Diabetes Canada operating and scholar grant, a first in New Brunswick.

The hefty grant of $300,000 over three years was awarded to Dr. Thomas Pulinilkunnil, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB). Dr. Thomas Pulinilkunnil was awarded this grant to continue his research into diabetic heart disease in New Brunswick.

The investment in Pulinilkunnil’s research program will help his team to continue the research on diabetes triggered by obesity. He’s already pieced together two out of three critical elements needed to develop a new treatment for obesity related diabetic complications.

Over the next three years, the research he does at DMNB will enable him to gather the third element to launch a new company or collaborate with existing pharmaceutical companies.

“This science won’t just produce a manuscript—it will change people’s lives,” said Pulinilkunnil. “It’s very motivating to see the needs of patients in Saint John and include them as part of a new solution—and very quickly at that.”

Achieving this milestone is a reputation-setting moment for the four-year-old medical school. Amongst 50 applicants in the bid for these valuable CDA Grants, Pulinilkunnil ranked 5th overall in the country, beating out labs from medical schools that have existed for over 100 years.

“People said, you cannot do science in New Brunswick. There were many discouraging people, but we have proved that is not true,” said Pulinilkunnil. “We can deliver. We have delivered. I’m a strong believer that good science can happen anywhere, and Saint John is a very supportive community with a flourishing scientific environment—that’s all it takes.”

Pulinilkunnil’s ultimate goal is to create a world class lab.

“Big institutions are known for exporting talent. DMNB has imported top-notch scientists from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, USA, Cuba, Switzerland, India, Austria and England—all of whom are now training local students,” Pulinilkunnil said.

“Someday in the future, DMNB will be a place that exports talent to the most prestigious universities around the world. Someday soon, we will be known for a unique brand of research—well known.”

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Diabetes Research in the East Coast

Founded in 1953, the Canadian Diabetes Association is a member-based, independently governed charitable organization. It is one of the largest health charities in Canada, and lends support to the more than 11 million Canadians currently living with diabetes or prediabetes.

It is the Association’s mission to lead the fight against diabetes, by helping those affected by diabetes to live healthy lives, preventing the onset and consequences of diabetes, and working to find a cure. As such, the Canadian Diabetes Association is proud to be a leading supporter of diabetes research in Canada and has supported excellent diabetes research in Canada since 1971. In 1975, the Association established the Charles H. Best Research Fund; since then, all research grants, awards, and partnerships have been administered through this fund. Over our history, we have supported more than $130 million in research grants, awards, and partnerships to scientists who have dedicated their careers to the fight against diabetes.

Canadians can be proud of our long history of successes in diabetes research. Banting and Best’s discovery of insulin in Toronto in 1922 was groundbreaking. Since then, Canadian researchers have made huge strides and key advances in understanding how and why diabetes happens, how to make the lives of people with diabetes better, and how diabetes may be treated or prevented. Although the research we fund is diverse in its scope, covering a broad range of specialties/topics, the key aspects of every study: to improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes and to find a cure. Click here to donate to the Canadian Diabetes Association


In 2016, the Canadian Diabetes Association is investing $5 million in our research program. The following is a brief description of research conducted in the Maritime provinces through the funding commitment by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

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