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Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

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Clinician-scientist awarded prestigious ALS fellowship

Tony Proudfoot’s legacy supports the next generation of researchers

The Tony Proudfoot Training Fellowships in ALS Research were established in 2008 to support outstanding master’s and doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows pursuing research training in ALS. The 2024 recipient is Dr. Matti Allen, a clinician-scientist currently completing a fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine at Ohio State University. 

Prior to his current clinical fellowship, Dr. Allen completed a PhD in neuromuscular physiology at The University of Western Ontario (2014) and MD/residency training at Queen’s University (2023). He has published over 35 peer-reviewed publications, and his work has been featured in the New York Times and on CBC Radio. 

Dr. Allen is starting a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at both The Neuro and Université de Montréal under the guidance of Drs Angela Genge, Rami Massie, Oliver Blanchard, and Richard Robitaille. His work at The Neuro will include the development and execution of clinical trials studying new ALS medications, including the novel pharmacologic agent darifenacin. It is hoped these trials will identify new medications to slow ALS progression, improve functional capacity, and maintain or improve quality of life. Part of this research will involve learning and applying novel ALS outcome measures, including single fibre electromyography and electrical impedance myography.  

At the Université de Montréal, Dr. Allen will work in Dr. Richard Robitaille’s laboratory investigating new ALS blood-based biomarkers, with emphasis on indicators of disruption of the connection between nerve and muscle (i.e. neuromuscular junction). These biomarkers may improve both our ability to diagnose ALS earlier, as well as better evaluate response to treatment. 

A Proud Legacy 

Supported by the Tony Proudfoot Fund at the ALS Society of Quebec, Tony Proudfoot Training Fellowships honour the legacy of Montreal Alouette Tony Proudfoot and his battle with ALS, which he shared so movingly with the public. After being diagnosed with the disease in 2007, Proudfoot campaigned for ALS awareness. He wrote about his illness in a series for the Montreal Gazette, spreading his story across Canada before passing away in 2010.  

“I would like to express my gratitude to the ALS Society of Quebec, and to Tony Proudfoot and his family,” says Dr. Allen. “As a life-long lover of football, this award is all the more meaningful to me! I am very excited to be joining the team in Montreal this summer, working to better understand ALS and researching promising new treatments for the community. This generous support will allow me to focus on this important work.”

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.

 

 

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