Two NeuroDevNet investigators receive funding for ASD research stemming from federal announcement

May 2, 2014

Funds from the Government of Canada May 1 will support five new research projects focusing on autism, Fragile X Syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his government would match a $3.25 million contribution by the Azrieli Foundation to the Canada Brain Research Fund, bringing total support for the initiative to $52.5 million.

NeuroDevNet researchers will lead two of the new projects Dr. Alan Evans (McGill University) will receive $2.49 million from the Fund toward his project focusing on identifying biomarkers for ASD and Fragile X syndrome through imaging data analysis, while Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou (Bloorview Research Institute) and co-lead investigator Dr. Jason Lerch (Sickkids) have been awarded $2.5 million for their project involving co-clinical trials in mice and humans, where innovative drugs are used to determine which treatments work best with different known origins of ASD.

"With this generous funding from the Government of Canada, Brain Canada and other partners, we hope to use the co-clinical trial model to develop a better understanding of the cause of an individual's autism, as well as their likelihood of responding to treatment with these new drugs,” says Dr. Anagnostou, “This may help healthcare providers develop a personalized treatment plan to manage symptoms that a child with autism might find difficult."

The Canada Brain Research Fund was created in 2011, and provides support to the Brain Canada Foundation, to matches contributions from private donors and charitable contributions. The Fund will distribute up to $100 million over six years (2011-2017) in research support. In 2012, the Azrieli Foundation and the Chagnon Family joined the partnership, making major donations that are being matched by the Canadian Government.