Past Grant Recipients 2021

Finding Causes and Triggers

A common question asked by patients and their caregivers is "What causes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?" Unfortunately, the causes and triggers of these chronic diseases remain unknown.

With the support of grants from Crohn's and Colitis Canada, the researchers noted below are moving us closer to discovering the factors that lead to the onset of these diseases by researching environmental triggers, genetic markers, and more.

2021 Grant Recipients

Dr. Alberto Caminero

Dr. Alberto Caminero | McMaster University
Research: The role of microbial metabolism in food intolerances associated with inflammatory bowel disease
Date: 2021-2024
Amount: $375,000

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) report a variety of food intolerances. However, the main dietary triggers and pathways involved are unknown. Certain foods such as wheat and dairy that are not properly digested by our enzymes may cause adverse effects. Although our gut microbiota may help in the digestion, IBD patients often present an altered microbiota, which may include the loss of beneficial microbes.

Dr. Caminero’s study aims to broaden our understanding of whether the microbes hosted in the guts of IBD patients have a reduced digestive capacity against certain types of foods thus causing adverse effects. The study will also look into the effects of different dietary components in animal models of colitis.

The findings of this study will help guide dietary advice in clinical practice; in particular, it will pave the way for novel preventive and therapeutic approaches using probiotics in IBD patients with specific food intolerances.

To learn more about Dr. Caminero's research, watch the video below.


Dr. Jean-Eric Ghia

Dr. Jean-Eric Ghia | University of Manitoba
Research: Function of follicular dendritic cell secreted protein in ulcerative colitis
Date: 2021-2022
Amount: $50,000

People living with ulcerative colitis are known to have inflammation and imbalances of microbes in the gut. Dr. Ghia and his team aim to study the effects of a protein (follicular dendritic cell secreted protein) in regulating inflammation, the immune system and the gut microbes and their impact in the development of ulcerative colitis.

To learn more about Dr. Ghia's research, watch the video below.


  • 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