Release Date: January 20, 2003
Media Contact: Therese Stecyk
Phone: (306) 585-4683
Fax: (306) 585-4997
Saskatchewan Health Researchers Awarded More than $900,000 Through Federal-Provincial Program
SASKATOON (January 16, 2003) -- Health research in Saskatchewan will receive a major boost from $943,032 in grants awarded through a federal-provincial partnership program.

The money comes from the Saskatchewan Regional Partnership Program (RPP), a joint initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Province of Saskatchewan.

Five researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and one at the University of Regina have received funding, based on the scientific merit and potential health impact of their projects.

  • Thomas Hadjistavropoulos (U of R - Faculty of Arts) - $140,556 to study the fear of pain and fear of falling among seniors.
  • Helen Nichol (U of S – College of Medicine) - $82,312 to study the toxic effects of iron accumulation in cells, using the Canadian Light Source synchrotron at the U of S to assist in the research
  • Jim Thornhill (U of S - College of Medicine) - $174,584 to study the effects of cellular mechanisms of stroke damage in the brain
  • Valerie Verge (U of S - College of Medicine) - $171,312 to study cellular effects of long-term damage and repair activity in neural tissue
  • Lingyun Wu (U of S - College of Medicine) - $203,224 to study the effects of metabolism in hypertension
  • Xia Zhang (U of S - College of Medicine) - $171,044 to study the effects of lithium in preventing cannabis withdrawal syndrome, work that could result in effective treatment for marijuana addicts.

This is the fourth year of a five-year, $10-million dollar CIHR/RPP grant program equally cost-shared between the Province of Saskatchewan and CIHR.

"This is an investment in the future of Saskatchewan," said Minister Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, on behalf of Health Minister Anne McLellan. "Through this innovative partnership, and ever increasing federal investments through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Saskatchewan has developed a culture of innovation and excellence in health research. The projects we are announcing today will help to improve the health of all Canadians, while also attracting and retaining some of the best researchers in our province."

The provincial government increased its commitment for health research by $2 million this year in the Action Plan for Saskatchewan Health Care.

“Health research gives us important information that we require to make better health-care decisions for the benefit of the people of this province and this country,” said Saskatchewan Health Minister John Nilson. “Provincial research dollars attract additional health research funding and projects, and attract medical and other health care specialists to the province.”

"We are not only supporting exciting new break-throughs in health science but are encouraging the potential for further scientific research, for further education and for further job creation," Industry and Resources Minister Eldon Lautermilch said. “The opportunities, and the future, are truly wide open for health and all scientific researchers here in Saskatchewan.”

Successful projects were selected by an advisory committee composed of representatives from CIHR, U of S, U of R, Saskatchewan Health, Saskatchewan Industry and Resources, and the Health Services Utilization and Research Commission.

"This critical program is helping to foster our growing strength in health research and to build success in the highly competitive national grant competitions," said U of S President Peter MacKinnon. "Over the past few years, this program has supported many of the CIHR-funded researchers on this campus, helping us to retain some of our best researchers."

“This grant acknowledges the dynamic and innovative work being done at the University of Regina in the area of health research. It is further evidence of the strong research culture that is developing at the University. That culture is supported by the work of a number of emerging research teams, including those led by Dr. Hadjistavropoulos,” said U of R President David Barnard.

The funding partnership was created in May 1999 to make up for an imbalance in funding to researchers in certain areas of Canada, and to build and maintain a healthy research community in these areas.

Since its creation, the Saskatchewan-CIHR Regional Partnership Program has provided support to 39 researchers and has invested $7.98 million in health research in Saskatchewan.


Janet Weichel, Media Specialist
Canadian Institute for Health Research
Phone: (613) 941-4563

Joan Petrie, Communications Branch, Saskatchewan Health
Regina, SK
Phone: (306) 787-7802

Therese Stecyk, Communications, University of Regina
Regina, SK
Phone: (306) 585-4683

Kathryn Warden, Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK
Phone: (306) 966-2506

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