Two Halifax professors win top national award for spinal cord research
TORONTO, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Two researchers from Dalhousie University, Drs. James P. Fawcett and Robert M. Brownstone, have each earned a 2010 Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research. The prize is presented annually to the spinal cord researchers who score the highest in Canadian Institutes of Health Research's (CIHR) largest grants competition.
"I'm pleased to be here today to accept this prestigious award," said Dr. Fawcett, Canada Research Chair in Brain Repair at Dalhousie University. "The funding will allow me to elucidate the development of neural circuits involved in locomotion to provide insights into how we can repair the spinal cord following injury."
Dr. Fawcett is a new investigator in this field and has been a Canada Research Chair since 2006. His laboratory is interested in understanding how the process of walking is regulated by the spinal cord, with input from the brain. Their findings shed light on potential therapies for treating neurodegenerative diseases and repairing damaged spinal cords.
"I'm extremely grateful for the support of our sponsors and plan to continue to investigate how the nervous system controls movement," said Dr. Brownstone, Professor in the Department of Surgery and the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Dalhousie University. "I'm confident that my research will help to develop strategies to improve the function of people living with spinal cord injuries and diseases."
As a neurosurgeon and spinal cord researcher, Dr. Brownstone specializes in the treatment of patients with disorders affecting movement. He also leads The Mobility Project and serves as the Assistant Dean Research in Clinical Departments of the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. He has been studying the control of movement by the spinal cord for 27 years.
"I'm thrilled with this year's double winners, representing the East Coast of Canada. While a tie is not always ideal when searching for the very top, I welcome the opportunity to recognize more than one scientist," said Barbara Turnbull, President of the Barbara Turnbull Foundation for Spinal Cord Research. "I continue to believe fervently in the importance of basic research and feel privileged to support the world-class science taking place within our borders."
"It is essential for CIHR to recognize and support Drs. Fawcett and Brownstone for their excellent and innovative work in spinal cord research," said Dr. Anthony Phillips, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. "We believe further research in this complex area will ultimately help to give a better life to those paralyzed by spinal cord injury."
"NeuroScience Canada is proud to be a partner on the Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research, for a ninth consecutive year," said Inez Jabalpurwala, President of NeuroScience Canada. "We congratulate Drs. Fawcett and Brownstone for joining the distinguished Canadian researchers who have been recognized for their exceptional contributions to spinal cord research. These scientists are making advances towards our ability to repair an injured spinal cord, and along the way, seeking to improve the lives of people currently living with these injuries."
Barbara Turnbull is a well known Toronto journalist and research activist who was shot and paralyzed from the neck down during a convenience store robbery when she was 18.
The Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research was established in 2001 to raise awareness of the more than four million Canadians who are afflicted with neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. The award is administered through a partnership among the Barbara Turnbull Foundation, the NeuroScience Canada Foundation, and the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. This award is for $50,000, which will be split equally between the two recipients.
About Canadian Institutes of Health Research
For the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and health care for Canadians. As the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented health-care system. Composed of 13 internationally recognized Institutes, CIHR supports more than 13,600 health researchers and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
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