Two Burnaby researchers received a prestigious award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
The foundation announced the 59 recipients on Sept. 17, and among them are Dr. Razieh Eskandari and Dr. Dave Pasalich – both Burnaby residents and post-doctoral fellows from Simon Fraser University.
The awards are worth $37,000 a year over a maximum term of three years.
Eskandari’s research is working to improve treatment for Alzheimer’s by identifying compounds that protect the brain from degeneration. Tau is a protein that can act abnormally in Alzheimer’s disease and can lead to neuronal death, but tau’s toxicity can be significantly reduced by altering the levels of a sugar modification in cells – known as O-GlcNAc.
“Eskandari’s research focuses on synthesizing compounds that will help increase levels of O-GlcNAc in brains, which in turn will protect neurons from the damaging effects of abnormal tau,” a media release stated. “By identifying new molecules and validating this target, her study has the potential to improve outcomes for the estimated 500,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease.”
The other Burnaby doctor, Pasalich, is reaching whether an evidence-based parenting program can help reunite families after children have been placed in out-of-home care.
“Two common obstacles to family reunification following out-of-home care are children’s conduct problems … and parents’ lack of confidence or skill in managing their child’s behaviour,” the release stated. “Pasalich believes that an evidence-based parenting program that is tailored to meet the needs of families involved with the child welfare system may improve parent-child interactions and increase the chances of timely reunification while decreasing the chance the children will re-enter the out-of-home care system.”
The Michael Smith foundation is funded primarily by the province, its award competitions have funded more than 1,500 projects since 2001.
For more information about the 2013 research projects, visit www.msfhr.org/2013-trainee-competition-results.
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