June 18, 2020
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University faculty members have secured more than $3.3 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to support research in a broad range of scientific fields.
In total, 20 Laurier faculty members will receive support from NSERC’s Discovery Grant, Discovery Development Grant, Discovery Grant Northern Research Supplement, Discovery Launch Supplement and Discovery Accelerator Supplement programs over five years. Their research is also supported by the federal government’s Research Support Fund.
“Laurier researchers are historically successful in the NSERC Discovery Grants competition, and this year was no exception,” said Jonathan Newman, vice-president: research at Laurier. “Discovery Grants support ongoing research programs with long-term goals, and it speaks to the vision and commitment of these 20 exceptional faculty members that the government has chosen to invest in their research.”
Diane Gregory, associate professor in the departments of Health Sciences and Kinesiology and Physical Education, will receive $235,000 in funding over five years to support her research on the spine’s response to mechanical and biological stimuli. Gregory was also selected for a Discovery Accelerator Supplement, an additional $120,000 in funding over three years, to accelerate her progress. Disc pathology, when a disc in the lower back or neck protrudes onto a nerve and causes pain, is a significant cause of disability worldwide, yet minimal research exists on the important pathways and processes involved in altering the mechanical properties of the intervertebral disc. Gregory’s novel research will investigate whether factors like external pressure or inflammation perturb the spine’s equilibrium, thereby altering tissue structure and function.
Scott Smith, professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will receive $260,000 in funding over five years to support his study on ion transport in natural and engineered membranes. Water contains dissolved ions, which are charged atoms or molecules. For survival, organisms need to be able to transport beneficial ions into their cells and dispose of toxic ones. Similarly, engineered membranes can be used to clean water by excluding pollutants. By enhancing our understanding of ion transportation across membranes, Smith’s research aims to protect aquatic life and create new solutions for water contamination management.
Four Laurier faculty members were selected for Discovery Launch Supplements, which provide a one-time payment of $12,500 to support early-career researchers as they establish a Discovery Grant-funded research program. The recipients were:
For a full list of Laurier’s NSERC-funded researchers, visit NSERC’s awards database.
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