematical models for the human papillomavirus vaccination, the recent
cervical cancer vaccine currently being rolled out in Ontario schools. These
models will represent the immune system, where some strains of the disease may
be controlled by the vaccine, but others might not. Dr. Smith and his team
will also address the population-level impact of rolling out the vaccine, such
as the critical number of people who must be vaccinated in order to eradicate
the disease and how that number may vary in different communities such as
urban, rural and aboriginal.

    Dr. Jayne Elizabeth Yack
    Carleton University
    Understanding and Controlling the Destructive Wood-boring Beetle

    Destructive wood-boring beetles such as the emerald ash borer and
mountain pine beetle impose significant threats to forests and urban
landscapes throughout North America. Management strategists rely heavily upon
knowledge of pest species' life history attributes and sensory ecology to
develop effective control programs. Dr. Jayne Yack's research team will
explore bioacoustic communication in these pests by identifying novel sensory
organs and assessing the role of sounds and vibrations in host tree selection,
reproduction, defence, and spacing patterns. This research will contribute to
improved pest management strategies.

                                                      Disponible en français

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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