First recipients of Multi-Investigator Research Initiative grants
TORONTO, April 29, 2013 /CNW/ - Brain Canada, in collaboration with The
W. Garfield Weston Foundation, announced today the grant recipients of
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation - Brain Canada Multi-Investigator
Research Initiative (MIRI). The $7.5 million grant total includes $3
million from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and a matching $3
million from the Government of Canada through the Canada Brain Research
Fund. Additional funds are being provided by The Krembil Foundation and
"Brain Canada has an outstanding track record of funding breakthroughs
in neuroscience. We are delighted to be the first to support Brain
Canada, and are confident the research of these five exceptional teams
will benefit the millions of Canadian patients and caregivers affected
by brain disorders. This program continues our long history of support
for medical research, from funding the Banting and Best Institute in
the 1960s to the new Dalglish Family Hearts & Minds Clinic," said W.
Galen Weston, Chairman and President, The W. Garfield Weston
Five teams comprised of researchers from among Canada's top medical and
research institutes are being funded $1.5 million over three years.
These teams were selected following a two-phase international peer
review from over 165 applications. Each team is pursuing novel,
transformative research aimed at improving our understanding of human
nervous system function and dysfunction, and its impact on health.
Collaborative Approach to Brain Research
"The human brain is an interconnected, dynamic and highly adaptable
system, which is why our organization supports a 'one system'
collaborative approach to brain research," said Inez Jabalpurwala,
President and CEO of Brain Canada. "Thanks to the catalytic leadership
of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Brain Canada was able to launch
the first MIRI competition, shortly after the launch of the Canada
Brain Research Fund. MIRI grants support excellent research, which may
be higher-risk, but with the potential to be paradigm shifting, at any
stage of the research process, from basic to clinical to health policy.
By supporting our best ideas and researchers, we will ensure Canada's
place as a leader in the global quest to understand the brain and brain
The five initial MIRI grant projects include research into:
Validating an eye test to help early detection of neurodegenerative
diseases such as Alzheimer's and frontotemporal dementia; team lead Dr. Sandra Black, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre;
Exploring brain cell polarity and how it helps to build and maintain the
brain as an underlying cause of neurological disorders; team lead Dr. Michel Cayouette, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal;
Investigating how environmental factors alter the function of genes to
identify potential biomarkers for mental illness; team lead Dr. Michael Meaney, McGill University;
Mobilizing stem cells in the brain to treat brain injury in children; team lead Dr. Freda Miller, Hospital for Sick Children; and,
Reprogramming skin cells to restore visual function in diseases such as
age-related macular degeneration; team lead Dr. Valerie Wallace, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
"The Harper Government is proud to partner with Brain Canada and The W.
Garfield Weston Foundation to support innovative research that has the
potential to bring new hope to patients and families dealing with brain
illness," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of
Health. "I also want to congratulate the grant recipients and thank
them for their deep commitment to advancing scientific discoveries in
this complex field, which we all believe are possible."
The MIRI grants were announced at an event today at the MaRS Centre in
Toronto. Attendees included: Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Federal Minister of
Health; representatives from Brain Canada and The W. Garfield Weston
Foundation; and, various grant recipients.
About Brain Canada
Brain Canada is a national charitable organization with the mission of
accelerating the pace of Canada's world-class brain research in order
to advance our understanding of the brain, and develop diagnostics,
treatments and ultimately cures for brain disorders. The Government of
Canada has committed to match up to $100 million of private and
non-governmental contributions to Brain Canada over six years, through
the Canada Brain Research Fund.
For more information about Brain Canada: www.braincanada.ca.
About The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a private Canadian family
foundation, established in the 1950's by Willard Garfield Weston and
his wife Reta. In 1924 Garfield inherited his father's company and
during his life established baking and retail businesses throughout
Canada and in many parts of the world. The founders believed that as
the funds are generated through the hard work and success of his
Canadian companies, grants should be given in Canada for the benefit of
Canadians. For three generations, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has
maintained a family tradition of supporting charitable organizations
across Canada. Today the Foundation directs the majority of its funds
to projects in the fields of neuroscience, land conservation,
education, and scientific research in Canada's North.
For more information please visit: www.westonfoundation.org
SOURCE: Brain Canada
For further information:
NATIONAL Public Relations
Contact: Carolyn Santillan
Contact: Inez Jabalpurwala
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Contact: Cailin Rodgers
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
Contact: Alexandra Stewart