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Research Nova Scotia announced this week that two Acadia researchers have received prestigious New Health Investigator Grants. Dr. Emily Bremer and Dr. Carley O’Neill, both in the School of Kinesiology, received research grants of $100,000 for their work focusing on the health and well-being of Nova Scotians. The New Health Investigator Grant supports early-career health researchers who are engaged in work that aligns with the province’s health research priorities.  The funding not only supports the establishment of independent programs of research but supports and expands the research productivity necessary for obtaining long term funding from national and external agencies.

Dr. Emily Bremer, a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Healthy Inclusive Communities works with children and youth with disabilities to encourage physical activity and physical literacy. Her research demonstrates that young people with disabilities engage in less physical activity than their peers without disabilities, placing them at an increased risk of adverse physical, mental, and social health outcomes. Physical literacy includes the physical, psychological, cognitive, and social elements necessary for sustained participation in physical activity. Over the next two years, Dr. Bremer’s research will seek to increase physical literacy through Acadia’s Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program and measure the ensuing impact on physical, mental, and social health outcomes.

Dr. Carley O’Neill’s work will begin to address the gender gap in pulmonary disease research and rehabilitation programs in the province of Nova Scotia. Across Canada, rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a leading cause of death, are the highest in Nova Scotia. Currently, COPD appears to affect men and women equally in Canada; however, research shows that women are under-diagnosed and under-represented or completely excluded from pulmonary rehabilitation research. Exercise-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms, improving disease management and quality of life but these programs lack sufficient representation of women.  Over the next two years, O’Neill will determine the feasibility of women-specific virtual and in-person pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

  

The Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada's digital campaign, Real Insight. Real Impact. Real Purpose, focuses on topics of top priority and concern to Canadians, including economic vulnerability, climate change and environment, pandemic and wellness, Indigenous reconciliation and cybersecurity. Between the Autumn of 2022 and the Spring of 2023, SSHRC will profile the work of researchers whose work is leading to solutions and contributing to shaping a positive future for Canadians and the world.

On the heels of World Children’s Day (20 November), SSHRC is featuring the work of Dr. Lesley Frank, Acadia University’s Tier II Canada Research Chair in Food, Health and Social Justice, which addresses early childhood food insecurity. The inability of families to provide adequate food for their children is an “inexcusable” problem with global implications. “The solutions lie in creating the economic and social conditions necessary for optimal infant feeding, notes, Frank, “such as ensuring families have access to adequate parental leave and other income supports.”

Dr. Frank's profile can be found on the SSHRC website. You can also watch the trailer for her first book Out of Milk: Infant Food Insecurity in a Rich Nation, which was recently published by the University of British Columbia Press.

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has announced that chemistry professor, Dr. Nicoletta Faraone, has been awarded $251,030 through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) toward a $696,240 project to create a Tick Chemosensory System Station at Acadia University. This critical infrastructure funding has been matched by Research Nova Scotia ($251,030) to support innovative research into repellent products that protect Canadians from tick bites and tick-borne diseases.

Ticks vector the widest array of disease-causing organisms of all hematophagous arthropods and can transmit disease agents of importance to human and veterinary health. The spread of blacklegged ticks (I. scapularis), and high incidence of Lyme disease cases reported in the past 5 years, has dramatically raised public awareness. This is a particular problem in Atlantic Canada, as provinces such as Nova Scotia have the highest ratio of ticks to people in the country.

The Tick Chemosensory System Station supports Dr. Faraone’s goal of exposing the dynamics behind human/animal-tick interactions by linking the neurophysiological response elicited by chemical cues with the corresponding induced and observed behaviour in ticks. The equipment will also optimize and channel information about mechanisms of chemical cue perception in ticks into the development of innovative technologies and formulations to prevent tick bites and thus infections in humans and animals.

Dr Faraone’s award is part of a $64 million investment by Ottawa to support research infrastructure projects at 40 universities across the country. The JELF program helps universities such as Acadia recruit and retain outstanding researchers, and provides the state-of-the-art labs, equipment and facilities that are needed to educate students, train HQP, and make discoveries that will have an impact on Canadians.

Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne notes that the JELF Fund strengthens the country’s “leadership and competitive advantage,” and that is certainly true for Acadia. “The university is grateful for this program of equipment and infrastructure support,” notes Acadia’s Associate Vice-President of Research Dr. Anna Redden, “the JELF Fund has been critical for research innovation and training, and for Acadia’s research impact at regional, national and international levels.”

 

 

Professor Jonathon Fowles of Acadia’s School of Kinesiology has been honoured with the 2022 Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) Global Leadership Award. This prestigious award is given to a American College of Sports Medicine Member with a proven history of advancing the EIM initiative through their professional endeavors.

Dr. Fowles has “demonstrated tremendous leadership in transforming EIM Canada into one of the most prominent programs in the EIM Global Network, building a flourishing EIM On Campus program with 27 institutions,” notes Robyn M Stuhr, EIM’s vice-president, and “he has received numerous rounds of funding to support the development and evaluation of physical activity training programs for physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals and published multiple papers on those efforts.”

The vision of EIM is to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere of all abilities. The scientifically proven benefits of physical activity remain indisputable, and they can be as powerful as any pharmaceutical agent in preventing and treating a range of chronic diseases and medical conditions. Dr. Fowles was the Scientific Lead for a provincial Exercise is Medicine pilot in Nova Scotia, which has resulted in several initiatives to improve medical education, physical activity counseling,  and exercise programming and referral in the province.

Dr. Fowles, who is finishing his term as National Chair with EIM Canada after 6 years at the helm, will be formally recognized at the EIM World Congress in San Diego California in June 2022.

 

Acadia top three in Canada, first in Atlantic region for corporate research income

In the Top 50 Canadian Research University roundup, Acadia had impressive results

Acadia leads all primarily undergraduate universities from Atlantic Canada for corporate research income in fiscal year 2020.

According to financial data posted to the Canadian Association of University Business Officers website, Acadia attracted almost $1.8 million from industry and private sector partners.

Performance rankings  were released on Jan. 25 by Research Infosource as part of its yearly roundup of the Top 50 Research Universities in Canada.

Among primarily undergraduate universities in Canada, Acadia placed third for corporate research income as a percentage (27.5%) of overall research income, and has been in the top five in this category for the past three years. The University also moved up to fifth place in the corporate research income growth category, with an impressive 38.5 percent gain.

"We are proud to be Atlantic Canada's leading undergraduate university for corporate research income," says Dr. Anna Redden, Associate Vice-President, Research. "Our exceptional faculty and students work closely with our Office of Industry and Community Engagement to deliver impactful results within our region, throughout Canada, and around the world."

Acadia excels in applied research and celebrates strong collaborations with industry and community partners, government agencies, and other stakeholders, explains Redden. "Students at Acadia have unique, career-building opportunities to participate in a range of extraordinary research activities that make a difference."

Located in the Annapolis Valley's fertile agricultural region along the Bay of Fundy coastline, Acadia contributes to internationally recognized research, with a strong and growing commitment to regional economic development.

More than 60 percent of Acadia's research is applied in nature and focused on various sectors of regional importance, including agriculture & agri-food, health, environment, cleantech and data analytics.

Acadia's Office of Industry & Community Engagement (ICE) is leading the charge on the applied research front. ICE serves as Acadia's primary entry point for industry partners and national and regional economic development agencies seeking exciting and productive research collaborations.

"Consistent high-ranking in the corporate research category demonstrates our ongoing and growing commitment to applied research and partnerships with industry," says Dr. Dale Keefe, Provost and Vice-President, Academic.

"Acadia provides a transformative liberal arts education for our students," he says. "Our investment in specialized research infrastructure, laboratories, field stations, and research centres and institutes create meaningful opportunities for students while spurring economic development for our partner communities."

Research Infosource Inc. is one of the country's leading research and consulting firms and produces annual research rankings for universities, corporations, hospitals and colleges.

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