$1.7 million for cutting-edge mental health research

Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2016

The University of Ottawa is making a $1.7 million dollar contribution to the Royal’s Brain Imaging Centre. Researchers at the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) will now be able to use cutting-edge technology to advance learning and discovery in the field of brain research and psychology using a new PET-fMRI machine, the first of its kind in Canada solely dedicated to mental health research and neuroscience.

The uOBMRI brings together researchers from six faculties, partnering with hospitals and their affiliated research institutes, including the Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research.

The Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ottawa is contributing $1 million towards the operating costs of the new scanner, in support of research done by its School of Psychology. The Faculty of Medicine is contributing $700,000 through the Canada Foundation for Innovation for an electroencephalogram (EEG) unit that is compatible with the new PET-fMRI. Through these investments, driven by a shared understanding that magnetic resonance imaging technology could redefine the field of brain research and psychology, uOttawa and the Royal are solidifying a 25-year relationship with new research ventures and opportunities.

“One in five Canadians will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, and young people are particularly vulnerable. This type of research has played an important role in reducing the stigma around conditions like depression and anxiety, and I am confident that uOBMRI’s strong partnership with the Royal will open new doors for mental health research in Canada,” says Allan Rock, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Ottawa.

Researchers at uOBMRI and the Royal will learn more about the biological underpinnings of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers will aim to pinpoint mechanisms involved in addiction, as well as in sleep disruption in patients with depression.

“Biology, genetics and environment all play an important role in mental wellness and illness,” says the Royal’s president and CEO, George Weber. “Brain imaging gives us the window into the mind to help us understand brain functioning. Through studies at our Brain Imaging Centre, our goal is to improve diagnosis and move to personalized treatments to help each individual get better faster.”

Dignitaries stand together in front of a MRI machine backdrop.

Dr. Thierry Mesana, President & CEO, University of Ottawa Heart Institute; George Weber, President & CEO, The Royal; Allan Rock, President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Ottawa; Scott McLean, Chair, The Royal's Board of Trustees; and Dr. Zul Merali, President & CEO, The Royal's Institute of Mental Health Research. Photo: Carol MacLeod, The Royal.

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The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. We are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe.

About The Royal

The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care, teaching and research hospitals. Its mandate is simple: to help more people living with mental illness into recovery faster. The Royal combines the delivery of specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education to transform the lives of people with complex and treatment resistant mental illness. The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research is proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa. The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health raises funds that support The Royal’s work. The Royal places a sharp focus on awareness building through the You Know Who I Am campaign and public education initiatives like Conversations at The Royal and Is It Just Me? Conversations about Youth Mental Health. For more information, please visit www.theroyal.ca.

Media inquiries

Néomie Duval
Manager, Media Relations
University of Ottawa
Cell: 613-240-0275

Roxanne Beaubien
Manager, Communications
The Royal
Cell: 613-325-8567

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