Jennifer Stellar

Federal funds coming to UTM

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 9:53am
Carla DeMarco

For UTM researcher Jennifer Stellar, a financial boost of $75,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund will help establish a cutting-edge lab for her investigations into prosocial emotions such as compassion, gratitude, awe, inspiration and love. 

“The CFI funding will enhance my ongoing inquiry into the influence of prosocial emotions on health and well-being with biomarkers and state-of-the-art equipment to conduct studies and analyze the data,” says Stellar, a professor in the Department of Psychology.

“My research examines the link between prosocial emotions and health outcomes, such as immune functioning, which contribute to illnesses such as diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease. This work aims to offer insights into the role of emotions in illness, and hopefully generate interventions aimed at improving well-being and physical health. “

This support for Stellar’s research will go towards such expenses as computers and audiovisual equipment to record subjects’ emotional responses, storage facilities for saliva samples to assess health outcomes and physiological equipment to measure autonomic nervous system responses.

“The CFI funding that is coming to UTM will go a long way to support our researchers and their respective projects, and ensures that we continue to provide sophisticated facilities in order for them to carry out their work,” says Professor Bryan Stewart, Vice-Principal, Research at UTM. “We are proud of the excellent work that our faculty members produce and feel that inspired spaces and modern equipment will facilitate further contributions to their fields and the Canadian research landscape.”

In total, $385,000 in CFI funding is coming to UTM researchers. Along with Stellar’s project, “Prosocial Emotions Laboratory,” the following UTM researchers are receiving funding:

  • Katharina Braeutigam, Department of Biology, $100,000 for her project, “The Relationship Between Genome, Epigenome, and Plant Performance”;
  • Loren Martin, Department of Psychology,” $110,000 for his project, “The Modification of Brain Circuits by Chronic Pain and its Effect on Behaviour”; and
  • Bailey McMeans, Department of Biology, $100,000 for her project, “Using Seasonal Variation to Connect Fish Physiology and Behaviour with Ecosystem-level Energy and Contaminant Flow.”

Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan made the CFI investment announcement last week at Laurentian University in Sudbury. She stated that the Government of Canada would be investing over $52 million in 220 new infrastructure projects at 51 universities across the country, and that this injection of funding will help to retain and attract top talent, and enable institutions and researchers to undertake innovative research in world-class facilities across Canada.

“Our scientists need the best tools and equipment for groundbreaking research and discovery, and we are committed to ensuring they have them,” says Duncan. “Their successes will lead to an improved economy and will fuel an active research community here in Canada and internationally.”

Go to the CFI website to see more details about the announcement and a list of all infrastructure projects recently funded in Canada in the last John R. Evans Leaders Fund competition.