UBC Engineering research projects awarded nearly $1M by New Frontiers in Research Fund


The Government of Canada has awarded almost $1.5 million to research projects that are led by, co-led by or otherwise involve UBC Applied Science faculty members through two competition streams of the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF).

The 2021 Exploration stream, which provides grants of up to $250,000 over two years, aims "to support high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research [...] that might fail, but that has the potential for significant impact." The UBC Applied Science-affiliated projects include research on assessing degenerative diseases of the brain and eye and controlling the fate of embryonic stem cells using computer technology.

The 2021 special call on innovative approaches to research in the pandemic context seeks to "accelerate the development and testing of new directions in [...] how research is conducted." The funded UBC Applied Science-affiliated projects will identify strategies for men to build and sustain intimate partner relationships and develop a nasal spray-based therapy for the treatment of early COVID-19 symptoms.

“In a time when relying on scientific evidence has never been more important, our government recognizes the need to invest in Canadian scientists," said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, in the federal news release. "We know that cutting-edge and innovative research will help build a more resilient Canada and future for all. With today’s investment, we are reaffirming our support to help chart a path toward a more equitable, sustainable and resilient postpandemic world, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

Through the NFRF this year, the Government of Canada is providing over $45 million in support for 192 research projects involving 751 researchers. For more information about the funded UBC projects, please see the announcement on the website of the Office of the Vice-President Research + Innovation.

The UBC Applied Science-affiliated projects are:


In Vivo Imaging for Investigating Neurodegenerative Diseases of the Brain and Eye ($250,000)
Principal Investigator: Joanne Matsubara (Opthalmology and Visual Sciences)
Co-Principal Investigator: Myeong Jin Ju (School of Biomedical Engineering)
Co-applicant: Blair Leavitt (Medical Genetics/CMMT)

Hybrid Mechanistic/Data-driven Models for Interatomic Potentials ($250,000)
Pricipal Investigator: Christoph Ortner (Mathematics)
Co-Principal Investigator: Matthias Militzer (Materials Engineering)

Cell simulator: a computer-driven approach to genetically programming cells ($250,000)
Principal Investigator: Nika Shakiba (School of Biomedical Engineering)
Co-applicant: Gary Bader (University of Toronto)

Using Indigenous ways of knowing to design novel structural components and systems ($224,875)
Principal Investigator: Lisa Tobber (School of Engineering UBCO)
Co-Principal Investigator: Michael Benoit (School of Engineering UBCO)
Co-applicant: Bernard Perley (Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies)


In-vitro and In-vivo trials on the aerosolized rhACE2 intranasal delivery approach for treating mild COVID-19 system patients ($248,750)
Principal Investigator: Anubhav Pratap Singh (Land and Food Systems)
Co-applicants: Bintou Ahmadou Ahidjo (UBC FINDER); Mattia Bacca (Mechanical Engineering); Feng Jiang (Wood Science); David Kitts (Land and Food Systems); David Perrin (Chemistry); Don Sin (Medicine/Centre for Heart Lung Innovation); Andrew Thamboo (Surgery/Centre for Heart Lung Innovation)

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