Government of Canada

Government of Canada

March 16, 2009 19:00 ET

NSERC Honours Leading Edge University of Calgary Researcher

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 16, 2009) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear, and Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), today presented Dr. Peter Tieleman of the University of Calgary with a prestigious NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship.

"I offer my most sincere congratulations to each of the researchers we are here to honour today," said Minister of State Goodyear. "Our government demonstrated our commitment to supporting research and development through Canada's Economic Action Plan. The $5.1 billion investment in science and technology initiatives will ensure that these individuals and the thousands of their associates working in labs, universities and research centres across Canada are encouraged to continue innovating for the benefit of all Canadians."

Dr. Tieleman's leading edge research is like a meeting of proteins and Pixar (the animated film company). His lab group uses the same frame sequence technology as Hollywood animators use to create digital simulations of membrane-molecule interactions. This helps him understand what happens within cells and how specific proteins interact with cell membranes, which could help him understand the basic process involved in Alzheimer's and prion diseases.

"Our hope is that, in the future, these simulations will help us understand the molecular basis of new antimicrobial agents, how specific proteins interact with cell membranes and even help in the design of new biocompatible materials for bioengineering," Dr. Tieleman says.

"Today's award winners are great examples of what Canadian science has achieved and the promise of more world class discoveries in the future," Dr. Fortier said. "Canadians can be very proud of what our researchers are accomplishing."

The Steacie Fellowships enhance the career development of younger scientists who are earning international reputations for their research. Up to six Steacies are presented each year; each two-year fellowship is valued at up to $90,000 per year.

"I'm very honoured to receive this award. It will help us upgrade and expand our computational infrastructure and allow us to spend more time doing research," says Dr. Tieleman. "This extra funding allows me to have several scientists working on this challenging project."

The NSERC Steacie Fellowships honour the memory of Dr. Edgar William Richard Steacie, an outstanding chemist and research leader who made major contributions to the development of science in Canada. Dr. Steacie believed that young researchers are a great national asset and should be given every opportunity to develop their own ideas. He played an instrumental role in setting the direction of the National Research Council starting in the 1950s.

NSERC is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 26,500 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,400 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    Gary Toft
    Director of Communications
    Natasha Gauthier
    Senior Advisor, Media Relations