Dr. Brett Hilton is one of 28 neuroscientists in Canada who have been awarded $100,000 each in research funding, as part of Brain Canada’s 2022 Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research Program.

Dr. Brett Hilton

The Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research program aims to accelerate novel and transformative research that will fundamentally change our understanding of nervous system function and dysfunction and their impact on health. Dr. Hilton’s work focuses on identifying the processes that prevent damaged neurons from regenerating following brain or spinal cord injury. He and his team are also interested in identifying the cells and circuits that are most critical for mediating functional improvements after spinal cord injury.

“My big dream is to develop an effective treatment that regenerates the injured spinal cord and restores neurological function following spinal cord injury,” said Dr. Hilton. “There are no such therapies available to people with spinal cord injuries today, so a regenerative therapy for spinal cord injury remains a critical unmet need of the Canadian healthcare system. I’m hopeful that in the next 20 years, our understanding of spinal cord regeneration progresses to such a point that a treatment that is effective at restoring neurological function has emerged.”

Dr. Hilton established his laboratory at ICORD, a spinal cord injury research centre within the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, in January 2023, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, Germany. He is an Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences and a member of DMCBH.

By providing early-career researchers like Dr. Hilton with funding at this critical juncture, Brain Canada is building Canada’s pipeline of leaders in neuroscience and a foundation of research excellence and innovation. The work of the 2022 Future Leaders has the potential to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people living in Canada who are affected every day by brain diseases, disorders, and injuries.

Dr. Brett Hilton with members of his lab.

“Researchers who have recently completed their training and have just begun their careers are uniquely positioned to develop ground breaking brain research initiatives,” said Dr. Viviane Poupon, President and CEO of Brain Canada.

The Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research Program is made possible through the Canada Brain Research Fund, a partnership between Health Canada and Brain Canada Foundation, with additional support from donors and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

“On behalf of ICORD, I’d like to express my gratitude to Brain Canada, both for recognizing Dr. Hilton’s potential as a star researcher in Canadian neuroscience, and also for supporting his work with this award. We’re honoured to have him as a colleague at our research centre,” said ICORD Interim Director Dr. John Kramer.

This story was originally published on the ICORD website