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Major investment in top talent in ALS research

CBRF News, News November 24, 2022

Early-career ALS researchers receive critical funding through ALS Society of Canada and Brain Canada partnership, with support from Fondation Vincent Bourque

The ALS Society of Canada (ALS Canada) and Brain Canada are powering innovative discoveries and treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) through exciting new research funding. Together they are investing a total of $390,000 to support three doctoral awards and one postdoctoral fellowship. These projects will build on existing knowledge of the biological processes that lead to the onset and progression of ALS and explore new therapeutic targets and a possible treatment strategy for ALS.

“Being able to move the needle on ALS research means supporting the brightest minds that will be a key component of labs focused on improving the lives of people and families living with ALS,” says Dr. David Taylor, Vice President Research and Strategic Partnerships, ALS Canada. “While there are always more researchers out there than we’re able to support in each granting cycle, the ALS Canada Research Program is committed to seeding projects and people that demonstrate exceptional promise, and we do as much as we can with the generous support of our donors and partners.”

“Brain Canada aims to foster a robust research talent pipeline by supporting trainees and early-career researchers through tailored programs that encourage investigators to pursue new research avenues,” says Dr. Viviane Poupon, Brain Canada President and CEO. “The 2022 Trainee Award competition is helping to attract, retain, and diversify world-class talent in Canadian brain research, thus leading to better health outcomes for all.”

To date, the ALS Society of Canada – Brain Canada partnership has resulted in more than $24 million being invested in a wide range of research projects that have helped further the study of the disease.

Since 2005, ALS Canada has awarded grants to PhD students and postdoctoral fellows contributing in significant ways to labs across Canada, ensuring that talented researchers are supported to tackle key questions to better understand this relentless disease. The awards provide funding stability for labs by supporting trainee salaries.

The funding of the doctoral awards and postdoctoral fellowship follows a competitive peer-review process, in which ALS experts consider the merit of the applicant, the quality of the project, and the potential to advance the field of ALS research.

Summary of 2022 Doctoral Awards

Does this newly discovered tag on TDP-43 have an important role in ALS? Lucia Meng Qi Liao, a PhD student in Dr. Dale Martin’s lab at the University of Waterloo, awarded $75,000

How do ALS-linked genes contribute to the loss of normal stress granule formation? Charlotte Manser, a PhD student in Dr. Derrick Gibbing’s lab at the University of Ottawa, awarded $75,000

How does tRNA function contribute to ALS disease processes? Donovan McDonald, a PhD student in Dr. Martin Duennwald’s lab at Western University, awarded $75,000

Summary of 2022 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Could neuronal reprogramming serve as a potential treatment strategy for ALS? Dr. Hussein Ghazale, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Carol Schuurmans’s lab at Sunnybrook Research Institute, awarded $165,000

Funding for the 2022 Postdoctoral Fellowship was made possible by Fondation Vincent Bourque, who generously contributed $82,500 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. To date, Health Canada has invested more than $145 million in brain research through the CBRF which has been matched by Brain Canada Foundation and its donors and partners.  

To learn more about these projects, visit our directory of funded research.