June 26, 2020

Additional UCalgary researchers receive federal funding to take on COVID-19

Second round of CIHR rapid funding will support clinical, public health research

Eight University of Calgary research teams have received funding from the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), to address the health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced the results of the competition, which focuses on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its negative consequences on people, communities, and health systems.

“Accelerating high-quality research and real-time evidence is a priority for Canada in its fight against COVID-19,” says Hajdu. “I congratulate the successful teams for their essential work aimed at better preventing, detecting and treating COVID-19 at the individual and population levels. Our government believes that it’s through collaboration and data sharing that we will respond efficiently to this global health emergency.”

UCalgary’s funded projects will help mitigate the impact of the pandemic and address the current COVID-19 context. The projects, all led by Cumming School of Medicine faculty, are:

  • “The Anatomy, Determinants and Impacts of the Cargill COVID-19 Outbreak Among Newcomers and their Families in Canada”, led by Dr. Gabriel Fabreau, MD
  •  “Understanding and managing the effects of COVID-19 restricted visitation policies”, led by Dr. Kirsten Fiest, PhD
  •  “Household Transmission Dynamics and Vial Load among Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infected Children”, led by Dr. Stephen Freedman, MD
  • “Serological Testing to Outline Protocols for COVID19 in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: STOP COVID-19 in IBD”, led by Dr. Gilaad Kaplan, MD
  •  “Imaging COVID-19 Lungs to Uncover Therapies”, led by Dr. Paul Kubes, PhD
  •  “Inferring undiagnosed sources of COVID-19 infections using viral genomes”, led by Dr. Quan Long, PhD
  •  “Uncovering longitudinal patterns of resilience and vulnerability in a pandemic: The All Our Families COVID-19 Impact Study”, led by Dr. Sheila McDonald, PhD
    • This project is funded in part by Alberta Innovates
  •  “Wastewater surveillance of SARS-COV2 to enable real-time clinical case-finding in Calgary”, led by Dr. Michael Parkins, MD

A project led out of McMaster University, "Awake Prone Positioning in Hypoxemic Patients with Coronavirus Disease 19", also includes three University of Calgary co-applicants: Dr. Ken Parhar, MD, Dr. Tom Stelfox, MD, and Dr. Jason Weatherald, MD of the Cumming School of Medicine.  

“This funding demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to the ongoing research and innovation that will be required to both manage the pandemic and address its after effects on Canadians,” says Dr. William Ghali, vice-president (research). “Our researchers will continue to step up to address the challenges of COVID-19 as they evolve.”

This funding builds on the initial CIHR competition for COVID-19 research, which funded three projects at UCalgary. These projects have made significant progress since March, including a new testing method that can provide rapid results in 30 minutes without the need for high-tech equipment or reagents.  

Cumming School of Medicine
The University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) is driven to create the future of health. We are a proud leader with seven world-class research institutes and 2,900 students, as well as faculty and staff, working to advance education and research in precision medicine and precision public health, improving lives in our community and around the world. Visit the website and follow us @UCalgaryMed.