Dr. Meaney Wins First AHFMR Lougheed Prize
(Calgary) We all know that a mother’s touch can comfort a child. But what if maternal touching could do much more—such as shaping that child’s ability to cope with stress? Research by Dr. Michael Meaney has suggested that the level of grooming and care rat mothers give their offspring alters the chemistry of the DNA in certain genes involved in the stress response.
Dr. Meaney is the inaugural recipient of the AHFMR Lougheed Prize in fetal and early childhood development, which awards $100,000 to an outstanding biomedical or clinical researcher. AHFMR will also provide support for an Alberta Post-doctoral Fellow to work in Dr. Meaney’s lab for up to three years.
The award honours former Premier Peter Lougheed for his key contributions to AHFMR—Mr. Lougheed's government created the Foundation in 1980 with a $300 million endowment. The Lougheed Prize was created in 2005 as part of celebrations to recognize AHFMR’s 25th anniversary.
“I am very honoured both to have this prize named after me and by the stature of the researcher selected as its first recipient,” says Mr. Lougheed. “AHFMR has changed the landscape of health research in this province. It is a legacy for all Albertans that will benefit people far beyond our province’s borders and I am very proud of my government’s role in its establishment.”
Dr. Meaney is a leading figure in the field of child health research. He is associate director of the Douglas Institute Research Centre in Montreal and a professor in the departments of Psychiatry, and Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. While in Alberta to receive the Lougheed Prize, Dr. Meaney will deliver public lectures on his work and will meet with researchers in the child health research area.
“AHFMR supports only excellence,” says Gail Surkan, chair of the Foundation’s board of trustees. “That excellence is international in nature—we nurture it in Alberta in our top researchers, we help recruit the best and the brightest to Alberta, and with the AHFMR Lougheed Prize, we bring people of Dr. Meaney’s standing here to share knowledge. The Lougheed Prize reflects the spirit of the man it is named after—a leader, a visionary, and someone who has always set the standard when it comes to excellence.”
Please call Eric Morin at (780) 405-3742 or Kathleen Thurber, AHFMR Communications, at (780) 423-5727 for further information.