Eight projects receive funding to find answers and
fuel discoveries in ALS research

In their effort to fund progress and innovation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research, the ALS Society of Canada (ALS Canada) and Brain Canada are proud to announce the eight recipients of the 2023 Discovery Grants, with a total investment of $1,350,000.

The ALS Canada-Brain Canada Discovery Grants provide the research community with crucial funding for projects focused on identifying causes of ALS, treatments for ALS or related neurological diseases, and avenues to maximize function, minimize disability, and optimize the quality of life for people and their families living with ALS. 

“ALS Canada is incredibly grateful for our partnership with Brain Canada and the support of our donors to fund these individuals and the projects they are leading. These projects represent Canada’s best new ideas to impact our current understanding of ALS. Our hope is that discoveries made through this funding will take us closer to effective treatments and, someday, a world free of ALS.”

Dr. David Taylor, Vice-President of Research and Strategic Partnerships at ALS Canada

The Discovery Grant recipients are selected following a rigorous peer-reviewed grant competition that engages an international panel of experts to choose the best work grounded in scientific excellence and with the potential to advance the field of ALS research quickly.

“We take great pride in supporting these eight projects, which are driving forward scientific discovery on a global scale. With these funds, the ALS research community is empowered to push the boundaries of innovation, and we eagerly anticipate the remarkable discoveries that will arise from their dedicated efforts.”

Dr. Viviane Poupon, President and CEO of Brain Canada

Summary of the 2023 ALS Canada-Brain Canada Discovery Grants:

Can this new way of analyzing brain imaging data help researchers predict and monitor the progression of ALS?
Dr. Mahsa Dadar,McGill University, in collaboration with Dr. Sanjay Kalra, University of Alberta, awarded $125,000

Can boosting a vital protein in the brain help to slow the progression of ALS?
Dr. Jean-Pierre Julien, Université Laval, in collaboration with Dr. Angela Genge,McGill University, awarded $125,000

Is this newly discovered tag on TDP-43 key to understanding and treating ALS?
Dr. Dale Martin,University of Waterloo, in collaboration withDr. Max Rousseaux, University of Ottawa, andDr. Christine Vande Velde,Université de Montréal, awarded $125,000

Can these worm models help researchers better understand and even block the spread of ALS pathology?
Dr. Alex Parker,Université de Montréal,in collaboration withDr. Guy Rouleau,McGill University, awarded $125,000

How does fatty acid metabolism influence motor neuron health?
Dr. Chantelle Sephton, Université Laval, in collaboration with Dr. Liang Li, University of Alberta, awarded $125,000

Can investigating protein shapes reveal important puzzle pieces for future treatment strategies?

Dr. Valerie Sim, University of Alberta, in collaboration with Dr. Sumit Das, University of Alberta, and Dr. Sanjay Kalra, University of Alberta, awarded $125,000

Can a deeper understanding of nerve-muscle connections uncover new ways to treat ALS?
Dr. Richard Robitaille, Université de Montréal, in collaboration with Dr. Sandrine Da Cruz, KU Leuven (Belgium), and Dr. Danielle Arbour, Université de Montréal, awarded $300,000

Can targeting the stress response within cells lead to more effective therapies for ALS?
In partnership with Dr. Jean-Pierre Canuel Fund – SLA Québec and Brain Canada, Dr. Christine Vande Velde, Université de Montréal, in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Watts, UMass Chan Medical School (USA), awarded $300,000

Funding for one Discovery Grant was made possible by the Dr. Jean-Pierre Canuel Fund – SLA Québec, who generously contributed $150,000 to ALS Canada, which was matched by Brain Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF). 

The CBRF is an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada Foundation, which increases Canadians’ support for brain research and expands the philanthropic space for funding brain research to achieve maximum impact.