uOttawa Brain and Mind Research Institute receives $2.5 million to study genetic link among three chronic diseases

Posted on Friday, July 11, 2014

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) has been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to explore a possible genetic link among Parkinson's disease, Crohn's disease and leprosy.

While the body's immune system is known to play a role in multiple human disorders, the way it responds is complex and not fully understood. The grant will allow the team, led by Drs. David Park and Michael Schlossmacher, to test an intriguing hypothesis: that there is a common immune system link among these three seemingly unrelated diseases, a gene called LRRK2, believed to regulate immune system function.

Thus far, evidence collected by the uOBMRI team suggests that particular variants of the LRRK2 gene can result in abnormal immune response and subsequently lead to the development of Parkinson's, Crohn's or leprosy.

Dr. David Park is uOBMRI director and a professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Michael Schlossmacher is a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and director of the MD/PhD Program at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine.

University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is committed to research excellence and encourages an interdisciplinary approach to knowledge creation, which attracts the best academic talent from across Canada and around the world.

The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa is a national leader in medical education and health research, currently ranked second in Canada for research intensity in medicine and science since 2010 (Maclean's magazine). Since 2003, the Faculty has the third-highest growth rate for Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding for universities with medical schools.

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university's Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

Information for media:
Kina Leclair
Media Relations Officer
University of Ottawa
Office: 613-562-5800 (2529)
Cell.: 613-762-2908
kleclair@uOttawa.ca

Paddy Moore
Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-737-8899 ext. 73687
613-323-5680 (cell)
padmoore@ohri.ca

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