The Government of Canada in partnership with Genome BC, Génome Québec, Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQ-S) and the Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST) announced $41 million for health research today in Montreal. The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced support for innovative research that will examine how environmental factors can alter the expression of our DNA and potentially affect our health.
Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) a new national initiative, the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC), has been formed to support leading edge research on the role of DNA and environment interactions in human health and disease. BC will be home to one of two centres in Canada studying epigenetics to gain a better understanding of the origins of health and also the etiology, treatment and prevention of many of the chronic diseases currently affecting the Canadian population.
"The development of the Centre for Epigenomic Mapping Technologies in BC is a critical step in establishing a national network and building bioinformatics resources," said Dr. Brad Popovich, Chief Scientific Officer at Genome BC. "Epigenetic research will have a profound impact on advancing our understanding of human genomics and this Centre will play a critical role in this innovative area of human health."
"Our Government is proud to support research that will help build a more complete picture of the causes of human illnesses, specifically chronic and complex diseases including cancer, diabetes and mental illness," said Minister Aglukkaq. "The goal of this research is to discover new treatments that improve the health of Canadians."
Today's announcement includes funding for epigenetics research under the CEEHRC. As a first phase, CIHR is funding an innovative grant program and an epigenomic platform centre program to help Canada's existing DNA experts, in partnership with Génome Québec and Genome BC. CIHR and its partners have also launched a second major phase of the initiative with two team grant programs focused on putting research discoveries into practice.
"Epigenetics research is an area that has been referred to as the "second revolution in genetics' and promises profound new insights into the role of the environment on human health and disease," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, CIHR President. "CIHR encourages the researchers funded under the epigenetics initiative to translate their findings into diagnostic tests, novel medical treatments, and health policy."
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About Genome British Columbia
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada’s West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $550M in research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada.
Communications Specialist, Genome BC