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Government of Canada funding supports UPEI research on muscle physiology

Dr. Adam Johnston is studying the role of stem cells in muscle tissue repair
| Research

The Government of Canada has made a more than $51 million investment in research equipment across the country through the most recent round of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). Among the projects supported is one led by Dr. Adam Johnston, an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at UPEI. Dr. Johnston’s research is also supported by the Business Development Program of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the UPEI Research Services with an combined award of $461, 000.

Dr. Johnston’s research focuses on tissue adaptation and repair following injury with specific emphasis in the nervous and muscular systems. Since these processes involve stem cells, his lab studies the factors which control stem cell activity.

“This generous investment will greatly enhance my research capability and provide me the opportunity to establish the UPEI Skeletal Muscle Health and Adaptation Research Laboratory,” said Dr. Johnston. “This laboratory, the only of its kind in Atlantic Canada, will be dedicated to excellence in research, training of highly qualified individuals, and fostering academic and industry collaborations.”

Dr. Johnston utilizes two laboratories on UPEI’s campus. In his biochemistry lab in UPEI’s Health Sciences Building, the funding will allow him to purchase specialized microscopes, a cell culture suite, and equipment to assist in studying gene and protein expression. In his exercise physiology lab in UPEI’s Steel Building, the funding will assist with several pieces of equipment to measure muscle and exercise performance, collect muscle biopsy samples, and oversee clinical exercise trials.

“Investments in Canada’s research infrastructure are incredibly important to our nation’s future,” said the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science. “They help us to attract and retain the very best scientists and give Canadian researchers the tools they need to perform excellent cutting-edge research, train the scientists of tomorrow and enable innovative new discoveries that improve our environment, economy and communities.”

Dr. Johnston’s research equipment is also generously supported by a non-repayable contribution from ACOA’s Business Development Program.

“The Skeletal Muscle Health and Adaptation Research Laboratory is the latest addition to the significant research capacity at the University of Prince Edward Island,” said Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown. “I’m proud to see this unique research happening right here in PEI, supporting our province’s growing biosciences sector.”

“UPEI is delighted that one of the most recent additions to our faculty has been able to establish his outstanding research laboratory so rapidly and we are very grateful to ACOA and to CFI for helping to make that possible,” said Dr. Robert Gilmour, Vice-President Academic and Research at UPEI. “We look forward to many new insights from Dr. Johnston's unique and clinically relevant studies.”

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation

For 20 years, the CFI has been giving researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. And a robust innovation system translates into jobs and new enterprises, better health, cleaner environments and, ultimately, vibrant communities. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI also helps to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers and to support world-class research that strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.

About UPEI

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.


Dave Atkinson
Research Communications Officer
Marketing and Communications
(902) 620-5117

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