Major donation will spur university research in brain disorders

Doctor using pencil to demonstrate anatomy of artificial human brain model in medical office

A very significant donation to the University of Calgary will go a long way towards improving research into neurodevelopmental disabilities.

A pledge of $25 million has been made to the school courtesy of the Azrieli Foundation, helping support the ongoing work happening at the school around trying to unlock some of the most perplexing secrets of the brain.

University President Ed McCauley said this will specifically help launch an accelerator to speed up research even more.

“It’s really exciting for us because it gives us this opportunity to combine our expertise in a variety of different areas to really come up with new approaches to dealing with these disabilities and helping individuals and families,” he said.

This also comes on the heels of the university being named one of the top research facilities in Canada, and McCauley said this will further solidify them as a world-class centre.

The research will help us understand many ongoing questions about disorders such as autism and ADHD, as well as enhance treatments for them.

“To understand the circuitry, to understand the sort of causal mechanisms behind the neurodevelopment disorders. But then, looking at how this is impacting individuals and families and implementing care in order to deliver support for them,” McCauley added.

Dr. Susan Graham will serve as the scientific director of the Azrieli Accelerator, coming into the role as a leader in cognitive development and language in children.

“This tremendous and generous gift from the Azrieli Foundation will allow us to transform neurodevelopment research across the lifespan and let us take our recognized research in neurodevelopment to the next level,” Graham said in a press release.

The accelerator also pulls in members from different faculties across the university to assist with the work and achieve a greater understanding.

McCauley said this will also play a vital role in attracting even more top talent to the university so they can maintain the level of research and find new solutions to problems that have left scientists scratching their own heads for years.

Originally published in CityNews Calgary. View the original article here.