III Newsletter – December 2014

Message from the Scientific Director

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a sad reminder that microbial threats are continuously emerging and that we have to prepare and respond to those threats. CIHR, under the leadership of III, along with PHAC and IDRC, has launched two research initiatives on Ebola. The level of interactions with national and international stakeholders on this file is such that we were expertly supported by Michel Perron, Vice-President of External Affairs and Business Development at CIHR. His lead­ership is greatly acknowledged. In the area of threats, in collaboration with PHAC, we are also preparing a funding opportunity for a network on hepatitis C research. We are also pleased to announce the results of an international call, in which Canadian researchers will contribute to our understanding of antibiotic resistance. Six of the funded seven teams had a Canadian component, illustrating the strength of this community. On the HIV front we will soon be able to announce the results of an exciting collaboration between CIHR and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on mucosal immunity in HIV-1 vaccine development, and through the leadership of the Institute of Gender and Health we are pleased to announce the funding results of the Boy’s and Men’s competition related to HIV-1.

Following our initiatives on Micro­biome, Transplantation, and Inflammation, the Institute is trying to further enhance strategic research in the field of immunity. This is illustrated by our partnership on the Programmatic Grants in Environments, Genes and Chronic Disease funding opportunity, led by the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, which has components on microbiome and immunologically-mediated diseases. Also, with several participating Institutes, we have held recently a workshop on human immunology with the hope of building an innovative call with potential for translational work.

The Institute values capacity building and helping the new generation of researchers. The Institute will hold its 6th New Investigator Forum May 29th to 31st, 2015. I encourage all new investigators within the first 5 years of their appointment to send an expression of interest to attend the forum to Serge Desnoyers, III Assistant Director, before January 31st.

CIHR is in the midst of several changes including the Institutes modernization and I can assure you that all Institute staff is working diligently to provide the III community with the best possible opportunities. I wish you all a restful and happy festive season and a productive 2015.

Marc Ouellette

Human Immunology Workshop

The Institute of Infection and Immunity is thinking of its next strategic research initiative and convene a workshop in Toronto on November 25th and 26th on the broad theme of human Immunology. The workshop was well attended with 75 participants, from academia, governmental and nongovernmental groups, as well as from the following Institutes: ICR, IG, IHDCYH, IMHA, INMHA and INMD. Participants discussed several aspects of human immunology, including: technologies, ethical issues, economy, Canada’s strength and weakness and the translational potential of this initiative. Many fields of research were represented including: neuroscience, cancer, vaccine, allergy, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

CIHR Takes Part in the Fight Against Ebola

Canada has made important contributions to the international effort to combat Ebola. CIHR, through the guidance of III, is actively involved in putting health research into action in the fight against this epidemic. Two research funding opportunities were recently launched:

Ebola Vaccine Phase I Clinical Trial
CIHR under the leadership of III, launched an RFA to support a phase I clinical trial of the Canadian-made Ebola vaccine.

The trial is led by the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), a network CIHR and PHAC co-funded earlier this year. The phase I trial, jointly funded by CIHR and PHAC, is intended to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the Canadian-made VSV-based E bola vaccine. The trial will assess the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of low doses of the vaccine in a wide range of healthy adult volunteers.

Ebola Vaccine Phase II/III Clinical Trial
CIHR, IDRC and PHAC recently launched a call for Expressions of Interest for Canadian researchers interested in joining forces with an international research consortium to conduct a phase II/III clinical trial of Ebola vaccines in Guinea. Several upcoming matchmaking and networking activities are anticipated, to support the trial and creation of the consortium.

Preparing for and responding to threats is a priority for CIHR, IDRC and PHAC, and this group, including both III and the Institute of Population and Public Health are working hard to provide research solutions to the Ebola crises and relevant funding opportunities to the research community. Additional announcements with be forthcoming.

Congratulations to Funding Recipients

Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance

First transnational call: InnovaResistance: Innovative approaches to address antibacterial resistance announced its result. The Institute would like to congratulate Natalie Strynadka, University of British Columbia; Roger Lévesque, Université Laval; Nathan Magarvey, McMaster University; Julian Davies, University of British Columbia; Raymond Andersen, University of British Columbia; Charles Thompson, University of British Columbia; Horacio Bach, University of British Columbia; Urs Hafeli, University of British Columbia.

Team Grant: Boys’ and Men’s Health - HIV/AIDS

Please, find out about the Government of Canada announcement on this funding result.

Trevor A. Hart, Ryerson University, HIV Prevention for Gay and Bisexual Men: A Multisite Study and Development of New HIV Prevention Interventions.

Irving E. Salit, University Health Network (Toronto), The HPV-SAVE Study Team: HPV Screening and Vaccine Evaluation in men who have sex with men.

Josephine P. Wong, Ryerson University, Reducing HIV Vulnerabilities and Promoting Resilience Among Heterosexual Self-Identified African, Caribbean and Black Men in Ontario.

Funding Opportunities

Programmatic Grants in Environments, Genes and Chronic Disease
The Programmatic Grants in EGCD will provide funding for research addressing four funding pools:

  1. Environment-microbiome-gene interactions in chronic non-communicable diseases.
  2. chronic non-communicable immunologically-mediated diseases(e.g. IBD, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease).
  3. chronic non-communicable metabolic diseases (e.g. type 2 diabetes, NAFLD, obesity).
  4. chronic non-communicable diseases related to reproduction, fetal and/or early childhood development.
Letter of intent deadline: 2015-01-20
Application deadline: 2015-09-17
Anticipated notice of decision: 2016-01-29
Funding start date: 2016-01-01

Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Networks in Chronic Disease
Letter of intent
Application deadline: 2015-01-13
Anticipated notice of decision: 2015-03-31
Funding start date: 2015-03-01

Full application
Application deadline: 2015-10-15
Anticipated notice of decision: 2016-01-31
Funding start date: 2016-01-31

Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) – Patient Engagement – Collaboration Grants
Application deadline: 2015-01-13
Anticipated notice of decision: 2015-02-27
Funding start date: 2015-03-01

Planning and Dissemination Grants ( Winter 2015 Competition)
Application deadline: 2015-02-16
Anticipated Notice of Decision: 2015-06-30
Funding Start Date: 2015-07-01

Transitional Operating Grant: 2014-2015
Registration deadline: 2015-01-09
Application deadline: 2015-03-02
Anticipated notice of decision: 2015-07-15
Funding start date: 2015-07-01

Transitional Operating Grant: 2014- 2015 Priority Announcement
Registration deadline: 2015-01-09
Application deadline: 2015-03-02
Anticipated notice of decision: 2015-07-15
Funding start date: 2015-07-01

Pre-Announcement - National Hepatitis C Collaborative Network

CIHR, in partnership with PHAC, will support the creation of a single, national Hepatitis C research network. The primary objective of this collaborative Network is to create a cohesive research program in Canada that links researchers and decision-makers from multiple pillars and jurisdictions across the country. Additional objectives include: strengthening interaction and cooperation across the hepatitis C research community; creating a continuous pipeline which links research across all pillars, to facilitate the timely application of new knowledge and research results; supporting models of integrated knowledge translation and exchange that accelerate the uptake of knowledge and the implementation of evidence-informed practices, policies and programs.

This network will also provide an exceptional, interdisciplinary training and mentoring environment to increase research capacity in the field of hepatitis C, and will ensure the active and meaningful engagement of stakeholders and partners in the research program. This multi-year funding opportunity will be launched in late 2014.

Global Health Research Initiative Update

The Global Health Research Initiative launched last May the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) research program. This seven-year, $36 million (CAD) research program was launched by Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. It is a joint initiative of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), CIHR, and IDRC. The Institute of Infection and Immunity is proud to contribute to this research program. This program, which will fund approximately 20 research teams, is investing in scientific breakthroughs in primary health care to improve the health of women, newborns, and children in sub-Saharan Africa. The two health policy and research organizations selected are: The West African Health Organization (WAHO), based in Burkina Faso, and a consortium, which includes Kenya’s African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC); Tanzania’s East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC); and Uganda’s Partners in Population and Development (PPD). The next step is the selection of the implemented research teams, which will be done in the coming months.

Discover Canada’s Largest Research Platform on Aging and Health

The first major data release from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is underway. Researchers interested in accessing the CLSA platform are invited to visit the DataPreview Portal on the CLSA website for detailed information about the available data and the application process.

Ethics Education Workbook

CIHR is pleased to announce the launch of a dedicated webpage for the Ethics Office Education Workbook.
This project is in response to requests for more tools to teach and integrate Ethics in CIHR activities made by our executives, the Governing Council, Scientific Directors and the Standing Committee on Ethics. During the next few months, the Ethics Office will host two internal information sessions using this material and will produce a webinar to be hosted on CIHR’s website.
Please contact Jaime Flamenbaum, education project lead, for more information.

The 6th III New Investigator Forum

The Institute of Infection and Immunity (III) is pleased to announce the Institute’s 6th New Investigator Forum. The Forum aims to strengthen infection and immunity research by facilitating the formation of peer networks of new investigators and by providing opportunities for both formal and informal interactions with renowned senior scientists within the mandate of the Institute. The program will feature informative workshops, presentations of cutting-edge science and information on tools and mechanisms which support research in Canada. The forum will be held from May 29th to 31st, 2015 at Le Manoir du Lac Delage, located in Lac Delage, near Québec City.

This conference is intended for new investigators in the field of Infection and Immunity. You must be within the first 5 years of your independent appointment. If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in attending, please send the following information to Serge Desnoyers, III Assistant Director: Name, complete contact information (name of institution and department, mailing address with postal code, phone number), email, year and month of first academic nomination, actual research area, CIHR research theme (biomedical, clinical, health system, population health), and your department head’s name. Please send your expression of interest by January 31st, 2015 at the latest! Confirmation of your participation at the forum will be sent by email following the review of your eligibility. Once you have received confirmation of your registration, details on how to book your travel will be provided. III will cover accommodations, meals and travel expenses for all attendees.

Institutes Modernization

The health challenges of today are increasingly complex, and finding new, innovative solutions requires partnership and collaboration across the entire health spectrum.

Specifically, CIHR is:

  • Restructuring the Institute Advisory Boards to create a smaller number of Boards shared by several Institutes. Clustering options are being developed under the guiding principle that all 13 Institutes will continue to benefit from expert counsel and advice.
  • Further enhancing the capacity of CIHR’s Science Council to initiate impactful research opportunities that cross multiple sectors by having Institutes invest half of their budget into a common research fund
  • Strengthening organizational coordination and corporate support for the Institutes.
  • Developing a robust framework to support a regular assessment of Institute performance and relevance.
  • The ultimate goal is to ensure that investments in health research have the greatest possible impact on the health of Canadians.

For more information, consult the CIHR web site. Relevant input will also be considered.

Scientific Meetings of Interest

4th Canadian Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus - February 27, 2015, Banff, AB.

Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (AMMI) Canada - Annual Meeting, April 16 to 18, 2015, Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Canadian Association of HIV Researchers (CAHR) - 24th Annual Conference. April 30 to May 3, 2015, Toronto, ON.

Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI) - 28th Annual Conference. June 4 to 7, 2015, Winnipeg, MB.

Canadian Society of Microbiologists (CSM) – 65th Annual Conference. June 15 to 18, 2015, Regina, SK.

International AIDS Society - 8th Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, July 19 to 22, 2015, Vancouver, BC.

CIHR Annual Report 2013-14

The CIHR Annual Report 2013–14: A Portfolio for Health Innovation is now available on the CIHR website. The report was officially tabled on September 15 in the House of Commons by the Minister of Health. This year, CIHR reached a major milestone as it concluded its five-year strategic plan, Health Research Roadmap. The annual report highlights some of our major achievements under Roadmap, and sets the stage for our next phase as an organization. It also shines a spotlight on the work of CIHR-funded researchers across the country who are helping build a healthier future for Canadians. For additional copies, please email Caroline Kay.

May you have a restful and happy festive season and a productive 2015!

The III Team

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