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Yves De Koninck and Frédéric Bretzner receive top awards for spinal cord research in Canada

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”685″,”attributes”:{“class”:”media-image wp-image-1036 size-thumbnail”,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”style”:””,”width”:”150″,”height”:”150″,”alt”:”Yves De Koninck – photo Marc Robitaille”}}]] Yves De Koninck – photo Marc Robitaille

Two outstanding researchers from Université Laval, Frédéric Bretzner for 2013 and Yves DeKoninck for 2014, have won Barbara Turnbull awards for spinal cord research.  This prize is supported through a partnership between the Barbara Turnbull Foundation for Spinal Cord Research, Brain Canada, and the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction.  It is the top prize in spinal cord injury research awarded in Canada each year.

Dr. Frédéric Bretzner, winner of the 2013 Barbara Turnbull award, is Assistant Professor in the Department of psychiatry and neurosciences and at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval (CHUL).  Dr. Bretzner studies the pathways between the brain and the spinal cord that are important for initiation and modulation of locomotion. A better knowledge of these pathways will help identify and characterize the nervous circuits that need to be repaired in order to improve functional recovery following spinal cord injury.

“I’m delighted to be the recipient of this prestigious award. I hope that our research will allow us to get a better understanding of the nervous circuits that need to be repaired in order to improve functional motor recovery in patients living with spinal cord injuries.”
– Dr. Frédéric Bretzner, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Université Laval; Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec

Dr. Yves De Koninck, winner of the 2014 Barbara Turnbull award, is Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, Laval University and Scientific Director of the Quebec Mental Health Institute Research Center (CRIUSMQ).  Dr. De Koninck studies the persistent changes in spinal cord function that occur after nervous system injury that lead to chronic pain.  Understanding the long term alterations that occur in the spinal cord after injury will allow Dr. De Koninck and his team to find new treatment and prevention avenues for many chronic pain syndromes, such as  postherpetic neuralgia, causalgia following damage to a major nerve, diabetic neuropathy, allodynia, hyperalgesia, and spontaneous or phantom limb pain.

“I am deeply honoured to receive this award. Barbara Turnbull’s courage and relentless advocacy efforts to promote spinal cord research are an inspiration to us all and I sincerely hope our work, funded by CIHR, will have a significant impact on the development of therapeutic strategies to alleviate chronic pain, a terrible condition that afflicts the majority of patients with spinal cord injury and is reported as their most prevalent subject of grievance.”

– Dr. Yves De Koninck, Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Université Laval; Scientific Director, Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec

About the Barbara Turnbull award:

The Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research was established in 2001 to support research and raise awareness of the more than 86,000 Canadians who are living with a spinal cord injury, with 4,300 new cases each year. The prize is presented annually to the researcher who scores the highest ranking in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grants competition for research in the field of spinal cord injuries. This award is for $50,000.

Visit the Barbara Turnbull Foundation website for more information

Read the press release by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research