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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

June 26, 2003
News Page

Health Research Showcase
a hit in Montreal

Dr. Axel Meisen (L) and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Roger Grimes (R) and greet Ludwig Hantson, president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
Memorial University President Dr. Axel Meisen (L) and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Roger Grimes (R) and greet Ludwig Hantson, president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., at the second Health Research Showcase held in Montreal on June 11. The showcase was aimed at increasing awareness of health sciences research that is done at Memorial University.

By Sharon Gray
The second Newfoundland and Labrador Health Research Showcase in Montreal June 11 was successful in bringing together about 70 people, half from the pharmaceutical industry, to explore the range of the province’s expertise in health research with representatives of the province, the health care sector and Memorial University.

Roger Grimes, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador addressed the showcase and affirmed his government’s commitment to supporting the growth of health research and development in the province. He cited in particular the inclusion in the recent budget of a $5 million research and development fund and the recent call for proposals to establish a venture capital fund.

Memorial president Dr. Axel Meisen said this second showcase provided a new forum to communicate with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The first Health Research Showcase was held in Toronto March 4. Dr. Meisen noted that the university provides the facilities and expertise to conduct much of the medical and health research in Newfoundland and Labrador, one-third of which is funded by the private sector.

“Research investments at Memorial University have not only led to new discoveries but have also served to increase valuable employment opportunities and to increase the capacity for training of highly qualified personnel. This second research showcase is a very important element in promoting an increased awareness of our research capabilities. It will help develop new partnerships with industry that will benefit patients and researchers throughout the world.”

Dr. Ian Bowmer, dean of medicine, described the event as “very successful” and noted that the presence of officials from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Health Care Corporation of St. John’s showed the high level of commitment of all those concerned with health research in the province. He thanked the premier for his government’s investment in research.

There were four research presentations. Dr. Dale Corbett, professor of neurosciences and Senior Canada Research Chair in Stroke and Neuroplasticity, described his research on stroke. Dr. Proton Rahman, assistant professor of internal medicine/rheumatology, CIHR New Investigator and Arthritis Society of Canada Scholar talked about Population Choice in Applied Genomics.

A presentation about the genetics of obesity was made by Dr. Guang Sun, an assistant professor in the Discipline of Genetics who holds the Novartis Professorship in Pediatric Genetics. Dr. Christopher Kovacs, associate professor of medicine (endocrinology), obstetrics & gynecology, and basic medical sciences made a presentation titled Of Mice and (Wo)men: Novel approaches in osteoporosis research.

Concluding remarks were made by Dr. Christopher Loomis, Memorial’s vice-president (research). He said many partnerships with industry are critical to provide the necessary funding to leverage research dollars through agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. He said Memorial is committed to double the current level of research activity by 2005 and gave several examples of partnership opportunities that will assist in achieving this objective.

Pharmaceutical company representatives also had the opportunity to see the work of the Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Professional Development, a recognized national leader in continuing medical education (CME), distance education, and new media learning. Its innovative research and development model and partnering strategy have fostered many fruitful projects including the national online CME initiative and representatives of the office were on hand to provide information and make new business contacts.


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