File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Yakobchuk

Western Brain Researchers Get $66-Million Grant

The biggest research grant in the history of Western University aims to help researchers lessen the burden of brain disorders in Canada.

Western’s BrainsCAN initiative has been given a federal grant of $66-million by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). The university says the grant will provide a “significant boost to ongoing research in cognitive neuroscience and imaging at Western.”

According to a release from Western, the university will partner with researchers at McGill University to better understand conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and schizophrenia. The McGill researchers also recieved funding from the CFREF.

“Understanding higher brain functions is central to the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disease, for improving childhood learning and communication, for optimizing neurosurgical interventions and for the development of intelligent devices,” says Adrian Owen, Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging and Co-Scientific Director, BrainsCAN. “To do this, we must aggressively pursue new technological innovations – a key strength at Western.”

Lisa Saksida, Co-Scientific Director of BrainsCAN, says the funding will help.

“This funding will help BrainsCAN researchers radically transform our understanding of brain disorders and deliver effective solutions to the grand challenge of maintaining brain function across the lifespan,” says Saksida. “With our partners at McGill, Western researchers will continue to make game-changing discoveries that benefit the health, social and financial well-being of Canadians.”

Roughly 3.6-million Canadians are affected by brain disorders and, according to BrainsCAN, neurolgoical and psychiatric disorders account for $22.7-billion in health care costs in Canada.