New cancer research lab coming to BU


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Brandon University recently secured a $1.2-million funding boost to help establish a new breast cancer research laboratory on campus.

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Brandon University recently secured a $1.2-million funding boost to help establish a new breast cancer research laboratory on campus.

A Wednesday news release from BU revealed that the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Research Manitoba are providing $457,197 each to help get this project off the ground, with various suppliers also providing in-kind contributions valued at $310,568 in total.

This money will be used to provide infrastructure and new equipment for BU’s new Genotoxicology Research Laboratory, as well as to train some student research assistants.

A shot of Brandon University's campus. (FILE/The Brandon Sun)

This proposed Genotoxicology Research Laboratory will serve as a home base for Mousumi Majumder, a biology professor at BU who is currently studying how microRNAs in blood could be used as biomarkers that reveal the presence of breast cancer, even in its early stages.

Last December, Majumder became a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, which secured $600,000 in funding to support her research over a five-year term.

With this latest announcement, Majumder hopes that a new research lab will help her expand the scope of her research, especially since breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world.

“This is a particularly large issue in rural areas, where cutting-edge detection and treatment are unavailable, and cancer awareness is poor,” she said in a Wednesday news release. “Our objective is to facilitate early diagnosis and to develop connections between our research program and the community to increase cancer awareness.”

Majumder told the Sun over the phone that she is expecting this new lab to be set up in the basement of the John R. Brodie Science Centre over the next two years.

Majumder also mentioned the increased space of this new facility will be a vast improvement over her current lab, which prevents her team from utilizing certain pieces of equipment due to its smaller size.

“We have been surviving,” she said. “We have been producing and publishing good articles in international journals, but … all those instrumental necessities are not going to be a limitation anymore. We are going to be self-sufficient.”

Bernadette Ardelli, BU’s Dean of Science, also championed Wednesday’s announcement surrounding this new cancer research lab, as it will allow Majumder to continue her “groundbreaking” research in Brandon.

“With this support, she will continue to develop a world-class research program that will improve the health of the population locally, nationally and internationally,” Ardelli said.

Even before joining BU in 2016, Majumder has been pursuing this kind of research for more than a decade, having received her PhD in oral cancer genetics and epidemiology from the Indian Statistical Institute and Jadavpur University in 2009.

» The Brandon Sun

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