Michael Woodside, University of Alberta (UofA) professor, received $370,700 in emergency funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to support his work identifying a drug that will prevent the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic from replicating once inside an infected host.
Using the NRC's state-of-the-art microscopy quiet space and optical tweezers at its Nanotechnology Research Centre to mimic what happens inside an infected cell, Michael is working closely with several other UofA professors, a growing list of graduate students, and collaborators in the United States to solve the many problems involved in identifying and testing potential drugs.
"Working together is more important now than ever," Michael explains." We aim to identify drugs that can be tested for effectiveness and safety in future trials. The plan is to screen first for drugs that are already approved for human use that could be repurposed to treat COVID-19 more quickly before broadening the search to potential drugs that are not currently approved."
For many years, Michael worked as a scientist for the NRC and now collaborates with the Nanotechnology Research Centre on the Nanotechnology Initiative. This initiative is a collaboration to expand Canadian nanotechnology capacity and foster breakthrough research. In round 1, an investment of $10M within the span of 3 years was allocated to 9 projects, including a project between the Nanotechnology Research Centre's Marianna Kulka, Biomedical Nanotechnologies Team Lead, and Michael Woodside on immunotherapy.