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UNBC researchers receive grants

All three proposals submitted by University of Northern B.C. researchers to a national agency won funding for a total of $436,000.
Dr. Chow Lee, pictured with former student Randi Woodbeck, received an NSERC Research Tools and Instruments Grant.

All three proposals submitted by University of Northern B.C. researchers to a national agency won funding for a total of $436,000.

The discovery grants, plus a fourth under research tools, were issued by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and announced Monday.

"NSERC's ongoing support of research, training, and networking allows UNBC faculty to continue to conduct world-class research that has a direct impact on our region and our country," said Ranjana Bird, vice-president research, in a Monday press release.

"All of our outstanding researchers who submitted Discovery Grant proposals this year were successful, which reflects the high quality of research at UNBC."

UNBC also received $52,500 for scholarships and fellowships for high-calibre students in eligible master's or doctoral programs.

The following researchers received grants:

Sarah Gray, Northern Medical Program associate professor, $140,000. Gray's work studies which hormones play a role in regulating energy balance, and how the body manages energy consumption from food and energy expended through actions like metabolic rate.

Russell Dawson, ecosystem science and management professor and Canada Research Chair in Avian Ecology, $105,000. Dawson researches how parent birds divide resources between reproduction efforts and self-maintenance. He will also look at patterns of paternity in socially monogamous birds, and the interactions between nest-dwelling parasites and their avian hosts, and how female birds select mates.

Alex Aravind, computer science professor, $90,000. Aravind's work will evaluate performance of concurrent programs, which allow multiple computations to occur simultaneously rather than one after another in an effort to solve synchronization problems.

Understanding those issues will allow software engineers to design simple, reliable and efficient software for future systems including education, communication, entertainment, medical and financial systems.

Chow Lee, biology professor, and Stephen Rader, chemistry professor, $48,999. The co-applicants plan to purchase a device with imaging capability for proteins and nucleic acids analysis.

The grant covers 90 per cent of the cost and replaces a 14-year-old machine. Lee will focus his work on better understanding the RNA decay processes as they relate to cancer. Rader plans to focus on the pre-messenger RNA splicing mechanisms.

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