Pfizer announces new round of Psychiatry Research Awards recipients

~ Pfizer commits $100,000 to each winner and launches new partnership awards for 2013 ~

MONTREAL, May 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada is pleased to announce the second round of recipients of the Psychiatry Research Awards Program. The program, launched in May 2011, was developed to advance clinical research and patient care in psychiatry by supporting Canadian investigators in their research efforts.

Dr. Rajamannar Ramasubbu, MD, Associate Professor, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary and Dr. Jorge Armony, PhD, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University will each receive $100,000 to support their research in psychiatric diseases.

"This award represents a major advance towards improving treatment outcomes for major depression. The current trial-and-error approach delays recovery and causes significant side effects," says Dr. Ramasubbu, who is researching prediction of individual treatment response based on brain changes at the early phase of antidepressant treatment. "By working towards an individualized and personalized model, we hope to ensure early intervention so patients are matched with the right medication early on."

The Psychiatry Research Awards Program is a competitive research grant program open to all researchers interested in psychiatric diseases including physicians and academics.

"It is an honor to receive this award. The research we're doing is helping us better understand emotional disorders and seek more effective treatments," says Dr. Armony, who is conducting research on how the brain detects, analyzes and responds to environmental events with affective value and how these processes can affect those living with bipolar disorder. "Better understanding the neural basis of emotion might eventually lead to new mood stabilizer treatments and therapies for this disorder."

Submitted proposals are reviewed by an independent external review committee, chaired by Dr. Glenda MacQueen, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

"This year's submissions to the Pfizer Psychiatry Research Awards Program showcase the quality of mental health research that is happening across the country," says Dr. MacQueen. "This research makes a difference to Canadians in so many different areas, so to recognize the outstanding work of remarkable Canadian researchers driving world-class research is truly an honour."

2013 Request for Proposals

Pfizer is now accepting proposals for the 2013 round, which includes five new awards with the support of its program sponsors. The 2013 awards are:

  • Pfizer Canada Major Depressive Disorders Research Award
  • Pfizer Canada Geriatric Anxiety Research Award
  • Hotchkiss Brain Institute/Pfizer Canada Research Award
  • Healthy Minds Canada/Sun Life Financial/Pfizer Canada Research Award
  • Institut Universitaire en Santé Mental de Montréal (IUSMM)/Pfizer Canada Research Award

"With the addition of these exciting new partnership awards, Pfizer Canada can expand its support for research that will improve the mental health and well-being of Canadians," says Dr. Bernard Prigent, Vice President and Medical Director, Pfizer Canada. "We are proud of the accomplishments of our 2012 recipients, and look forward to continued success in the coming year."

The Psychiatry Research Awards Program is the most recent initiative in Pfizer's ongoing commitment to mental illness in Canada. Additional information and application information can be found at The submission deadline for the 2013 competition is October 1, 2013.

Mental Illness in Canada

One in five Canadians will personally experience a mental illness during their lifetime.1 Mental illnesses can affect people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures2 and are the result of a complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors.3

Nearly three million Canadians will experience depression in their lifetime,4 with most people being affected between the ages of 24 and 44.5 A major depressive disorder can occur once in a lifetime, or episodes can be recurrent.6

The disorder also has an impact in the workplace, with 1 in 20 employees experiencing depression at any given time.The consequences of undiagnosed depression include decreased productivity, inability to concentrate and frequent 'sick' days.8

Five to 10 per cent of those aged 65 and older are suffering from anxiety disorder, a condition which often affects daily functioning and becomes a significant source of distress.9 The prevalence of anxiety in seniors is even higher for those living in institutions such as retirement homes.1

About Pfizer Canada Inc.

Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. Our diversified health care portfolio includes some of the world's best known and most prescribed medicines and vaccines. At Pfizer, we're working together for a healthier world. For more information, visit

About Our Award Partners

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

The Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary is dedicated to advancing neurological and mental health research and education. The Institute's research strengths in foundational neuroscience are leading to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, aimed at improving quality of life and patient care.  More information on the Hotchkiss Brain Institute can be found at

Healthy Minds Canada

Healthy Minds Canada (HMC) is a national charitable organization that was founded in 1980 and since this time has funded close to 400 research projects at 42 universities and teaching hospitals across Canada. In addition to funding the best mental health and addiction research in Canada, HMC hosts workshops and symposia across the country and publishes resources and tools to translate the outcomes of mental health and addiction research and deliver this valuable information to those who need it the most.

Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Vietnam and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2012, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $515 billion. For more information please visit Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Institut Universitaire en Santé Mental de Montréal

The Institute provides specialized and ultra-specialized services in mental health. As a leader in its field, the hospital develops knowledge through research, teaching, and assessment. The Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal is a member of the Université de Montréal excellence in health network.


1 Public Health Agency of Canada. Mental Illnesses in Canada: An Overview. Accessed April 2, 2013.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Canadian Mental Health Association. Depression in the Workplace. Accessed April 2, 2013.
5 Public Health Agency of Canada. Mental Illnesses in Canada: An Overview. Accessed April 2, 2013.
6 Statistics Canada. Affective Disorders. Accessed April 2, 2013.
7 Canadian Mental Health Association. Depression in the Workplace. Accessed April 2, 2013.
8 Canadian Mental Health Association. Depression in the Workplace. Accessed April 2, 2013.
9  Anxiety Canada. Anxiety Disorders in the Elderly. Accessed April 2, 2013.
10 Ibid.



SOURCE: Pfizer Canada Inc.

For further information:

or to arrange an interview with one of the award recipients and/or Dr. MacQueen, please contact:

Meghan Sharp
Tel: 416-849-5029

Christina Antoniou
Pfizer Canada
Tel: 1-866-9PFIZER (973-4937)


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