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Dr. Frederick Zeiler speaks at a lectern.

Dr. Frederick Zeiler spoke at the funding announcement about his research that's looking at ways to provide more individualized care for patients with traumatic brain injuries.

$3.5-M in support of groundbreaking research for traumatic brain injuries through HSC Foundation, MPI and UM partnership

October 6, 2022 — 

The Health Sciences Centre Foundation together with Manitoba Public Insurance and the University of Manitoba announced on Oct. 5 that $3.5 million in funding will be going towards Max Rady College of Medicine associate professor of surgery Dr. Frederick Zeiler’s research that’s looking at ways to provide more individualized care for patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). UM invested $1.5-million and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) contributed $2-million (and a previous $1.5 million) to HSC Foundation.  

With the new funding in place, the MPI Professorship in Neuroscience, which Zeiler holds, can be elevated to a MPI Chair in Neuroscience.

Care for people with traumatic brain injuries needs to move away from a one-size-fits-all care model, Zeiler said. He’s focused on developing personalized approaches to reduce death and disability in patients with severe traumatic brain injuries.

“We need to start thinking outside the box,” Zeiler said. “It’s clear that our previous approach over the last three decades has been unsuccessful, so this is a ground-up rebuilding in terms of how we approach traumatic brain injury care and how we approach research and innovation for TBI.”

Right now, there are 50 million people per year who suffer from traumatic brain injuries around the world, Zeiler said. In Canada, 165,000 people suffer from traumatic brain injuries per year, and there are about 400 moderate-to-severe TBI patients admitted yearly to the Health Sciences Centre, he said.

Zeiler [B.Sc./05, MD/10] said the funding will help his research program in several ways – including the expansion of his current space, the hiring of new personnel and he will be able to buy more complex equipment. It will also raise the stature of his research program in the academic community, which will help him attract top talent from across Canada and around the world, he said.

The five people pose for a photo.

[Left to right] Dr. Peter Nickerson, vice-provost (health sciences) and dean, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences; Dr. Frederick Zeiler, associate professor of surgery, Max Rady College of Medicine; Eric Herbelin, president and CEO of MPI; Tina Jones, O.M., board chair, HSC Foundation; and Jonathon Lyon, HSC Foundation president and CEO.

Dr. Peter Nickerson, vice-provost (health sciences) and dean, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, said UM is delighted to partner with MPI and the HSC Foundation on this vital investment that will advance Zeiler’s research and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

“This is a great example of recruiting high-quality talent to Manitoba and being at the forefront of research excellence,” Nickerson said. “Working together with our health care partners and a community partner will allow us to make a difference in diagnosis, treatment and recovery for those experiencing traumatic brain injuries right here in Manitoba.”  

Eric Herbelin, president and CEO of MPI, said that many Manitobans are affected by traumatic brain injuries, be it themselves directly or the loved ones who support them through their ongoing care.

“MPI is pleased to support further research into this important area, which we hope will have a significant impact on those living with these injuries in communities throughout the province,” Herbelin said.

Jonathon Lyon, HSC Foundation president and CEO, said that with this partnership we are once again witnessing the power of philanthropy to mobilize a community, advance research and improve care.

“Progress in this area has already been made as it relates to building a framework for new drug development, risk reduction by using non-invasive technology and more,” Lyon said. “We are thrilled to see what further advancements exist, thanks to the support from MPI and the University of Manitoba.”

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