Matthew Farrer, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurogenetics and Translational Neuroscience at The University of British Columbia, has been named the new Dr. Donald Rix B.C. Leadership Chair in Genetic Medicine. Named for the late physician and philanthropist Don Rix, the chair is supported by $2.25 million from the BC government through its Leading Edge Endowment Fund, $2 million from LifeLabs, and $250,000 from the Genome British Columbia Foundation.
“Diseases of the brain are some of the greatest challenges facing medical science today, and funding this kind of cutting-edge research is a priority for our government,” said Moira Stilwell, BC’s Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Research and Innovation.
“British Columbia has one of the most concentrated and high-calibre clusters of brain and neuroscience researchers, and one of the most robust biotech industries in the world,” said Farrer. “This synergy provides the perfect environment for me and my team to make fundamental genetic discoveries and translate them into treatments that will improve the quality of life for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases and that of their families.”
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common chronic neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that 10 million Canadians—nearly one-third of Canada’s population—will be affected by brain disease, disorder or injuries at some time in their lives. The financial burden of treating these conditions is estimated to cost the Canadian healthcare system $30 billion annually.
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