INMD Connections – December 2015

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Message from Philip Sherman, INMD Scientific Director

Photo: 2015 INMD Team members (from left): Kim Banks Hart, Melanie Bergeron, Tushar Shakya, Marc Turcotte, Julia Levin, Jessica Hum, Denise Haggerty, Phil Sherman, Vera Ndaba, Mary-Jo Makarchuk, David Coloumbe, Suzete Dos Santos, Keeley Rose, Sheila Chapman

As 2015 draws to a close, it is time to reflect on highlights of the past year at INMD. One accomplishment was the release of the INMD Strategic Plan Refresh, which will guide activities of the institute until 2018. Another highlight was the New Investigator Workshop held in January in Oak Island, Nova Scotia. The Workshop brought together 39 new faculty members from across the country to focus on interactive sessions related to knowledge translation & exchange, patient and citizen engagement, and a mock grant review exercise with a cadre of distinguished faculty.

INMD was pleased to announce Bariatric Care Team Grants at the Canadian Obesity Summit held in April. Obesity research – A Canadian strength was featured on the CIHR website in Health Research in Action, along with stories of two of these innovative Bariatric Care Team Grant recipients.

An Environments, Genes and Chronic Disease (EGCD) Partner Forum was held in Ottawa in June. This Forum brought together potential partners and principal applicants from 20 successful letters-of-intent (LOI) for a Programmatic Grants in EGCD research funding opportunity. The Partner Forum was an opportunity for potential partners to hear about the proposed research, and to provide input on how this research could be improved prior to submission of the full grant application. This format was new to INMD, and it was well received by participants. The results of the competition will be announced in early 2016.

I wish to thank partner organizations who invited INMD to be part of their annual conferences and scientific events, to share in the recognition of outstanding New Investigators, and to co-fund targeted research efforts. It is an honour and a privilege for me to speak at such meetings and events, where I am always impressed by the breadth and quality of health research that is being undertaken across Canada in the INMD mandate areas.

Finally, a big “shout out” to members of the INMD Institute Advisory Board! They are a fantastic group of dedicated research leaders from across Canada who selflessly contribute time, energy, ideas, and effort to support the ongoing activities of INMD.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming new year to all,

Philip M. Sherman, MD, FRCPC
Scientific Director, INMD

Food & Health Programmatic Grant: Nutrition Trialists Network

Dr. David Jenkins

A programmatic grant for a Nutrition Trialists Network (NTN) has been funded to facilitate multicenter diet and exercise trials across Canada and internationally. The principal investigators are Benoit Lamarche (Laval Univ.), David Jenkins (Univ. Toronto), Peter Jones (Univ. Manitoba), and Jiri Frohlich (Univ. British Columbia). Creation of the cross country (NTN) fills a crucial gap in research capability that was identified at a 2012 strategic planning meeting of the INMD Institute Advisory Board held in Edmonton, Alberta.

The program has an emphasis on the latest measurement techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an outcome measure, led by Alan Moody (Sunnybrook Hospital & Univ. Toronto), especially for cardiovascular disease/arterial health and for oncology trials.CIHR funding of this program of research capitalizes on a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant for MRI equipment and technique development that has been obtained by the research group. The NTN meta-analysis group, led by John Sievenpiper (Univ. Toronto) and Russell De Souza (McMaster Univ.), will identify areas where nutrition research is needed, as well as informing clinical practice guidelines. The program also will act as a national training resource in this area.

The first trial to be run through the NTN is a pilot study of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol lowering and low glycemic index foods and plant oils, together with the Laval exercise program led by Jean-Pierre Despres (Laval Univ.) with colleagues across the country, including: Scott Lear (Univ. British Columbia), Jonathan McGavock, (Univ. Manitoba), and Scott Thomas and Michael Freeman (Univ. Toronto). The trial could expand to include investigators at other centers nationally and internationally, with cardiovascular events as the primary outcome variable.

3rd Annual Community Based Primary Healthcare Team Meeting

The third annual Community Based Primary Health Care (CBPHC) Meeting was held November 25-26th in Ottawa. The CBPHC Signature Initiative supports highly innovative approaches to improve the delivery of appropriate and high quality CBPHC to Canadians. The purpose of the meeting was to critically reflect on progress, achievements, and impacts arising from the 12 CBPHC Teams and to provide a forum for knowledge exchange, critical debate, and collaboration between teams.

At the meeting Dr. Stewart Harris (Western Univ.) gave an update on FORGE AHEAD, which is a five-year research program that brings together First Nations communities, researchers, healthcare professionals, industry leaders, government and policy makers, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations to improve diabetes management in First Nations communities. The primary objective of the project is to develop and evaluate community-driven primary health care delivery models that enhance chronic disease management with the goal of improving access and care to First Nations communities in Canada. The program uses a culturally appropriate implementation approach and integrates knowledge translation by involving relevant stakeholders throughout the program.

CIHR Funding Opportunities

Pre-Announcement: Repurposing Research in Rare Diseases

The Repurposing Research in Rare Diseases program will involve multiple clinical sites located both in Canada and the U.S. 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. For more information, contact the CIHR Institute of Genetics.

Other Funding Opportunities

JDRF and Eli Lilly & Company jointly request applications for Research Toward Glucose-Responsive Glucose-Modulating Therapies. For more information, please visit the ‘Request for Applications’ section of the JDRF website.

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