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$120,000 grant to help find ways to relieve cellular stress and prevent neurodegenerative diseases

May 27, 2015

Would a never-ending assembly line of unfolded laundry stress you out? This is the situation faced by our cells every single day, except that in our cells the laundry is protein, and when too much unfolded protein builds up, our cells can become so stressed that they die. In fact, this process is implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases, including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dr. Richard Bergeron was recently awarded a $120,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to study this process, and in particular, the role of a protein called sigma-1 receptor, which acts as a “chaperone” to help fold proteins. Dr. Bergeron hopes that activating this chaperone might help relieve some of the cellular stress and prevent the development or progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Drs. Angela Crawley and Doug Gray also recently received NSERC grants. These will be profiled in a future newsletter.

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute


The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with its faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Support our research. Give to the Tender Loving Research campaign.

For further information, please contact


Lois Ross
Senior Communications Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-737-8899 x73687
Cell: 613-297-8315
loross@ohri.ca