CFI awards York University researchers over $592,000 in research infrastructure


Funding will support four projects in film, biology, chemistry and earth and space science & engineering

TORONTO, October 16, 2012 — The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded York University $592,631 in infrastructure funding to support the research of four York professors.

Ali Kazimi, associate professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts Department of Film, will receive $143,186 in funding for industry standard infrastructure of a Stereoscopic 3D Lab @ York, which will augment and build upon the core of the stereoscopic research based production and post-production facility that has emerged out of the 3D FLIC (Film Innovation Consortium) project. S3DL @ York will become the first dedicated facility of its type in Canada, enabling the study of stereoscopic 3D story-telling practices, their production and distribution, combined with insights and best practices gleaned from stringent psycho-physical tests and experimentation. S3DL will meld art and science in the best tradition of inter-disciplinary research, enabling one to push the boundaries of the knowledge generated by the other and vice versa in a deliberate, complementary and interactive way. Kazimi will work with researchers Laurie Wilcox and Rob Allison from York’s Centre for Vision Research on this project.

Tom McElroy, professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, will receive $135,671 in funding for the creation of a new laboratory to support the development of next-generation space technology, which will be used to measure the composition of the atmosphere from space.  The development of this advanced technology for atmospheric remote sounding will enhance Canada’s contribution to the global monitoring capacity for the climate and atmospheric communities. These contributions are necessary for Canada to maintain its access to global data sets and to provide input for the analysis and modeling of climate change and air quality – critical knowledge for a sustainable future.

Thilo Womelsdorf, assistant professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Department of Biology, will receive $ 158,237 in funding to establish a world-class laboratory to study local and large-scale brain circuits that underlie “attentional control” of behavior – processes that determine what individuals attend to and how efficient individuals are in concentrating on the most relevant sensory information in our environment.  Womelsdorf’s research examines how alterations in these brain circuits lead to dysfunctions of attentional control in major neuro-psychiatric disorders (including major depression, schizophrenia, and addiction).  His research focuses on the key cognitive functions and on areas of the brain that underlie severe dysfunctions of attentional control in order to help improve diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. 

Muhammed Yousaf, associate professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Department of Chemistry, will receive $ 155,537 in funding to develop infrastructure and state-of-the-art methodologies to cultivate new surface chemistries, tailor materials for fundamental studies of cell behaviour and develop next-generation biomolecular microarrays. The funds will establish a new advanced biomolecular materials laboratory at York University to study how man-made materials interact with biological systems. The generation of these smart and responsive materials will provide a platform for new diagnostic screening assays of human disease and for studies of stem cell differentiation towards regenerative medical applications.

“I am delighted that the Canada Foundation for Innovation has recognized four of York’s leading researchers through these awards,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation.  “CFI’s investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure further enhances York’s vibrant research culture and enables our researchers to continue to build on and expand their innovative research programs.” 

York’s projects were part of a $44.5-million investment in CFI’s Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides Canadian researchers with the necessary tools to carry out a range of frontier research. The funding supports 210 research projects across the country.

Minister of State Gary Goodyear announced the funding on Tuesday.

“Our government recognizes that investing in science and technology leads to a stronger, more innovative economy,” he said. “We understand that Canada’s research enterprise is critical to economic growth and job creation.”

“Given the right infrastructure, this talented group of innovators will create solutions that benefit Canadians and Canadians communities,” said Dr. Gilles G. Patry, president and CEO of the CFI.

A complete list of CFI recipients is available on the CFI website.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions, the CFI is helping to attract and retain the world’s top talent, to train the next generation of researchers, to support private-sector innovation and to create high-quality jobs that strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. For more information, visit

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.



Media Contact:
Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 /