U of L researchers awarded more than $1.8 million in NSERC funding

Eleven University of Lethbridge researchers have been awarded Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grants worth approximately $1.8 million, payable in instalments of anywhere from one to five years.

“University of Lethbridge researchers were very successful this year, with 11 out of 14 applications being awarded funding,” says Dr. Erasmus Okine, U of L vice-president (Research). “This funding of almost $2 million demonstrates the calibre of research our scientists are engaged in and I congratulate each one of them.”

Dr. Gerlinde Metz, a neuroscience professor, received the U of L’s largest grant worth a total of $510,000. She and her research team will continue exploring early life stress and its effects on brain plasticity. They’ll examine how early life stress alters brain development, connections between neurons, and behaviour. They’ll also look at whether factors such as age and sex determine the response to early life stress and whether early life stress affects subsequent generations.

Dr. Theresa Burg, a biology professor, studies how the evolution of high-latitude species is linked to historical and present-day environmental changes. Examining how landscape features and past climate changes have shaped today’s populations can further the understanding of population dynamics and help predict how these species might respond to future climate change.

Dr. Dmytro Yevtushenko, a professor in the Department of Biology and Research Chair in Potato Science, was awarded an early career researcher supplement in addition to a Discovery Grant. Yevtushenko will conduct research into the natural defense mechanisms of potato plants. His work could lead to higher crop yields, less crop loss, increased food safety and could help point the way to improving disease resistance in other crops.

Dr. Borries Demeler, Canada 150 Research Chair and a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is a leading biophysics scientist with expertise in analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC). AUC is used to analyze molecules in solution. He has established the Canadian Center for Hydrodynamics, which is equipped with three unique AUC instruments to accelerate biophysical research in Canada. He hopes to develop new analysis protocols and software tools that will benefit basic research in biochemistry, physics and material science.

Other U of L researchers who received grants include Dr. Jon Doan (kinesiology and physical education), Dr. Stewart Rood (biology), Dr. Lawrence Flanagan (biology), Dr. Anthony Russell (biology), Dr. Hadi Kharaghani (mathematics and computer science), Dr. Matthew Tata (neuroscience) and Dr. Saurya Das (physics and astronomy).