February 14, 2023

CIHR announces $9.6 million of new research funding for 14 WCHRI members

Awards will fund projects that have potential for breakthroughs in women’s and children’s health

University of Alberta researchers have received over $17 million for 22 projects in the latest round of investment funding from the federal government’s health research investment agency.

Of these 22 projects funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), 14 were awarded to WCHRI researchers for $9.6 million as part of its Fall 2022 competition.

Meghan Riddell, a researcher in the departments of obstetrics & gynecology and physiology, received $787,950 for five years to examine how uterine blood vessels grow in pregnancy.

“Part of my research program looks at how the uterus prepares for pregnancy and adapts to early pregnancy at the level of the blood vessels in the uterus,” says Riddell, whose work is also supported by the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation. 

In Canada, a consistent trend for many years has been an increasing age of pregnant people. Unfortunately, pregnant people over the age of 35 are more likely to suffer from infertility, miscarriage and dangerous pregnancy complications like preeclampsia. 

Recent studies have tied decreased fertility and increased pregnancy complications in advanced-age pregnancies to the improper development of the pregnancy-specific uterine lining – called the decidua. The growth of blood vessels in the uterus is an essential part of decidua formation. 

“These blood vessels are very unique and very little is known about how they grow,” says Riddell. “They are sensitive to the hormones that regulate pregnancy and they are different from the blood vessels in the rest of the body.” 

With this CIHR funding, Riddell will investigate how uterine blood vessels grow in pregnancy and also examine if poor blood vessel growth exists in advanced-age pregnancies.

WCHRI recipients of Fall 2022 CIHR awards

Adetola Adesida
Towards the development of clinically implantable bioengineered human nasal cartilage grafts

Kristi Baker
Harnessing dendritic cells to regulate antitumor immunity in colorectal cancer

Xavier Clemente-Casares
Neutrophil responses in doxorubicin-induced myopathy

David Collister
The impact of gender-affirming hormone therapy on biomarkers of kidney function and glomerular filtration rate in transgender adults

Silvia Pagliardini
Cellular and system investigation of the role of sex hormones and PHOX2B on respiratory control

Carla Prado
Using a multimodal and digital intervention to optimize waist circumference, body composition, and cardiometabolic health in endometrial cancer survivors

Tracy Raivio
Microbial adaptation to the mammalian gastrointestinal tract

Meghan Riddell
The contribution of uterine endothelial cell ageing to reproductive decline with advanced age

John Seubert (bridge funding)
Synthetic analogues based on metabolites of omega-3 fatty acids protect mitochondria

Andrew Simmonds
How do canonical roles for peroxisomes and newly discovered non-canonical roles for Peroxins at lipid droplets support neuronal differentiation during early development?

Denise Spitzer (bridge funding)
Canadian mines/global issues: An examination of policy context and the social, health, and environmental effects of Canadian mining in three focal communities in Brazil, the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Philippines

Justine Turner
Establishing the relationship between the intestinotrophic factor glucagon like peptide-2 and the microbiome in neonatal piglets with short bowel syndrome

John Ussher
Aging & metabolic flexibility

Hasan Uludag (bridge funding)
New treatment of blood cancers with improved delivery of nucleic acids