The Rare Diseases: Models & Mechanisms Network has been established to catalyze connections between people discovering new genes in patients with rare diseases, and basic scientists who can analyze equivalent genes and pathways in model organisms. Catalyst Grants fund projects that will allow rapid confirmation of potentially disease-causing genes, and fuel pilot studies to improve understanding of how specific gene mutations cause disease. It is intended that collaborations across the Canadian biomedical community will expedite the understanding of disorders, enabling the design of new therapies to the ultimate benefit of those affected by rare diseases.
Clinicians submit a newly discovered disease gene to the Clinical Advisory Committee (CAC). If approved, CAC sends the human gene to the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and Bioinformatics Core, which will attempt to match a new disease gene to as many model organism researchers the genes that model organism researchers have self-declared in the Network Registry. The SAC will then invite model organism researchers to submit a 2-page application which will be reviewed within a week. For successful applications, the SAC will invite the clinician to establish a connection with the corresponding model organism researcher. Following a successful connection, the model organism lab will be connected to the clinician and receive $25,000 to seed immediate collaborative experiments. For more information, see REGISTER AS A MODEL ORGANISM INVESTIGATOR and SUBMIT A DISEASE GENE TO ESTABLISH A CONNECTION.