Neuromuscular Fellowship Funding Recipients

Congratulations to the 2024 neuromuscular clinical and post-doctoral fellowship recipients. Photos of the fellows with information about their research insitutions.

The Neuromuscular Disease Network for Canada (NMD4C) together with Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) are excited to announce the 2024 recipients of our funding competition to award postdoctoral fellowships in neuromuscular disease (NMD) research, and clinical fellowship awards in neuromuscular medicine and electromyography!

This annual funding competition provides salary support for early-career scientists to conduct postdoctoral studies in a laboratory focused on research of NMDs, and early-career clinicians to participate in a neuromuscular medicine and electromyography training programs. Successful applicants are eligible to receive $40 000 in funding over a one-year period for the postdoctoral fellowship and $80 000 in funding over a one-year period for the clinical fellowship.

These fellowships have been made possible by generous supporters of MDC and one clinical fellowship is provided by the Canadian Society for Clinical Neurophysiologists.

The NMD4C and MDC are committed to empowering the next generation of  early-career researchers and clinicians in building successful careers in NMD research and clinical practice. When provided with access to research funding and clinical fellowship opportunities, researchers and clinicians are more likely to develop core competencies, perform meaningful research and make long-term commitments to the field of NMDs. Empowering the next generation of researchers today will lead to improved neuromuscular care, research, treatment, and health outcomes for all Canadians tomorrow.

2024 Fellowship Recipients

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Cedrik Happi Mbakam

Dr. Cedrik Happi-Mbakam

SickKids Hospital, Toronto, ON

Title of Research: Correction of intra-exonic insertions and deletions in DMD gene using CRISPR-Cas9 technologies

Project Summary: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severe X-linked recessive disorder arising from mutations in the DMD gene, encoding the dystrophin protein. While the most common mutations involve the deletion of single or large exons, intra-exonic insertions and deletions represent approximately 3% of DMD mutations. This study will examine genetic mutations in patient myoblasts, mouse models and in vivo investigations to design and evaluate a CRISPR-Cas9 nuclease. The most efficient design will be selected and tested on a humanized mouse model. This research serves as proof of concept, and it holds promise to be adapted for other hereditary diseases sharing similar mutational profiles.

Yassin Ouhaddi

Dr. Yassine Ouhaddi

Centre de recherche du CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal, QC 

Title of Research: Using 3D human iPSC-derived skeletal muscle modelling to elucidate the molecular mechanisms and develop new therapies for satellite cell-opathies

Project Summary: Skeletal muscles are essential to many physiological functions; yet, because myopathies are rare and heterogeneous, diagnosing and treating them can be quite difficult. This project presents an innovative approach to advance the understanding of satellite cell-opathies, a unique group of illnesses that affect the function of muscle stem cells. This project will use muscle cells and 3D tissue engineering to test the effect of rare genetic variations linked to satellite cell-opathies on myogenic cell function. This project aims to provide insight into the molecular pathways underlying these disorders and pinpoint possible targets for treatment. This project not only lays the groundwork for investigating secondary satellite cell-opathies, which will advance our understanding of the role of muscle stem cells in disease progression, but it also holds potential for offering patients with satellite cell-opathies individualized therapy options.

Clinical Fellows

Yiu-Chia Chang

Dr. Yiu-Chia Chang 

Training Institution: University of Western Ontario, London, ON

Bio: Dr Yiu-Chia Chang studied Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. He then obtained his medical degree at University of Ottawa and matched to Western University for residency training in neurology. During his residency, he developed a keen interest in neuromuscular medicine early on and took on extra rotations in the neuromuscular clinics and EMG lab. Among different sub-specialties within the neuromuscular field, Dr Chang is particularly interested in muscle diseases. During his fellowship, he aims to expand his knowledge and skills in the management of neuromuscular diseases and electrodiagnostics, as well as to acquire expertise in muscle diseases. He also aspires to be involved in medical education, with the goal of offering well-organized curriculum in neuromuscular medicine for trainees.

Mark Krongold

Dr. Mark Krongold

Training institution: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Bio: Dr Mark Krongold completed a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary and medical school at Western University. He is currently completing his neurology residency at the University of Manitoba. Through his experiences in neurology, he developed an interest in electrodiagnostics and neuromuscular medicine. He looks forward to pursuing a career filled with constant learning and the chance to have a positive impact on patient’s lives. With support from the National Clinical Fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine & Electromyography he will join the University of British Columbia for training in the upcoming year.

Bram De Wel

Dr. Bram De Wel

Training institution: University of Calgary, Calgary, AB

Bio: Dr Bram De Wel obtained his medical degree and completed his residency in neurology at the University Hospital Leuven in Belgium. During his residency, he obtained a PhD in neuromuscular diseases with a focus on advanced outcome measures in spinal muscular atrophy and muscular dystrophies. Dr De Wel will complete a neuromuscular medicine and EMG fellowship at the University of Calgary.

2023 Fellowship Recipients

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Yuguo Liu

Dr. Yuguo Liu

Université de Sherbrooke

Post-doctoral Supervisor: Dr. Florian Bentzinger
Title of Research: Targeting the Perivascular MuSC Niche for the Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy

Sean Ng

Sean Ng

PhD Candidate, McMaster University

Post-doctoral Supervisors: Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky and Dr. Joshua Nederveen
Title of Research: Determining the Therapeutic Potential of AMP-activated Protein Kinase in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 2

Matthew Triolo

Dr. Matthew Triolo

The University of Ottawa   

Post-doctoral Supervisor: Dr Mireille Khacho
Title of Research: Targeting mitochondrial dynamics and metabolites to restore muscle stem cell function in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Clinical Fellows

Neha Patel

Dr. Neha Patel

Training institution: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto

Gloria Mak

Dr. Gloria Mak

Training institution: University of Alberta


Dr. Béatrice Soucy

Training institution: University of Calgary

2022 Fellowship Recipients

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Emanuela Pannia

Dr. Emanuela Pannia

Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children

Post-doctoral Supervisor: Dr. James Dowling
Title of Research: Determining the molecular mechanisms and environmental modifiers of progressive liver disease in X-linked myotubular myopathy.
Overview: The goal of this study is to identify the cause of liver disease in X-linked myotubular myopathy (XLMTM) and the effects of diet and the immune system on its development. This study will be the first to identify causes of liver disease in XLMTM and discover new therapies to help children with this devastating disease.

Rebecca Robertson

Dr. Rebecca Robertson

McGill University

Post-doctoral Supervisor: Dr. Natasha Chang
Title of research: The role of CARM1 in satellite cell dysfunction in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)
Overview: This project aims to fully assess issues in protein quality in DMD muscle stem cells through a variety of methods. This study will also explore how changes to CARM1 can impact the function of muscle stem cells and how they contribute to muscle repair. The ultimate goal of this work is to provide possible of treatment for DMD through these stem cells.

Clinical Fellows

Collin Luk

Dr. Collin Luk

Training Institution: University of Calgary
About Dr. Luk: Dr. Luk completed his neurology residency at the University of Alberta, where he is currently completing an ALS Clinical Research Fellowship. His research focuses on understanding the intersection of advanced neuroimaging, neuropathology and the development of biomarkers in ALS.

With support from the National Clinical Fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine & Electromyography, he will join the University of Calgary in the upcoming year for training in EMG and neuromuscular medicine. This fellowship training will be a crucial component in his career development to becoming a clinician-scientist.

Marianne Nury

Dr. Marianne Nury

Training Institution: University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre
About Dr. Nury: Dr. Nury obtained her medical degree from Université Laval. She then chose to specialize in physiatry at Université Laval. Throughout the program, she was actively involved in extra-curricular activities and improving the curriculum. She also participated in many research projects, notably with patients with spinal muscular atrophy.

Dr. Nury also has experience with the practice of physiatrists in Fredericton and Victoria, where she discovered and developed her keen interest in neuromuscular diseases, since it aligned with her goal of improving patient’s quality of life.

Alasdair Rathbone

Dr. Alasdair Rathbone

Training Institution: University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre
About Dr. Rathbone: Dr. Rathbone was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. He attended McMaster University to study Kinesiology followed by Western University in London, Ontario for his medical degree. Dr. Rathbone is currently completing his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

He has been interested in electrodiagnostics, neuromuscular medicine and pain management since early in his training. In residency, he has developed skills in interventional pain management and electrodiagnostics. Dr. Rathbone is excited to undertake fellowship training to improve his skills in neuromuscular medicine. His research interests have focused on myofascial pain syndrome and quantitative electromyography.