CFI, IEM and Others Fund BU Biology Research Project

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posted September 21, 2011

CFI, IEM and Others Fund BU Biology Research Project


Brandon, MB — Dr. Peter Rombough and Dr. Janet Koprivnikar of the Brandon University Biology Department have officially received the news that their collective project, entitled “High Performance Swimming Respirometer” will receive a total of $75,678 in funding. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), through its Leaders Opportunity Fund, and Manitoba Innovation Energy and Mines (IEM), through the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund (MRIF), have each contributed $30,271, while the remaining amount will be covered by external suppliers and Brandon University.


The two Brandon University faculty members will investigate how organisms utilize energy, a central concept to understanding many important physiological and ecological problems. The high performance, multi-channel swimming respirometer will allow the researchers to accurately measure energy use by aquatic organisms under a variety of environmentally relevant conditions. Researchers can then use the information on metabolic rates to gain insights into a broad range of theoretical and practical problems.


“I would like to thank the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and Manitoba Innovation, Energy and Mines for their support of this important work.  The ongoing support of research at Brandon University by the federal and provincial governments holds many benefits for our faculty, our students and all Manitobans,” said Dr. Scott Grills, Brandon University’s Vice President, Academic and Research.


The funds will be used to purchase equipment necessary to pursue this research. The researchers will now have the ability to examine a variety of biological issues, ranging from the energy needs of endangered species to why animals age. A priority will be determining the energy needs of endangered sturgeon species and the differences in energy use between short-lived fish and longer-lived species.


“Energy is the common currency of life and information about how animals use energy provides great insight into their basic biology and how they respond to environmental change,” said Dr. Rombough. “We have a fairly good understanding of how older and larger animals utilize their energy resources, but for technical reasons it has been difficult to obtain the same type of information for developing and very small animals. This equipment employs state-of-the-art technology and will allow us to begin to fill in the gaps concerning energy use by animals at all stages in their life cycle.”


As for Dr. Koprivnikar, her research focus differs, but will benefit from the equipment this funding will provide. Now, she will be able to measure aspects of host energetics.


“(This) will provide an opportunity to better understand how various disease-causing organisms impact their hosts and how this changes under different conditions,” she said.  Such information has been difficult to obtain without using cutting edge technology but will help researchers achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the various ways in which pathogens affect host health.”



For more information, please contact:


Joanne F. Villeneuve
Brandon University
270 – 18th Street
Brandon, MB  R7A 6A9
Tel. 204-727-9762 


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