Past Grant Recipients 2016

Finding Causes and Triggers

Crohn's and Colitis Canada's promise is to discover cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which is why we have always supported research projects that investigate the causes and triggers of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Below you'll learn about the completed research projects that we have funded which focused on establishing an understanding of how and why Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis develops in the human body.

2016 Grant Recipients

Dr. Claude Asselin

Dr. Claude Asselin | Université Sherbrooke
Research: Histone deacetylases: epigenetic regulators of intestinal epithelial homeostasis
Date: 2016-2019
Amount: $375,000

Our body responds to the environment which can make us more or less susceptible to disease. The environment can cause a gene to turn “on” or “off” through epigenetic changes.

Dr. Asselin is studying how certain proteins control genetic and epigenetic information in the gut cells leading to IBD.

Dr. Elena Verdu

Dr. Elena Verdu | McMaster University
Research: The role of Microbial Proteases in Colitis
Date: 2016-2019
Amount: $375,000

Dr. Verdu will be investigating the impact that bacteria collected from UC patients has on germ-free mice in order to better understand how the certain bacteria may lead to gut leakiness or chronic inflammation seen in IBD.


Dr. Mark Silverberg

Dr. Mark Silverberg | Mount Sinai Hospital
Research: Studying patients who have undergone pouch surgery to look at changes in the intestinal microbiome to determine the role they play in inflammation 
Date: 2016-2019
Amount: $375,000

The digestive tract is home to hundreds of trillions of microorganisms, which generally exist with the host in a mutually beneficial relationship. Yet changes in the number and types of bacteria has been implicated in numerous conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (including ulcerative colitis (UC)) which affects over 200,000 Canadians. However, relatively little is known about how changes in this bacterial community may contribute towards disease susceptibility.

For this study, we therefore make use of a human model of IBD, the ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) following surgery for severe UC, to evaluate how the composition of the intestinal microbiome changes over time, and how these changes may result in the development of intestinal inflammation.

In previous studies we have demonstrated there are differences in the content of the microbial community of the inflamed pouch compared to tissue which is healthy. However, it is difficult to determine whether the observed changes played a role in disease development or were the result of the disease process. As such, we have designed a study, which aims to follow patients over time, both prior to and following the development of inflammation, to observe both normal changes in the pouch tissue following surgery, and those which may actually predict or contribute towards disease development.

The information generated by this study will provide a greater understanding of factors which are causative in disease development, and will have the potential to lead to therapies which decrease the frequency of pouch inflammation and IBD occurrence in general.

Past recipients

To learn about the completed research projects that we have supported from 2014-2015, click here.

  • 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.

Other Areas of Interest