IMHA On The Move! - November 2015

Table of contents

A Message from the Scientific Director

November heralds a new era for Canadian health research. Beyond welcoming a new federal health minister, the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis is pleased to look forward to the further development and launch of funding opportunities in support of new and exciting research in fulfilment of its 2014–2018 Strategic Plan.

Young Investigators Forum 2015

Under the Capacity Building strategic goal, we hosted a Young Investigators Forum, October 22–23 in Kananaskis, Alberta, bringing together over 80 researchers in the first five years of their academic appointments. The Forum was purposely scheduled to coincide with the Arthritis Alliance of Canada’s (AAC) annual meeting so that our Forum participants could benefit from networking with AAC meeting delegates, trainees from The Arthritis Society, and patient representatives. It was also an excellent opportunity for participants to learn about the legacy of the late Dr. Cy Frank, inaugural Scientific Director of CIHR – IMHA, to whom the AAC symposium, “New Directions in Osteoarthritis Research,” was dedicated. Presentations and workshops on new CIHR reforms, grant writing, patient engagement, and breakout sessions on specific topics like building multidisciplinary teams, reinventing your career and establishing a publication record, all generated much animated discussion. From initial feedback we received from Forum participants, the event was a success and achieved its goal of bringing researchers together to learn and network together, stimulating the growth of new collaborations and new research projects.

Research Ambassadors Meeting and Lay Language Project

Patient Engagement, which was an integral part of our Young Investigators Forum, was also the focus of our Research Ambassadors Meeting that was held In Vancouver the week prior to the Young Investigators Forum. We met with our Research Ambassador group, to brainstorm for ideas on a funding opportunity in the area of Health Literacy for Canadians living with chronic Musculoskeletal, oral health and skin diseases. A morning of intense discussion led to a list of actions that included the preparation of a draft funding opportunity with some suggested objectives and target populations. Another major accomplishment of this meeting was the selection of this year’s IMHA Research Ambassadors Knowledge Translation award recipients. In reviewing the lay language summaries of the 2013-14 grant applications that were successfully funded by CIHR-IMHA, the Research Ambassadors identified the need to share their feedback on writing a plain language abstract with the scientific community. As there seems to be a great need for this skill, the Research Ambassadors discussed developing a document to offer to CIHR to impress upon scientists the importance of taking time and care to write their plain language abstracts in actual plain language.

Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine Funding Opportunity

Looking forward, the major funding opportunity in CIHR-IMHA’s immediate future is the Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Disease Network, the deadline for which is December 15th, 2015. In lieu of webinars, we are preparing a list of FAQs and a video of an information session I gave on November 7th at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in San Francisco. I strongly encourage researchers pursuing research in this field to consider forming teams and applying, or submitting Expressions of Interest if they have cohorts to offer. The network resulting from this funding opportunity will be an incredibly important chance for Canadian and Dutch researchers to further their already-excellent strengths in cohorts to dramatically move research forward in this area for the benefit of the international community. Not only is the world experiencing a shift to a global economy with a new Canadian federal department: Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development), but scientific research must also now be regarded as global.

I appreciate hearing from our stakeholder community members. Please send any questions or comments to, and please also follow me on Twitter @HaniElgabalawy.


Hani El-Gabalawy MD FRCPC, FCAHS
Scientific Director
CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis

Funding Opportunities and News

For a full listing of CIHR funding opportunities, please visit the ResearchNet website.

Funding Highlights

2015 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Competition

Important Deadlines:

Registration at Genome Canada – December 11, 2015
Review of eligibility of registrations – December 18, 2015
Deadline for full applications – March 4, 2016

All interested researchers must be registered in order to later apply. Please do not miss this deadline.

Genome Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), is seeking proposals for research projects to address any aspect of bioinformatics and computational biology (B/CB) as it relates to genomics. Proposals with applications across all of Genome Canada’s sectors are welcome, i.e., agriculture, energy, environment, aquaculture/fisheries, forestry, human health and mining.

The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $5 million, with the Government of Canada providing $2 million through Genome Canada and $3 million through CIHR. This amount includes $1 million from the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis for applications that align with its relevant research areas. This amount may increase if additional funding partners participate.

Please visit the Genome Canada website for full information on the 2015 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Competition.

Members of the CIHR – IMHA research community are welcomed and encouraged to apply with relevant applications.

Embedded Clinician Researcher Salary Award

Deadline for applications: March 3, 2016

The CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research (CIHR-IHSPR) and Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (CIHR-IMHA) are pleased to announce the launch of a new funding opportunity: The Embedded Clinician Researcher Salary Award. This award is designed for all early and mid-career regulated health professionals that are clinicians first but need protected time to engage in research that is relevant and responsive to the health system where they are embedded. The award is for $75,000 for up to 4 years, and is intended to help protect 50% of the applicant’s time for research. If you have questions about this funding opportunity, please contact the CIHR Contact Centre at:

Telephone: 613-954-1968
Toll Free (Canada): 1-888-603-4178

CIHR – IMHA Funding Opportunities

Program Name: Personalized Medicine in Inflammation Network (Canada-Netherlands Personalized Medicine in Immune Mediated Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Disease Network)
Application Deadline (Phase 1 Letter of Intent): December 15, 2015

Program Name: Summer Student Research Scholarships in Psoriatic Diseases
This award provides undergraduate and health professional students with opportunities to undertake research projects related to psoriatic diseases with established investigators. The total amount available for this funding opportunity is $50,000 (10 awards.) The maximum stipend contribution per award is $5,000 for four months.
Application Deadline: January 18, 2016

Program Name: Summer Studentship Award – Institute Community Support (2016)
Application Deadline: January 21, 2016

Other Funding Opportunities of Interest

Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey Dissemination Award 2015-2016
Application Deadline: December 10, 2015
Up to 10 winners will each receive $2,500 to publish in a peer-reviewed journal and/or present at an oral session at a national or international conference.

IHSPR Article of the Year Award 2015-2016
Nomination Deadline: February 16, 2016
One $10,000 award is given annually to recognize ground-breaking health services and policy research.

IHSPR Rising Star Award 2015-2016
Application Deadline: February 26, 2016
This award is to support graduate students and post-doctoral Fellows and to recognize the research excellence and knowledge translation initiatives of these emerging health services and policy researchers at an early stage in their career.

New Announcement: Pathways Implementation Research Teams Component 2, Second Launch

The recently launched Implementation Research Team (IRT) Component 2 (enhancement and adaptation) grants will support research teams aimed at strengthening the effectiveness or scalability of population health interventions through community-informed enhancements or adaptations in one of the identified Pathways exemplar areas of:

  • Suicide prevention
  • Diabetes/obesity
  • Tuberculosis
  • Oral Health

The specific objectives of this funding opportunity are:

  • to strengthen the effectiveness or scalability of interventions in the four exemplar areas through community informed enhancements or adaptations using an implementation science approach, and;
  • to support teams to study the enhancement and/or adaptation, and scale-up of population health interventions across at least 4 diverse communities.

As the lead for the Oral Health exemplar area of this initiative, CIHR-IMHA encourages researchers working in this area to apply.

Important Dates

This funding opportunity will be comprised of two stages. The first stage will be a Letter of Intent (LOI), deadline February 15, 2016. Successful LOI applicants will be invited to submit full applications in fall 2016. The maximum grant amount from CIHR is $225,000/year for up to 3 years.

A webinar will be held at 12-1pm (ET) on December 7th, 2015 to assist applicants in understanding the focus and the application process for the IRT Component 2 grants. The webinar will feature Dr. Malcolm King, Scientific Director for the CIHR-Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health and Adrian Puga, Competition Lead for CIHR.

For more information on the webinar please visit the registration page.

Repurposing Research in Rare Diseases Pre-Announced on November 9

Call for proposals – launching Late 2015
Deadline for submission of the letters of intent Early 2016
Deadline to submit full proposals Spring 2016
Anticipated Funding Start Date Summer 2016

The “Repurposing Research in Rare Diseases” program, sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Cures Within Reach (CWR), with the additional contribution of the MindSet Foundation and Mitacs, was pre-announced on November 9. This international program will involve multiple clinical sites located both in Canada and the United States of America and offer researchers with the opportunity to develop projects that translate rare disease research into therapeutic approaches that are aligned to real unmet healthcare needs. CWR and CIHR will fund research projects with well-defined near-term applications deemed to significantly impact the rare disease research landscape.

It will build upon the extensive initiatives and multiple rare disease projects funded as part of the CIHR Personalized Medicine Signature Initiative. “Repurposing Research in Rare Diseases” plays a role in CWR’s 100 Projects 100 Days Challenge which is a call for researchers and clinicians to share new projects and ideas to prove to the world that repurposing existing drugs for health care needs is a critical piece of the healthcare puzzle.

Each research proposal will need to meet the following requirements: generate clear deliverables with immediate applications, including off-label use, for rare diseases management; propose novel (evaluation criteria to lower projects that have been done) proof of concept clinical trials involving, multiple clinical sites in Canada and the United States of America, and; propose an adequate development plan to ensure the realization of the expected benefits.

This funding opportunity will soon be launched. Please look for application instructions at that time.

Young Investigators Forum

The Young Investigators Forum is a major training and educational initiative of CIHR-IMHA. Forums like this aim to bring young investigators together to interact with one another, learn about upcoming CIHR initiatives, and attend workshops. CIHR – IMHA’s 2015 forum offered young investigators working in the research areas of arthritis, bone, muscle, MSK rehabilitation, oral health and skin, some tools that will be helpful in preparing for and being successful in CIHR grant competitions as well as giving them a 'home' in the IMHA research community. This year’s forum was held October 22–23 in Kananaskis, AB. We asked several participants from different research areas of focus to share how the forum impacted them.

Focus Area: Clinical research

Steven Passmore, DC, PhD
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Kinesiology & Recreation Management
University of Manitoba

What really stood out for you about the Forum?

The diversity and excellence of the researchers and clinician-scientists in attendance was a standout feature about the forum for me. Getting to have meaningful conversations with both senior colleagues from across the country who were invited speakers, and peers who were at a similar stage of career was memorable, motivating and inspiring.

What did you learn that was relevant for your area of research?

I learned where to seek research funding, and where potentially not to for my research program. As a young investigator whose time is divided between research, teaching and service, you really need to prioritize how you spend your time. Seeing first-hand the funding programs and priorities from CIHR – IMHA, and The Arthritis Society was very helpful, as was the question-and-answer session that followed their presentations.

Was it helpful for networking/forming future collaborations?

The event was extremely helpful for collaborations and networking. During the poster session, I noticed work by an author I have cited many times, but never met. As a result of that session we were able to meet during lunch the following day and plan out some collaborative research projects together. Our clinical population interests overlap, but we typically attend different conferences, so the IMHA YI Forum was the perfect opportunity to make that “face-to-face” connection that served as a catalyst for our forthcoming collaboration.

What would you like to see improved or added for a future YI Forum?

In the future, the opportunity to build in features of the location into some sort of team building or ice breaking exercise would have been appreciated. Kananaskis is an absolutely beautiful place, so why not have some small group discussions while taking a hike, or going for a climb? That way in the future IMHA can allow delegates to network, learn from each other, get some physical activity and take in the natural beauty of their surroundings all in unison.

Focus Area: Clinical Research

Christine Novak, PT, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Surgery
University of Toronto

What really stood out for you about the Forum?

The YI Forum provided the opportunity to meet and network with researchers from across Canada, to share ideas and experiences and to gain increased knowledge regarding the current CIHR funding opportunities. The senior investigators highlighted the types of resources available to assist young investigators and the importance of building and being a part of a strong multidisciplinary team.

What did you learn that was relevant for your area of research?

The funding opportunities available both internal and external to CIHR and how to highlight therelevant aspects to improve grant submissions.

Was it helpful for networking/forming future collaborations?

The networking with both senior and young investigators was extremely helpful. There was ampleopportunity to network between sessions and at the social events. The poster session was helpful tointeract with other young investigators and to see the interaction with basic science and clinicalresearch and knowledge translation.

What would you like to see improved or added for a future YI Forum?

In a future YI Forum, it would be great to hear from Young Investigators who have been awardedlarge CIHR grants or other major granting agencies. It would be useful to hear their perspectives andstrategies of what helped them on the journey to successful funding.

Focus area: Basic Science

Gerd Melkus, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Radiology
University of Ottawa

The opportunity to participate in the IMHA Young Investigators Forum this past October was a valuable experience for me. I appreciated the general overview of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the information about how to apply for funding and what the probability is to receive funding as a new investigator. It was also interesting to hear from The Arthritis Society on its needs and possible funding opportunities with that organization. During the patient engagement session, I really liked hearing the first-hand view from a patient perspective, learning how members of the public view research and how they want to participate in health research. I also enjoyed meeting other investigators working in the musculoskeletal health research area and finding out about their research interests. The Poster Mixer provided a great format to talk with and get to know other young investigators. I would attend future forums to stay current on the application process, learn about funding possibilities with other organizations such as NSERC and to meet people with whom I may collaborate in the future. Finally, I found the forum to be well organized, the right amount of time and in a venue that was conducive to learning and to meeting people.

Research News

In keeping with CIHR-IMHA’s mandate of supporting ethical and impactful research to enhance active living, mobility and oral health and to address the wide range of conditions related to bones, joints, muscles, connective tissue, skin and teeth, IMHA On the Move! strives to connect its community of stakeholders by sharing news. Please send your community’s research news to the Institute Communications Project Officer.

Bone density and ovulation – evidence for the egg (correction)

In the last issue of IMHA On the Move! we included news about the work of researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), but connected the study mentioned to an earlier, 2013 publication that appeared in Epidemiologic Reviews. The study published in the August 20th edition of PLOS One by researchers at CeMCOR and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, took the previous work on bone density and ovulation further. While ovulatory menstrual cycles are essential for women’s fertility and needed to prevent bone loss, the medical/cultural expectation is that clinically normal menstrual cycles are inevitably ovulatory. The proportion of regular, normal-length ovulatory menstrual cycles in the general population is, however, unknown. The objective of the study led by Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, and published in PLOS One, was to determine how many women actually ovulate during their menstrual cycles. The study’s conclusion was that anovulation occurs in over a third of clinically normal menstrual cycles – that is, over a third of women do not actually ovulate during their seemingly normal menstrual cycles. These findings raise questions regarding the implications of bone density loss in women who appear to be menstruating normally, but are not actually ovulating. The research was funded by a grant from the CIHR and by various public health institutions in Norway.

Developing a more complete picture of arthritis in Indigenous communities

Dr. Cheryl Barnabe – CIHR Foundation Grant Recipient

Dr. Cheryl Barnabe, a Métis clinician and researcher at the University of Calgary, is exploring why arthritis appears to disproportionately affect Indigenous communities, and what can be done to reduce these disparities. With her Foundation Grant, Dr. Barnabe will focus on one issue in particular: access to appropriate health care. Read more.

Muscle fatigue: friend or foe?

Interview with Dr. Jean-Marc Renaud, a CIHR-funded researcher with the University of Ottawa’s Neuromuscular Research Centre. He explores how force can be built-up through endurance training and how his study on muscle fatigue could help find possible treatments for periodic paralysis, a condition known as hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (hyperKPP). Read more.

Partner News

CIHR-IMHA Partner organizations are invited to share their news with our research community. Please send your organization news to the Institute Communications Project Officer.

Institute for Work and Health

IWH marks Global Ergonomics Month with MSD prevention resources and events In recognition of October being Global Ergonomics Month, IWH is offering a number of resources, tools and events to help prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). They include: a new resource page on participatory ergonomics; eOfficeErgo, a free online ergonomics training program for office workers; and two plenaries on MSD prevention strategies. IWH joins other partners in Ontario in marking Global Ergonomics Month. For a look at what is happening system-wide, check out the Ministry of Labour’s Ergonomics Month page. Visit the Ministry’s website.

Understanding work-related hand dermatitis in health care

Occupational hand dermatitis is a serious and debilitating disease that’s very common among health-care workers. However, we still know little about its prevalence, its impact or ways to prevent it. A project by the Centre for Research Expertise on Occupational Disease (CREOD) is identifying best practices to screen and prevent hand dermatitis in hospital settings. The use of a new screening tool was found to be feasible. It also revealed prevalence rates and risk factors similar to those reported in the literature. Learn more about the study: Dermatitis Screening Practices in the Health Care Sector [ PDF (264.6 KB) - external link ].

Meetings of Interest

2016 CRA Annual Scientific Meeting and AHPA Annual Meeting
February 17-20, 2016 Lake Louise, AB

Pacific Dental Conference
March 17-19, 2016 Vancouver, BC

10th International Congress on Autoimmunity
April 6-10, 2016 Leipzig, Germany

Sparking Population Health Solutions: Research for a Healthier Future – An International Summit
April 25-28, 2016 Ottawa, ON

10th World Biomaterials Congress 2016
May 17-22, 2016 Montreal, QC

8th World Congress of the World Institute of Pain
May 20-23, 2016 New York, New York, USA

9th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
(PREMUS2016) June 20-23, 2016 Toronto, ON

Keep Up With The News

In this age of social media, it is important for researchers, health policy decision makers, academics, patient advocates, and patients to stay knowledgeable about their health topics in the news. At CIHR-IMHA, we have been collecting news bytes relevant to our areas of research focus. If you would like to receive a bi-monthly mail-out of these “Google Alerts”, please email the Communications Project Officer.

Contact Us

Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis
University of Manitoba
290 Brodie Centre, 727 McDermot Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3P5

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