$2 million goes to health research

Fifty-six UBC research projects have received more than $2 million in grants from the B.C. Health Research Foundation (BCHRF) in a recent funding competition.

"This funding recognizes the quality of health research being conducted in this province and here at UBC," says Bernie Bressler, vice-president, Research. "Especially important is the foundation's attention to new investigators. BCHRF funding can help scientists develop their research programs early in their careers."

Grant recipients come from disciplines ranging from obstetrics and gynecology to radiology and zoology.

Projects focus on population health issues such as occupational mortality and domestic violence as well as health services and clinical care. Researchers will also conduct basic science studies of biomedical challenges such as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and duodenal ulcers.

Most of the funding is in the form of operating grants. BCHRF also provides research scholar grants of up to $48,000 per annum for individuals with demonstrated potential to become outstanding independent B.C. researchers.

Psychiatry Prof. Josie Geller is investigating readiness and motivation for change in anorexia nervosa patients.

"Readiness to change in these patients has presented a dilemma for treatment providers," she says. "Many patients are referred for treatment by physicians and family members and may be quite ambivalent about making changes."

Geller will examine whether the models used as a basis for intervention in substance abuse treatment are applicable to eating disorders.

Close to 200 patients will participate in the study, which will be conducted at the Eating Disorders Clinic at St. Paul's Hospital, the main treatment centre for the disease in B.C.

Psychology Prof. Stanley Rachman will be testing a new explanation of pathological obsessions, the persistent thoughts that are a central feature of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Rachman will investigate the idea that obsessions are caused by catastrophic misinterpretation of the significance of intrusive thoughts.

Four studies are planned including a comparison between the unwanted unacceptable thoughts reported by patients with obsessive compulsive disorder to those reported by patients with other anxiety disorders.

BCHRF distributed a total of $3.5 million to fund 85 research projects at universities, hospitals and community agencies.

The largest provincial source of health research funding in B.C., BCHRF is the only agency in Canada that funds the full range of health research from basic medical science to community-based studies.