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Today's top news stories for February 26, 2009.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western profs rake in the research dollars
Four Western researchers will receive generous monetary support to expand their current projects.

The newest Canada Research Chairs at Western were announced on Monday. Norman Hüner. Lars Konermann, Amanda Moehring and Peter Rogan will receive funding from the Canadian government to boost their research endeavours.

Canada Research Chairs are nominated by their universities and selected by a panel of reviewers made of international experts in various fields. Established in 2000, the CRC program provides research funding to improve Canada’s knowledge base and quality of life, bolster its innovative reputation on a global scale and help train future generations in research.

Hüner and Rogan were awarded Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs and will each receive $1.4 million over seven years. Konermann and Moehring will each receive $500,000 over five years as Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs.

Hüner, a leader in the field of environmental stress biology, investigates methods of improving crop tolerance to environmental change, such as freezing temperatures. Insight into this area may provide new applications to crop growing and increasing the yield of crops for Canadian farmers.

Konermann will continue to explore protein-folding mechanisms. The research grant will allow his team to determine the complex ways proteins assemble into biologically active structures, a topic still surrounded by many unknowns.

“When proteins do not fold properly, certain disorders may occur " this may have clinical applications in the future,” Konermann said.

Rogan, an innovator in the field of genome bioinformatics, will use software to examine the entire human genome and evaluate which natural genetic variations may predispose humans to various diseases.

Moehring studies the genetic changes in species formation that helps advance species conservation and biodiversity.

“We hope that one of the long-term implications of our research may be development of conservation methods for endangered species,” Moehring said.

“This is a very important source of research revenue,” Konermann added. “The department determines the [distribution] of funding; my job is to come up with the money.”
"Nathalie Ranger

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