McGill/Edinburgh partnership moves forward

Three collaborative pilot project grants have been awarded to foster trans-Atlantic cooperation

Earlier this year McGill University and The University of Edinburgh announced a neuroscience research partnership between the two institutions. The targeted areas for collaborative research focus on autism/neurodevelopmental disorders, intellectual disabilities (with particular focus on studies using human induced pluripotent stem cells), and neurodegenerative diseases.

Following a review of the many proposals submitted, three grants each with a value of £45,000 (C$80,000) and split between researchers at both institutions have been awarded. The successful applications are “Electrophysiological analysis of human stem cell-derived neurons: establishing a cross-institutional core facility” – principal investigators Derek Bowie (McGill) and David Wyllie (Edinburgh); “Drug screen for modulators of neuro-inflammation in spinal cord injury” - PIs: Sam David (McGill) and Catherina Becker (Edinburgh); and Development of functional thalamocortical circuitry in a rat model of fragile X syndrome- PIs: Adrien Peyrache (McGill and The Neuro) and Emma Wood (Edinburgh).

Each pilot project will run for 12 months and is expected to generate preliminary data that will allow larger funding bids in the future. This initiative has been generously funded by College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, The Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain, The Euan MacDonald Centre at The University of Edinburgh, The Azrieli Foundation, Fondation Sandra et Alain Bouchard, and the St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal.

"We are very excited for this new partnership with The University of Edinburgh and what it means for the neuroscience community at McGill,” says Stefano Stifani, associate director of research at The Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University. “Collaborative and inter-disciplinary research is at the heart of this exciting strategic partnership between our Universities; the pilot projects are only the first step in creating a sustainable and dynamic partnership”, says Prof Siddharthan Chandran Director of Edinburgh Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh.

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