Lab Canada

Canada and Japan establish new research partnership

Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) recently signed a partnership agreement to fund joint research projects on the epigenetics of stem cells. The agreement was established under CIHR’s Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium Signature Initiative and JST’s Strategic International Collaborative Research Program.

“CIHR is pleased to work in collaboration with our colleagues at the prestigious Japan Science and Technology Agency,” said Dr Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “We believe this partnership will pave the way to major breakthroughs in this field and the eventual development of new therapeutics to improve human health.”

Epigenetics is a ground-breaking science that examines how environmental factors, such as diet and stress, can have life-long effects on health. This new field of research looks at long-term changes in gene activity that are not the result of modifications in the genetic code. The epigenetics of stem cells is a novel research area where both Canada and Japan demonstrate research excellence.

“The goal of this joint research program is to advance novel biological knowledge in the epigenetics of stem cells,” said Dr Michiharu Nakamura, president of the Japan Science and Technology Agency. “It is also expected that the collaborative research among Japanese and Canadian scientists will contribute to develop innovative treatment methodologies for clinical medicine.”

Under the partnership, CIHR has committed up to $6 million and JST to 600 million yen (approximately $8 million Cdn) for total funding of $14 million Cdn over the next five years. The funding will support a maximum of three research teams that will require the participation of Canadian and Japanese researchers. A funding opportunity will be posted on CIHR and JST’s websites in May.