Other Initiatives

Gut-Brain Connection: Unlocking the link behind common illnesses.

Gut-Brain Connection:

Unlocking the link behind common illnesses.


2024 June

<p><strong>Get to the root of </strong></p> <p><em>the world’s biggest killers. </em></p>

Get to the root of 

the world’s biggest killers.

In Canada, obesity is the leading cause of diabetes and heart disease, and a strong risk factor for depression, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and all-cause mortality. Recent advancements have shifted the focus from obesity as purely metabolic to understanding its roots in brain function, and specifically the connection between the brain and metabolism. From an innovative research program to a personalized approach to culinary medicine, we have a plan to solve the world’s most challenging medical mysteries.


Money raised to date

$ 0

$ 0
$ 1,000,000



Transform the RI-MUHC into a world-class centre for neurometabolic research.

Dr. Dana Small, the RI-MUHC Scientist and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Metabolism and the Brain, will lead the Gut-Brain Connection, bringing together experts across various fields to explore the intricate links between brain activity and metabolic disorders, with the aim of reducing disease rates and informing national food policies. These interactions hold promise for improving public health outcomes and shaping a healthier food environment in Canada, and the MUHC Foundation is proud to support this trailblazing research.



Help us build the science and bring it directly to patients who need it.

The Gut-Brain Connection is an innovative and transdisciplinary project that not only pushes the boundaries of science but builds it from the ground up. This expert-led project, backed by the MUHC Foundation, will advance critical knowledge at the intersection of neuroscience and metabolism, and will have ripple effects across various fields, ranging from cardiology and cancer to dementia. This is how it will change our understanding of the world’s most common illnesses:

  1. The MUHC will establish itself as a hub for neurometabolic research.

    Dr. Small is a renowned expert in neurometabolic research, and she is leading the MUHC’s efforts to advance knowledge and train the next generation of transdisciplinary researchers. To achieve this, we’re raising funds to purchase the latest cutting-edge f-MRI technology that will equip the RI-MUHC with the resources needed to better understand the brain and metabolism in humans.

  2. Attract top talent from around the globe.

    Neurometabolic research is an innovative and transdisciplinary field, calling on experts across various fields to collaborate and generate life-saving knowledge about the root causes of the world’s biggest killers. The very best minds in cardiology, oncology and neuroscience will come together and call the RI-MUHC home, putting the hospital and Montreal on the map.

  3. Implementing the Food-as-Medicine program.

    As part of the Gut-Brain Connection, Dr. Small is leading the Food-as-Medicine (FAME) program. This program will transform patient care by enhancing hospital food quality and tailoring diets to patient needs. Recognizing the critical role that diet plays in overall health, Dr. Small also plans to open a teaching kitchen for patient and resident education, and train Internal Medicine Residents in cardiovascular disease prevention through culinary medicine.

“This area of research has the capacity to unlock a myriad of secrets about the world’s most debilitating diseases, and will ultimately lead to reduced rates of dementia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. With your help, we can fight all of these killers at once.”

Dr. Dana Small

RI-MUHC Scientist and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Metabolism and the Brain

Help us get to the root cause of the world’s leading killers.

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