BU Researcher Receives NSERC Grant

May 28, 2013

BRANDON, MB – A Brandon University (BU) professor has been awarded a federal grant to study micro-organisms in Manitoba soil that may assist in identifying new infectious diseases of reptiles and other animals.

Dr. Wendy Untereiner, Department of Biology, says the $135,000 Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will fund several projects over the next five years in Brandon and the Narcisse area.

“We will be exploring the diversity and abundance of microfungi in soils,” says Dr. Untereiner. “There are an estimated 1.5-million fungi on Earth, but only 5% have been described and named. It would be great to discover a new species but the real importance of this work is in assessing local and regional fungal diversity. The answers will help us better understand the world we live in.”

Undergraduate students from BU will be hired to assist in the research. Dr. Untereiner says those students will also have the opportunity to publish their research.

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Untereiner on receiving this NSERC Discovery grant,” says Dr. Dean Care, Acting Vice-President (Academic and Provost). “It is not only a testament to the quality of her research proposal, but it is also recognition of Dr. Untereiner’s exemplary research and publication record.”

Dr. Untereiner, a BU graduate, is an active researcher and served as Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Resource Management and the Environment from 2005 to 2009. Her research focuses on the abundance and distribution of microfungi in urban and northern ecosystems. A number of her studies have appeared in Mycologia, a journal published by the Mycological Society of America, including the current cover story (http://www.mycologia.org/). She will also be receiving the Senate Award for Excellence in Research at BU’s May 31st Convocation Ceremony.

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For more information, please contact: 
Dr. Wendy Untereiner
Professor, Dept. of Biology
204-727-9603
Untereiner@Brandonu.ca
Glen Kirby
Communications Officer
204-727-9762
kirbyg@brandonu.ca