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Clinician-scientists receive funding for Parkinson’s and HIV research


Montreal, QC – Two clinician-scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro have been awarded grants to further research on Parkinson’s disease and HIV/AIDS.

When the protein parkin functions properly it acts like a quality control officer, tagging other proteins that no longer work correctly for destruction. When there are mutations in the gene for parkin, this process no longer occurs efficiently, which causes cell death and leads to a familial form of Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Edward Fon, Director, McGill Parkinson Program and clinician-scientist at The Neuro studies what regulates parkin’s tagging process and the role a specific enzyme that removes tags may have in this process. Learning more about how this process is regulated could lead to new therapies for Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Fon has received the Porridge for Parkinson’s (Toronto) Pilot Project Grant of $45,000 from Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program.

Treatments for HIV/AIDS have greatly improved the life expectancy and health of people infected. However, the virus and its treatment continue to have significant physical and mental health impacts, and those infected have high rates of co-morbid health conditions. Four new research teams that aim to help Canadians with HIV by examining the link between HIV and chronic health issues specifically related to aging and mental health were awarded approximately $10 million. The research teams will be funded through the CIHR HIV Comorbidity Research Agenda which was developed in collaboration with a number of partner organizations and designed to meet the priorities of people living with HIV. Dr. Lesley Fellows, Interim Chair, Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery and clinician-scientist at The Neuro receiving $ 2.49 million to lead a team of experts in neuroscience, epidemiology, and HIV to carry out innovative, action-oriented research in order to improve brain health in HIV-infected individuals.