New CERC to reduce impacts of mental disorders on youth

December 14, 2015

OTTAWA, ONTARIO  — Today at Université Laval, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, has announced $27 million in funding for the new Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Neurophotonics.

Dr. Pierre Marquet, Associate Professor at the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland, will be joining Laval as the new CERC in January and will use new imaging techniques to better identify in youth early biomarkers for major psychiatric disorders. There is growing evidence that mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and major depression, are linked to neurodevelopment and that the offspring of patients with these disorders are at a higher risk of developing the same ones. Early diagnosis in these offspring (before debilitating symptoms occur) using optical imaging equipment to visualize cell and tissue structure could lead to early treatment and drastically improve outcomes for young patients.

This project also received infrastructure funding of almost $800,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, a fund that helps universities attract and retain top research talent. The CFI is pleased to partner with the CERC program in supporting research that will lead to better diagnosis and treatment for mental health disorders.