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$7.5M supports brain research projects


Montreal, QC – Five Multi-Investigator Research Initiative (MIRI) grants and associated funding partnerships have been announced by Brain Canada.

The teams will each receive grants of $1.5 million over three years to pursue novel, transformative research aimed at improving our understanding of nervous system function and dysfunction, and its impact on health. The total joint funding is $7.5 million in total, shared equally between the partners and Brain Canada with matching funds provided from the Canada Brain Research Fund.

The teams were recommended for support following the 2012 MIRI competition, together with the five teams funded and announced earlier this year in collaboration with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation (with additional funding provided by The Krembil Foundation).

The five new MIRI grant projects include research into:

1) Project title: “Investigating protein misfolding in a myotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)”; team led by Dr. Neil Cashman, University of British Columbia. Team members are Jane Roskams (University of British Columbia); Jean Pierre Julien, Jasna Kriz (Université Laval). Funding partners are University of British Columbia, Genome BC, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS)

2) Project title: “Developing a non-invasive treatment of paediatric neurological disorders using MR-guided focused ultrasound”; team led by Dr. James Drake, The Hospital for Sick Children. Team members are Emily Tam, Adam Waspe, Gabrielle deVeber, Elizabeth Donner, Thomas Looi, Samuel Pichardo (Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute); Mojgan Hodaie (Toronto Western Hospital/UHN) Funding partners are The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation.

3) Project title: “Exploring the importance of neurotransmission in addiction and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease”; team led by Dr. Salah El Mestikawy, McGill University. Team members are Vania Ferreira Prado, Marco Prado (Western University). Funding partners are McGill University, Western University, Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).

4) Project title: “Developing a safe and non-invasive approach to deliver drugs across the blood-brain-barrier to treat neurological diseases”; team led by Dr. Roman Melnyk, The Hospital for Sick Children. Team members are Sheena Josselyn, James Ellis, Eyal Grunebaum, Berge Minassian. Funding partner is The Hospital for Sick Children in partnership with Retrophin, Inc.

5) Project title: “Investigating the concept of neuronal hyper-excitability as an underlying mechanism common to many brain disorders including epilepsy, migraine and autism”; team led by Dr. Terrance Snutch, University of British Columbia. Team members are Brian MacVicar, Yu-Tian Wang, Pieter Cullis (University of British Columbia), John Howland (University of Saskatchewan). Funding partners are Koerner Foundation, University of British Columbia, Genome BC, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, University of Saskatchewan.