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REF NO.: 94

SUBJECT: Premier Roger Grimes and Memorial President Axel Meisen to host Newfoundland and Labrador Health Research Showcase in Toronto on March 4

DATE: Feb. 28

The Newfoundland and Labrador Health Research Showcase will be held Tuesday, March 4, at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. An evening program hosted by the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and Memorial University will present to Canada's research-based pharmaceutical companies the range of our expertise in health research and provide an opportunity to discuss potential research partnership opportunities.

Roger Grimes, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Dr. Axel Meisen, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University will address the showcase.

"During the past 14 years, Canada's research-based pharmaceutical member companies have invested a total of $31.5 million in research and development activities in Newfoundland and Labrador, almost half of which has been spent at Memorial University and affiliated hospitals," Premier Grimes said. "These research partnerships with industry provide immediate economic benefits and also lead to innovations that result in better health care and better quality of life for people. Memorial University is committed to medicine and medical research and is poised to do much more."

President Meisen, who will make a presentation about health research at Memorial, said 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 research showcase is a very important element in our communications with the pharmaceutical industry. Through increased awareness of our strategic research capabilities we hope to develop partnerships with industry that will result in significant increased investment in research."

Dr. Patrick Parfrey, University Research Professor, will speak about clinical epidemiology and Dr. Thomas Michalak, professor and Canada Research Chair in Viral Hepatitis/Immunology, will speak on molecular virology and hepatitis research.

Dr. Proton Rahman, assistant professor of internal medicine (rheumatology), CIHR New Investigator and Arthritis Society of Canada Scholar, will speak about utilizing population structure to study genetic diseases. Dr. Stephen Bornstein, professor and co-director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research, will speak about the centre's role in promoting research in the province.

Also participating is Richard Comerford, acting vice-president, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Newfoundland and Labrador. Concluding remarks will be made by Memorial's dean of medicine, Dr. Ian Bowmer.

Dr. Bowmer noted the Faculty of Medicine has promoted health units with clinical faculty across the province, through which distributive learning and research take place. "Through its membership in the Health Boards Association for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Faculty of Medicine is uniquely positioned to facilitate and develop province-wide health research networks."

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