The Minister of Health and Social Services, Réjean Hébert, M.D., Ph.D, along with Executive Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Lynne McVey, and the Head of the Institute’s Depressive Disorders Program and Director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Gustavo Turecki, M.D., Ph.D., has announced the granting of $7.2 million for the creation of the Centre for translational research on Mood Disorders and Suicide. This amount will be added to a contribution by the Douglas Foundation, made possible by the generosity of donors like Bell Canada and Hydro-Québec, for a total investment of more than $ 9.8 million into the Centre.


Brigitte Kieffer, Réjean Hébert, Lynn McVeigh, Patrick Murphy-Lavallée and Gustavo Turecki – Douglas Institute

This unique centre will combine several areas of research – clinical, neuroanatomical, molecular and cellular – with the goal of understanding the mechanisms that lead to depression and suicide. It will be directed by Dr. Turecki.

“The creation of this centre illustrates perfectly our desire to integrate research into our clinical practice. In this way, we can implement innovative and effective preventive strategies with the ultimate goal of curing patients. When we speak of issues as complex and painful as suicide, we must do everything possible to accelerate the clinical application of our findings. Ultimately, we are talking about saving lives and relieving suffering,” emphasizes Lynne McVey, Executive Director of the Douglas Institute.

“Translational research is a form of research that allows knowledge developed in basic and clinical research to be applied directly to patient,” explains Dr. Turecki. “Thanks to this government funding, this is exactly the type of research that we will be able to conduct. We will be able to identify vulnerable individuals as well as develop effective preventive strategies and innovative therapeutic programs thanks to a detailed understanding of molecular, cellular, psychological and clinical processes, which intervene during interactions between a predisposition to mood disorders and significant stressful events. Ultimately, we will be better able to help these individuals.”

To lead this promising work, the Centre for translational research on Mood Disorders and Suicide will be equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for the study of biological tissue (histology), cellular and tissue imaging, and the cellular culture of human brain tissue.

Despite the $30 billion in direct and indirect costs to the Canadian economy attributed to mood disorders, the Centre for translational research on Mood Disorders and Suicide will be the first in Canada devoted to their study. Only a few centres alike exist abroad.

The Centre will benefit from a unique combination of cutting-edge platforms at the Douglas Institute, such as the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank, the Neurophenotyping Centre and the Brain Imaging Centre. This will allow the Douglas Institute and McGill University, as well as Dr. Turecki and his team, to maintain their position as the international leaders in the field of mood disorders and suicide.