McGill professor receives inaugural Lougheed Prize for medical research
How does maternal care impact childhood development? McGill professor Michael Meaney, Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology and Neurosurgery and Associate Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre, has spent over a decade developing a theory that a mother’s touch can do much more than comfort – it can actually alter DNA.
For his groundbreaking work, Prof. Meaney has garnered the inaugural Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Peter Lougheed Prize, which includes a $100,000 prize, to further investigate how a mother’s touch may trigger genes involved in shaping a child’s response to stress.
The $100,000 award will provide lab support for three years, enabling Prof. Meaney to continue his work on preventing illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes that can be passed on from parent to child. The AHFMR will also enable a postdoctoral fellow from Alberta to work in Prof. Meaney’s laboratory for up to three years.
The AHFMR Lougheed Prize honours former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed for his contributions to the AHFMR. Mr. Lougheed’s government created the foundation in 1980 with a $300-million endowment.