Major funding of $5.6M for the collaborative development of the Canadian Pediatric Imaging Platform (C-PIP) has been awarded to a Canadian research group based across three pediatric hospitals, whose leadership at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre is Patricia Conrod. In collaboration with Drs. Gregory Lodygensky and Sébastien Jacquemont (CHU Sainte-Justine), the project led by Signe Bray (University of Calgary) aims to propel research on child brain health.
A structured partnership to accelerate our understanding of the brain and the factors that disrupt brain developmentPatricia Conrod, researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine and full professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Addictology at Université de Montréal
Credit: Courtesy photo
The brain undergoes enormous changes, from conception to birth, and throughout life. How it develops is deeply influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful technology to measure these changes in brain development. The information collected can be particularly useful in helping to elucidate how the organ reacts, for example, during premature birth, concussion or genetic alteration.
The C-PIP platform aims to understand how brain disruptors impair neurodevelopment and increase the risk of behavioral and mental health disorders in children and young people. Thanks to its open scientific approach, the adoption of new methods of data collection, processing and analysis will be facilitated and will constitute a national reference sample.
The partnership behind this project is made up of three Canadian leaders in the field of pediatric MRI: the new Imagine Center at the CHU Sainte-Justine, the Alberta Children’s Hospital-CAIR program and the SickKids Hospital in Toronto. All are already at work to develop the C-PIP Platform.
"The neurodevelopmental research community at CHU Sainte-Justine is very excited about the idea of partnering with researchers from Ontario and Alberta to accelerate our understanding of brain development and the impact of genetic and environmental factors that disrupt its development" - says Patricia Conrod, researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine and full professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Addiction at the University of Montreal. Ultimately, the project will eventually include pediatric neuroimaging sites from all regions of Canada.
Financial support for the C-PIP project has been made possible through Health Canada’s Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF) Program, an innovative agreement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada and the Brain Canada Foundation), as well as the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, SickKids Hospital and the University of Calgary. The BCRF doubles institutional financial support and aims to recognize collaborative brain research projects to facilitate and share access to equipment, expertise, data and protocols in research networks. To date, Health Canada has invested over $145 million through the CBRF, an investment that has been matched by the Brain Canada Foundation and its donors and partners.