USask researchers receive $7 million in CIHR funding

Aug 1, 2023

Research on new ovarian and pancreatic cancer diagnostics and therapeutics among the projects to receive funding.

Researchers working with the University of Saskatchewan (USask) received more than $7 million in this round of Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) funding — the most that USask researchers have ever received in a single round. 

Dr. Darcy Marciniuk (MD), associate vice-president, research, at USask and the university’s CIHR delegate, called the record-setting round of funding a significant achievement for the researchers working on new and exciting projects.

“It’s clear that our researchers and their teams have been working hard because you just don’t snap your fingers and apply for a grant and get it,” Marciniuk said. “So, to do so well, and to do so well compared to other institutions in Canada, is great.”

Dr. Humphrey Fonge (PhD) and Dr. Maruti Uppalapati (PhD) with the College of Medicine received $979,200 for their research project to develop new diagnostics and therapeutics for pancreatic and ovarian cancer. Dr. John Gordon (PhD) of the Department of Respirology is also a co-applicant of the project.

Titled “Priming MUC-16 positive ovarian and pancreatic cancer cells for immunotherapy using an alpha particle labeled radioimmunoconjugate,” the research involves targeting a prevalent protein on cancerous cells to better direct cancer treatments and improve diagnosis. 

Below are the other USask projects and nominated principal investigators who received funding in this round:

Dr. Alexandra King (MD) – Kiskemisowin (the gathering of knowledge to remind you who you are): Co-creating Community- and Nation-led digital archives for Indigenous health and wellness knowledge promotion and preservation – $1,656,224

Dr. Eric Price (PhD) – Tumour targeted, radiolabeled, mimetic nanovesicle theranostics for imaging and treating head and neck cancer – $963,900

Dr. Sarah Oosman (PhD) – Kehokatowin ~ Northern Saskatchewan Métis gathering here and there to age well in place(s) – $960,075

Dr. Alyson Kelvin (PhD) – Regulation of coronavirus cross-reactivity and immune durability for pan-coronavirus vaccine development – $906,526

Dr. Solina Richter (DCur) – Unveiling the Silence: Developing and Evaluating a Feasibility Study to Improve Access and Utilization to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Kayayei (Head Porters) in Ghanaian Markets – $868,276

Dr. Cory Neudorf (MD) – Multilevel estimation of the relative impacts of social determinants on income-related health inequalities in urban Canada: Toward a new Canadian Social Determinants Urban Laboratory – $650,251

Dr. Gary Groot (MD) – Understanding Hip and Knee Integrated Care Pathways: A Patient-Oriented Rapid Realist Review to Inform a New Saskatchewan Pathway – $100,000

Dr. Joyce Wilson (PhD) – Reverse genetic analysis of mechanisms underlying convergent evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and accessory protein functions – $100,000

Read the full article here.


Most of our team lives and works on Treaty 6 territory and the Homeland of the Métis. The original peoples of these lands are the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Métis. Others are based in Vancouver, on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. We encourage everyone, wherever they are, to learn about the Indigenous people of the lands on which they live and work. We seek to become engaged allies together. In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we respect the self-determination of First Nations, Métis and Inuit – in their cultures, languages and their pursuit of wellness.

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