A total of $75,000 has been awarded for established research projects in British Columbia.

The British Columbia Schizophrenia Society Foundation is pleased to announce three recipients of its “Gap-Funding for Research in Schizophrenia” competition. The competition, which ran in November 2020, was launched after the Foundation recognized the potential negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on established and ongoing research projects in schizophrenia—including having to adopt new methods for operations during lockdown and funding. This competition would not have been possible without generous contributions from the Foundation’s valued and loyal donors.

“We are extremely excited to be helping ensure that these researchers are able to continue their efforts to advance our understanding of schizophrenia,” says Renato Zane, the volunteer Chair of the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society Foundation. “These research projects touch upon different aspects of the disease. We cannot wait to learn how the results will improve the lives of those affected by schizophrenia!”

In total, three grants of $25,000 each were awarded to research projects that have been running for a minimum of two years. Each selected project advances the understanding, treatment, or cure for schizophrenia—and all work towards improving the lives of those affected by schizophrenia.

Congratulations to the Principal Investigators, their teams, and research partners. The Principal Investigators are:

Prof. Donna Lang (Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia): An ongoing research project investigating the relationship between cardiovascular fitness and symptom severity in chronic schizophrenia patients.

Dr. Todd Woodward (BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute, Children’s and Women’s Hospital; Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia): A project investigating changes in the brain that result from participating in group-based treatment for delusions and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.

Dr. Robert Stowe (Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, BC/UBC Neuropsychiatry and BC Psychosis Programs, and David Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia) and Clinical Assoc. Prof. Prescilla Carrion (Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia): The Metabolic and Genetic Explorations in Refractory Schizophrenia (MAGERS) project seeks to identify specific genetic, biochemical, and immunological mechanisms driving severe psychosis, with the goal of developing precision medicine (mechanistically targeted biological interventions) for patients not responding to standard treatment, including a personalized approach to supporting patients and families with understanding and integrating genomic information through psychiatric genetic counselling.

Additional Background information:

British Columbia Schizophrenia Society Foundation raises funds for programs and services offered by BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) and for schizophrenia research in BC. The Foundation receives generous support from individuals, companies, and organizations. All contributions make a real difference in the lives of over 48,000 people across our province who are affected by schizophrenia or other severe mental illness.

British Columbia Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 by families and friends of people with schizophrenia. We are dedicated to providing support and resources for families, educating the public, and advocating for better services for people with schizophrenia and other serious and persistent mental illness. Visit our website at www.bcss.org.