ALS Canada Research Program awards two Clinical Research Fellowships and five Trainee Awards


Toronto – Investing in specialized training in clinical care and research skills and supporting young minds are two important ways to continue to ensure the advancement of research across all areas related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The ALS Canada Research Program is proud to announce the awarding of two Clinical Research Fellowships and five Trainee Awards for the 2021 grant cycle.

The ALS Canada Clinical Research Fellowships were designed to strengthen the Canadian ALS clinical community. The Trainee Awards support PhD students and postdoctoral fellows who represent some of the brightest young minds working on top ALS projects. Both programs are built with the same mission – to further ALS research to improve the lives of people living with ALS and their families.

“The Clinical Research Fellowship program really has been one of the most impactful programs by ALS Canada. Recipients represent the future clinical research and care leaders in the country,” said Dr. David Taylor, Vice President of Research, ALS Canada. “The Trainee Award program is designed to invest in superstar young researchers working on some of the most critical ALS projects in Canada. By supporting top-notch personnel, discoveries will be stronger, and arrive faster.”

A total of $830,000 was awarded in the 2021 Fellowship and Trainee programs.

Summary of 2021 Clinical Research Fellowships

  • Could a screening tool help to identify early psychological distress in ALS and guide appropriate management? Dr. Andrea Parks (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) awarded $130,000, in partnership with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada, Inc. (MTP-CA).
  • Could this promising new biomarker also be a target for future ALS therapies? Dr. Vincent Picher-Martel (Massachusetts General Hospital) awarded $200,000.

Summary of 2021 Trainee Awards

Doctoral Stream

  • Could a new 3D model of the neuromuscular junction help advance drug screening in ALS? Maria José Castellanos Montiel, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute – Hospital), McGill University awarded $75,000.
  • Does cerebrospinal fluid play a role in the progression of sporadic ALS? Amélie Poulin-Brière, Centre de recherche CERVO, Université Laval awarded $75,000.
  • How might reduced levels of C9ORF72 contribute to ALS disease processes? Belay Gebregergis, TANZ CRND and LMP, University of Toronto awarded $75,000.

Postdoctoral Stream

  • Can artificial intelligence detect bulbar ALS in Canadian French speakers? Dr. Liziane Bouvier, Sunnybrook Research Institute awarded $110,000.
  • Does TDP-43 mislocalization contribute to impaired stress granule formation in ALS? Dr. Hana Fakim, Université de Montréal (CR-CHUM) awarded $165,000.

The Clinical Research Fellowships and Trainee Awards are funded through the ALS Canada Research Program, which is supported by ALS Canada donors including individual and corporate donors like Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada, Inc. (MTP-CA) and their generous support of the Clinical Research Fellowship awarded to Dr. Parks. Donors also include community-based fundraising events and provincial ALS Societies who contribute 40 per cent of net proceeds from the Walk to End ALS.

The funding of these projects followed a competitive peer-review process, which engaged ALS experts to identify projects grounded in scientific excellence and with the potential to advance the field of ALS research most quickly.

About ALS Canada and the ALS Canada Research Program
The ALS Society of Canada (ALS Canada) is working to change what it means to live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an unrelenting and currently terminal disease.

Grounded in and informed by the Canadian ALS community, we respond to the urgent unmet need for life-changing treatments by investing in high-quality research that will fuel scientific discovery and by engaging industry, supporting increased clinical capacity and advocating for equitable, affordable and timely access to proven therapies.

Responding to the tremendous need for current and credible ALS knowledge, awareness, and education, we empower Canadians affected by ALS to navigate the current realities of ALS, be informed consumers of ALS information, and advocate effectively for change.

Through the ALS Canada Research Program, we fund peer-reviewed research grants, foster collaboration and build capacity within Canada’s ALS research and clinical community, and invest in new areas of research positioned to have high impact. As the only national dedicated source of funding for ALS research across Canada, the ALS Canada Research Program aims to accelerate research impact by providing funding for the most promising ALS projects focused on translating scientific discoveries into treatments for ALS. We are grateful for the support of our donors and the contributions from the provincial ALS Societies through the Walk to End ALS.

Posted in: Research