Brain Canada is pleased to announce the awarding of a 2021 Platform Support Grant (PSG) to Dr. Trevor Pugh from the University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. 

Together with the Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Brain Canada is awarding $5.15M to support the Brain Single Cell Initiative, a core facility dedicated to making state-of-the-art single-cell genomics technology available to brain researchers. 

Brain Canada’s Platform Support Grants are awarded to teams that are creating and/or enhancing centralized shared resources to increase access to equipment, expertise, data and protocols across research networks.

The human body is made up of many different kinds of cells, each with its own DNA. Until recently, researchers were limited to extracting information from groups of cells, because more precise methods were lacking. Now, a new technology called single-cell genomics allows scientists to measure the genomic profile of thousands of individual cells from complex cellular mixtures, like tissues, in a single experiment. This technology shows great promise in helping to understand some major scientific questions, such as how diseases like cancer develop in our cells and how the brain repairs itself but, to unlock its full potential, it needs to be made readily available to the research community. 

The Brain Single Cell Initiative proposes to serve as a Canadian national core facility dedicated to making state-of-the-art single-cell genomics technology available to brain researchers. By centralizing technology development in a core facility, the team behind the initiative believes they will have the capacity to evaluate the experimental and computational aspects of single-cell genomics technologies to further refine them and make these improvements quickly available to the research community. 

Brain Canada envisions a future where scientists across disciplines collaborate to drive innovation. This is exactly what the Brain Single Cell Initiative proposes to do – develop new approaches for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological illnesses through national collaboration and capacity building.”

Dr. Viviane Poupon, Brain Canada President and CEO

“Some of the new technologies we will develop, such as a single-cell genome and transcriptome multi-omic assay, are not offered anywhere in the world as a service,” says Dr. Pugh. “As such, our initiative will enhance Canada’s capacity in neuroscience research by increasing the number and types of projects that can be accomplished. We expect our work will ultimately reduce the burden of neurological disease in Canada and beyond.” 

Funding for this PSG has been made possible with the financial support of Health Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada.

To learn more about the project visit our directory of funded grants.