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Investing in the future of this nation

September 8, 2011

Jason Brown's research could have a dramatic affect on human organ surgery – one day allowing surgeons to take an organ, shut it down and then turn it back on whenever it is needed.

During hibernation and fasting, mammals slow down their metabolism by 30 to 99 per cent in order to reduce their energy expenditure and increase their chances of survival without food or in harsh environmental conditions.

"Understanding how this occurs, and what mechanisms are responsible, can have significant medical applications in the future during surgeries on organs," says the Western Biology PhD student.

The Aylmer, Ontario native is a father of three young children and says the support he received from the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program has been essential to completing his doctorate this year.

"Being a graduate student and a father simultaneously can be difficult. The OGS allowed me to reduce my teaching load and gave me the time I needed to finish my research projects and write my thesis on schedule."

After graduating, Jason also received the Helen Battle Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology to further his research. He appreciates the investment donors have made in his future.

Generous donors to Western's Annual Giving program gave more than $600,000 to The Western Fund this past year. This, along with other donor support, provided funding for scholarships and bursaries including 415 OGS awards. The Western Fund provides Western with resources to seize opportunities like the OGS government matching fund program, where donations are matched 2:1 by the Province of Ontario.

"I hope those who contribute to The Western Fund realize that their donation is really an investment in the future of this nation. Their donations fund education, which in turn leads to innovation, research breakthroughs, and a more peaceful and tolerant society. And so I thank them, not only for helping a single individual like myself in my pursuit of a graduate education, but also for helping my family and my country as a whole."

This article appeared in the 2011 edition of Annual Impact
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