$890,000 grant to help researchers understand the cell’s professional DNA organizers

February 10, 2016

Dr. David Picketts and his team were granted $890,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to learn how two particular proteins (called Snf2h and Snf2l) keep the DNA of brain stem cells organized during their transformation into specialized cells. Stem cell DNA is loosely packaged with many genes poised for action. But when the cell specializes, organizing proteins have to silence the genes that are no longer needed and make others more accessible. When these organizing proteins fail in their duties, it can cause developmental disorders, intellectual disabilities and many kinds of cancer. A better understanding of how these proteins work is necessary to figuring out how to treat these disorders. This CIHR grant is one of 22 recently awarded to researchers at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

About The Ottawa Hospital

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care.

For further information, please contact

Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253