University of Manitoba/Hebrew University

Preventing of Reducing the Incidence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [FASD] Pregnancies

|Researcher: Abraham Fainsod|
|Funded by: CIHR|

The Manitoba government will provide up to $750,000 over the next five years from the Manitoba Research and Innovation Fund to support this collaboration. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Canadian Friends of Hebrew University have committed to match the Province of Manitoba’s funding, for a total commitment of $1.5 million.

News Link: Winnipeg Free News: U of M Partners with Israeli University to Study FASD


Manitoba Institute of Child Health

Discovering the Epigenetic Signatures Associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Project Description:

The intent of this research proposal is to develop a “FASD Epi-Code” – conserved epigenetic signatures in neuronal and other tissues that are predictive of abnormal fetal development. The FASD Epi-Code could be used as an early diagnostic technique to identify at-risk infants and children for personalized intervention strategies. The team will discover, characterize, and validate potential epigenetic markers indicative of permanent changes to the methylome from in utero alcohol exposure. Five integrated projects are:

1) Mojgan Rastegar –  Investigate global changes to the DNA methylome and changes to transcription and splicing in mouse neural stem cells, neurospheres and differentiating neural cell types.

2) Abraham Fainsod (Research conducted with our collaborators at Hebrew University) – Xenopus (frog) embryos will identify alterations to the methylome and the earliest genes affected by alcohol exposure during blastula, gastrula and embryonic stages.

3) Geoff Hicks – Rodent models will identify epigenetic changes that can be studied genetically at the level of molecular mechanism that may underly the neurodevelopmental changes in FASD etiology from embryonic development through adolescence in in vivo mammalian model systems.

4) Marc Del Bigio – Epigenetic changes to the human brain using banked frozen and formalin fixed tissue of autopsied humans with known alcohol exposure will be compared to the results from the first three projects.

5) Brenda Elias – Generation and assessment of a characterized community encompassing living people suspected to have FASD. By engaging South East Resource Development Council tribal area and the Manitoba FASD Clinic to participate in a questionnaire that details the physical, mental, emotional, and social modifiers within a family and a community that contribute to FASD.

Keywords: epigenetics, vertebrate models of ethanol exposure, neurodevelopment, craniofacial characteristics, methylome

Time Frame: 5 years. (2013-2018)

|Researcher: Dr. James Davie|
|Funded by: CIHR|


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