Congratulations to the recipients of the Michael Smith Health Research BC 2022 Health Professional-Investigator awards, including two Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health researchers.
The Health Professional-Investigator Program is designed to develop BC’s research talent and help decrease the gap between health research and its implementation. The awards support health professionals who are actively involved in patient care to conduct and apply research relevant to health and/or the health system.
Dr. Kamyar Keramatian
Evaluation of a manualized telehealth-based psychoeducation group for individuals at high risk for bipolar disorder
Bipolar Disorder (BD) is a psychiatric condition that affects about 2 percent of people in BC. Individuals with BD experience extreme changes in their mood, as well as their energy and ability to function. These changes, however, are frequently underreported and unrecognized — especially in youth — which can delay the diagnosis and treatment of BD by several years.
Dr. Kamyar Keramatian is a psychiatrist at Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC. His research team, including people living with BD, has developed a virtual group-based educational program for youth at high risk for BD. This program aims to increase knowledge of BD, reduce self-stigma, improve help-seeking and enhance resilience in adolescents and young adults who are at high risk of developing BD. His research will explore the feasibility of implementing this new program throughout BC and how it can help young people with BD to be identified earlier and receive more timely care. By facilitating early identification and treatment of BD, his research can potentially reduce healthcare costs and lead to more efficient access to care and service delivery for youth with BD across BC.
Dr. Khaled Abdelrahman
The contribution of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) to impaired control of brain blood flow in Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a major crisis and a huge burden on healthcare system. It causes a decrease in memory and affects women more than men. The memory decline in Alzheimer’s is linked to poor blood supply to the brain. The causes for poor supply are unknown but it starves brain cells of essential materials leading to improper function.
Dr. Khaled Abdelrahman, an Assistant Professor in UBC’s Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, will study how a molecule present in the cells of the brain called metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) contributes to the poor blood supply to the brain and the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms. His team at UBC is interested in mGluR5 because it attaches to the “toxic molecules” commonly found in Alzheimer’s brain. He will use mice sick with Alzheimer’s and samples from Alzheimer’s patients to study how the attachment of the “toxic molecules” to mGluR5 can lead to the short supply of blood to the brain and memory loss. He will also study if the role of mGluR5 in Alzheimer’s is different between males and females. In addition, his team will test if the drugs that act on mGluR5 can help Alzheimer’s patients by correcting blood supply to the brain and improving memory. He will be working with patient and community partners to help interpret and communicate his findings and guide future work.