CFI leadership grants strengthen UVic research

Engineering, Science

An aquatic disease research facility at the University of Victoria will help mitigate the impacts of climate change on aquatic ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture in Canada. 

The project is one of five UVic projects receiving a total of $823,000 in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leadership Fund, announced today as part of a federal investment of more than $52 million in new infrastructure projects at universities across Canada. These grants allow a select number of researchers from around the country to carry out ground-breaking research in world-class facilities. 

The aquatic disease research facility, led by molecular biologist Caren Helbing and Canada Research Chair of Genomics and Molecular Biology Ben Koop, will receive a $398,000 grant. These funds will be used to establish a laboratory to study how—in the face of climate change and other human impacts—aquatic ecosystems can sustain fish and invertebrate species of commercial, recreational and ecological importance.

Media contacts: Caren Helbing (Microbiology) at 250-721-6146 or and Ben Koop (Biology) 250-472-4071 or 

Microbiologist Lisa Reynolds will receive a $195,000 grant to study how intestinal microbes and parasites may be linked to allergies and susceptibility to infectious diseases, with the ultimate goal of revealing new pathways by which our immune system can be targeted to protect from allergies or infectious diseases.

Media contact: Lisa Reynolds (Microbiology) at 250-721-6658 or 

Geoscientist Jon Husson will receive $70 000 to establish a geochemical laboratory to study the ancient carbon cycle, a line of research that will provide crucial insights into the impact that human-caused climate change will have on the future.

Media contact: Jon Husson (Earth and Ocean Sciences) 

Hydrologist Tom Gleeson will receive $100,000 to establish a field and computer laboratory for studying groundwater science and sustainability around geological fault zones. Research will provide evidence to BC decision makers and provide solutions to BC companies related to groundwater resources, geothermal energy and shale gas development. 

Media contact: Tom Gleeson (Civil Engineering) at 250-853-3934 or 

Environmental engineer Caetano Dorea will receive $60,000 to establish a lab to work on solutions to address the global need for improved water, sanitation and wastewater infrastructure, especially in remote communities. It will also develop potentially commercial methodologies and tools for BC companies and products.

Media contact: Caetano Dorea (Civil Engineering) at 250-472-5844 or

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Media contacts

Suzanne Ahearne (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-6139 or

Vimala Jeevanandam (Communications Officer, Faculty of Science) at 250-721-8745 or

In this story

Keywords: microbiology, engineering, earth and ocean sciences, climate, carbon cycle, disease, aquaculture, fisheries, water, research, funding, oceans

People: Caren Helbing, Ben Koop, Lisa Reynolds, Joh Husson, Tom Gleeson, Caetano Dorea

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