Genomics-Based R&D Centre for Hearing Science

 

April 6, 2016 – Grand Falls-Windsor, NL

The EXCITE Corporation is very proud to announce the establishment of a Genomics-Based R&D Centre for Hearing Science in Grand Falls-Windsor.  Infrastructure funding totaling more than $1 million was announced today by His Worship, Barry Manuel, Mayor, Town of Grand Falls-Windsor and Chair of the EXCITE Corporation, along with other funding partners at a launch in Grand Falls-Windsor, NL.

“A project of this magnitude in rural Newfoundland and Labrador is testament to what can be accomplishedwith determination, creative and innovative thinking and cooperative partnerships. This announcement is a significant milestone in achieving our long term goal of building a healthcare/ life science economy in Grand Falls-Windsor. We appreciate the support and partnering of the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, of our three university collaborators, Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of Western Ontario and McMaster University, as well as, the Canadian Hearing Foundation.”

-           His Worship, Barry Manuel, Mayor, Town of Grand Falls-Windsor and Chair, EXCITE Corporation Inc.

The Genomics-Based R&D Centre for Hearing Science will use family genetics to identify and study the causes of auditory hearing loss. The results will be used to create computer models of the damage to the auditory system and how it affects acoustic signals. This information will enable industry to tailor hearing aid technologies to compensate for hearing loss caused by specific auditory damage.

The Government of Canada is investing $632,716 for the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

“This EXCITE project aligns well with our Government’s focus on infrastructure and innovation and builds capacity in Grand Falls-Windsor’s developing knowledge and innovation economy.  We are committed to partnering with other levels of government and educational institutions to ensure federal programs support innovation and commercialization, scientific research and entrepreneurship to create lasting and meaningful impacts in our communities.”  

-           Scott Simms, Member of Parliament for Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Provincial Government is investing $190,000, through the Regional Development Program, in the project. 

Innovation has a tremendous influence on our province’s social and economic development. The applied research that will be undertaken at the new Genomic-Based R&D Centre for Hearing Science promises to be ground-breaking, offering new solutions for those who struggle with hearing loss. This project is bringing advanced research to Grand-Falls Windsor, while also expanding on their model of education-based partnerships.  It is opening rural Newfoundland and Labrador up to the opportunities that exist in the advanced healthcare sector.” 

-           The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development

Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine is contributing $180,000 to the R&D centre. The project will be led by Memorial, the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University in collaboration with the EXCITE Corporation. Dr. Terry-Lynn Young, a professor in Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine, is the principal investigator.

“Through our Strategic Research Intensity Plan, Memorial University is addressing research priorities in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Terry-Lynn Young and her collaborators are engaging in innovative research that will improve the well-being of the people of our province and beyond. Memorial is proud to contribute to the establishment of this new R&D centre in Grand Falls-Windsor.”

-           Dr. Richard Marceau, Vice-President (Research), Memorial University of Newfoundland

 

Quick Facts

  • EXCITE Corporation is establishing a Genomic-Based R&D Centre for Hearing Science in Grand Falls-Windsor.
  • The Genomics-Based R&D Centre for Hearing Science will use family genetics to identify and study the causes of auditory hearing loss.
  • The project will be led by Memorial University, the University of Western Ontario and McMaster University in collaboration with the EXCITE Corporation. University partner expertise in genomics, hearing science and computer modeling will be used to develop pre-commercial biomedical innovations for the treatment of hearing impairment and related disorders. 
  • Funding of more than $1 million was announced today, which includes investments by the Government of Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Memorial University.

 

Project Funding supports EXCITE’s long term goals of:

  • Commercialization to attract future investment in Grand Falls-Windsor.
  • Longitudinal studies of genetic hearing impairment, monitoring factors such as age-related or environmental impacts.
  • Developing an international hearing research education centre.

Grand Falls-Windsor is an ideal site for this important research as it offers the tremendous advantage of working with the founder population in this province.  Newfoundland and Labrador is recognized as one of the world’s prime founder populations for conducting genetic research, with 80-90% of people able to trace their ancestry back to 20,000 - 30,000 settlers who arrived from Ireland and England in the 1700s and 1800s. 

The founder population of Newfoundland and Labrador is a rare and immensely valuable type of resource for research.  Practically speaking, there is a significant advantage to studying families with many members from multiple generations, who can be connected to a particular history of migration.

About the EXCITE Corporation

EXCITE CORPORATION IS THE NOT-FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT UNIT OF THE TOWN OF ​GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR. IT PROMOTES A KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY BY FACILITATING NEW INVESTMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS IN THE SECTORS OF HEALTHCARE, LIFE SCIENCES, AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY