News Release - June 15, 2011

Province, University of Manitoba, GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
Establish Endowed Research Chair to Study Infectious Disease

The creation of Manitoba's first-ever research chair in the immunobiology of infectious disease at the University of Manitoba will further develop the province’s internationally-recognized expertise in infectious disease research, Premier Greg Selinger announced today with GlaxoSmithKline Inc. President and CEO Paul Lucas and University of Manitoba President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. David Barnard.

"Manitoba is an international leader in infectious disease research,” said Selinger. “This new research chair builds on Manitoba’s world-class infectious disease research cluster and uniquely positions our province as the Canadian centre of excellence in the study of emerging infectious diseases.”

The $3 million investment for the Chair in the Immunobiology of Infectious Diseases will help focus existing research at the U of M in the areas of immunology, infectious diseases, systems biology and public health while continuing to build Manitoba’s reputation as a global leader. The Province of Manitoba is investing $500,000, the University of Manitoba is investing $1 million and GSK’s Pathfinders Fund is providing $1.5 million.

"As a leader in infectious disease research, this funding will help us to attract leading talent to our top research programs in these areas,” said Barnard. “The research breakthroughs that are happening right here in our own province demonstrate the value of investment in public and population health research.”

“The GlaxoSmithKline Pathfinders Fund for Leaders in Canadian Health Science Research fosters medical innovation in Canadian universities, and helps schools like the University of Manitoba attract and retain leading talent – ultimately strengthening Canada’s place as a world leader in innovation.” said Lucas. “GSK believes that innovation is the only way to ensure healthcare system sustainability. Together, through these partnerships, we are proud to be playing a role in strengthening Canada’s healthcare system.”

"We are pleased to work with the University of Manitoba in support of this important position,” said Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak. “This funding supports critical scientific research that is directly linked to innovation, productivity and economic growth.”

A world renowned researcher in infectious disease will be recruited to fill the Chair and will study the increased prevalence of infectious diseases that originate in animals but are transmitted to humans. Global warming and climate change may play a role in this increase.$90 million in As the provincial government’s primary research support initiative, the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund has provided over $90 million in research and innovation support to Manitoba's scientists and entrepreneurs since its creation in 2003.

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