OTTAWA, July 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of
Health, today announced that nine teams of researchers have received
funding to examine how environmental factors can alter the expression
of our DNA and potentially affect our health. The research teams are
being funded by the Government of Canada in partnership with Genome BC,
Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS) and the Japan Science &
"We are pleased to support these research teams whose work will enhance
our understanding of gene-environment interactions and provide new
insights into human health and disease," said Minister Aglukkaq. "We
are proud to partner with Canadian and Japanese organizations to fund
these important projects that will help to improve the health of
In October 2012, Minister Aglukkaq announced the funding committed to
support the teams through the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium
(CEEHRC), a national initiative designed to position Canada as a leader in the
field of epigenetics and health. Total funding for all nine teams is
$21.8M over five years.
The teams announced today were selected by a rigorous peer-review panel
of international experts. They include six Canadian teams and three
teams composed of Canadian and Japanese researchers.
The following researchers will lead Canadian teams focused on improving
the translation of epigenetics research into better human health:
Dr. Cheryl Arrowsmith (University of Toronto) will measure the influence
of the microbiome on epigenetic mechanisms in inflammatory bowel
Dr. Denise Daley (University of British Columbia) will explore how the
environment affects epigenetic mechanisms involved in the development
Dr. James Davie (University of Manitoba) seeks to discover the
epigenetic "signatures" associated with fetal alcohol spectrum
Dr. Pamela Hoodless (BC Cancer Agency) will examine what epigenetic
modifications are involved with regulating hepatocellular carcinoma and
Dr. Mark Lathrop (McGill University) plans to perform full resolution
epigenomic mapping in metabolic disease in human populations.
Dr. William Muller (McGill University) will explore the role of
epigenetics in the development of breast cancer, and its implications
for drug resistance.
"We hope this work leads to diagnostic biomarkers of conditions such as
fetal alcohol spectrum disorder that can be used as early as birth,"
said Dr. James Davie from the University of Manitoba. "It is well
established that early diagnosis and intervention can profoundly change
the life of a child with this disorder."
The following teams of Canadian and Japanese researchers will address
ongoing challenges in the epigenetics of stem cells:
Dr. John Dick (University Health Network in Toronto) and Dr. Hiromitsu
Nakauchi (University of Tokyo) will seek ways to improve methods for
engineering stem cells made from hematopoietic stem cells, potentially
identifying new therapeutic targets. They also hope their epigenetic
roadmap of the blood system and leukemia will become a new important
resource for the research community.
Dr. Andras Nagy (Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto) and
Dr. Yasuhiro Yamada (Kyoto University) will study the reprogramming
process in order to find cells most suitable for regenerative medicine
that are efficient and safe from a tumorigenic perspective.
Dr. Janet Rossant (Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto) and Dr.
Hitoshi Niwa (RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology) will use
different methods from labs in Canada and Japan to develop a complete
understanding of the molecular epigenetic networks that distinguish
pluripotency and trophoblast development. Their research will allow
them to learn more about placental development and pregnancy disorders.
"FRQS is very pleased to be participating in this pan-Canadian research
initiative on the interactions between genes and the environment. FRQS
will contribute financial support for the two research teams based in
Quebec, at McGill University," said Dr. Renaldo Battista, Scientific
Director of the FRQS. "These teams will explore how the environment
influences the development of breast cancer and metabolic diseases. The
teams' research projects will provide a better understanding of how
these diseases develop, so that treatments for them can be improved."
About Genome British Columbia
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on
Canada's West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $625M
in research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with
governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry,
fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human
health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic
benefits for British Columbia and Canada. www.genomebc.ca
About the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS)
The mission of the Fonds de la recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQS), which
reports to the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and
Technology, is to support health research in order to foster the
wellness of Quebecers. Its mandate is to promote and financially
support this research, to share knowledge and train researchers, as
well as to establish partnerships necessary for the development of
Quebec's research and innovation system and advance the research
internationally. For additional information visit: www.frqs.gouv.qc.ca
About Canadian Institutes of Health Research
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's
mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its
translation into improved health, more effective health services and
products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed
of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than
14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
SOURCE: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
For further information:
Cailin Rodgers, Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, 613-957-0200
David Coulombe, CIHR Media Relations, 613-941-4563
Sally Greenwood, Genome BC, 604-637-4373
Michelle Dubuc, FRQS, 514 873-2114 ext. 1235
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