Brain Canada Brain Canada
FR Donate

Internationally recognized brain bank receives major funding boost to improve efficiency and diversify samples available

CBRF News, Mental Health, News March 17, 2021

Brain Canada is pleased to announce the awarding of a $2,137,500 2019 Platform Support Grant (PSG) to Dr. Gustavo Turecki and his team for the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank (DBCBB), based at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. This funding will support one of the most preeminent brain repositories in the world.

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. Brain Canada will announce additional Platform Support Grants in the coming weeks, as part of a more than $25 million investment in brain research.

Housing more than 3,600 brains, the DBCBB is an exceptional repository that collects brains from individuals who suffered from different neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias, as well as mental disorders, including schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder and substance use disorders. In addition to coordinating the donation process, collecting brain tissue, and storing the specimens, the DBCBB has also established a large database containing demographic, clinical and developmental histories from donors.

“The Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank is a critical resource as it offers not only brain samples from people affected by neurodegenerative diseases, but also from those with mood disorders (or mental illness) – an area that is still in many ways a mystery for researchers,” says Brain Canada President and CEO, Dr. Viviane Poupon. “Samples that have been preserved under optimal conditions allow researchers to have direct access to human brain cells, proteins and genes, and can lead to important advances in treatment, prevention and care.”

Access to healthy and diseased tissue is essential for understanding the physiological and pathological processes underlying disorders affecting the brain. It brings invaluable insight to the research community in Canada and abroad.

“Requests for tissues from the DBCBB come from leading international laboratories focusing on a range of neurobiological processes from the normal expression of brain genes, to epigenetic processes associated with chronic cocaine use, to the neurobiological consequences of early-life adversity, and more,” says Dr. Turecki, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, and Co-Director of the Douglas – Bell Canada Brain Bank. “More than 1,000 brain samples are prepared and sent to 30-50 international researchers each year.”

Funding for this PSG has been made possible with the financial support of Health Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative partnership between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada, the Douglas Hospital Research Centre and the Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l’humeur, et les troubles associés.

Learn more about this project.