INMD Connections – January 2012

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Message from Phil Sherman, INMD Scientific Director


Photo: From Left: Mélanie Bergeron, Phil Sherman, Keeley Rose, Vera Ndaba, Paul Bélanger, Mary-Jo Makarchuk

The start of the New Year is a time to reflect on our plans for what we will accomplish in the next 12 months. CIHR is gearing up for an extensive consultation with researchers and research communities, universities, and voluntary health organizations on how we can improve the peer review system and the open suite of programs funded by CIHR. The open suite of programs account for the majority of CIHR's investments and includes CIHR's largest funding mechanism, the Open Operating Grants Program, as well as smaller programs including the Partnerships for Health Systems Improvement, Knowledge Synthesis, Knowledge to Action , Proof-of-Principle, and New Investigators Programs.

The impetus for this consultation includes CIHR's strategic plan, Health Research Roadmap: Creating innovative research for better health and health care, the recommendations of the 2011 International Review of CIHR, and the challenges that are consistently raised by stakeholders.

CIHR will soon release a Design Discussion Document on the CIHR website, and will invite feedback from the broader research community and others. Much of what is being proposed is still evolving, so I strongly encourage you to read the document and provide your comments, which will be critical in shaping the future of CIHR.

As a member of CIHR's Science Council, I want to assure you of CIHR's commitment to supporting research excellence across all four pillars of research. We are also committed to supporting a sustainable and responsive suite of open programs and peer review system, and making decisions on changes based on the best available evidence.

All the best for 2012 from Team INMD!

Apply now! Planning Grants and Dissemination Events

CIHR recognizes that an important part of Knowledge Translation (KT) is the planning required to build active and meaningful collaborations and/or effectively scan and understand the health research landscape before embarking on a grant application. Just as important, are the dissemination events/activities that focus on the communication of health research evidence to the appropriate researcher and/or knowledge user audience(s), tailoring the message and medium as appropriate. CIHR Supports both of those aspects of KT through Planning Grants and funding for Dissemination Events. Both funding opportunities are now posted on the CIHR website. Hurry! Application deadline is February 15, 2012.

Funding Pre-Announcement: Programmatic Grants in Food and Health

The CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD), in partnership with the CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH), the CIHR/Rx&D Collaborative Research Program, the Micronutrient Initiative, as well as Health Canada (Bureau of Nutritional Sciences, Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion, and First Nations and Inuit Health Branch); Public Health Agency of Canada; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; and the Centrum Foundation are pleased to pre-announce this joint funding opportunity in support of the creation of innovative, programmatic research grants addressing important research questions focused on Food and Health. Applicants for CIHR research grants may also be able to secure infrastructure funding to support their research from the Canada Foundation for Innovation's Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) using an expedited application process.

Programmatic research involves connected sequences of conceptually related research projects, executed by the same group of investigators and could include their decision-making partners where appropriate. This may include projects which span research themes (e.g., basic biomedical science and human/clinical research, or clinical and population health intervention research), or involve a diverse group of collaborators and researchers.

This funding opportunity builds on the research gaps and opportunities identified at a national workshop held in November 2010, Advancing Food and Health Research Priorities.

The Programmatic Grants in Food and Health funding opportunity will be posted on the CIHR website in February, 2012. The minimum amount of funding available is $10M over 5 years. This amount may increase if other partners join the Request for Applications (RFA). We encourage researchers interested in Food and Health to consider applying to this funding opportunity. For more information on this RFA, please contact Mary-Jo Makarchuk.

New Researcher Profile: Dr. René Jacobs

Dr. René Jacobs

Assistant Professor, Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science
University of Alberta

René L. Jacobs received a PhD in Biochemistry from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2002 having trained under the supervision of Drs. John and Margaret Brosnan, with support provided by a CHIR Doctoral Research Award to study the hormonal regulation of homocysteine metabolism. His research provided the first mechanistic explanation why metabolism of this atherogenic amino acid is altered in type 1 diabetes. Post-doctoral training was completed at the University of Alberta in the laboratory of Dr. Dennis Vance with post-doctoral fellowship awards from both CIHR and AHFMR (now Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions) to investigate factors modulating hepatic lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. René's research utilized genetically modified mouse models to identify choline as an important regulator of whole-body energy metabolism.

In 2009, Dr. Jacobs was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. René is currently a member of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory and a research group on the Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. His research program defines the complex interactions involved in the etiology of obesity, dyslipidemias, and other chronic diseases. Dr. Jacobs has secured both an operating grant and a New Investigator Award from CIHR. Last month, René presented the Stewart Whitman New Investigator Lecture at the Canadian Lipoprotein Conference held in Halifax and was a co-author on an article appearing in the November 11, 2011 issue of Cell.


Operating Grant: Priority Announcements
INMD currently has 3 Priority Announcements available through CIHR's Open Operating Grant Program: Bariatric Care, INMD Start-up Funds, and our Mandate-related Bridge Funding. Hurry! Application deadline is March 1, 2012.

CIHR Program Grants in Transplantation Research
The CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity is announcing the launch of the CIHR Program Grant in Transplantation Research funding opportunity. This initiative is launched in partnership with CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, Canadian Blood Services, and Genome British Columbia.

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