New Health Investigator Grant Recipients 2020/21

Research Nova Scotia is pleased to announce more than $2 million in funding for 21 research projects at eight Nova Scotia universities and healthcare centers through its New Health Investigator Grant.

The New Health Investigator Grant supports early-career health researchers who are engaged in work that aligns with the province’s health research priorities. The grant aims to provide two years of support of up to $100,000 for researchers who are within the first five years of their academic appointment in Nova Scotia or who are new to the field of health research. Funding provided will support the establishment of independent programs of research, support and expand the research productivity necessary for obtaining long term funding from national and external agencies and expand the potential for early-career investigators to make significant contributions in their field. For the 2020-21 academic year, funding for this grant is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.


In Funding





Acadia University

Dr. Tanya Surette
Assistant Professor, Counselling, School of Education
Project: Resilience and Impairment: A Study of Factors Supporting Counsellor Development and Career Longevity
Amount: $99,909.56
Team members: Dr. Micheal Shier, Dr. Kelly Brenton & Dr. Michael Corbett

Cape Breton University

Dr. Jamileh Yousefi
Assistant Professor, Business Analytics
Project: An Explainable Machine Learning to Dissect Geographical Disparities in Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates in Canada
Amount: $100,000.00
Team members: Dr. Claudette Taylor & Andrew Hamilton

Dalhousie University

Dr. Christine Cassidy
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
Project: Designing an Integrated Pediatric Inpatient-Ambulatory Care Service Delivery Model
Amount: $99,682.00
Team members: Dr. Janet Curran, Stacy Burgess, LeeAnn Larocque, Amanda Higgins, Dr. Jordan Sheriko, Dr. Ian Graham, Dr. Britney Benoit, Dr. Annette Elliott Rose, Tanya Murray, Eileen Gillespie, Shauna Best, Karen Carter, Elizabeth Schurman, Joanne Gallant, Claire Richardson, Kristin Taylor & Hwayeon Danielle Shin

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
Professor, School of Public Administration
Project: Home Food Gardening in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Food Security Considerations
Amount: $98,668.00
Team members: Dr. Patty Williams & Janet Music

Dr. Ketul Chaudhary
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine 
Project: Cardiac Vascular Stem Cells in Right Heart Failure
Amount: $100,000.00
Team members: Dr. Susan Howlet

Dr. Parisa Ghanouni
Assistant Professor, School of Occupational Therapy
Project: Community-Based Services for Individuals With Developmental Disabilities: Transition to Adult Care
Amount: $100,000.00
Team members: Dr. Christine Cassidy, Dr. Amanda Casey, Dr. Karen Foster, Dr. Janet Curran, Nancy Walker, Dr. Sara Kirk, Anne Pilmer, Dr. Karen McNeil, Garth Potter, Dr. Lynn Shaw & Dr. Tanya Packer

Dr. Denys Khaperskyy
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine
Project: Role of Stress Granule Formation in Immune Responses to Respiratory Viruses
Amount: $99,980.00
Team members: Dr. Roy Duncan

Dr. Brendan Leung
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Oral Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry
Project: Harnessing Oral Microbiota to Prevent Chemotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis: Functional Screening Using a Bioprinted Mammalian-Microbe Co-culture Model
Amount: $99,600.00
Team members: Dr. Andrew Stadnyk, Dr. Ketan Kulkarni, Dr. Zhenyu Cheng, Dr. Morgan Langille & Dr. Lisa Johnson

Dr. Elaine Moody
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
Project: Primary Healthcare for People with Dementia: Exploring Care Provided by Collaborative Family Practice Teams in Nova Scotia
Amount: $89,489.00
Team members: Dr. Emily Marshall, Susan Savage, Dr. Ruth Martin-Misener, Dr. Grace Warner, Dr. Melissa Andrew, Dr. Alethea Lacas, Dr. Cheryl Smith, Dr. Katie Aubrecht, Sandra Britten, Sacha Nadeau, Heather McDougall, Marilyn Taylor & Dr. Fay Cohen

Dr. Deniz Top
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine
Project: Differences in the Regulation of Behaviour Genes as a Proposed Mechanism for Mental Illness
Amount: $100,000.00
Team members: Dr. James Kramer & Dr. Kazue Semba

Dr. Igor Yakovenko
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science
Project: Screening, Self-Management and Referral to Treatment for Young Cannabis Users: Fulfilling an Unmet Need
Amount: $99,657.00
Team members: Dr. Cameron Wild, Dr. Sandra Meier, Dr. Mohammed Al-Hamdani & Dr. Sherry Stewart

IWK Health Centre

Dr. Jon Dorling
Neonatologist & Division Head, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Project: Preterm Infant Gut microbiome Associations With Environment and Outcomes in the NICU (PIGEON)
Amount: $99,625.00
Team members: Dr. Andrew Stadnyk, Dr. Ketan Kulkarni, Dr. Singh Balpreet, Dr. Dunn Katherine, Dr. Jeannette Commeau & Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo

Dr. Azar Mehrabadi
Department of Pediatrics
Project: Mode of delivery following a previous cesarean birth: identifying risk factors for maternal and neonatal morbidity
Amount: $99,764.00

Dr. Sandra Meier
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Project: An App Responding to Behaviour of People to Promote Mental Wellbeing in Anxious Youth
Amount: $100,000.00
Team members: Dr. Rita Orji, Dr. Alexa Bagnell, Dr. Lori Wozney, Dr. Fernando Paulovich, Dr. Patrick McGrath & Dr. Evangelos Milios

Mount Saint Vincent University

Dr. Phillip Joy
Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition
Project: Exploring Current Nutritional Knowledge and Resources Available to People Living With HIV-AIDS in Nova Scotia: A Comprehensive Needs Assessment
Amount: $99,785.60
Team members: Dr. Shannan Grant, Patricia Williams, Dr. Lisa Goldberg, Dr. Mary Lynch, Dr. Barb Hamilton-Hinch, Dr. Peter Stilwell, Michell Proctor-Simms, Larry Baxter, Marg Dwyer, & Ken McKenzie

Nova Scotia Health

Dr. Leah Cahill
Affiliated Scientist
Project: Does a Simple Blood Test Predict Who Needs Strict Blood Sugar Control to Prevent Heart Disease?
Amount: $93,381.00
Team members: Dr. John Sapp, Eric Rimm, Dr. Susan Kirkland, Dr. Andrew Levy, Dr. Mark Woodward, Dr. Elizabeth Selvin & Allie Carew

Dr. Michael Kucharczyk
Radiation Oncologist
Project: Can Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Prostate Combined With a Radiomics Evaluation Determine the Invasive Capacity of a Tumour (Can MRI-PREDICT)
Amount: $97,683.00
Team members: Dr. Sharon Clarke, Dr. Ahmad Chaddad, Dr. Ricardo Rendon, Dr. Steven Beyea, Dr. Ross Mason, Dr. Chris Bowen & Kara Matheson

Dr. Paula McLaughlin
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Project: Identifying, Understanding, and Mitigating Gaps in Dementia Care
Amount: $98,882.97
Team members: Dr. John Fisk, Dr. Christopher MacKnight, Jennifer Haley, Dr. Jennifer Prentice, Dr. Robin Urquhart, Dr. Maia von Maltzahn & Sacha Nadeau

St. Francis Xavier University

Dr. Britney Benoit
Assistant Professor, Rankin School of Nursing
Project: Provincial Implementation of the Baby-Friendly Initiative: A Collaborative, Theoretically Driven Study
Amount: $99,989.00
Team members: Dr. Christine Cassidy, Dr. Sara Kirk, Dr. Meaghan Sim, Michelle LeDrew, Dr. Gail Tomblin-Murphy, Dr. Annette Elliott Rose, Dr. Doris Gillis, Dr. Nathan Nickel, Sally Loring, Dr. Claire Betker, Kim Shebib, Trudy Reid, Lindsay Arseneau & Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo

Dr. Ryan Reid
Assistant Professor, Human Kinetics
Project: Using activity monitors to improve virtual care for individuals at risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease living in rural areas of Nova Scotia
Amount: $78,813.00
Team members: Dr. James Hughes, Dr. Angela Kolen, Jeslyn MacDonald & Dr. Raza Abidi

Dr. Kara Thompson
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Project: Strengthening Alcohol Policies on Atlantic Canadian Campuses: Working Collaboratively to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm Among Students
Amount: $99,835.00
Team members: Dr. Sherry Stewart, Dr. Darren Krussilbrink, Dr. Mark Asbridge, Dr. Janine Olthuis, Dr. Tim Stockwell, Dr. Catherine Paradis, Dr. Robert Strang & Dr. Bryce Barker

Saint Mary’s University

Dr. Skye Stephens
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Project: The Feasibility of a Program for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Amount: $77,303.00
Team members: Dr. Etta Brodersen, Loren Klein, Dr. Ainslie Heasman, Dr. Ian McPhail, Dr. Angela Connors, Christina Shaffer, Amy Ornstein, Ray MacNeil & Dr. Jamie Livingston