The University of British Columbia today welcomed the announcement of $5.4 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Genome British Columbia for research into how micro-organisms affect human health.
Two projects, led by UBC researchers Brett Finlay and Deborah Money, were part of seven grants totaling $15.5 million announced today in Toronto by federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
“We are surrounded by microbes and yet we know relatively little about them,” says John Hepburn, UBC Vice President Research and International. “The emerging field of microbiomics will contribute new knowledge to improve the health of Canadians and people around the world. We are grateful for this significant investment from the federal government and Genome BC.”
Finlay’s project will examine the impact intestinal microbes have on the immune system and their potential connection to asthma. It is supported by $2.5 million from CIHR and $625,000 from Genome BC. Finlay is a professor of microbiology at UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories. His team consists of researchers from UBC and the Child & Family Research Institute.
Money’s project will use the latest genome sequencing tools to determine what contributes to a healthy balance of microorganisms in the vagina, and how an imbalance may be associated with preterm delivery, genital tract infection and overall reproductive health. It is supported by $1.7 million from CIHR and $581,000 from Genome BC. Money is a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and executive director of the Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI) at BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority. Her team consists of researchers from UBC, WHRI, National Research Council and the Universities of Saskatchewan, Western Ontario, Guelph and Toronto.