Six Guelph scientists selected for national research network

Guelph Mercury

GUELPH—Six University of Guelph professors are among 64 researchers from 22 academic institutions nationwide who will work together on solutions to important health issues as part of a new $26.3-million effort.

The Canadian Glycomics Network will involve Guelph molecular and cellular biology professors Chris Whitfield, Joe Lam, Matt Kimber and Anthony Clarke, along with chemistry professors France-Isabelle Auzanneau and Mario Monteiro, a Friday news release states.

Glycomics researchers — including chemists and biochemists, biologists and immunologists — study the structure and function of complex carbohydrates, which are central players in everything from genetic disorders to bacterial and viral infections.

Their research is leading to the development of new drugs and vaccines for diseases, such as influenza, genetic disorders and diabetes. Monteiro, for example, has worked on carbohydrate-based vaccines for treating Clostridium difficile and Clostridium bolteae, a gut bug common in autistic children, the release states.

GlycoNet aims to boost Canada’s international leadership in glycomics even further by promoting research and training, and by generating new research and commercial products.

The new Network of Centres of Excellence was announced Friday and will be based at the University of Alberta. The network will receive funding from the three federal granting agencies – the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research — as well as from Industry Canada.

“The fact that so many Guelph professors are involved in this (network) speaks to our reputation as leaders in this rapidly evolving field,” John Livernois, Guelph’s interim vice-president (research), said in the release.

“Through this new research network, they will continue to play a critical role in helping improve the lives of Canadians.”

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