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News release

$2.8 million for Concordia University research

Professors will use funds to fight fungus and update aircraft

Montreal, November 14, 2013 — Thanks to new funding from the Government of Canada, two Concordia University professors just might create a greener aerospace industry and help cure fungal infections.

CRC-vgChristian Moreau (l) & Malcolm Whiteway (r)

Today, the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced that Christian Moreau and Malcolm Whiteway have both been awarded Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs (CRC) on the recommendation of an international committee of researchers. In total, this represents $2.8 million in funding for research at Concordia; for each chair, the university receives $200,000 annually for seven years.

“Our government remains committed to attracting and retaining the world’s best researchers, creating jobs and strengthening our economy,” says Minister of State Rickford. “Through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, we are supporting cutting-edge research at Canadian universities and fostering innovation by helping researchers bring their ideas to the marketplace, to benefit Canadians and improve our quality of life.”

For Moreau, professor in Concordia’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, the Chair will fund research on new coating and functional surface solutions that would improve energy efficiency in aerospace, automotive and other industrial applications.

“In aircraft jet engines, the flow of hot combustion gases could damage internal components if their surfaces were not properly protected with a temperature-resistant coating,” explains Moreau. “My research works on developing a new kind of coating that will help improve engine fuel efficiency, decrease green-house gasemission and extend component life.”

For Whiteway, professor in Concordia’s Department of Biology, the CRC will help in his use of genomic tools to study Candida albicans, a medically important fungal pathogen. This naturally occurring fungus can lead to unpleasant oral and genital infections and can be a serious threat to people with compromised immune systems, such as patients with AIDS, or undergoing cancer chemotherapy, organ or bone marrow transplantation. 

“Blood-stream infections related to C. albicans are frequently fatal,” explains Whiteway. “Because the cells of this fungus function very similarly to human cells, the antibiotics that have been so successful in treating bacterial infections are not active against them, and the current antifungal drugs can have serious side effects. My research will help lead to the development of a new generation of antifungal drugs that have limited side effects on the human host.

Alan Shepard, president of Concordia University, notes, “This funding is  important recognition of the quality of work being done here at Concordia. Thanks to the support of the Canada Research Chairs program, this new research will bring about forward-looking change in both the transport and medical sectors.”

The Canada Research Chairs program is part of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world's top countries in research and development. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. They improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada's international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision, teaching, and the coordination of other researchers' work.


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