TORONTO, Jan. 12 /CNW/ - Seven scientists at Canada's Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have been awarded Young Investigator
grant awards by the U.S.-based NARSAD: The Brain and Behavior Research
The CAMH awards will fund genetic, clinical and neuroimaging studies
that will ultimately guide future treatments and personalized
approaches for people with schizophrenia and depression.
The 124-member NARSAD Scientific Council, a volunteer group of
pre-eminent mental health researchers, leads the rigorous and
competitive process of identifying the most promising ideas for NARSAD
grant awards each year. NARSAD aims to alleviate the suffering of
mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to breakthroughs in
scientific research. Each award is worth up to $60,000 over two years.
"This body of research represents the cutting-edge of brain and behavior
research," said Benita Shobe, NARSAD president and CEO. "Young
Investigators are selected for their innovation and potential to
improve the lives of people living with mental illness through enhanced
treatments and therapies and a better understanding of the causes of
"We are thrilled that our researchers have received these awards, which
are known to be important in establishing the careers of young
scientists," says Dr. Bruce Pollock, Vice-President of Research at
Awards were granted for the following CAMH projects:
Dr. Daniel Blumberger will look at specific brain function deficits and treatment resistance
in older adults with depression. His study will explore whether these
deficits, which occur with aging, predict their response to treatment.
These findings will ultimately lead to more effective treatments.
Dr. George Foussias will be using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain
activity in people with schizophrenia while they do everyday tasks in a
virtual reality environment. Not only will this approach measure
motivational deficits and affected brain regions more objectively than
past methods, but the results are also expected to help guide the
development of future treatments for these deficits in schizophrenia.
Dr. Zachary Kaminsky will conduct research on major depression in identical twins in a study
involving epigenetics. This field of research examines how
developmentally acquired or environmentally triggered changes to
chemical attachments on DNA can alter the ability of genes to produce
proteins. He will search for epigenetic markers in the blood, which
will provide the basis for early diagnostic and therapeutic
developments for depression.
Dr. Romina Mizrahi will use a brain imaging technique developed at CAMH to "see" brain
inflammation levels in people with schizophrenia. This will be useful
to test new treatment strategies and understand how inflammation
relates to the severity of schizophrenia.
Dr. Tarek Rajji will study the effects of a brain stimulation technique to enhance
brain plasticity, and consequently address attention and memory
problems, in people with schizophrenia. Deficits with these complex
thinking processes are common features of the illness, and improvements
could enhance individuals' ability to function in society as well as
their overall quality of life.
Dr. Arun Tiwari's research will examine the role that genes play on side effects that
some people with schizophrenia experience after taking antipsychotic
medicines. Understanding the genetic causes of the side effects that
lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other related
symptoms will help predict who is at risk and which medications to
Dr. Aristotle Voineskos will conduct research on a brain stimulation treatment among people
with schizophrenia to improve "working memory" deficits, which can lead
to improvements in real-world function. In addition, he will examine
whether specific genes predict someone's response to this treatment, in
an attempt to personalize treatments for each individual.
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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental
health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy
development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people
affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully
affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health
Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more
information, please visit www.camh.net.
SOURCE Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
For further information:
Media contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015; or by email at email@example.com