A financial support of $761,000 for IRCM research infrastructure

March 22 2019 | Grants

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Mohan Malleshaiah and Martin Sauvageau, both researchers at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM), received $761,000 in funding to purchase state-of-the-art research infrastructure.

80% of this amount is allocated, in equal parts, by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (research support program). The remaining 20% comes from the IRCM Foundation and other partners. This financial support was provided through the February and June 2018 grant competitions as part of the CFI's John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

Mohan Malleshaiah: Elucidating single-cell behavior of stem cells
Mohan Malleshaiah is Director of the IRCM’s Stem Cells and Cell Reprogramming Research Unit. His lab aims to study the regulatory mechanisms of distinct cellular states in the context of health and disease. 

Pluripotent stem cells have the ability to give rise to most cell types of an organism. They have thus emerged as a powerful cell source for regenerative medicine and disease modelling. However, the dynamic behaviour of individual stem cells and the resulting functional consequences are less understood. To understand the regulatory mechanisms of stem cell states, Dr. Malleshaiah’s lab combines quantitative single-cell measurements in proteomics, genomics and imaging, with computational analysis and modelling approaches. They then utilize the knowledge of regulatory mechanisms to predict and reverse-engineer the cell states through cell reprogramming strategies. Dr. Malleshaiah’s lab also aims to probe cancer and rare diseases using similar single-cell systems biology approaches. 

Dr. Malleshaiah receives a total of $361,674 for his research project entitled Uncovering Stem Cell States, their Transitions and Regulatory Mechanisms. The amount facilitated the purchase of a 10X Genomics single-cell sequencing system and of a multi-mode high-throughput plate reader, as well as the installation of his laboratory. 

Martin Sauvageau: Unraveling the mystery of long noncoding RNAs and the noncoding genome
Efforts to understand the molecular basis of diseases have focused mainly on mutations affecting protein coding genes, which comprise only 2% of our genome. However, a larger proportion of mutations are located in the remaining 98% of our genome. Many of these regions act as molecular switches controlling gene expression and produce thousands of long noncoding RNAs that do not make proteins. The role of the vast majority of these noncoding elements is unknown.

The work of Dr. Sauvageau, Director of the IRCM’s Functional Genomics and Noncoding RNAs Research Unit, aims to understand how these noncoding elements work and contribute to the development of cancers and rare diseases. To do this, he combines human genetics data and animal models with state-of-the-art genome editing, biochemistry, functional genomics and bioinformatics techniques to explain the mechanisms regulating these under-explored portions of our genome. 

His research project, entitled Functional Genomics of Long Noncoding RNAs in Human Diseases, received a total investment of $399,979. This enabled the acquisition of an IncuCyte, an automated microscope for real time and high-throughput live-cell imaging, of an automated nucleic acid extraction system and of a long-read Nanopore sequencing system, as well as the installation of his laboratory. 

About the John R. Evans Leaders Fund
The John R. Evans Leaders Fund enables an institution’s excellent researchers to undertake leading-edge research by providing them with the foundational research infrastructure required to be or become leaders in their field. In turn, this enables institutions to remain internationally competitive in areas of research and technology development, aligned with their strategic priorities.