Winners of Muscular Dystrophy Seed Grant Competition

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October 19th, 2017 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto, Ontario


Muscular Dystrophy Canada announces winners of Seed Grant competition


Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) has selected the recipients of 2017/18’s Seed Grant competition. MDC was thrilled to receive a total of 9 submissions, making this the most successful call for submissions to date, and will fully fund 6 of the research projects. Thanks to the support of the Starratt Family Foundation, MDC was able to invest an additional $50,000 into the Seed Grant Program, increasing this year’s available spending allocation to $300,000.

The Seed Grant recipients are researchers and scientists who are investigating various topics related to neuromuscular disorders across Canada. The full list of recipients and the topic of their research is available below. “A significant part of our new three-year strategy is to increase our investment in our mission work – specifically research. In working with like-minded organizations, like the Starratt Family Foundation, we are able to have a greater impact.”, said Muscular Dystrophy Canada CEO Barbara Stead-Coyle.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada is able to support some of Canada’s leading researchers in their search for cures for the more than 150 types of neuromuscular disorders that MDC supports. Investing in cutting-edge research is a vital component of the MDC mission, while working towards a vision of a world free of muscular dystrophy.

“To anyone affected by a neuromuscular disease, patient, family member or friend, research equals hope. The hope that one day soon a researcher will make a discovery that leads to a viable treatment or cure to reverse or halt the symptoms of neuromuscular diseases”, said Debra Chiabai, Interim Chair of MDC’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC). “Scientists and clinicians need to be able to explore all the possible mechanisms of each of these diseases and then test and apply innovative treatment strategies. A vibrant research community is the path to treatments and cures for everyone affected, and investments in research make this possible.”

MDC is a not-for-profit organization committed to finding a cure for neuromuscular disorders through well-funded research. MDC’s dedicated volunteers and staff across the country raise funds to enhance the lives of those affected by more than
160 different kinds of neuromuscular disorders by continually working to provide ongoing support and resources. MDC’s investment in research is vital to providing better treatments and therapies today, as the search for a cure continues.

Muscular Dystrophy Canada is honoured to support some of Canada’s leading researchers as they continue the search for more effective treatments, and ultimately a cure, for neuromuscular disorders.

Recipient of Seed Grant Topic of Research
Cynthia GagnonUniversité de Sherbrooke Development of a Questionnaire to Assess the Severity of Dysphagia in Neuromuscular Disorders: a pilot study
Jodi Warman ChardonOttawa Hospital/CHEO Diagnostic Utility of Muscle MR Imaging in Genetic Myopathies
Reshma AminSick Kids Hospital The Diagnostic Accuracy and Reliability of Transcutaneous Carbon Dioxide Monitoring at Home for Nocturnal Hypoventilation Screening in Children with Neuromuscular Disease
Ellen RocheMassachusetts Institute of Technology Development of a Soft Robotic Diaphragmatic Assist Device for Diaphragm Dysfunction in Muscular Dystrophy
Danielle PeersUniversity of Alberta Moving to Breathe: Breathing to Move – An Interdisciplinary Study on the Benefits of Choral and Dance Exercise for People with Neuromuscular Conditions
Unni NarayananUniversity of Toronto Validation of the Muscular Dystrophy Child Health Index of Life with Disabilities (MDCHILD) Questionnaire in Children with Other Chronic Neuromuscular Conditions (Funded by the Starratt Family Foundation)


About the Starratt Family Foundation

The Starratt Family Foundation was founded for the purpose of advancing education and research in the area of neuromuscular diseases. We believe that we can maximize the effectiveness of the Foundation by creating partnerships to leverage the impact of the funds provided by our donors. In addition to our main purpose, we also look for ways to support enhanced accessibility for those with disabilities. To learn more about the Starratt Family Foundation, please visit:

About Muscular Dystrophy Canada

Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s mission is to enhance the lives of those affected with neuromuscular disorders by continually working to provide ongoing support and resources while relentlessly searching for a cure through well-funded research. To learn more about Muscular Dystrophy Canada, please visit or call our toll-free number at 1-866-MUSCLE-8 (1-866-687-2538). 

Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Jesse Sharratt at Muscular Dystrophy Canada by phone at 437-998-8845 or by e-mail at

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