Professors Hui Peng and Njal Rollinson are two of 30 scholars who are sharing $7.3 million in federal funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund. The money will fund new state-of-the-art equipment, new collaborations and research space.
Dr. Peng’s research focuses on “Infrastructure for the unbiased identification of environmental chemicals and their protein targets.” Dr. Peng’s recent studies have highlighted the existence of thousands of previously unknown chemicals in the environment, which are suggested to be of greater importance than well-studied chemicals in terms of their abundances and toxicities. His research is focused on the development of a hybrid chemistry &biology platform for unbiased identification of environmental chemicals and their toxic mechanisms regarding protein targets. Specifically, untargeted chemical analysis and chemical proteomics methods will be developed based on the requested infrastructure, High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry. The knowledge gained from Dr. Peng’s research will make fundamental contributions to deconvolute health and ecological risks of environmental mixtures.
Dr. Rollinson was selected for his research involving the “Integration of long-term data and experimental manipulation to study life-history evolution under rapid climate warming.” Life-history traits have a direct and context-specific effect on reproductive success, such that understanding the trade-offs and ecological context under which life histories have evolved is critical in understanding population growth and extinction risk. Dr. Rollinson’s work in applied evolutionary ecology of ectothermic vertebrates (reptiles, amphibians, and fish), focuses on cold-adapted populations that inhabit a highland area in central Ontario. The work will integrate decades of long-term monitoring data from wild populations with experimental manipulation in the laboratory, to gain fundamental insight into how cold-adapted vertebrate life-histories are transforming and evolving under rapid environmental change. Ultimately, this knowledge will be applied to the conservation and management of exploited populations and species at risk in Canada.
According to Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation, “The continuing support from the Government of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation enables us to attract and retain top global scholars like today’s recipients and push towards breakthroughs across an incredible breadth and depth of research areas.”