Crohn's and Colitis Canada awards nine research grants, supports researchers improving IBD care

Researchers observing information on monitors

TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2017 /CNW/ - Crohn's and Colitis Canada is pleased to announce its Grants-in-Aid and Innovations in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Grant recipients. Seven Grants-in-Aid have been awarded to advance prevention, treatments, health policy and to ultimately find cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Two researchers have been awarded Innovations Grants, which fund novel approaches to IBD research.

"Funding research is at the foundation of our mission to find the cures for Crohn's and colitis, and it's having a huge impact," says Mina Mawani, President & CEO of Crohn's and Colitis Canada. "Crohn's and Colitis Canada is one of the top charity funders of Crohn's and colitis research in the world, and that research is leading to improvements in treatment and care."

Grants-in-Aid of Research and Innovations Grants are awarded every year to researchers whose proposals have a clear connection to improved care for those affected by Crohn's or colitis. Recipients hail from across the country and are determined to better the lives of the 250,000 Canadians living with these chronic diseases.

2017 Grants-in-Aid of Research Award Recipients:

  • Dr. Deanna Gibson (co-investigators: Dr. Sundeep Singh, Dr. Kevan Jacobson, and Natasha Haskey), University of British Columbia. Dr. Gibson will study the effect of the Mediterranean diet on patients with ulcerative colitis. This is an important step towards addressing the lack of evidence-based nutrition guidelines available for IBD patients.
  • Dr. Brian Coombes (co-investigator: Dr. Jonathan Schertzer), McMaster University. Dr. Coombes will study how diet and certain medicines influence patient susceptibility and colonization by adherent-invasive Escherichia coli, a bacterium linked to Crohn's disease.
  • Dr. Pere Santamaria (co-investigator: Dr. Derek McKay), University of Calgary. Dr. Santamaria is testing a previously developed nanomedicine that selectively targets disease-causing immune responses seen in colitis.
  • Dr. Simon Hirota, University of Calgary. Fibrosis, the thickening and scarring of connective tissue, is a frequent complication of IBD. Dr. Hirota is trying to understand how a protein called pregnane X receptor (PXR) regulates fibrosis, and whether it can serve as a target for treating intestinal fibrosis in patients with chronic inflammation.
  • Dr. Geoffrey Nguyen, (co-investigators: Dr. Deborah Marshall and Dr. Maida Sewitch), University of Toronto/Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Nguyen will study inconsistencies between doctor and IBD patient treatment priorities, while also examining areas where communications between the two can be improved.
  • Dr. Sara Ahola Kohut, (co-investigators: Dr. Anne Griffiths, Dr. Anthony Otley, Dr. David Mack, Dr. Jennifer Stinson and Dr. Kevan Jacobson), The Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Kohut will be looking at how peer mentorship can help young IBD patients cope with the physical and mental health challenges caused by their disease.
  • Dr. Reena Khanna (co-investigator: Dr. Guangyong Zou), University of Western Ontario. Dr. Khanna will be developing more clinically and scientifically relevant measures to assess disease activity in IBD clinical trials.

2017 Innovations in IBD Grant Recipients:

  • Dr. Humberto Jijon (co-investigator: Dr. Paul Beck), University of Calgary. Dr. Jijon will be using a recently developed method to identify specific gut bacteria and sequencing their RNA to identify which species may be the primary triggers of inflammation.
  • Dr. Yasmin Nasser, University of Calgary. Studies suggest that the makeup of the gut microbiota may play a role in chronic pain. Dr. Nasser will be using antibiotics to alter the microbiota in the gut of mice and examine changes in pain signals to identify parts of the microbiome that are linked to pain.

For more information about the selection process and Crohn's and Colitis Canada, click here


For further information or to arrange an interview with a researcher, please contact:

Nic Canning 
Account Manager, Smithcom Ltd.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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