As we celebrated on sunday World Alheimer's Day, we are pleased to announce that Sylvain Williams and Mallar Chakravarty, both from the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and a team of five other researchers from Toronto have received $1.5 million, over three years, from Brain Canada’s Multi-Investigator Research Initiative (MIRI) with matching funds from the Krembil Foundation. The multi-disciplinary team will study brain circuit function in health and disease, testing novel treatment strategies with the long-term goal of remediating memory deficits in Alzheimer’s Disease.


The project

The onset of Alzheimer's disease is marked by changes in a set of brain regions that support our ability to remember. Several nodes in this network are also known to ‘go rogue’ in the most common form of epilepsy (temporal lobe epilepsy), where altered signals across nodes in this network are thought to lead to the spread of seizures. In both conditions, neural activity becomes dysfunctional, and can scale up to structural changes in other parts of the network, and even brain-wide.


We have brought together a team of researchers with expertise in measuring and manipulating the brain activity in nodes of this network. By modifying the deep-brain stimulation (DBS) technology widely used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, we will try to selectively influence neural activity to improve memory, enhancing treatments designed for clinical trials in Alzheimer’s patients (e.g. ADvance). We will be working at each phase of this research to determine the best markers of effectiveness that can be used in patients. By enhancing our sensitivity to detect improvement through these treatment protocols, we hope to guide and tailor treatments to work better, faster, and for more individuals.


The funding

·         This award is 1 of 11 MIRIs awarded this year to research institutions throughout Canada (1 is a bulk grant to UBC Alzheimer’s, see fact sheet link below).

·         Half of the funds are provided from Brain Canada, with a match ($750k) from the Krembil Foundation

·         This is the second Krembil Foundation contribution to Dr. Hoffman’s research.


The prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias will grow from the current 500,000 Canadians to more than 1.1 million within a generation and is expected to drive the total economic burden associated with the disease from $15-billion to more than $153-billion (Alzheimer’s Society). In addition to the human and economic costs, this explosive growth underscores the need to better understand this devastating disease and improve therapies and outcomes.


For information and interviews

Florence Meney
Media relations
Communications and Public Affairs
Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Dobell Pavilion, office B-2122
6875 LaSalle Blvd.
Montréal (Québec) H4H 1R3

Tel: 514 761-6131, ext. 2769
Cell : 514-835-3236