Drs. El Mestikawy, Silveira, and Williams obtain HBHL's Neuro Commercialization IGNITE grants

Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives has announced the projects selected to receive this year's Neuro Commercialization Ignite Grants. These grants aim to support small-scale validation/proof-of-principle efforts in the development of a neuroscience-related technology.

We are pleased to announce that three of our researchers, Drs. Salah El Mestikawy, Patrícia Pelufo Silveira, and Sylvain Williams, received the $50,000 award to move their exciting projects forward.

Dr. El Mestikawy's project, Development of LMB1-01-002, a first in class product candidate to target anorexia, aims to mobilize their recent observations that donepizil is an effective treatment in mouse models of anorexia (Favier et al., Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2020; see animated video abstract).

"The IGNITE funding will allow us to develop new dervatives of donezepil with fewer secondary effects, which could then be used in young undernourished patients." – Dr. Salah El Mestikawy

Dr. Silveira's project, Building capacity for discovery and innovation in genomic datasets: the ePRS Cluster, will expand on her lab's novel approach to genomic profiling, informed by biological function, called expression-based polygenic score (ePRS).

"Our new method builds upon years of discoveries in Molecular Biology, while applying novel -omics technologies. It has sparked interest from many different laboratories around the world. This funding will help us establishing a platform that will both provide functional genomics solutions as well as offer training to foster dissemination of our method and other tools." – Dr. Patricia Pelufo Silveira

Finally, Dr. Williams' project, which is developed jointly with Dr. Mark Brandon, is called Development of machine learning neuronal decoders predicting preclinical drug efficacy for Alzheimer's disease.

"To date, drug development in the Alzheimer's disease field has been challenging. With this Ignite award, we will use our state-of-the-art M3 Platform to collect the activity from large neuronal populations during memory tasks in Alzheimer mouse models. Our aim is to develop different machine-learning algorithms that will facilitate the selection of compounds that will successfully move from the preclinical to the clinical phase and show efficacy to reverse memory loss in Alzheimer's disease patients." – Dr. Sylvain Williams

Congratulations to our researchers, and best of luck to them in these exciting projects! 


There are increasing opportunities, financial supports and guidance to help researchers who have developed an idea move it to the next level. HBHL’s Neuro Commercialization Grant is one of them. There’s a buoyant life sciences ecosystem in Montréal with talents in our public research facilities and in the industry. It’s by collaborating that we’ll be able to innovate faster and improve clinical care and services. Stéphanie Lassonde, Director, Partnership Development, is our in-house contact for pursuing commercialization and partnership opportunities.