Dr. Tamara Paravicini
University of Ottawa
The Novel and Exploratory Research Fund gives Canada's most brilliant researchers the opportunity to test imaginative new ideas for defeating diseases.
Frederick Banting proved that sometimes you just have to follow your instincts. He had an idea about isolating part of the pancreas and, toiling in a Toronto lab in the long hot summer of 1921 with his assistant Charles Best, came up with insulin. Within a year of his discovery, diabetes ceased to be a death sentence for millions of people.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) has always supported the kind of imaginative and innovative work that Banting and Best personified. That support has been formalized with the creation of HSFC's Novel and Exploratory Research Fund (NERF) to help some of our most accomplished medical minds follow well-informed hunches.
“We know these researchers are brilliant because our review committees have rated them as leaders in their fields,” says Linda Piazza, HSFC's Director of Research. “The idea is to give them a chance to develop an idea that – if it works – could change the world.” This one-year award will allow innovators to test out bold new ideas.
Dr. Tamara M. Paravicini of the Ottawa Health Research Institute wants to know more about a newly identified molecule that grows inside cells when people eat too much salty food.
While it’s well known that a high-salt diet can lead to high blood pressure, it also sparks an inappropriate growth of heart muscle cells and stiffens blood vessels, raising the risk of heart attack.
By looking closely at what the molecule is doing, Dr. Paravicini hopes to gather knowledge about how cardiovascular damage occurs from eating a high salt diet. That knowledge could provide new insights into how heart attacks and strokes occur.