February 26, 2009

Two McMaster researchers chosen to lead $1 million projects

Hamilton, ON. February 26, 2009 – Two of McMaster’s Canada Research Chairs –who will be partnered with counterparts in developing countries –have been selected to undertake $1 million research projects to tackle issues of managing polluted ecosystems and turning health research into policies that will improve lives.

Chris Wood and John Lavis have been recognized by the International Research Chairs Initiative (IRCI), a leading-edge program that is sponsored by Canada’s International Development Research Centre in collaboration with the Canada Research Chairs Program.

“There were eight research teams chosen from across Canada and around the world for the IRCI, and of those, McMaster garnered two prestigious partnerships. I can’t say enough how satisfying it is for the University to have such phenomenal success and it speaks volumes to Drs. Lavis and Wood’s research talent,” said Mo Elbestawi, vice-president of research and international affairs.

Biologist Chris Wood, Canada Research Chair in Environment and Health, is paired with Adalto Bianchini of Brazil, and will receive up to $1 million over five years to battle increasing pollution in that country’s coastal areas. The pair will focus on two estuaries that are severely threatened by population and industrial growth, assessing just how polluted they are, and the best strategy to manage and remediate these environments. Using the findings at the Brazil site, they will determine what can be applied to the Hamilton Harbour cleanup.

John Lavis, associate professor in the departments of clinical epidemiology & biostatistics and political science, is Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Transfer and Exchange. Lavis is partnered with Dr. Nelson Sewankambo, principal of the College of Health Sciences at Makerere University and a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.  They will also receive up to $1 million over five years.

Their collaboration will tackle how to turn health research into policy, which can mean the difference between life and death in Africa.  Specifically, they will evaluate the knowledge-translation (KT) platforms that have been launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in eleven African countries, where policymakers and stakeholders may not value research evidence, or simply find the statistics and reports too difficult to use.

“Whether it’s addressing the adherence to tuberculosis medications in Cameroon or the implications of male circumcision in Kenya as an HIV prevention strategy, we hope to address the top concerns in each of the eleven countries,” says Lavis.

A total of eight research collaborations were funded by the International Research Chairs Initiative after a rigourous selection process that saw 104 teams submit proposals.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.



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