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Human pain genetics focus of new excellence research chair


Montreal, QC – Dr. Luda Diatchenko has been named Canada excellence research chair (CERC) in human pain genetics at McGill University.

Russian-born Dr Diatchenko comes to Canada from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the first of 11 new chairholders being recruited by eight Canadian universities for the prestigious CERC program.

This is McGill University’s first CERC. The university will receive up to $10 million in funding over seven years to support Dr Diatchenko and her team’s ambitious research program. An additional $785,000 will be provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for research infrastructure.The funding for this CERC is also being bolstered by an additional $20 million from public and private sources, including $8.5 million from McGill University.

“Chronic pain can make everyday living a challenge for millions of Canadians,” says Gilles G. Patry, president and CEO of the CFI. “With state-of-the-art equipment, Dr. Diatchenko’s research will help us understand how genetics can influence pain treatment. When we care for the members of our community who are debilitated by pain, we all benefit.”

“We are proud to welcome such a prominent and distinguished scholar in pain research as Dr. Diatchenko,” said Suzanne Fortier, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University.

“Studying basic molecular and genetic mechanisms of human pain has been my passion. Pain is not only the main reason why people visit a doctor, pain is also a mysterious, understudied and underappreciated phenomenon,” said Dr Diatchenko. “The primary goal of my research is to identify the critical elements of human genetic variability that contribute to pain sensitivity and chronic pain states and that can eventually lead to individualized treatments and therapies. I am very grateful for the opportunities provided by the prestigious CERC program and am honoured to have been selected by McGill University to continue my research at the renowned Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain.”