Six world-class research teams selected to investigate new frontiers in metabolism in health and disease

November 18, 2019

IDRC, the Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) are pleased to announce the recipients of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program’s fifth call for proposals. These world-class research teams will direct their focus towards new frontiers in metabolism.

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IDRC / Vijay Kutty

Selected from 44 proposals, the six winning teams will receive up to CA$7 million of funding over the next three years. The awarded researchers are based in leading institutions in Canada and Israel and will include 14 researchers and trainees based in six developing countries. 

Much remains to be learned about the biological causes of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), metabolic syndrome is defined as a pathologic condition characterized by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary diseases, stroke and other disabilities. Over the past two decades, there has been a striking increase in the incidence of metabolic syndrome and other metabolic disorders worldwide, and notably in developing countries. The two basic forces spreading this syndrome are the increase in consumption of high calorie-low fiber fast food and the decrease in physical activity due to mechanized transportations and sedentary form of leisure and labor. Moreover, millions of people are facing a double health burden that represents an unsettling modern-day paradox: the impact of the poverty-related diseases associated with infections and undernutrition is being exacerbated by the emerging epidemic of metabolic diseases, which are associated with increasing affluence.

Using cutting-edge technologies, the research teams will investigate underlying biological mechanisms of prevalent metabolic conditions. The research will advance our understanding of the influence of factors such as the microbiome or circadian rhythms on the human metabolic system. Research findings from these projects may expand treatment options for these conditions.

The Canadian and Israeli teams will integrate researchers from Brazil, Thailand, Argentina, Cameroon, Colombia and Mexico. As collaborators or trainees, these researchers will contribute to, and benefit from, their involvement in the program with the overall aim of strengthening research capacity in their countries, promoting research excellence, and building long-lasting international scientific collaborations.

Please consult the backgrounder for a list of the 2019 selected projects and more information on the program.