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Neuroscience Canada awards $4.5 million to three Canadian brain repair research teams


Ottawa, ON – Three grants of $1.5 million each have been awarded for the study of brain repair. Each team will receive an additional $60,000 over three years for networking.

Building on the knowledge that the brain has an innate ability to be repaired or repair itself, this research will use the latest innovations in science to explore means of enhancing this ability. It is believed that discoveries will lead to new treatments and therapies for a wide range of diseases, disorders and injuries of the brain and nervous system, including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, chronic pain, schizophrenia and autism.

The grants have been awarded to teams led by the following researchers:

1. Dr Freda Miller, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, for their work on novel approaches to central nervous system white matter repair.

2. Dr Michael W Salter, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, for their work on transforming research on chronic pain in Canada.

3. Dr Yu Tian Wang, University of British Columbia/Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Brain Research Centre at UBC Hospital, for their work on novel therapeutic strategies to repair brain abnormalities in psychiatric disorders.

These projects were chosen after a rigorous eight-month selection process, involving the participation of internationally recognized experts from the United States and Europe who unanimously agreed the projects had a high potential for achieving breakthroughs.

“NeuroScience Canada developed the brain repair program with the goal of giving our world-class Canadian neuroscience researchers every opportunity to get to breakthroughs, so that we can alleviate the human, economic and societal costs of brain disorders," says Michael H Wilson, chair of NeuroScience Canada. "The program is part of NeuroScience Canada’s commitment to increasing the funding available for brain research."

The CIHR and its institutes, the INMHA and Institute of Aging, provided a $1.5-million grant and strategic input. Donors and grantors include RBC Financial Group Foundation, CIBC World Markets, UBS Securities Canada, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, and a number of other corporations, foundations and private individual donors, including an anonymous donor (now deceased) who provided a $1.2-million challenge gift.

NeuroScience Canada is a national non-profit organization that develops and funds Canadian neuroscience research that meets the highest standards of excellence.

The Brain Repair Program was developed by NeuroScience Canada’s Science Advisory Council, comprised of prominent Canadian neuroscience researchers and clinicians, in consultation with a broad group of stakeholders, including the CIHR, provincial agencies, universities, research institutes and voluntary health organizations. The $4.5 million in grants is part of an $8-million Brain Repair Program goal. Funds for this program are raised in the context of NeuroScience Canada’s $10-million campaign to support Canada’s world-class neuroscience researchers. Two additional teams will be funded as soon as donor and partner funds are secured.