Alzheimer Society of Canada invests over $5 million to research

Dr. Jillian Stobart, assistant professor at the University of Manitoba College of Pharmacy has been awarded the Alzheimer Society Research Program New Investigator Grant from the Alzheimer Society and Research Manitoba for her pioneering project: Reducing astrocyte P2Y1 receptor signaling to slow Alzheimer’s disease progression. 

The Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP) is one of Canada’s most innovative hubs for dementia research, helping the best and brightest minds in the field transform their work from ideas to impact. Since the program’s start over 30 years ago, nearly $73 million in grants and awards has been invested toward innovative research that brings us closer to a future without dementia.  

This year, the ASRP is investing $5,244,000 in 40 researchers and their projects across Canada, with the help of generous donors and funding partners, including Research Manitoba.

The ASRP funds dementia research in Canada, through four award categories: Doctoral Award, Postdoctoral Award, New Investigator Grant and Proof of Concept Grant. The eight priority research areas the ASRP funds are: 

  • Care 
  • Cause 
  • Diagnosis 
  • Epidemiology 
  • Risk 
  • Therapy  
  • Translational 
  • Treatment 

Dr. Stobart’s research aims to explore the role of astrocytes, a type of brain glial cell crucial for brain function, which become abnormal during Alzheimer’s disease. This abnormality may cause cell death and damage that contributes to memory loss and sensory problems experienced by people living with Alzheimer’s.

Stobart’s study will focus on the P2Y1 receptor on astrocytes, which increases during Alzheimer’s disease and may cause astrocytes to damage other brain cells, leading to memory loss and other symptoms. By genetically reducing astrocyte P2Y1 receptors, Stobart and her team expect to see improved brain cell survival and function. Stobart’s research can help us better understand the causes of brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease.

Visit the Alzheimer Society Research Program page on our national website to learn more about the ASRP and other 2024 award recipients.