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Centre de recherche
Friday, May 15 2009

Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Foundation funds position at Université de Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center

New hot-seat in autism research and advocacy

Montreal, May 15, 2009- An internationally renowned autism expert has received major support to advance research and insight on the developmental disorder, thanks to a $3 million gift from the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Foundation.

Dr. Laurent Mottron will head the new Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Research Chair in Autism Cognitive Neuroscience of the Université de Montréal. The chair will oversee a multidisciplinary team of scientists based at the Université de Montréal and its affiliated institutions: the Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center.

Dr. Mottron, a professor at the Université de Montréal's Department of Psychiatry, thanked the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Foundation for propelling novel research. "The generosity of this private foundation will enable us to launch pilot studies in early intervention, academic support and vocational skills, such as investigations on whether autistic children can use their proficiency for written langue and transfer that knowledge into improved oral skills," said Dr. Mottron. "In short, the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Research Chair in Autism Cognitive Neuroscience of the Université de Montréal will enable cutting edge investigations that will provide new clues on a condition that is reported in people of all ethnic, social and economic backgrounds around the world."

Jacques-André Gratton, president of the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Foundation, said the new chair would encourage scientists from three institutions to further collaborate and shed a light on a complex disorder. "By endowing this new chair, the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Foundation hopes to bolster public awareness and medical understanding of autism," he said. "This chair will serve as a nucleus for autism discovery and knowledge for the Université de Montréal, Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center."

A gift to benefit society
Jacques Frémont, provost and vice-rector - academic affairs, at the Université de Montréal, said the new chair would bolster its health network and strengthen its international collaborations. "The University, as well as its affiliated hospitals, extend their heartfelt thanks for the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Foundation for this generous gift that will benefit of society and improve healthcare," said Dr. Frémont. "The Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Research Chair in Autism Cognitive Neuroscience of the Université de Montréal will serve as a platform to push scientific knowledge of autism in new areas and help people with the deficiency lead more fulfilling lives."

Dr. Michel Lapointe, director-general of the Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital, said the chair is a welcome addition to his institution. "The vocation of the Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital is to improve research, understanding and care for disorders such as autism," he said. "Dr. Laurent Mottron has dedicated his career to further research in autism and, as head of the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Research Chair in Autism Cognitive Neuroscience of the Université de Montréal, will bring knowledge of the disorder to new levels."

Notes

About autism spectrum disorder:
Autism is a common neurodevelopmental disability characterized by profound differences in information processing and analysis. Currently, autism is diagnosed according to atypicalities in social interaction, communication, motor mannerisms and strong focused interests. Autistic neurocognitive differences can result in great success or great difficulty. Accordingly, autistic outcomes vary widely and cannot be predicted according to obviousness of autistic traits and abilities.

About Laurent Mottron:
Laurent Mottron is a professor in the Université de Montréal's Department of Psychiatry. He is founder and head of the Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital autism clinic, serves as national researcher for the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec and is the scientific director of the Centre d'Excellence en Troubles Envahissants du Développement de l'Université de Montréal. His autism research, based on a longstanding clinical practice, focuses on autistic strengths. He has examined savant-syndrome, perceptual processing of non social and social information and autistic intelligence. He is also an active defender of the integration of autistic researchers in science. Dr. Mottron's empirical and theoretical studies, which are often international in scope, have helped in the understanding of autistic neuropsychological processes at the cerebral level.

About the Foundation:
The Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Foundation was created to advance research in heart disease, cancer and pediatric illnesses. The foundation itself was named after two late Montrealers - Marcel who died in 1981 and his wife Rolande Gosselin (née Dubreuil) who died in 2002 - following the bequest of their estate in support of worthy causes. To date, gifts from the Foundation have created an arts therapy program at the Centre de cancérologie Charles-Bruneau of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, a special asthma fund at the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation and the Marcel & Rolande Gosselin Research Chair in Autism Cognitive Neuroscience of the Université de Montréal.

On the Web:
About the Université de Montréal's Faculty of Medicine: www.med.umontreal.ca
About the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center: www.recherche-sainte-justine.qc.ca/en/
About the Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital http://www.hrdp.qc.ca/webconcepteur/web/hrdp

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