COVID-19 assistance on federal laboratory reagents – Round #2

The Public Health Agency of Canada has sent a second call for items and reagents for the public health laboratories

  • For loan:
    1. Thermofisher Kingfisher Flex Purification Systems (automated nucleic acid purification) with the 96- Deep Well head
    2. Associated plastic consumables (96-well plate blocks) would also be of interest
  1. For use:
    1. Laboratory grade Guanidine thiocyanate

As with ‘Round 1” please forward any items to:

Rita Finley (

Public Health Agency of Canada – call for reagents for COVID19 testing

We have been made aware by some of our members that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has sent out an urgent request for reagents, specifically RNA extraction reagents for COVID19 testing.  If you have such reagents in your laboratory that you could donate (view list below) please consider doing so. If the laboratories have materials that we could use and are not included in the list, feel free to let us know and we will share with the National Microbiology Laboratory and asses their current requirements.
The contact person at the PHAC is Rita Finley (  As this is a time-sensitive request please let her know directly what you have available. Continue reading

A study by Martin Lévesque and his team explains the role of dopaminergic neurons in hyperactivity and suggests a mechanism of action for Ritalin

Martin LévesqueRead a new article by Université Laval news on a discovery by Martin Lévesque’s team

Cellular cogs of hyperactivity uncovered – Study clarifies the role of dopaminergic neurons in hyperactivity and suggests a mechanism of action for Ritalin

The cellular mechanism uncovered by the researchers could explain the mode of action of Ritalin in humans. The drug is believed to block the reuptake of dopamine by neurons, thereby prolonging the effects of this neurotransmitter.

Although about one in 10 people will suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their lifetime, the cellular causes of this health problem are still very poorly understood. A study published in Cell Reports by a team from Laval University’s CERVO Research Centre now sheds some light on the subject. The researchers were able to determine which type of neurons are involved in the development of hyperactivity in mice and the cellular mechanisms involved. This breakthrough suggests a plausible mode of action for Ritalin, a drug widely prescribed for ADHD, but whose mechanism of action is unknown. Continue reading

McGill researchers end decade-long search for mechanical pain sensor

Reza Sharif-Naeini, image from
Reza Sharif-Naeini

Discovery brings hope for novel pain treatment

Researchers at McGill University have discovered that a protein found in the membrane of our sensory neurons are involved in our capacity to feel mechanical pain, laying the foundation for the development of powerful new analgesic drugs.

The study, published in Cell, is the first to show that TACAN, a highly conserved protein among vertebrates whose function remained unclear, is in fact involved in detecting mechanical pain by converting mechanical pressures into electric signals. Continue reading

Pain hypersensitivity: problem at the pump

Yves De Koninck
Yves De Koninck

Pain hypersensitivity and many other diseases could be associated with a protein that acts as an ion pump in neurons.

The research team led by Yves De Koninck, at Université Laval’s Faculté de médecine and the CERVO Brain Research Centre had already targeted a protein called KCC2 as a key player in the mechanism leading to pain hypersensitivity.  A new study published in Nature Communications confirms confirms this lead and reinforces the idea that this protein could be a target of choice for the creation of a new class of analgesics to treat this problem that medicine is often powerless to address. Continue reading

Researchers first to use ultrasound to deliver a compound that stimulates brain cell communication in mice with Alzheimer’s disease

Isabelle Aubert
Isabelle Aubert

Sunnybrook Research Institute senior scientist Dr. Isabelle Aubert and her PhD student, Kristiana Xhima, led the first study using focused ultrasound to deliver a molecule to the brain to revive the function of neurons vital to learning and memory in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

Breakthrough targets restoring the function of neurons vital to learning and memory

Continue reading

Slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis

Alexandre Prat

By identifying a molecule that delays the progression of MS, CRCHUM researchers pave the way for new therapies for the nearly 77,000 Canadians living with the disease.

Over 77,000 Canadians are living with multiple sclerosis, a disease whose causes still remain unknown. Presently, they have no hope for a cure. In a study published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) identify a molecule named ALCAM which, once blocked, delays the progression of the disease. Their results, obtained from in vitro human and in vivo mouse studies, could lead to the development of a new generation of therapies to treat this autoimmune disease. Continue reading

Cellular origins of pediatric brain tumors identified

Dr Claudia KleinmanSource: MUHC and Lady Davis Institute

A research team led by Dr. Claudia Kleinman, an investigator at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital, together with  Dr. Nada Jabado, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), and Dr. Michael Taylor, of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), discovered that several types of highly aggressive and, ultimately, fatal pediatric brain tumors originate during brain development. The genetic event that triggers the disease happens in the very earliest phases of cellular development, most likely prenatal. The findings represent a significant advance in understanding these diseases, and are published in Nature Genetics. Continue reading