HAMILTON, ON, March 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Tracking health differences by ethnicity is the cornerstone of the new Chanchlani Research Centre at McMaster University.
The new centre is dedicated to understanding the genetic and environmental causes of common diseases among diverse cultural groups, women and the socially disadvantaged. It will also provide innovative training to the next generation of health researchers.
The centre is funded by a $1 million donation from Mr. Vasu Chanchlani and his wife, Dr. Jayshree Chanchlani, founders of the Chanchlani Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to promoting research. The couple has given an additional $250,000 to fund an award - the Chanchlani Global Health Award - for an international scholar in the field.
A presentation and ribbon cutting ceremony opened the research centre located in McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery on March 27, 2012.
"This gift of philanthropists Vasu and Jaya Chanchlani provides significant opportunities for McMaster," said University President Patrick Deane. As health challenges are increasingly understood in a global context, focus on ethnic and local issues promises to bring benefit not only to those specific communities, but to humanity at large."
Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, agreed: "The Chanchlani Research Centre will be the home of some of our best work and our best people: We know the centre will produce meaningful, life-changing results."
In Canada, diabetes and early heart disease are found among increasing numbers of South Asians who have migrated here from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In India alone, Type 2 diabetes affects 80 million people.
Mr. Chanchlani said the goal of the centre is to "leverage the resources, passion and influence of people of South Asian origin by engaging them in a serious social cause that is afflicting people of South Asian origin around the world."
Director of the new centre is McMaster professor and research scientist, Dr. Sonia Anand, a Canadian leader in the research of genetic and environmental causes of vascular disease.
"The Chanchlani gift will enable a group of innovative researchers with talent that ranges from genetics to social determinants to understand the causes and consequences of common diseases that afflict diverse ethnic populations, women, and the socially disadvantaged," she said.
Currently, Dr. Anand is leading the START (South Asian birth cohort) study - which is studying two birth cohorts of South Asians in Southern Ontario and another in urban and rural India - to find out why central adiposity and diabetes are so prevalent among the South Asian population. She was recently funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health research to initiate a similar style birth cohort among the Aboriginal people of the Six Nations.
Dr. Anand received international attention with an earlier study which showed a diet high in fruits and vegetables appears to lessen the genetic risk of the 9p21 gene on heart disease. This led to the SAHARA (South Asian Heart Risk Assessment) study which is intended to find out if knowing about this gene motivates individuals at risk of a heart attack to change their habits.
About Chanchlani Foundation
Chanchlani Foundation promotes research and recognizes excellence with an aim to find effective solutions to challenges in areas ranging from health care to public policy. To find out more visit www.chanchlanifoundation.com
About McMaster University
McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 156,000 alumni in 140 countries.
Image with caption: "Dr. John Kelton, Dean and Vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Dr. Patrick Deane, President, McMaster University, Dr. Sonia Anand, McMaster Professor and research scientist and Director of the new centre and Mr. Vasu Chanchlani and Mrs. Jaya Chanchlani, Founders of the Chanchlani Foundation at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the inauguration of the Chanchlani Health Research Centre. (CNW Group/Chanchlani Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120329_C8917_PHOTO_EN_11748.jpg
Image with caption: "McMaster University President, Dr. Patrick Deane presenting a memento to the Chanchlani family - Mrs. Jaya Chanchlani, Ms. Tina Chanchlani and Mr. Vasu Chanchlani - at the inauguration of the Chanchlani Health Research Centre (CNW Group/Chanchlani Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120329_C8917_PHOTO_EN_11749.jpg
For further information:
289 997 2981
McMaster University, Health Sciences
905-525-9140, ext. 22169