Funds to fuel study into child brain disorders

A Canada-wide research network aimed at finding treatments for children with developmental brain disorders was one of three funding announcements made by the federal government on Tuesday.

A Canada-wide research network aimed at finding treatments for children with developmental brain disorders was one of three funding announcements made by the federal government on Tuesday.

At the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Networks of Centres of Excellence in Ottawa, Gary Goodyear, minister of state for science and technology, announced the government is investing $125 million to help researchers develop their findings into marketable solutions.

The three new Network Centres of Excellence include:

  • NeuroDevNet, led by Daniel Goldowitz from the University of British Columbia. Under a five-year research plan, investigators will study ways to reduce costs to the health-care system through early intervention and treatment of children with developmental brain disorders. These include autism spectrum disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and cerebral palsy. Researchers will explore how the brain develops, how to detect abnormalities and how to repair the damaged brain.

 

  • The GRAND Network (Graphics, Animation and New media), led by Kellogg Booth from the University of British Columbia, which will explore new social media, e-learning and educational/entertainment environments that enhance learning and skill development, such as virtual museums and galleries and e-health services. GRAND will include 30 projects and 50 investigators clustered around five themes: new media challenges and opportunities; games and interactive simulation; animation, graphics and imaging; and cross-cutting themes of social, legal, economic and cultural perspectives and enabling technologies and methodologies.

 

  • The CMC Network, led by Stephen Larter from the University of Calgary, which will develop technologies needed to "decarbonize" fossil fuel production and use.

The NeuroDevNet researchers share a passion for understanding brain development, said Goldowitz, a senior scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics and a professor in UBC's department of medical genetics.

"The group has unparalleled expertise in brain imaging, the interaction of genetics and environment and modelling neurodevelopmental disorders, skills that will help create preventative and therapeutic measures for Canadian children," he said in a release.

Goodyear also launched a new competition for up to four new Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.