This August the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, minister of Science, announced that the Canadian Government, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), will invest more than $52 million in 220 new infrastructure projects across Canadian universities, and Trent University’s Dr. Aaron Shafer has been named one of the awardees.
Professor Shafer, an assistant professor in the Forensic Science department, has received $59,605 in JELF funding which he will receive in installments over the next year to fund the equipment and resources needed for his project, “Population genomics of natural populations.”
His groundbreaking project uses genomic experiments to seek answers to questions surrounding populations of hooved wildlife, such as deer and mountain goats. Additionally, Prof. Shafer’s program will work towards establishing a state-of-the-art wildlife genomic research program at Trent.
“Similar to how researchers have looked at genes that might lead to something such as arthritis in humans, my project looks at the genes that are associated with antlers or body size, for example, to understand how that might drive natural processes such as migration or adaptation,” explains Prof. Shafer. “The technology is relatively new. Genomic research was something we used to only be able to apply to humans and fruit flies. This funding gives me the ability to do genomic research on site and bring the technology to Trent.”