Industry Canada

Industry Canada

July 06, 2015 13:32 ET

Minister of State Holder Announces Research Investment to Improve the Quality of Life of Canadians

Minister highlights research of StFX's Dr. Daniel Kane into physical exercise, aging and disease

ANTIGONISH, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - July 6, 2015) - Industry Canada

Seven researchers at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) received a significant long-term investment from the federal government today. The announcement was made by the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology).

Funding of $867,500 will go to researchers and students at StFX, including Dr. Daniel Kane. Dr. Kane is receiving $120,000 to determine the effects of increased energy demand associated with physical exercise on skeletal muscle mitochondrial function, which has been linked to human health and disease, and the aging process. Specifically, Dr. Kane's research will examine how muscle mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell) are affected by things known to alter metabolism, such as exercise, hormones and drugs.

This federal investment supports academic researchers, post-doctoral fellows and students at StFX as they make new discoveries in science and engineering that push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and opportunities, and improve the quality of life of Canadians.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants Program is a foundation of the Government's efforts to develop and support talented researchers at Canadian universities. The program funds discovery in chemistry, physics, life sciences, mathematics, computer science, geoscience and the many branches of engineering. The broad base of research capacity built by these awards has given this country a strong reputation for research excellence around the world.

Quick facts

- On June 22, 2015, Minister of State Holder announced a major federal investment of more than $440 million to support academic researchers, post-doctoral fellows and students across the country. Of the total investment, nearly $12 million will support researchers at universities in the province of Nova Scotia.

- The awards highlighted today at St. Francis Xavier University are part of the results of the 2015 competition for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Discovery Grants, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, Postgraduate Scholarships, Postdoctoral Fellowships and Research Tools and Instruments Grants.

- Dr. Daniel Kane is a professor of human kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University. In his mitochondrial physiology lab, he and his students investigate human kinetics at the cellular level. Mitochondria are found in almost every cell in the body and are responsible for creating more than 90 percent of cellular energy. Mitochondria are known as the "powerhouses of the cell," and the body needs them to sustain life.


"A key pillar of our government's updated science, technology and innovation strategy is ensuring that Canada develops, attracts and retains the world's most talented researchers. Our investment in researchers like StFX's Dr. Daniel Kane will increase our understanding of the relationship between exercise, disease and age-related health risks. Dr. Kane is one of the many talented men and women at StFX whose research continues to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and opportunities, and improve the quality of life of Canadians."

- The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

"NSERC's Discovery Grants program is our flagship. It invests in the full range of science and engineering disciplines and thus builds the strong foundation that is a necessary prerequisite for innovation. We're building on its success with our Discovery Development Grants because we want to take advantage of the full diversity of insights and ideas across Canada. Complementing our support for discovery research, NSERC's scholarships and fellowships invest in a new generation of talent and give some of Canada's most brilliant students and fellows the skills and experience to meet the challenges of the future."

- B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

"We are very proud of Dr. Kane and his work. His vision and insight perfectly represent StFX's approach to producing world-class research-research that directly benefits society. His work is also a wonderful example of our commitment to providing hands-on research opportunities for our students-opportunities not commonly found until graduate school. I wish to personally congratulate Dr. Kane and his impressive team of students on their great work to date, and I'm looking forward to the next update from this talented team."

- Dr. Kent MacDonald, President, St. Francis Xavier University

"Through this research, we aim to better understand the mechanisms by which increased energy demand associated with physical exercise acts to alter mitochondrial function in muscle, exposing key regulators of mitochondrial bioenergetics that have been missing from fundamental models of cellular physiology and account for many of the benefits of exercise to human health. Involving undergraduate students in nearly every aspect of NSERC-supported research at StFX not only benefits the research itself but also helps nurture the exceptional talent and innate scientific curiosity of students at a critical stage of their development."

- Dr. Daniel Kane, Associate Professor, Department of Human Kinetics, St. Francis Xavier University

Associated links

Saint Francis Xavier University

Dr. Daniel Kane

Competition statistics:

- Discovery Grants

- Scholarships and Fellowships

- Research Tools and Instruments Grants

- List of recipients

A World of Discoveries - web page

A World of Discoveries - video

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The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the primary funding agency supporting Canada's science and engineering research community. The agency supports almost 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding approximately 12,000 professors every year and works with over 3,000 Canadian companies that are participating and investing in postsecondary research projects.

Contact Information

  • Scott French
    Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
    Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada

    Martin Leroux
    Media and Public Affairs Officer
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada