A new study investigating how the immune systems of two freshwater sports fish respond to different water temperatures and that could have applications for human health is one of 10 new projects at the University of Waterloo to receive major federal funding with the announcement of the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) awarded Barbara Katzenback of the Faculty of Science a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship to study changes in the immune system and health of fish under pressure from climate change. Results are expected to help ecologists in the aquaculture industry raise healthier stock and may also assist health professionals in understanding how people deal with thermal extremes. Other applications include understanding the effects of medically induced hypothermia used to limit tissue damage during a stroke as well as the role of the immune system and its ability to fend against disease.

Banting fellows receive up $70,000 a year for up to two years of research.

"I am pleased that this high-quality work from these talented researchers in a diverse range of disciplines is receiving this deserved recognition," said James Frank, associate provost, graduate studies at Waterloo.

The Government of Canada also awarded nine doctoral students at Waterloo with the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, worth up to $150,000 over three years. The Vanier program supports transformational research and attracts world-class students working on a PhD. Each award is granted through one of three funding agencies: NSERC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The UWaterloo recipients of Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships are:

  • Marisa Beck (SSHRC), Faculty of Environment, is assessing the usefulness of formal models in climate change policy making.
  • Christine Czoli (CIHR), Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, is investigating electronic cigarettes to inform policy.
  • Martin Derka (NSERC), Faculty of Mathematics, is searching for error-correcting codes that improve the reliability of digital communication.
  • Yk Hei Franki Kung (SSHRC), Faculty of Arts, is researching how culture and lay beliefs influence people's motivational processes at work.
  • Tomas Jochym-O’Connor (NSERC), Faculty of Science, is developing a set of tools for the physical implementation of fault-tolerant quantum error correction.
  • Stuart Linley (NSERC), Faculty of Engineering, is studying recyclable nanocomposites for industrial wastewater treatment with a focus on oil sands wastewaters and emerging contaminants.
  • Michael McTavish (NSERC), Faculty of Environment, is exploring how exotic earthworms are influencing native and invasive plant growth.
  • Matthew Schmidt (NSERC), Faculty of Science, is studying quantum molecular dynamics of confined molecules.
  • Heather Cray (NSERC), Faculty of Environment, is looking at restoring Ontario’s tallgrass prairie using ecosystem fragments.

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships aim to attract and retain top talent, and prepare recipients as leading researchers to solve the challenges of the future.  The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships recognize top academic achievement and leadership skills. They support recipients as they complete doctoral degrees while conducting significant research.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca

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