Manitoba

Winnipeg Foundation donates $1M for health research grants at U of M

The funding, announced Tuesday, will help the university establish seed funding grants in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences for interdisciplinary research projects.

Grants will go toward interdisciplinary research projects

Dr. Brian Postl, left, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, says the funding will enhance the University of Manitoba's national reputation for innovative interdisciplinary research. (Tyson Koschik/CBC )

The Winnipeg Foundation has donated $1 million to support health sciences research at the University of Manitoba. 

The funding, announced Tuesday, will help the university establish seed funding grants at the U of M's Rady Faculty of Health Sciences for interdisciplinary research projects.

Adrian West, an assistant professor in the department of physiology at the U of M, says the funding will help his team's research on the link between heart disease and diabetes.

West said his team will be using the funding to develop 3D models of heart tissue in a diabetic person so that better treatments can be developed, using a technique called bioprinting.

In the past, the technique has been used for diagnosis or to practise complicated surgeries, while some researchers are working toward bioprinting an organ that can be transplanted into a human body.

"In our hands, we're really focusing on using the same sort of technology to focus on ... studying it at a therapeutic level, to see how we can prevent the disease" from progressing to the point where an implant is needed, he said.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, people with diabetes are three times more likely to die from heart disease. 

The Winnipeg Foundation also announced an additional $250,000 to establish the Martha Donovan Fund, to help women in the health field establish their careers. 

Dr. Brian Postl, the U of M's dean of health sciences, said the fund will help create gender parity in medical professions. 

"It may be for administrative courses, it may be for leadership courses, that really just give them an opportunity to expand their skill set and allow them to step into more senior positions," he said.

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